Thursday, June 21, 2012

New York, 1964: Automat

From Harold H. Hart’s Hart’s Guide to New York City (New York: Hart Publishing, 1964). I’m following a train of thought.

Hart’s Guide is probably my favorite library-book-sale find of all time.

Also from Hart’s Guide
Chock full o’Nuts
Greenwich Village and coffee house
King Karol Records and The Record Hunter
Mayflower Coffee Shop(pe)
Minetta Tavern and Monkey Bar

comments: 4

jjdaddyo said...

The only Automat I can remember going to was the H&H on 57th St., near Carnegie Hall. I seem to remember this one staying open long past when the others were closed for good. For a kid, the whole paying with change and choosing your own food through the little doors was like magic for some reason.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for sharing your Automat memory here. All I can remember from childhood is the thrill of having a handful of coins and using them.

Elaine Fine said...

from Alexander King’s May This House Be Safe from Tigers, pages 361 and 362 (1960)

“Years ago, when any of my friends were planning to get married or to set up a household of some kind with some toothsome tootsie, the groom would generally take his prospective bride to the nearest cafeteria, where they would both proceed to help themselves to some basic table silverware. The more ambitious ones among them sometimes swiped jars of mustard and ketchup too not to mention salt and pepper shakers, and I know of one particularly provident bride who even managed to get away with a largish ice pitcher, which she successfully concealed under her maternity mantle.

These creature comforts can, of course, be lifted easily enough in any of the thousands of cafeterias that flourish around the country, but the steadier ones among my shoplifting acquaintance were always particularly partial to the sturdy cutlery put on view at the Horn and Hardart self-service restaurants. The presence of these substantial tools in any new domestic situation were like an augury of permanence and gave tangible promise that the contracting parties had pledged themselves pretty definitely to an enduring commitment It was the sort of arrangement where progeny was likely to be anticipated rather than dreaded.”

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for sharing that passage, Elaine. It reminded me of my brief adventures in cutlery acquisition.