Oldest Stuff in New York City
by Jonathan Zeller, 03/07/2012
Photo: Marley White
Oldest Restaurant: Fraunces Tavern
54 Pearl St., Financial District, Manhattan
George Washington bade farewell to his officers at a restaurant on the current site of Fraunces Tavern in 1783. There's more early-American lore there, too: the Sons of Liberty used to meet in the building, the New York Chamber of Commerce was founded there and some federal government offices were housed there when NYC was the capital of the United States. In fact, the Sons of the Revolution, who operate the place, say it's Manhattan's oldest building, period (based on the 1719 date when its first incarnation was built). It's filled with relevant historical artifacts and serves hearty, reliable American fare. Paley calls it "a bit awesome (in the truest sense of that word)" to contemplate all the history that unfolded there.
Counterargument: The current Fraunces Tavern is a reconstruction and primarily a museum. Some architects contend that the re-created version may not be entirely similar to the building that hosted Washington. If you'd like to eat in a very old restaurant whose only business is food, try Delmonico's, also in the Financial District. It's been open in various forms since 1827.