The New York Diet

Photos by Donald Bowers.

What does a New Yorker really eat? In 2004, I set out to answer that question by photographing and recording everything I consumed. I did it because I thought someone should; after all, wouldn’t a complete chronicle of a typical turn-of-the-century diet make life just a little easier on some future anthropology student? (Chronicle Books has published the collected photos in Everything I Ate, available for $14.95 at all good bookstores.)

What I didn’t expect to learn was anything about myself. But I did—and what I found, I suspect, applies to plenty of my fellow citizens, too.

For one: I eat a lot. Seven or eight times a day, to be exact(ish). I eat even when I don’t need to. I thought I was chowing down for purely physical reasons—but eating turned out to be more emotional than logical.

For another: Like many New Yorkers, I live a high-low culinary life. Last year, cold pizza and cereal shared stomach space with fluke four ways from Le Bernardin and raspberry financiers from Café Gray.Most important: Food is everywhere. It happens not just around the table but in the street, at the office, in front of the television, even on the subway.

As an experiment to enlarge the sample pool, New York asked five compatriots to arm themselves with log books and document not just everything they ate but also where and when they did it, for one week in May.

Look quickly, and you’ll see more differences than similarities here. Some of us are scarfing Sour Patch Kids in class, while others dine on lamb shanks and grapefruit Bellinis at the Modern. But look closely and you’ll see that really, we’re all the same: hungry.

The Bachelor
Chris Drunsic, IT project manager at midtown law firm
Age 27
Home Midtown Manhattan

9:30 A.M. WORK 12-oz. cup of coffee with 3 Equals and half-and-half
1:00 P.M. HOME Large plate of fusilli pasta with tomato sauce; glass of water
1:30 WORK Stick of gum
3:15 Glass of water
4:05 Glass of water
4:35 4 Hershey’s Kisses
4:37 Stick of gum
6:45 CENTRAL PARK WATER FOUNTAIN Two sips of water
7:15 HOME 4 grilled chicken breasts; green beans;glass of water
8:10 Health Valley chocolate-chip granola bar
8:30 Glass of water
9:05 2 spoonfuls of vanilla
Jell-O pudding
9:35 Cup of chilled tea with milk and honey

6:45 A.M. HOME A few sips of water7:20 Stick of gum
9:00 WORK Cup of coffee with 3 Equals and half-and-half; plain bagel with vegetable cream cheese
11:30 Stick of gum
12:40 P.M. home Small plate of fusilli pasta with tomato sauce; 2 peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches on white bread; glass of water
2:12 WORK Stick of gum
2:35 Glass of water
4:15 Bag of unsalted trail mix; glass of water
4:30 Stick of gum
5:07 Can of Diet Coke
6:00 THE BEER BAR AT CAFE CENTRO Bottle of Bud Light
8:15 YANKEE STADIUM Draft of Bud Light; 6 breaded chicken strips with barbecue sauce; French fries; hot dog
9:15 Draft of Bud Light
10:00 Stick of gum
11:18 HOME Glass of water

10:00 A.M. WORK Cup of coffee with 3 Equals and half-and-half; banana
1:06 P.M. Cup of turkey-potpie soup; chicken Caesar salad; glass of water
1:15 Stick of gum
1:55 Stick of gum
4:57 Glass of water
5:30 Health Valley fat-free chocolate-chip granola bar
6:00 GRAND SZECHUAN RESTAURANT2 Heinekens; 3 glasses of water; cup of tea; string potatoes with vinegar; sesame chicken; 2 scallion-potato pancakes; broccoli with garlic sauce; 2 chicken skewers; pea-shoot soup dumpling; fortune cookie
9:10 Glass of water

4:36 A.M. HOME A few gulps of water
10:00 WORK Cup of coffee with 3 Equals and half-and-half
11:45 Stick of gum
12:15 CUNY GRADUATE CENTER 2 roast-beef sandwiches with American cheese on wheat rolls; pasta salad; Diet Coke
5:00 WORK Glass of water; bag of trail mix
5:40 Glass of water; stick of gum
9:00 HOME; TAKEOUT FROM TANAKA SUSHI RESTAURANT Chicken teriyaki; white rice; side salad;2 steamed dumplings with soy sauce; cucumber roll; 2 glasses of water
10:30 10 pieces of celery with peanut butter
11:15 Glass of water

