The short-lived “Robotorium” of Mott Street

What in the world did they do or sell at the Robotorium? In the early 1980s, it occupied a small storefront on Mott Street near Prince Street, back when this little crossroads was considered part of Little Italy and Nolita had yet to be dreamed up.

Robot paraphernalia—sounds like a cool little place. Now, 252 Mott Street houses a designer eyewear store.

Robotoriumad

This ad appeared in a 1982 edition of the East Village Eye.

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13 Responses to “The short-lived “Robotorium” of Mott Street”

  1. Nabe News: August 11 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle Says:

    […] Robotorium occupied 252 Mott Street (near Prince) in the early eighties.  It’s now a destination for designer eyewear [Ephemeral NY] […]

  2. phil howard Says:

    the robotorium was an offshoot of the’ last wound up’ a toy store on the upper west side, managed [if thats the right word] by a crazy woman called Debbie Huglin from Iowa.She was very kind though,and let two english refugees live in her back room.

  3. Paul Says:

    Refugees from England? What or who were they fleeing from? Margarete Thatcher?

  4. susan huyser Says:

    Debbie was a good friend of mine and I lost contact with her when she moved to Iowa and then Palm Springs. While doing a nostalgic search for her, I discovered that she died in a fall while hiking. Very sad.

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080425/news_1mc25huglin.html

    –Susan Huyser (273 Mott St., 1981 to 2010)

  5. Design Diva Says:

    Wow just found an old flyer for the shop when she started selling the “armatron” (she had it in the shop mixing cake mix for her LOL) She not only had the coolest things in the shop – the coolest shop ever! but she was so interesting herself. She knew the history of all the automated crazy stuff in her shop and much of it was humorous. I still have a raygun I bought there. I missed buying a space helmet that would change your voice into several different alien dialects (ha) I could go on, and think about that shop so often! So unique. While I was talking to her once a RAP band came in because she was making crazy satin jackets for them.She had told me she had studied anthropology… Miss that tiny place

  6. Design Diva Says:

    forgot to say missed buying the helmet as I found that Pee Wee Herman had bought it LOL

  7. Joelle Says:

    I walked into that store 1980 and the cutest puppy was sitting in a chair quite unruly but very adorable. I took that puppy home and I appropriately named him Robot I had him for 11 years and I always think of that sweet store when I think of my sweet dog Robot.

  8. Bill Brovold Says:

    I lived next door at 262. Used to hang out in Deb’s shop on the often. She was a wonderful artist as well as robot know it all. Great person. She had all of the coolest little robots and automated doodads I’d ever seen. A couple years ago she emailed me (after 20 odd years of no contact) to see if I was still around. I think she may have moved back to Iowa. I miss those times.

  9. Bill Brovold Says:

    I just looked her (Deborah Huglin), up and it turns out that she died from a fall during a hike in CA near the Pacific Coast Highway. Sad. RIP Deborah. Beautiful fun person.

  10. Bunk McNulty Says:

    Can’t believe I found this. I was living on E 13th St across from the metal-spinning place. I was pretending to go to graduate school at NYU. I walked into the Robotorium on some random impulse. She had a desktop-sized envelope-stuffing robot, from when people were paid to stuff envelopes by hand. A camera crew came in one night, I was sitting in one of the easy chairs, petting the cat, and she looked at me and said “Do I have spinach in my teeth?” I’d been in the store for maybe 30 minutes when this happened. The video began to roll (I would probably kill to see that)…I don’t remember much of what she said, except that her most powerful weapon was that she was without guile or pretense. “I’m from Iowa, I love to talk.” In total, I don’t think I spent more than 4 hours in the place, but she was not a person you’d forget.

  11. Joelle Says:

    I walked into Robotorium at about that time with my girlfriend. They had the cutest puppy I had ever seen he was part Dalmation and probably some kind of whippet or black lab he was slender and all black with lots of spots and so effing cute! I fell in love with this dog and Debbie the owner asked did I want him . It was too small a space for a dog who was going to be a fairly large dog. Now I lived in an apartment in Jersey but I did want the dog and I took him and I named him Robot he was the best dog I ever had he was and personable and sweet and I will never forget that little store I still have the Business card and the Ray gun that they gave me to take the dog. Robot is long gone and I miss him a lot but I will always remember that little store where I found my love

    Joelle

  12. vaudevillia Says:

    I knew Debbie and interviewed her for Working Woman Magazine in the early 1980s in New York and later visited her in Palm Springs. I inherited a cat from the Robotorium when her cat had kittens–Debbie was such a NY fixture even though she, like me, grew up in Iowa. I also googled her and found that she had fallen and died while hiking. RIP Debbie–you were truly one of a kind.

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