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Candlelight in Yonkers: 1954

Candlelight in Yonkers: 1954

October 29, 1954. "Big dining room, Patricia Murphy's Candlelight Restaurant, Central Avenue, Yonkers, Westchester County, N.Y." Said to be the largest restaurant in the East. 4x5 negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.


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Florida location

One of the most vivid memories from my early youth is eating at the Ft. Lauderdale Patricia Murphy’s. I’ve forgotten why we were there, but I remember the food to this day. It was incredible, things I’d never eaten before, like pate and duck and popovers, and pie with the tallest meringue I’d ever seen. A small creek meandered through the restaurant, surrounded by ferns and bushes and miniature palms (something else I’d never seen before). It’s all gone now. They really knew how to distinguish between going out to dinner and “dining."

Sprawl devours itself

Patricia Murphy followed millions of her customers as they left New York City (home of her earliest restaurants) into suburbs like Yonkers. But it was not long before one consequence of suburban sprawl - the need to expand the arterial highways that connect the suburban homes with the urban jobs - consumed her largest restaurant. According to the front of a postcard, it was located along Central Park Avenue north of Tuckahoe Road. When the State decided in the late 1960s that Central Park Avenue needed to become the Central Park Avenue Arterial, broadening its path, the Yonkers restaurant was closed and part of its vast parking lot acquired for roadway and right-of-way. An aging strip mall occupies the rest, just north of Roosevelt High School.

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