10:00 A.M. WORK Cup of coffee with 3 Equals and half-and-half; banana
10:30 Glass of water
12:45 P.M. HOME Turkey-and-ham sandwich with Monterey Jack cheese on white bread; banana; glass of water
1:30 WORK Glass of water
2:50 Can of Diet Coke
4:09 Glass of water; handful of Mike and Ike candies
4:54 Stick of gum
7:15 CORTINA RESTAURANT 3 piecesof Italian bread; 2 glasses of water; slice of tomato with mozzarella cheese and olive oil; large bowl of penne with vodka sauce and chicken; 2 glasses of red wine
9:20 Stoli and tonic
10:45 HOME Glass of water

9:00 A.M. STARBUCKS Large coffee with 4 Equals and half-and-half; low-fat blueberry muffin
10:30 HOME Glass of water
12:45 P.M. Turkey sandwich with American cheese on white roll; bag of spicy Cajun potato chips; pint of orange juice
1:45 CENTRAL PARK Stick of gum
2:40 HOME Glass of water
4:10 Glass of water
4:16 Glass of water; 4 pieces of celery with peanut butter
5:00 Powerade fruit punch
7:00 TAKEOUT FROM TANAKA SUSHI RESTAURANT Teriyaki chicken; salad; white rice, 2 steamed vegetable dumplings with soy sauce; cucumber roll; glass of water
9:17 Glass of water
10:30 FRIEND’S APARTMENT Bottle of Michelob Ultra
11:00 Bottle of Michelob Ultra
11:30 Bottle of Michelob Ultra

1:00 A.M. THE FALLS BAR Draft of Miller Lite
2:00 HOME Glass of water
3:00 Glass of water
12:30 P.M. PENELOPE RESTAURANT Ham-cheese-and-spinach omelet with a side of French fries; fruit with yogurt; cup of coffee with 2 Splendas and half-and-half; glass of water; glass of fresh orange juice
1:35 Stick of gum
3:00 CENTRAL PARK Can of Red Bull
5:30 RIVERSIDE PARK FIELDS Bottle of water
7:00 THE WEST END BAR 3 glasses of water; 2 drafts of Stella Artois; 12 tortilla chips with guacamole; a few bites of chicken Caesar salad
8:30 HOME Cheese fondue with 6 green-pepper slices; red-pepper slice; 12 baked-potato pieces; 15 small pieces Italian bread; 2 cherry tomatoes; 2 small carrots; glass of white wine; glass of water
9:15 Carrot-raisin muffin; 1⁄2 glass nonfat milk

The Teen
Makida Mundy, tenth-grader
Age 15
Home Brownsville, Brooklyn

8:00 A.M. HOME Stick of gum
8:10 Stick of gum
10:05 SCHOOL 6 Oreos
12:30 3/4 pack of M&M’s
1:40 P.M. POPEYES Buttermilk biscuit
1:45 MCDONALD’S Half a chicken strip
6:40 DOMINO’S Slice of pizza
7:15 HOME Bag of Puffin’ Corn
11:50 11⁄2 glasses of banana milk shake

9:00 A.M. SCHOOL Stick of gum
9:55 Twix
11:00 3 sticks of KitKat
4:10 P.M. BROOKLYN COLLEGE 4 portions of French fries
4:30 STREET Bag of Corn Curls
5:05 SUBWAY Stick of gum
5:10 Sip of water
10:00 HOME Glass of water

8:45 A.M. SCHOOL Stick of gum
9:40 1⁄2 bottle of strawberry drink
3:10 P.M. French fries
9:00 HOME Glass of water
10:00 Shrimp fried rice

