What’s Doing in the New York of the Swingin’ 60s

Grand Central Terminal

By Jeremy Del Nero on 26 May 2017
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New York is known as the City That Never Sleeps and was never more so than in the early 1960s, a time of great hope and promise with a young, handsome president whose presidency is still referred to as Camelot.

The city was about to host a second World’s Fair, and had just gotten a new baseball team, the New York Mets. Women wore mini skirts and leather boots while men wore Paisley shirts and velvet trousers, and the USSR appeared to be ahead of the United States in the space race.

The 1960s were also a time of great innovation with the invention of the compact cassette, the portable calculator, hypertext, the computer mouse, the pacemaker, and fiber optics.

Take a trip back in time with us to the Swingin’ 60s. Here’s what was considered mod at the time according to a guidebook found in the FBT archives dating to that period.


Out of all the restaurants listed in the guide, only Tavern-on-the-Green is still in existence and it has vastly changed from the 1960s, when two orchestras provided music and dancing every evening but Monday.

Mama Leone’s still exists in people’s recollections. It opened in the theater district in 1906 and was known for its meatballs and its 11 dining rooms that seated over 1,200 people. It closed its doors in 1994.

La Fonda del Sol was recommended to very hungry travelers because “they serve very big portions” of Latin American cuisine, whatever that was. The Hawaiian Room put on a wonderful Polynesian show but also offered authentic Polynesian food, from Chicken Momi to Flaming Snow Mountain and the Beeg Luau, “a banquet of exotic delicacies.” The Brasserie on E 53 Street was “a simple French restaurant” for “discriminating gourmets” and Kabuki offered “a truly authentic” Japanese experience.

Finally, the Tower Suite on the 48th floor of the Time-Life Building in Rockefeller Center, which served seven-course meals with no menu, was like “dining in a charming penthouse”

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