Many decades ago, New Yorkers would leave their offices during a meal known as "lunch" and give themselves about one full hour to locate, enjoy, and digest said meal. This purposeful portion of the weekday was called a "lunch break."
There was no Seamless back then, so these humans had to go out in broad daylight and interact with other humans in order to procure their food, before re-entering the office, where there were no screens to stare at and life was more vivid and 3-dimensional. Photographer Charles Traub captured these lunch breaks in the 1970s, and his images are striking, perhaps because these days a similar photo series would contain sad photos of desk lunches and crumbs falling in keyboards. Also, the '70s were an amazing time for fashion.
Traub tells us "a majority [of the photos] were taken at the corners of 57th Street and 5th Avenue," while others were "taken around the Village, around 6th Ave and 10th Street, and a few on upper Madison Avenue." Throughout his documenting, Traub ran into many people, including Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and "my own mother who I briefly didn't recognize." He also made life-long friends, which can likely be credited to the up-close nature of his shots—he always got permission and talked to his subjects before photographing them.
Click through for a look at Traub's images (which he tells us he plans to exhibit here soon, but you can buy the book now). You won't see Onassis in there, however, because Traub wasn't interested in celebrity. When the two crossed paths, she told him, “If you want to take my picture, please be quick." He declined.
(Update: Here are Traub's photos of Chicagoans on their lunch breaks in the 1970s.)