Marcia Bricker Halperin is very familiar to readers of this blog, as several of her photos have been featured here. Well, now you can see more! Over at the blog Jeremiah's Vanishing New York she recalls what made Dubrow's so special, as well. This seems particularly relevant for readers here, especially as it quotes directly from this blog:
"Dubrow's is often called the "last cafeteria." In one of the articles on the Dubrow's Blog it's described as a place to "kibitz and nosh and argue the fate of the world." What is the value of kibitzing, noshing, and arguing our fate? What allowed it to happen at a place like Dubrow's and where do you think it happens today?
There's a theory about communities called "Third Places." After your home and your workplace comes the need for some social institution. The Irish had bars, the Italians had social clubs, but Jews had cafeterias in New York. They came to eat, but just as importantly to talk. Of course cyberspace is like a "third place" now. The demise of cafeterias was tied to the rise in affluence. People opted for waiter service and felt it was beneath them to carry their own tray. Cafeteria chains prevailed much longer in the South and Midwest where it wasn't until the last decade that many have closed, but they lacked the opulence of the big city ones.
The closest you can come to the feel of an old cafeteria today is at Katz's Deli. The ticket machine, the long counter on one wall, the frenetic feel with people carrying trays laden with Jewish-style foods in search of an empty table. The sound is reminiscent of old cafeterias too--cutlery rattling and lots of conversation. But I don't think you would scour the tables for a familiar face or a comfortable table to share and strike up a conversation with a stranger. By contrast, the dozens of coffee joints around my neighborhood are tomb-like since almost everyone is on their laptop."
Also, I discovered someone (perhaps Marcia Bricker Halperin herself, seeing as how her photo shows up here, too) submitted Dubrow's Cafeteria to the blog "Place Matters" with a link to this blog. I agree! Places do matter. And if there's one thing I have learned from the years of maintaining this blog, it's that Dubrow's did matter. And still does.