Throwback Thursday: Lunchtime Specials

by Navy Yard
July 16, 2015

Categories: History,

Workers at The Navy Yard didn’t always spend their lunch breaks walking around the Marines Grounds in pursuit of the perfect food truck or relaxing in a hammock at Central Green. During World War II, the Philadelphia Navy Yard Development Association boosted morale and production by organizing lunchtime entertainment. The Association created the Navy Yard Band and invited the music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, to conduct its first concert. These lunchtime shows also included performances by Judy Garland, Esther Williams, and John Wayne.

Judy Garland performing for civilian employees at the PNSY in 1944
Judy Garland performing at the PNSY in 1944

In 1943, the Development Association was replaced by the Incentive Office of Industrial Department. For a short period of time, the Incentive Office set up screens all over the Navy Yard and played cartoon classics like Porky Pig, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. These screenings became so popular that many workers would leave their shifts early in order to stake out a good spot to watch the shows, leading to the prompt cancellation of the shows.

Today, employees at The Navy Yard can spend their free time in the campus’ six park spaces, enjoying food from eight dining destinations, running, biking, or shipwatching along the river, playing in a sports league, or getting involved with the many activities throughout the year. Past, present, and future, The Navy Yard’s mission has always been to create an enjoyable workplace environment!

Lunch Truck Lineup on Thursdays at the Marine Parade Grounds (photo credit: Michael Spain-Smith)
Lunch Truck Lineup on Thursdays at the Marine Parade Grounds (photo credit: Michael Spain-Smith)

Sources: Dorwart, Jeffery M., and Jean K. Wolf. The Philadelphia Navy Yard: From the Birth of the U.S.; Navy to the Nuclear Age. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania, 2001. Print.