It is said that Diamond Jim Brady, the wealthy gastronome and frequent guest of New York’s greatest restaurants, began all of his meals with a helping of three to six dozen oysters. Legend has it that he was especially fond of the plump, flavorful Lynnhaven oyster, harvested from its namesake river in Virginia. Diamond Jim was not alone in his love for the majestic mollusk. His fellow New Yorkers gulped oysters like they were going out of style. Rockaways, Blue Points, Saddle Rocks and East Rivers were the most popular and readily available among the local New York species and the citizenry slurped them by the millions. Yes, oysters were truly plentiful in New York and New Jersey in the 18th and 19th centuries.