There are no such oysters, terrapin, or canvas-back ducks as there were in those days; the race is extinct. It is strange how things degenerate.... I passed, the other day, the deserted house of Mrs. Gerry, which I used to think so lordly. It stands alone now amid the surrounding sky-scrapers, and reminds me of Don Quixote going out to fight the windmills. It should always remain to mark the difference between the past and the present.
M. E. W. Sherwood (1826–1903), U.S. socialite, traveller, and author. An Epistle to Posterity, ch. 11 (1897).
Sherwood, a New Yorker, was remembering the city's genteel social life and cuisine in the 1870s, when she lived at 6 West 11th Street, worshipped at nearby Ascension Church, took her children to pick their "first dandelions" in Washington Square, and attended a magnificent ball at "Mrs. Gerry's," or Mr. Peter Goelet's house, at the corner of 19th Street and Broadway.