“You scream, I scream, we all want egg cream”
From the song, EGG CREAM, words and music by Lou Reed.
Everybody has egg cream memories. You may have them and not even be aware. One in six Americans trace their family roots back to Brooklyn, New York and so for those of you residing in Boston, Waterloo, Iowa or Los Angeles, you’ll find that within your family or your circle of friends and acquaintances that there is an egg cream memory.
Egg cream folklore permeates our culture. It can be found in our music, movies, television and literature. In a world fast losing its cultural diversity – almost with the rapidity with which plant and animal species are disappearing from our planet – Egg Cream is a nostalgic symbol of our cultural diversity from days gone by.
For those of you interested in the historical details, it is rumored that the first product that could be described as an egg cream was developed during the early 1890’s by Louis Auster, a Jewish immigrant who owned a candy store in Brooklyn. Mr. Auster prospered and he eventually expanded his business to include several stores. The drink became very popular. The story goes that lines would form up and down the street and around the corner resulting in the development of the tradition of “drinking egg creams while standing.” Later on in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s Auster turned down an offer from a national Ice Cream chain to purchase the rights to the developed egg cream and when one of the executives, upon hearing the news of Auster’s rejection of the offer, made a slanderous statement concerning Mr. Auster’s ethnic background, Auster vowed to take the secret of the egg cream to the grave.
Sometime around 1920, Moisha Zambrowsky, owner of Moisha’s Luncheonette on the Lower East Side of Manhattan claimed origination of an egg cream formula and dispensed the product from his fountain. Fountain dispensed egg creams over the next four or five decades became the premiere product served throughout the New York area.
With the advent of the 1970’s, 1980’s and the immigration to New York of people from Korea, India, and the Mid-East, many of the traditional fountain services began to disappear. Many upscale 50’s style Diners, high end delis and deli chains are trying to keep The egg cream tradition alive.
A very recent article about NYC egg creams can be found here.