The sight of the New Yorker Hotel on the skyline drew me like a beacon to one of NYC's Art Deco gems but when I got there I found this modest little building across the road at 488 Eighth Avenue.
The name Bickford's can be seen clearly in a cartouche below the stepped roofline of the building surrounded by Art Deco chevrons and grecian design elements.
An internet search reveals a photo of the street level facade from the early 1940s when the building housed a Bickford's cafeteria and an article from the New York Times from 2000 entitled Breakfast at Bickford's prompted by this very building.
Both items are reproduced on www.plazaview.com, a financial forecasting website setup by Jeffrey S Bickford, a descendent of Samuel Bickford the founder of a chain of restaurants and cafeterias bearing the Bickford name which at one time had 48 branches all over New York dwindling to just 2 in 1980 when the name vanished from the New York streets.
The article explains that the Bickford name returned when a metal facade was removed from an Adult Entertainment Centre.
Now, in the summer of 2009, the building is vacant, seeking a retail tenant.
Hopefully a sympathetic business can see the potential in this building and keep the Bickford name on Eighth Avenue opposite it's grand deco neighbour.
MELBOURNE ART DECO
In 2009 Robin Grow published a book on Melbourne Art Deco, with images largely supplied by David Thompson. The book quickly sold out and he is pleased to say that it has now been re-published by Brolga Press, with updates, errors corrected and a new cover.
Best of all, it is selling for about $25 in the shops and on-line. Art Deco & Modernism Society members can purchase a copy from me for $22, (includes postage within Australia). For overseas orders please email for postage rates. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested, and advise if you would like the book to be dedicated and/or signed.