Monday, December 17, 2007

"Aspired to opulent excellence"

"When winter came, the candy stores and cafeterias replaced parks as forums to debate politics and art. People gathered at candy stores "to discuss politics and unionism." Local kids "made pocket change by hanging out at Leboff's candy store [one of five on Charlotte street], and calling people to the phone." Hoffman's Cafeterias on Pitkin, Flatbush, and Brighton Beach Avenues also entered the radical element. (Irving) Howe recalled that "in the winter, when the Bronx is gray and icy, there were cafeterias in which the older comrades, those who had jobs or were on WPA, bought coffee while the rest of us filled the chairs." Other cafeterias, like Dubrow's or Garfield's in Brooklyn, aspired to opulent elegance. Garfield's dubbed itself "a cafeteria of refinement." Located on the corner of Church and Flatbush Avenues, diagonally across from the Reformed Dutch Protestant Church, Garfield's boasted an interior decorated with mosaics done in Art Moderne style. Dubrow's, a dairy cafeteria, also served as a neighborhood meeting spot with its attractive location by the elevated station, on a shopping street like King's Highway."

(At Home In America: Second Generation New York Jews, by Deborah Dash Moore, 1981)

Now, a few questions about this. First, could Garfield's and Dubrow's had the same tagline to describe themselves? Because this post indicates that Dubrow's advertised itself as being "a cafeteria of refinement" - yet here it says Garfield's used that line.

Furthermore, this post indicates that the Dubrow's on King's Highway had a very modern decor, using mosaic. This is how the author (who cites a number of different sources for this particular passage, including the reputable Irving Howe) describes Garfield's. Could Garfield's and Dubrow's BOTH have had mosaic in their decor? Or is she mixing up Garfield's with Dubrow's?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Where Dubrow's Used To Be

I visited the site of the Manhattan Dubrow's this fall when I was in New York City. When I came home, I found this article which referenced when the Offtrack Betting place opened up where it used to be.

"With a little luck, a new offtrack betting branch will open this fall in mid-Manhattan. But before the first $2 bet is placed, the Offtrack Betting Corporation will have spent $739,000 in rent for a branch that took almost two years to open.

Present and former officials of the agency clash over who is responsible for the delays in opening the branch at Seventh Avenue and 38th Street, on the site of the old Dubrow's cafeteria. But the officials, from two OTB administrations involved in the project, agree on one point: the abnormal costs will reduce the OTB's overall profits this year and the revenues it can give the city

(New York Times, April 9, 1992)

This is a cool sculpture currently found in the area which pays homage to the Jewish garment workers of yore.