The elegant entrance to Delmonico’s restaurant in Lower Manhattan still welcomes billionaires, politicians, and visiting VIPs. It was here in the early 1800s that the upscale American restaurant was born. But the telltale clues contained in an early printed menu reveal how the name “Delmonico’s” also became a familiar brand name for eat-and-run lunchrooms for New York’s working poor.

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The graceful spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel ascends weightlessly from the floor to the choir loft rising a total height of almost twenty-five feet. Not a single nail was used in its construction; it lacks any central support. Built in 1881, it still evokes wonder. What is the secret of its miraculous design? Continue reading