Posts Tagged ‘Hector’s cafeteria’

“The most unusual cafeteria in New York”

February 4, 2013

I wish I knew why Longleys, on Sixth Avenue and 50th Street, billed itself with this title. But I can’t figure it out.

The decor looks perfectly normal for a 1950s-era cafeteria: spotless floors, fake plants, salt and pepper shakers on every table.

Longleyscafeteriapostcard

Longleys boasts of its “unbelievably fine food.” But they don’t specify any menu items—probably because the food wasn’t much different from what was served at the city’s other popular cafeteria chains at the time, like the President Cafeteria.

Jack Kerouac memorialized Hector’s Cafe, near Times Square, in On the Road. Who memorialized Longleys? The only mention I found was in Jerry Stiller’s autobiography.

When he first met his future comedy partner and wife Anne Meara, they slipped into Longleys for coffee and cake . . . and then lifted some silverware because Ann’s roommates in the Village kept losing theirs.

Longleyspostcardback

When it shut down, I have no idea. But it must have been not long after the postcard came out. 1265 Sixth Avenue no longer exists; 1261 and 1271 are office towers built in 1961.

1940s Beat writer hangout: Hector’s cafeteria

June 16, 2010

There were actually four Hector’s cafeterias in Times Square, according to a 1970 New York Times article chronicling the closing of the last one on 44th Street and Broadway.

I don’t know which one is in this 1952 photo—nor is it clear which Hector’s was chronicled in the opening pages of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road:

“Dean had arrived the night before, the first time in New York, with his beautiful little sharp chick Marylou; they got off the Greyhound bus at 50th Street and cut around the corner looking for a place to eat and went right to Hector’s, and since then Hector’s Cafeteria has always been a big symbol of New York for Dean.

“They spent money on beautiful big glazed cakes and creampuffs.”

Desserts seemed to be Hector’s specialty. “The dessert counter, 12 feet long and three feet high, was a gourmond’s dream,” the Times article says.


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