9:10 A.M. SCHOOL 6 Sour Patch Kids
10:15 12 Pringles
4:00 P.M. COLLEGE French fries
4:30 Bag of Puffin’ Corn
6:00 HOME 11⁄2 glasses of water

10:00 A.M. SCHOOL 2 sticks of gum
10:30 2 bananas
12:30 P.M. SUBWAY Tall Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream and caramel
9:30 RED LOBSTER, BRONX Seaside Shrimp Trio
10:00 1⁄2 can of Sprite

9:00 A.M. FRIEND’S HOUSE, EAST TREMONT Egg-and-cheese sandwich
NOON Tall glass of iced tea
12:50 STREET 2 Butterfingers
3:10 FRIEND’S HOUSE, EAST TREMONT Shrimp fried rice and wings
3:35 Snapple
8:00 1⁄2 bag of microwaved popcorn
9:00 3 chicken wings
9:20 Bottle of water

11:00 A.M. fRIEND’S HOUSE, EAST TREMONT 2 pancakes; 2 eggs
11:10 2 small glasses of apple juice
1:30 P.M. Curried chicken; white rice; macaroni pie
1:35 Glass of apple juice
4:35 STREET M&M’s

The Kosher Eater
Moshe Grussgott, rabbinical student
Age 24
Home Washington Heights

9:30 A.M. HOME 2 glasses of water
11:30 TIME OUT KOSHER PIZZA RESTAURANT Salmon; bowl of Greek salad with light Italian dressing
4:10 P.M. YESHIVA UNIVERSITY Ice-cream sandwich; glass of milk
7:15 Piece of chicken; corn; potatoes; bottle of Diet Dr Pepper
8:15 Bottle of water

7:30 A.M. HOME 3 glasses of water
12:30 P.M. YESHIVA UNIVERSITY Bottle of water
3:35 DOCTOR’S OFFICE Glass of water
5:05 GOLAN HEIGHTS RESTAURANT Steak; rice; chicken soup; bottle of Powerade
8:05 HOME 1⁄2 pack of Sour Sticks

10:30 A.M. YESHIVA UNIVERSITY Glass of water
12:05 P.M. HOME 2 grilled-cheese sandwiches
12:15 YESHIVA UNIVERSITY Large salad; 1⁄2 frozen yogurt
5:00 Tuna sandwich on rye with lettuce and tomato; glass of Diet Coke
7:00 Wonton soup; egg roll; can of Diet Coke
10:55 ISRAELI INDEPENDENCE DAY FAIR Blue-and-white cookie

9:10 A.M. HOME 3 glasses of water
11:55 ISRAELI INDEPENDENCE DAY FAIR 2 hamburgers on buns with ketchup; hot dog, no bun, with mustard and sauerkraut; two glasses of Diet Coke
5:00 P.M. REVAYA RESTAURANT Sip of friend’s VitaminWater
5:10 Bottle of VitaminWater
5:30 2 slices of pizza

10:20 A.M. HOME 2 scrambled eggs on rye; 2 glasses of water
7:00 P.M. PARENTS’ HOUSE, PHILADELPHIA Bowl of chicken soup
9:00 Glass of red wine; 3 slices of challah bread with hummus; 2 bowls of chicken soup; 2 pieces of chicken; piece of potato kugel; asparagus
10:30 Cup of tea; piece of honey cake; piece of dark chocolate
11:55 2 spoonfuls of cholent

1:00 P.M. SYNAGOGUE, PHILADELPHIA Glass of grape juice; bagel with cream cheese, lox, tomato, and onion; piece of marble cake; 2 shots of peach schnapps
2:05 PARENTS’ HOUSE Glass of grape juice; challah with hummus; chicken; noodle kugel; potato kugel; bowl of cholent; honey cake; cup of tea
7:45 SYNAGOGUE 2 cheese blintzes; challah with matbucha, baba ghannouj, and Turkish salad; gefilte fish with horseradish; 3 glasses of seltzer
9:20 PARENTS’ HOUSE Bowl of vanilla ice cream
10:45 MOVIE THEATER, NEW JERSEY 3 handfuls of popcorn

