New York City’s Carnegie Deli Is Back Thanks to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Amazon Prime recreates the restaurant in full 1950s form

Customers fill the tables at The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Carnegie Deli pop-up. Sol Neelman
Headshot of Diana Pearl

At the end of 2016, Carnegie Deli—a New York City institution and one of the city’s longest-running Jewish delicatessens—shuttered its doors. But thanks to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, New Yorkers will get a chance to return to the iconic restaurant for the week.

In honor of the upcoming second season of Prime Original show set to premiere on Wednesday, Amazon teamed up with Tool of North America to recreate Carnegie Deli. The activation is set in 1958 New York, the same time period in which the show takes place.

“If you watch the show and you see how well 1958 New York is recreated, you feel like you step back in time,” Michael Benson, head of marketing for Amazon Studios, said. “We felt like we could do that here in New York with an activation.”

Amazon teamed up with agency Tool of North America to create the space. From the menus and wall signage to the staff uniforms, everything about the activation feels transported from another time. The 1950s atmosphere extends to every element of the experience—even the prices. Sandwiches cost just 99 cents, while the deli’s famous black-and-white cookies cost only a quarter. The proceeds, matched by Amazon, will go to The Lower Eastside Girls Club (LESGC), a charity that provides programs in science, leadership, entrepreneurship, wellness and the arts to middle and high school girls.

The counter at the recreated Carnegie Deli.
Sol Neelman

Tool of North America worked with the show’s team and the family that owned the now-shuttered Carnegie Deli to make sure everything felt true—not only to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but also to life.

“When Amazon creates a show that wins eight Emmys, the amount of detail paid to everything in the show is enormous,” Adam Baskin, Tool of North America’s head of innovation, said. “We worked really closely with the show creators to ensure that every detail, the design, the aesthetic of the experience married up with the detail that’s in the show.”

The Tool team also made sure to include the key elements for which the original Carnegie was so known, from its walls lined with signed celebrity photos to its sandwiches dubbed after stars. In fact, the pop-up has one sandwich named for the show’s title character: Midge Maisel, played by Rachel Brosnahan.

The wall of framed photos at the pop-up.
Sol Neelman

This activation isn’t the first of its kind for Amazon. At Comic Con in San Diego earlier this year, the company hosted a VR-fueled experience to drum up buzz for thriller Jack Ryan. That said, Benson highlighted that these sorts of experiences aren’t a must-do for every show. “If we feel we can create something that’s truly organic to the show, we’ll do it,” he said.

Benson said they want to try and make the most of the ones that do work—and not just in New York. “If you watch the show and you see how well 1958 New York is recreated, you feel like you step back in time, so we felt like we could do that here in New York with an activation,” he said. “We can take a slice not just of the show, but of New York, to London or Minneapolis, all kinds of different places.”

The pop-up experience is few blocks south of Carnegie’s original Midtown location in New York’s Nolita neighborhood, at the corner of Kenmare and Lafayette streets. It first opened on Dec. 1 and will run through Dec. 8, with the show’s second season dropping smack in the middle of its run on Dec. 5.

Sol Neelman

@dianapearl_ Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.