A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 19, 2015
“Paging Donner party of six” (restaurant joke)

The Donner Party is a tragic story of western United States migration in 1846-47. Mistakes and storm conditions caused the deaths of many, leading to cannibalism so that some could survive.
When a party reserves a table at a restaurant—and especially if someone from that party is named Donner—a joke announcement is:
“Paging Donner party of eight…Paging Donner party of seven…Paging Donner party of six…”
“Paging Donner, party of eight… Donner, party of seven… Donner, party of six…” was cited in print in 2005. Comedy is often said to be “tragedy plus time,” and that applies to the Donner Party—a tragedy that occurred over 150 years ago.
Wikipedia: Donner Party
The Donner Party (sometimes called the Donner-Reed Party) was a group of American pioneers led by George Donner and James F. Reed who set out for California in a wagon train. Delayed by a series of mishaps and mistakes, they spent the winter of 1846–47 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada. Some of the migrants resorted to cannibalism to survive.
Historians have described the episode as one of the most bizarre and spectacular tragedies in Californian history and western-US migration.
Google Groups: alt.fan.cecil-adams
Oh, the weather outside is frightful…
James Gifford
“Paging Donner, party of eight… Donner, party of seven… Donner, party of six…”
Giving the name “Donner” is the second funniest restaurant shen I know. The first is to give the name “Menaazh” for a party of three.
Paging Donner. Party of 33, 32, 31.
Posted By Owen Morris on Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 10:50 AM
Between global warming, bees’ dying and the year 2012 approaching, now seems the right time to broach the sensitive subject of cannibalism.
Hal Lublin
@chrisbrogan Paging Donner, Party of 1
10:06 AM - 1 Dec 2009
Justin Holbrook
Paging Donner party, Donner, Party of 7, please report to front desk.
11:02 PM - 18 Feb 2010
Micah Collins
is paging Donner Party of 6…Donner party of 5…now 4
1:17 PM - 21 Oct 2010
Free Republic
Paging Donner party of 8…
Paging Donner party of 7…
Paging Donner party of 6… your table is ready.
51 posted on 5/22/2014, 5:37:28 PM by DannyTN
Sacramento (CA) Bee
SEPTEMBER 18, 2015
Discoveries: New Donner Visitors Center a feast for history lovers
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Sometimes AutoCorrect, bane of our digital existence, unintentionally makes the perfect and perfectly ridiculous word choice that serves both as cogent commentary and comic relief.
Take the other day. I was stopped at a traffic light in Truckee, heading toward a certain state park visitors center, and received a text from a loved one asking my whereabouts. Quickly, before the light changed, I punched in “donn …” and, before I could finish, AutoCorrect had changed it to “dinner.”
Precisely! Such as old joke – “Paging Donner, party of six” – seemingly never gets tiresome because the tragic pioneer saga of the ill-fated Donner Party’s demise, and documented cannibalism, continue to fascinate 169 years after the fact.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Coffeehouses/Food Stores • Saturday, September 19, 2015 • Permalink

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