Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dubrow's robbed

$14,000 Taken In Hold-up

An apparently intoxicated man staggered up to the manager of crowded Dubrow's Cafeteria, 1521 King's Highway. Brooklyn at 12:45 o'clock this morning, took between $14,000 and $15,000, reeled out, and disappeared.

The victim was Max Tobin, 48 years old, manager and part owner of the restaurant, which is at East Sixteenth Street in the Sheepshead Bay section. He said 450 customers and 50 employes were unaware of the holdup in a balcony office.

Mr. Tobin said he noticed a man reeling along behind him as he went to a balcony but thought he was going to a washroom. However, Mr. Tobin said, as he unlocked the door to the office, the man bumped into him, knocked him inside, then produced a small black pistol and told the manager to sit down.

After taking the money from the safe to robber bound and gagged Mr. Tobin, said "So long" and left.

(New York Times, January 7, 1952)

How scary is that? The whole robbery took place while Max Tobin was isolated and helpless. No one was even aware of what happened and therefore couldn't try to intervene or call the police. Thank G-d the man didn't turn out to be more violent, or Max might have been killed or injured.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

More property purchases

In the other 1942 article about Dubrow's in the New York Times, it's a notification of a property purchase in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I won't reprint the whole article here, but here's the line about Dubrow's:

"In Brooklyn, the blockfront adjoining Dubrow's Cafeteria at King's Highway and East Sixteenth Street, running to Avenue P, was purchased by the concern that owns the cafeteria through the David Jaret Company, broker."
(New York Times, August 11, 1942)

Again, I'm not sure why this block of property would have been purchased? Anyone know?

I asked my mom about the purchase of property in Woodmere, and she had no recollection of a Dubrow's opening up there. However, she mentioned that at one point family members expanded to open a more traditional restaurant called Dubson's. I wonder if that could have been the reason for that property purchase.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Union Settlement Comes in War Stamps

This is the oldest article about Dubrow's I found in the New York Times database. Among other things, it adds some details to my cousin Joe's story about Dubrow's being unionized. It also says a lot about the times that the union was willing to negotiate part of their pay raise to be in war bonds.

Unions Win Pay Rise; Part In War Stamps
(New York Times, February 14, 1942)

The national defense effort received impetus from a wage settlement negotiated yesterday between Local 325 of the Cooks, Countermen, and Soda Dispensers Union, A.F. of L. and Dubrow's Cafeteria, 1110 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn. The contract stipulated that 25 cents, or about 9 percent, of a $2.75 weekly increase should be paid by the company in war savings stamps.

The 25-cent stamps in the weekly pay envelopes of the sixty employes will yield the defense effort $780 annually. The increase was granted to the employers in addition to a forty-eight hour, six-day week, a closed shop, arbitration of grievances, and vacations with pay ranging from one week for employes in service for one year, and three days for employes in service six months or less.

After the new wage agreement had been signed for the company by Louis Shapiro, counsel, and for the union by Sidney Elliot Cohn, attorney, Irving Halpern, president of Local 325 disclosed that 3,000 members of the union had invested $7,000 of their treasury's funds in defense bonds and would double the amount as soon as it was convenient for officers to make the purchase.

When Local 325 opened negotiations for a new contract it asked for a weekly increase of $3 for its sixty members employed at Dubrow's Cafeteria. The company countered with an offer of $2, and a deadlock ensued.

The war savings stamp idea was put forward as a compromise, and both sides quickly reached an agreement.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A major correction

After spending much of last year collecting oral history from family members about Dubrow's, it appears I am entering a new phase of memorializing Dubrow's - the research phase.

I recently discovered that the New York Times has a database of archived articles going back to 1851. Many of these, it turns out, mention Dubrow's, so over the next few weeks I will be sorting through these articles and making sense of them. A few of them are incomplete in the online database, but I've got the references so I can trek out to the library to find the originals.

Let's start with a major correction: when Dubrow's Cafeteria actually began. I had always placed the beginning of Dubrow's as being in the 1950's, but now I think that may just be the Manhattan restaurant.

The following little blurb gives me new information, and also raises a few questions:

"Dubrow's Cafeteria chain has leased 6,000 square feet of store space in Irving Steinberg's twelve-unit taxpayer at 353 Broadway in Woodmere, L.I. for its first retail food and bake shop. Mr. Steinberg twenty-three years ago leased space in Brooklyn to Dubrow's for its first cafeteria." (New York Times, July 20, 1952)

Doing a little math, based on the year the blurb was published, the first Dubrow's was opened in 1929 - much earlier than I had thought. This would have been either the Eastern Parkway Dubrow's or the King's Highway Dubrow's. The earliest articles I found in the New York Times about Dubrow's go back to 1941. Those will be forthcoming.

But what is this about a "food and bake shop" in Woodmere, Long Island? I don't know anything about this venture.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The condo was brought to you by Dubrow's

On a more personal note, I moved recently. My spouse and I purchased a condominium in the Boston area. It's nice to not be paying rent anymore.

The only reason we could afford to do so, and get an excellent, 30-year mortgage, is because of Dubrow's Cafeteria.

See, my grandfather, Benjamin Dubrow's son-in-law, was the last owner of Dubrow's, and he made the decision to sell because the cost of New York real estate was more than it could turn in profits. But selling gave him a good chunk of money, which upon his death in 2001 (two weeks after 9/11) and my grandmother's death in 2005, was left to my mother, my aunt, and his six grandchildren.

We've always had a diner theme in our kitchen, because my spouse and I have a thing for diners. But now it's more special than ever, and very fitting, because it's an homage to Dubrow's.