9:00 A.M. PARENTS’ HOUSE Scrambled egg; 2 pieces of rye toast with butter; glass of orange juice
2:00 P.M. GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE, BROOKLYN Bowl of barley soup; stuffed cabbage
8:30 RABICA RESTAURANT, NEW JERSEY Spinach ravioli with vodka sauce; five glasses of water

The Executive
Stephanie Pierson, creative director at a marketing agency and author
Age 58
Home Midtown Manhattan

8:05 A.M. HOME Glass of water; cup of coffee with nonfat milk
10:00 WORK Bowl of Special K with nonfat milk; cup of coffee with nonfat milk
11:45 Large bottle of water
2:00 P.M. SOSA BORELLA RESTAURANT Slice of French baguette dipped in pesto sauce; small steak salad with corn, cherry tomatoes, and arugula; glass of water; glass of white sangria
5:55 STREET Small cup of cookies-and-cream ice cream
8:20 SCOTT J. LIFESTYLE SALON & SPA 2 handfuls of salted cashews
10:10 HOME; takeout from fairway 2 pieces of smoked salmon; 2 bowls of sesame noodles with scallions and hoisin sauce; 1 1⁄2 glasses of white wine

8:00 A.M. HOME Cup of coffee with nonfat milk; glass of water with vitamins
9:50 fruit-shake cart Strawberry-banana-pineapple smoothie
10:05 WORK Cup of coffee with nonfat milk
2:07 P.M. TAKEOUT FROM CARVE UNIQUE SANDWICHES Mesclun salad with blue cheese, shredded carrots, chicken, red onion, and sesame dressing; bottle of water
3:10 Small container of fresh pineapple
6:30 HOME Glass of white wine
7:00 Glass of Perrier
7:30 DINNER PARTY Bowl of four-cheese ravioli with pesto; bowl of Caesar salad; 2 pieces of smoked salmon on crackers; 2 crackers with honeyed goat cheese; glass of white wine; slice of pound cake with fresh strawberries; remnants of someone else’s glass of red wine

8:00 A.M. HOME Cup of coffee with nonfat milk; glass of fresh orange juice
10:00 WORK 2 bunches of green grapes; cup of coffee with nonfat milk
1:15 P.M. COLUMBIA FACULTY HOUSE Small portion zucchini with tomato sauce; grilled vegetables; 2 pieces of grilled salmon; small Caesar salad; cilantro coleslaw; small piece of Black Forest cake; small piece of yellow cake with fresh strawberries; chunk of Havarti cheese; glass of champagne
6:00 NEW WORLD GRILL RESTAURANT Handful of nachos; 1⁄2 frozen margarita
7:00 EQUINOX GYM Glass of water
9:30 THE MODERN RESTAURANT Spritzer; handful of crackers
10:15 Glass of champagne; grapefruit Bellini; yellowfin-tuna tartare; bread roll; lamb shank and loin with herbs; caramel parfait; ice cream; chocolates, almond macaroons, fruit jellies, and miniature ice-cream cones

8:00 A.M. HOME Coffee with nonfat milk; glass of fresh orange juice
8:45 WORK Fresh fruit slices with wheat germ; cup of coffee with nonfat milk
2:00 P.M. Small Caesar salad; 3 glasses of water
7:00 MEXICANA MAMA RESTAURANT Hibiscus margarita; handful of tortilla chips with salsa; 1⁄4 plate chicken breast with cilantro sauce, nuts, and Mexican rice; 1⁄4 rib-eye steak with Mexican peppers, beans, and rice; 1⁄4 queso relleno; 1⁄4 sea bass with corn-flan crust; regular margarita; 2 glasses of water;1⁄4 portion of Mexican cake with coconut milk; 1⁄4 Mexican crêpes with fruit and cinnamon; 1⁄4 portion of cheesecake

