Automat

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Features, History, Restaurants

Automat, Berenice Abbott, Photography, NYC

Automat by Berenice Abbott, 1936

In the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s Automats were a New York City dining staple for a hard-working lunch crowd, a modernist icon for a boundless machine-age future. At their height there were over three dozen in the city, serving 800,000 people a day. And nearly everyone who actually experienced Automats in their heyday says the same thing: They never forgot the thrill of being a kid at the Automat.

Created by Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart in Philadelphia in 1902, coin-operated Automats were lovingly-designed Art Deco temples to modern efficiency. Sleek steel and glass vending machine grids displayed sandwiches and main dishes as well as desserts and sides, each in their own little boxes, square and even, clean and well-lit. You put a coin in the slot, opened the door and removed your food—which was reportedly quite good, as the founders took terrific pride in their craft.

What was it about the experience that made for such a lasting memory?

Daily Link Fix

Images: Heartseat via Stereotank (L); Citi Bike (R)

Daily Link Fix

Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum
  • The Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum, the city’s first institution focused on the music genre, is headed for Midtown and Harlem in 2017. [Daily News]
  • Track Santa, visit the North Pole, and find the best neighborhood light displays with these holiday-themed apps. [NY1]
  • An historic automat façade was revealed on 104th Street and Broadway. [West Side Rag]
  • Remembering Gimbels Department Store. [Daytonian in Manhattan]
  • If everyone in Manhattan drove instead of taking public transportation, the city would need 48 new bridges each with eight lanes of traffic. [Vox]
  • The top 10 NYC street art graffiti pieces of 2014. [Untapped]

Images: Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum rendering via Terrance Healy & Associates and Zubatkin & Associates (L); The 48 new bridges Manhattan would need if everyone drove via Matt Taylor

Weekly Highlights

Weekly Highlights: Top Picks from the 6sqft Staff

By Dana Schulz, Sat, November 8, 2014

katwise, kat o'sullivan, cartoon barn, cartoon home woodstock new york, crazy artist house woodstock
  • We bring you our second installment of ‘Living in the Sky’, a round up of all the residential skyscrapers, supertalls, and highrises set to change our skyline.
  • From the 1930s to ’50s Automats were a New York City dining staple for a hard-working lunch crowd, a modernist icon for a boundless machine-age future. We take a look back at the famed automats of Horn and Hardart.
  • Looks like Lauren Bacall’s Dakota apartment will go for a jaw-dropping $26 million.
  • We knew Woodstock was home to a lot of creative types, but we didn’t know it was this creative. You’ve got to see artist Katwise’s psychedelic, rainbow-colored home.
  • The developers of Long Island City graffiti mecca 5Pointz want to trademark the 5Pointz name and use it for their new residential towers at the site. Needless to say, the artists are NOT happy.

Images: Woodstock house via Katwise (L); 5Pointz demolition via changsterdam via photopin (R)

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