A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 13, 2004
Manhattan Clam Chowder (Coney Island Clam Chowder; Fulton Market Clam Chowder)
"Manhattan clam chowder" is the chowder with tomatoes. "New England clam chowder" is the common name for chowder without tomatoes.

Some say that "Manhattan" clam chowder was originally "Coney Island" clam chowder, or "Fulton Market" clam chowder. Both of these names were used in the 1890s, and "Manhattan" appears to have been used in the 1900s.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Manhattan clam chowder U.S., a variety of clam chowder, made with tomatoes instead of milk, and seasoned with thyme.
1910 Menu (R. H. Macy, N.Y.) 2 Dec. (N.Y. Public Libr. Coll.), *Clam Chowder, Manhattan.

14 July 1879, New York Times, pg. 8:



As the great national chowder-pot, Coney Island comes boldly to the front. In a good season, with no late frosts, but occasional light rains, the clam-chowder crop of Coney Island reaches its highest point. And Coney Island chowder is a mystery that no man has ever fathomed. Said a gentleman yesterday who had been having a little solitaire chowder picnic along the beach --

"Can you explain this chowder business?"

It was frankly admitted that nobody could explain the chowder business.

"I've eaten chowder at 11 different places today," said the gentleman, "and have eaten 11 different compounds. What is chowder at one place is not chowder at another. I saw the recipe for making it in last Sunday's TIMES, and got my wife to try it. There were to be equal parts of red pepper and potatoes, I think, or something of that kind. Well, we tried it. it called for everything wholesale, gallons and pecks, and we started her in a big iron pot. It all went well till we put the flour in ,and then she began to swell. Nothing could stop it. It swelled and swelled, till I had to stand by with a big ladle to dip out what would have boiled over. We filled the stationary wash-tubs and all the tin pans in the house; but when it was done it was so hot with the pepper that we couldn't eat it. We just put it by, and gave it out with charitable hands to the beggars that infest our gates. No beggar ever comes the second time. I was bound to have some chowder to-day ,and came down on a little chowder 'tear.' I started out at Norton & Murray's ,and got a plate of chowder. I think it was genuine chowder ,for it had clams in it, and potatoes, and tomatoes. But they spoiled it, for my taste, by putting vinegar in it. So I tried another place. There there was no vinegar, but neither were there any clams. The principal ingredient seemed to be soaked sea-biscuit. I worked my way along the beach, chowdering everywhere. it was different at every place. At the Brighton and Manhattan beaches, where it comes on in silver pans, which cost more, it was a whitish compound, thickened -- very good, but very different from any of the other chowders. There must be a cook-book full of recipes for clam chowder. No other watering-place on this continent can compare with Coney Island in the matter of clam chowder."

31 May 1887, New York Times, "Chilly Coney Island," pg. 3:
Clam chowder -- one clam to the quart and a dozen spoonfuls to the plate -- was 25 cents, while the beer was even more costly than last year, when a thirsty man had to call for and pay for three glasses in order to get one.

4 May 1891, Washington Post, pg. 5:
Coney Island clam chowder every day at Fussell's Cafe, 1427 New York avenue.

10 September 1893, Boston Daily Globe, pg. 29:

New York's "Fulton Market
is Called Excellent.

THE metropolis, as famous for clam chowder as Boston is for "beans" or Philadelphia for "scrapple," but it is only the favored few even in New York who know the secret of success, and no compiler of cook books ever has been able to get hold of the genuine receipt herewith given.

There are many varieties of chowder, but New York chowder, par excellence, is that which is known as "Fulton market style," in memory of the days when the swells used to go down to Fulton market for oyster suppers and for clam chowder, and the latter was prepared by famous restaurateurs in this manner:

Take one-half pound of fat salt pork and fry it until all the fat has been extracted; then remove the meat. Put into the pan two large onions cut into dice and fry them until they are a light yellow. Meanwhile, two quarts of tomatoes should have been prepared and put on to stow. When they have come to boiling point, turn the onions and whatever fat is left i nthe pan into the pot with the tomatoes; add the liquor from 25 large clams and an equal quantity of water, also 12 potatoes cut similarly to the onions.