8:00 A.M. HOME Coffee with nonfat milk; glass of fresh orange juice; glass of water with vitamins
8:45 WORK 1⁄2 large blueberry scone; cup of coffee with nonfat milk
2:00 P.M. TAKEOUT FROM CARVE UNIQUE SANDWICHES Salad with romaine, artichoke hearts, shredded carrots, and red onion; chicken with sesame dressing; small bottle of water
6:00 STREET A few bites of foccacia
6:30 COLUMBIA POETRY READING1⁄2 peanut-butter cookie
9:30 METROPOLITAN OPERA Glass of red wine
11:30 HOME 4 chunks of fresh Parmesan; 3 spoonfuls of smooth peanut butter

9:00 A.M. HOME Cup of coffee with nonfat milk; glass of water with vitamins
11:00 EQUINOX GYM Lots of water
1:10 P.M. LIGHT DELIGHTS CAFé Banana-strawberry-and-nonfat-milk smoothie
3:45 TAKEOUT FROM MANGIA RESTAURANT Grilled mozzarella-tomato-and-basil panini
6:30 HOME Leftover smoked salmon
7:15 2 pieces of smoked salmon with scallion cream cheese on toasted baguette; chicken breast; yellow rice and black beans; portion of linguine with pesto sauce; piece of pound cake; 2 glasses of white wine; glass of water; sips of raspberry-apple juice
11:00 Handful of cashews

8:30 A.M. HOME Cup of coffee with nonfat milk; glass of water with vitamins
11:30 Toasted corn muffin with jam
1:30 P.M. Bowl of leftover linguine with pesto
2:30 Glass of apple-raspberry juice
4:31 Handful of cashews
8:00 METROPOLITAN OPERA 2 small chicken breasts in sauce; grilled vegetables; 2 pieces of baguette with Gorgonzola; piece of Parmesan cheese; glass of champagne; 2 glasses of white wine; 1⁄2 piece lemon cake; pistachio biscotti; bite of tirami su; 2 glasses of water

The Globalist
Phyllis Ho, dentist
Age 43
Home Midtown Manhattan

9:00 A.M. HOME Glass of water
11:00 Bottle of water
11:30 STARBUCKS Cinnamon-raisin bagel with 1⁄2 pat butter; Odwalla Citrus C Monster; grande Caramel Macchiato with whole milk
2:00 P.M. BARUCH COLLEGE POOL Bottle of water; vitamin tablet
3:00 JUICE VAN Pineapple-strawberry-and-banana juice
5:10 WORK Banana; cup of coffee with whole milk and two sugars
6:10 Banana
6:45 STREET Two swigs of bottled water
7:10 HOME; LEFTOVERS FROM HOP LEE 5 pieces of roast duck; 1⁄2 bowl of white rice; small square of toasted tofu; steamed broccoli; string beans; 2 creamed potatoes; glass of water
9:37 Bowl of Breyers Oreo ice cream; 2 tablespoons of vanilla yogurt
11:00 Bottle of water

8:30 A.M. HOME Vitamin tablet; glass of water
10:30 WORK Odwalla Citrus C Monster; tall coffee with milk and 3 sugars; chocolate croissant
2:30 P.M. Avocado, Parmesan, tomato, arugula, and pine nuts on whole-grain bread; bottle of water; fresh banana-strawberry-and-blueberry juice; grande Caramel Macchiato
7:00 HOP LEE RESTAURANT Roast duck with white rice; spinach with garlic; glass of water
8:10 WESTERLEY NATURAL MARKET Yogurt-covered almond
9:00 HOME Bowl of Breyers Oreo ice cream; vanilla yogurt; 4 dried mango slices
10:45 2 slices of apple; big handful of yogurt raisins; couple gulps of water

