7. Hector’s Cafeteria, Times Square

Camel Cigarette sign
Photo by John Vachon, from Library of Congress

There were multiple locations of Hector’s Cafeteria in Times Square since the 1930s. The last remaining cafeteria was inside the Claridge Hotel building on Broadway at 44th Street. It lasted until 1970.

Before Hector’s closed, it made its way into pop culture. The cafeteria is mentioned in Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road when Dean Moriarty first arrives in New York and “looking for a place to eat,” “went right to Hector’s, and since then Hector’s Cafeteria has always been a big symbol of New York for Dean.” You can also see a bit of Hector’s in this Dennis Stock photograph of actor James Dean.