Ties in a little bag, 12 whole allspice and 12 whole cloves should be dropped into the soup.

Cook four hours. Half an hour before it is done put in the 2 clams chopped fine.

Half a pound of pilot biscuit should be prepared in this manner: Soak them in cold water and then heat them by putting them into a stewpan, pouring some of the chowder over them and letting it simmer until you are ready to serve the dish. This is preferable to putting the biscuits into the pot of chowder, for if you have more than you want to use at one time they are apt to sour, or at best will become sodden.

A teaspoon of table sauce is added just before the chowder is taken from the fire.

It is necessary to tell the uninitiated that Rockaway clams, those used in New York for this chowder, are the saltest known.

This is the reason why the liquor must be diluted, and the caution must also be given not to add any salt. A pinch of pepper and the sauce mentioned are sufficient seasoning.

29 January 1895, Boston Daily Globe, pg. 8:
Coney Island Clam Chowder
One slice of pork, fry in kettle; add 1 1/2 quarts water and 2 large onions; after that has boiled a few minutes put in 1 quart sliced potatoes, and salt and pepper to taste; when the potatoes are cooked soft, but not to a mush, put in 1 quart of clams chopped and about a cup of the clam water, and also a can of the best tomatoes, and let cook about 10 minutes; just before taking from the fire add a piece of butter.
M. H. T.
South Braintree

New York Clam Chowder.
In reply to the lady who asks for a recipe for clam chowder, Coney Island style, I will give one that is used largely in New York state. To begin with, the soft clam is seldom used, but the round, hard clam, or quahaug. The flavor is more to my taste, being salter and stronger. For an ordinary family use about 1/2 peck of the quahaugs, thoroughly washed, and put on to boil in about 2 quarts of water. When the shells open pour off the water through a strainer and let it settle; dress the clams and chop them very fine; fry out about 1/8 pound of fat slat pork, cut in small dice; take out the scraps, and pour the pork fat into a soup kettle; strain the clam water again, and put it with the pork fat, and heat it up, slice 12 small potatoes, 2 good-sized onions and a quart of tomatoes (either canned or fresh will do), put all these at once into the hot clam water and cook until the potatoes and onions are nearly done; then add the chopped clams and a dessertspoonful of finely roiled sage leaves; season with black pepper, but be very careful about salting, as the clam water is very salty; about 1/2 hour before serving add 3 finely rolled crackers; stir well and set back on the range. Pilot crackers are always served with this chowder.
J. A. C.

Non-Insipid Coney Island.
Here is a recipe from a New York friend for a Coney Island chowder. She thinks the New England chowder an insipid dish: First fry brown 1/2 pound salt pork cut in small pieces; then chop fine 1 dozen of hard-shell round clams, 1 good-sized onions, 4 potatoes, 1 carrot; if ripe tomatoes cannot be had use 1/2 can of canned tomatoes, all chopped fine; add enough water to cover; season with very little salt and pepper; cook 3/4 of an hour; when done break up soda crackers into it.
L. A. B.

Coney Island with Thyme.
In answer to N. Y. for Coney Island clam chowder, I will give it, as I am a New Yorker and make no other: Take 3 middle-size potatoes, cut up as small as you like, put in 3 pints of water and boil 10 minutes, put in 1 quart of clams and 1 cup of canned tomatoes, boil five minutes longer, then skim; now take a slice of salt pork and cut in dice, fry outand put scraps in chowder; in the remaining fat fry out 2 large sliced onions, light brown; turn all in chowder and boil 10 minutes longer; season with pepper, salt and a heaping teaspoon of thyme, and just before serving break in common crackers.

17 July 1900, Trenton (NJ) Times. pg. 5, col. 4:
CLEANLINESS is the winning feature of the American House Restaurant. Fulton Market Clam Chowder, best in town, 10c a bowl.

18 September 1909, Indianapolis Star, pg. 14:
Manhattan Clam chowder...10c
33 South Meridian St.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, July 13, 2004 • Permalink

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