New York Celebrates Ladies Who Lunch (Without Men) : Then vs. Now

The Original Ladies Who Lunch on April 20, 1868

On April 20, 1868, a truly radical statement was made.  On that date, some 160 years ago, a dozen women filed into Delmonico’s New York steak house, then the most famous restaurant in America, and did something that was shocking to society as a whole.  This group of women deliberately dined alone, unaccompanied by men. To say that this was a shocking statement is shocking to modern society, but in 1868 America, it truly was a bold, brazen display that challenged the norms of the day.

Fast forward to today, April 20, 2023 and a group of women, led by trailblazing fashion professional Myrdith Leon-McCormack, took a seat at Manhattan’s Tudor City Steakhouse as a display of not only how far they’ve come, but to also acknowledge just how far they yet to go.

Courtesy: Very New York

Joining Myrdith was a group of some 20 business leaders, style makers, and philanthropists from around the globe including:

Mimi Lombardo – Fashion Editor, (Italian-American)

Rowena Husbands – Celebrity Photographer (African-American)

Irene Gandy – Broadway Producer (African-American)

Debra Harebey – Founder of OMHH (American-Bahamas)

Rae Ashe – Publisher of Height Magazine (African-American)

Amor Phillip – Founder of Apples & Oranges Public Relations (Barbados)

Tralynn Husbands – Actress, Screenwriter (American)

Jamilah Rosemond – Actress (Haitian-American)

Amanda Smith – Event Producer, Cater (Mexican)

Roxanne Ward – Broadway Theater Marketing Director (African-American)

Sonya Keshwani – Founder of StyleEsteem (Indian-American)

Athari Mohammed Alkhudher – Fashion Entrepreneur (Kuwait)

Chaya Bromberg – Event Planner, Home Decor Designer (Israel)

Corey Reiter – Paiget (Ukranian/Russian/Romanian/Eastern European)

Hannah Soule-Powderly – Photographer and Artist (Scottish-Irish, Basque)
Roxanne Ward – Broadway Business Executive (African-American)

Also in attendance were author and restauranteur Melba Wilson who founded a chain of restaurants, most notably Melba’s in Harlem, and Haitian-French Sabine Poisson  who was responsible for the stunning table décor.

Myrdith Leon-McCormack is not one to be satisfied with simply having a lunch to commemorate the historic importance of that first lunch in 1868. “The goal is to make this an annual celebration all over the world to celebrate the accomplishments of women and empower others to achieve their best as well. Yes, we’ve come a long way for sure, but I believe the potential of women in modern society is just beginning to be seen,” said Leon-McCormack.

As this 1st annual, inaugural edition of the Ladies Who Lunch took place today, the contrast from the original Ladies Who Lunch could not have been more palpable. The original edition took place in an era when women weren’t even allowed to be in public unaccompanied by a man, however, yesterday when this powerful group gathered, not only were there no men present, one of the ladies dining in the group owns a chain of restaurants. Here’s looking forward to April 20th, 2024!

Daniel Quintanilla

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