• Karen Frost

Chapter 3: New York City

One of the challenges of writing historical fiction is wanting every detail to be as absolutely historically accurate as possible. You don't want your characters eating in a restaurant that wasn't built until twenty years later, you know? This desire for accuracy is how I ended up researching a whole bunch of things for this chapter, including but not limited: food eaten in the 1920s and New York City hotels and restaurants that were open at the time, travelogues by Europeans describing Morocco in the 1910s (ended up skimming Edith Wharton's "In Morocco"), Moroccan tourist destinations, the colonial histories of Canada and Mali, prominent female mathematicians in early 20th century Europe, Marie Curie, a women's college in Kolkata that offered mathematics in the 1910s AND had female professors, the location of New York University campuses in 1923, every pyramid-like structure built outside of Egypt discovered by 1923, France's oldest library, the mummification process, how much limestone was used to build the Great Pyramid at Giza, the history of slavery in North Africa, sexual dimorphism among animal species, and the history of French pastries. Phew. There was a lot to learn.

The setting for chapter three is a restaurant. I randomly settled on the restaurant in the Hotel Pennsylvania, the Cafe Rouge, after it was listed in the equivalent of a 1929 Zagat guide. Turns out, by total coincidence, the Hotel Pennsylvania was the largest hotel in the world at the time, which meant its restaurant was the largest hotel restaurant in the world. Talk about coincidence. But it did mean I found a bunch of pictures. So if you're trying to imagine what the hotel and its restaurant looked like, here it is:


©2019 by Karen Frost

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