Wednesday, June 10, 2009

former Bickford's Cafeteria, New York

former Bickford's Cafeteria, New York

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.

former Bickford's Cafeteria, New YorkAn 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, 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.


  1. A solid example of deco, (though the Vornado company constantly seeks to demolish many historic properties in the city, including nearby Hotel Penn) but I've always been fascinated by the little deco building next door, S&G Loans. It may have been a 19th or early 20th century tenement or business front in a former life but the current facade apparently has a distinctive deco/streamline look, especially it's sign.

  2. Well spotted Blayze. I was so taken by Bickford's I hardly took any notice of S&G Gross... Wish I could pop back and have a better look.