Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by john_h_osterholm, Sep 22, 2003.
NYC in the '70s
I loved those Chock Full o'Nuts shops back when I worked in the city. Thanks for the memory.
Were they like the predecessor of Starbucks? I was in NYC last year for the first time in a while and was really shocked....when did the automats disappear?
What I miss are those huge NY taxis of my childhood.
There was still a Horn & Hardart automat at 42nd & Lex as recently as 1984. It went out in the late 80's, I think. Chock Full o'Nuts was named after its coffee cake, which they described through their company name. They were merged into Sara Lee in 1999.
I definitely killed time in a Chock full o' Nuts back in 1990 interviewing for my first job at Young & Rubicam - Madison in the low 40's. Also going to work with my Dad on Wall Street back in the late 70's and patronizing one down there.
Thanks for the memories...
I believe Chock ful O nuts was Jackie Robinsons company, the same Jackie Robinson who broke the race barrier in Major League Baseball. I could be wrong. any other info?
I have it on good authority that a radio announcer once fluffed a commercial by saying "Jock Full o' Nuts"!
To answer Jay's question-
1) Chock Full of Nuts was both a coffee shop and an inexpensive place to get a simple lunch - I've eaten quite a bit of their clam chowder. They were closer to a lunchonette or diner than they were to Starbucks.
2) Most of the automats were replaced by fast food outlets - Burger King I believe. Horn & Hardart kept the last Automat going on the East Side near the Daily News Building but closed even that one 8-10 years ago.
Is this place still there? I have been awayfrom there for several years. My 10 years in NYC, were the best in my life.
So where did the coffee brand with the same name and script logo come from? Was it spun off from the coffee blend served there, like Dunkin Donuts Coffee and French Market Coffee brands?
As I recall, Jay, they used to sell the ground coffee in cans in the restaurant - often had a stack of cans somewhere near the cash register.
William Black was the founder of Chock Full of Nuts, he died in the early 1980's.
John Bosso, Y&R was at 285 Madison Ave. What did you do
there? I worked for Y&R around then.
Chock Full o' Trivia:
William Black's wife, Page Black, was a glamor gal back in the 40's or 50's, but was a little tired by the late 70's when she was (still) doing Chock Full's TV ads for their coffee.
They were a publicly traded NYSE listed company, and were the subject of recurrent speculation in the mid-80's after William Black died. They held long-term leases on some pretty good Manhattan locations (B'way and 34th in John's photo above, is that correct, John?) and there were buyout rumors for years until Sara Lee picked them up. By then they had closed most of the coffee shops and just sold the coffee in supermarkets.
Barely on topic: I once spilled coffee (with cream) on my M3 in a smaff CFON shop on Broadway near 37th Street.
Is this place still there?
You're joking. Right?
No, I'm not. When I lived there, buildings came and went, so I ask again, is this building still there? Remember when they built Lincoln Center? They razed several blocks of buildings. I went to Fordham U there.
John, Dave Letterman does his show there, at the Ed Sullivan Theater, as far as I know, being a Californian and not having been to NYC since '88... Going back next spring though!
I might add, my camera is going to gobble the city up for lunch!
Y&R is still there, busting at the seams from what I understand (Young and Move Again). Actually interviewed there, but wound up working at Ogilvy and Matehr and did the lowly media planning thing till I got bright and decided I needed to make some cash. Some of the best times of my life and I consider it my MBA, but they paid a pittance.
In my youth, it was a very big deal when a US relative came to Toronto and brought a can of CFON coffee which was not sold in Canada. We called all the relatives over and shared the coffee and it usually lasted for only that one party but it was great.
Two weeks ago in NYC I lamented the disappearance of CFON, but not the dreaded Automats. Between Gray's Papaya Hut red hots and Sbarro, Automats are no loss to the fine and elegant dining tradition of NYC.
AS the late Mr Hope sang: "Thanks for the memories".
Richard, those automats were very popular restaurants, especially for lunch, in both NYC and Philadelphia for generations. I wish I had a nickel for every meal I ate in the automats in Philly during the years I was doing my street-shooting there. Philly had another chain, called Dewey's, where you stood at a counter for "breakfast" and got a coffee, juice and donut for half a buck. My kind of place. Do they still ask you in New York if you want "coffee regular?"--meaning the addition of about a pint of milk and half a pound of sugar!
The last Horn & Hardart Automat was at 42d and 3rd (not Lex), and it closed in '91. There is a Gap store there now. I remember it well -- in spring of 1987 I went to NYC and secluded myself in my girlfriend's apartment at 37th and Lex for two weeks to study for the bar exam. It was incredibly boring and I always counted the minutes until I could take a lunch break, which I sometimes spent there.
Chock full o Nuts was the "heavenly coffee" --- right?
My wife and I drank a ton of it when we lived in San Jose in the 70's and 80's. I
must have had about 50 or 60 empty cans as a "collection". My blood
pressure hasn't been the same since.
The Ed Sullivan Theater is indeed still there, and David Letterman still films there. I was last there about 45 days ago, and my hotel was about a block away on 52nd and 7th, and I wandered over there to see what the lines were to get in. Still packing 'em in, unfortunately for me, as I was shut out.
The theater itself is at 53rd and Broadway.
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