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A Fascinating Account of New York City's Very First McDonald's

When McDonald's arrived in Manhattan in 1972, the city went nuts.

Flickr/Cory Doctorow

The arrival of the city's very first McDonald's in August of 1972 was a thrilling event, at least as the Village Voice described it at the time. Here a totally insane real description of a journalist's first Big Mac experience:

A rush of pleasure surges through my body as it makes contact with my tongue. The excitement begins to mount as it awakens each tastebud. The intensity is too much. My teeth bear down and tear it apart, letting the juices ooze slowly. Suddenly the ecstasy is complete as I swallow the first bite of a Big Mac.

This journalist then goes on to reveal some fascinating facts about the early days of McDonald's. For one thing, the first Manhattan McDonalds (on Broadway and 96th Street) broke all sales records in its first week, going through 100,000 hamburgers and 8,000 pounds of potatoes. This may be partially due to the fact that it threw out any hamburger not sold after 10 minutes, and any fries not served after eight minutes.

The first McDonald's also had a security guard named "Big Todd," who acted as "a babysitter, bike watcher, and bouncer."

Nonetheless, not everyone loved McDonald's, even then. Many Greenwich Village residents were "up in arms at the prospect of McDonald's, fearing undesirables, filth, and a honky-tonk atmosphere."

If only McDonald's today had a honky-tonk atmosphere.

– Reporting by Ben Jay