When We All Met at Dubrow’s Cafeteria Book Talk

When We All Met at Dubrow's Cafeteria Book Talk

Revisit NYC’s forgotten automats and cafeterias with photographer Marcia Bricker Halperin!

  • Life-long New Yorkers, Jewish communities, culinary enthusiasts, and photography lovers will hear about the colorful characters that frequented the automats and cafeterias of 1970s New York through the photographer’s own memories
  • Step back into the nostalgia and grit of 1970s New York through poignant photographs of the self-service restaurants that provided nourishment in more ways than food for a generation
  • Get an inside look at the analogue process of capturing these candid and posed images
  • Take part in a Q & A with photographer Marcia Bricker Halperin

About the event:

Marcia Bricker Halperin documented the waning years of New York City’s self-service dining establishments. Among the locations she photographed between 1975 and 1985 are Horn & Hardart automats and Dubrow’s, a popular family-owned chain of cafeteria-style restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn that closed its doors in 1985. Her work sheds light on the sense of community that Dubrow’s Cafeteria offered to an aging and assimilating Jewish population, still cognizant of their families’ immigration from European shtetls at the turn of the twentieth century yet striving to fit into contemporary American society. Taken with a twin-lens reflex and a 35mm film camera and relying on natural and available lighting, Halperin’s images include portraits of customers alone and with friends and of workers behind the counter and on the cafeteria floor. Other photographs capture the midcentury atmosphere of the eateries’ graceful and ultra-modernist interiors. It was not unusual for Dubrow’s elder clientele (which included ex-vaudeville performers and prize fighters, taxi drivers, bookies, and Holocaust survivors) to arrive dressed in lipstick, leopard pattern coats, kerchiefs, and fedoras and table hop to gossip and dine—‘kibbitz & nosh’—on gefilte fish, kasha varnishkes, or blintzes.

About Marcia Bricker Halperin

Marcia Bricker Halperin, a lifelong Brooklynite, has been photographing the character and landscape of New York City since the 1970s. She received a Master of Fine Arts from Brooklyn College and soon after had her first exhibition at the Midtown Y Gallery. In the late 1970s, she was active in the Photographers Forum, an organization that was a continuation of the 1940s Photo League, reflecting their humanist and aesthetic concerns. She went on to spend 35 years in K-12 education teaching art and photography and using her creativity in special education with disabled and autistic students. Since retiring, she has been scanning and printing large bodies of unseen negatives from her archives. Her photography has been included in many group exhibitions, including at the Brooklyn Museum and the International Center of Photography and is represented in a number of collections.

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