8:05 A.M. HOME Vitamin tablet; small bowl of muesli; vanilla yogurt; glass of 2 percent organic milk; 2 bites of apple turnover; cup of jasmine tea; gulp of water
9:30 WORK Coffee with milk and 1 sugar
11:30 2 bananas; small carton of Tropicana orange juice
2:00 P.M. BARUCH COLLEGE POOL Bottle of water
3:00 Grande Caramel Macchiato with whole milk; large chocolate-chip cookie; fresh blueberry-banana-and-strawberry juice
6:00 HOME 5 dried mango slices
7:00 Salted fennel slices; bowl of white rice; sautéed string beans with garlic; steamed corn on the cob; salmon with ginger and scallion; glass of water
7:25 Yogurt-covered malted-milk ball
8:00 LE SOUK RESTAURANT Glass of sangria
8:45 Glass of sangria
9:30 Moroccan cigar (phyllo dough filled with chicken and potato) with vegetables; cucumber salad; 2 glasses of water
10:30 PUNJABI DELI Taste of mango kulfi; shamiana pista kulfi

8:00 A.M. HOME Slice of whole-grain bread with butter and Polish strawberry jam; cup of jasmine tea; vitamin tablet
9:50 WORK Bottle of fresh orange juice
10:05 1⁄2 buttered toasted plain bagel; cup of coffee with milk and 1 sugar
1:35 RED HOT SZECHUAN RESTAURANT General Tso’s chicken with white rice
3:00 STARBUCKS Grande Caramel Macchiato; bottle of water
8:00 HOME Steamed string beans; white rice; corn on the cob; pasta sautéed with olive oil, scallion, egg, and canned salmon; 6 dried mango slices; yogurt-covered malted-milk ball
9:00 Spoonful of vanilla yogurt
10:15 2 dried mango slices

9:00 A.M. HOME Coffee with 2 percent organic milk and sugar; vitamin tablet; slice of whole-grain bread with butter and strawberry jam
11:30 TRAIN STATION Box of Raisinets
1:20 P.M. SUFFOLK COUNTY, OFFICE OF THE MEDICAL EXAMINER Coffee with whole milk and 1 sugar; sesame bagel with butter
5:23 TRAIN 2 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; bottle of water; bag of American Mix dried fruits
6:30 MANDOO BAR Fermented radishes; 2 vegetable goon mandoo; 1⁄2 order japchae; can of Sprite; glass of water
8:00 HOME 6 dried mango slices
9:45 1⁄2 can Calpico water
10:21 Glass of green-plum juice and lua cheia cachaça

8:10 A.M. WORK Cup of coffee with whole milk and 1 sugar; toasted plain bagel with cream cheese and tomato slices; bottle of fresh orange juice
9:30 Cup of coffee with half-and-half and 1 sugar; bottle of water
1:30 P.M. PIZZA PLUS Plate of spaghetti with one meatball; bottle of water
4:15 DEAN & DELUCA Sticky bun
6:30 HOME Sip of green-plum juice
7:45 VON BAR Glass of Gazela vinho verde wine
9:00 CB’S 313 GALLERY BAR snacks
10:00 HOP LEE Steamed buffalo carp with ginger-scallion sauce; clams in black-bean sauce; beef with broccoli; eggplant with anchovy casserole; seafood tofu casserole; sautéed blue crabs with black beans, ginger, and scallions; sautéed pea shoots with garlic; white rice; can of Sprite; Chinese tea

12:20 A.M. HOME Big handful of yogurt-covered raisins
9:15 Cup of coffee with milk and 1 sugar; vitamin tablet
10:30 RIVERBANK STATE PARK Bottle of water
1:00 P.M. 2 bananas; glazed doughnut; mango batida
2:50 HAMPTON CHUTNEY CO. RESTAURANT Dosa with avocado, tomato, arugula, and Jack cheese; mango chutney; mango lassi
3:20 CECI-CELA RESTAURANT Apple turnover; coffee with milk and 1 sugar
4:50 SUBWAY Bottle of water
6:15 MUNDIAL BAR 2 glasses of 7-Up
9:00 XUNTA RESTAURANT Sprite; codfish empanada; chorizo sautéed with red wine and onions; fried calamari; garlic shrimp; mushrooms; grilled sardines; Spanish omelet with onions; scallops with asparagus; steamed mussels in hot sauce; spicy potatoes; pork with potatoes and peppers
10:30 BUS Swig of water
10:50 HOME Vanilla yogurt; 2 spoonfuls of Breyers Oreo ice cream; swig of water

The New York Diet