Fame Is Fleeting. The Wall Is Forever.
It is a staple of New York restaurants, a record of popular culture and city history. The wall where one-hit wonders, television news anchors and heads of state commingle, photographic evidence of the exclusiveness of an otherwise ordinary diner.

With more than 750 pictures, Katz’s Delicatessen is running out of space. “We have so many that we have to cut back,” said Jake Dell, the deli’s owner.

Once a celebrity makes the wall, his or her place is assured: The disgraced politician (Eliot Spitzer), the fallen athlete (Mark McGwire), the teen star who went to rehab all remain.

“When people come in and they see Britney Spears, and ‘Oh, where did they sit?’” said Marian Levine, owner of Carnegie Deli, where hundreds of photos tile the walls.

“We just say, ‘She sat there,’” Ms. Levine added, waving toward whatever table was available.

Article and photographs by Niko Koppel and Lisa Larson-Walker, produced by Angelica Rogers and Rochelle Oliver, published by The New York Times Jan. 30 2016