Posts Tagged ‘New York City cafeterias’

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.

“The Life Cafeteria”

October 10, 2008

Painter and Greenwich Village resident Vincent La Gambina immortalized this 1936 scene from the Life Cafeteria, an eatery on Sheridan Square. 

Dubbed the “arrestaurant” by Village poet Max Bodenheim because of the unsavory characters who frequented the place, Life Cafeteria attracted bohemians, the downtrodden, male prostitutes, and other locals looking for cheap food and a comfortable place to watch the world go by.

This painting belongs to the Museum of the City of New York.