BICKFORD’S, 8th Avenue

Adjoining the Gross pawnbroker on 8th Avenue near W. 34th ┬áis a concrete facade touting the long-gone presence of Bickford’s, one of a chain of luncheonettes and eateries founded by Samuel L. Bickford in 1922. It was a chain restaurant a bit of a step below Child’s or Schrafft’s and had they survived, a step above what a fast food franchise would be now. This particular sign has been exposed since about 2000. The chain’s heyday was the 1920 through the 1950s, though a few hung tough to about 1980.

Probably the most notable Bickford’s I remember was part of the old Long Island Rail Road terminal on Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues in downtown Brooklyn. The old facade survived long after it closed about 1965.


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12 Responses to BICKFORD’S, 8th Avenue

  1. ron s says:

    Bickford’s were commonly located at large subway and el stops—Ditmars Blvd. and (I believe) Roosevelt and 74th had Bickfords nearby.

  2. chris says:

    Had they survived? I think some are still around.

  3. Larry says:

    Bickford’s cafeterias had a subsidiary…Ray’s Food Shops….

  4. Jeffrey H. Wasserman says:

    I recall the Bickfords at the corner of 6th Avenue and 23rd Street in the Masonic Hall building. It was a quiet, lonesome affair. A Chase bank branch occupies the spot now.

  5. Larry says:

    Bickfords was a Very Cold feeling place..especially that one in the LIRR station downtown Brooklyn…not like the more Ethnic cafeterias around NYC like Dubrows, Hectors, Garfields, etc, which were always very busy and vibrant….

  6. J says:

    Bickford’s also lent its name (albeit slightly different spelling) to one of the characters in Mark Alan Stamaty’s excellent and recently reissued Who Needs Donuts?

  7. Mr Mel says:

    There was a Bickfords on theSW corner of 3rd Ave &23 St, down the block from the CCNY (now Baruch College) main building on 23rd & Lex. I liked the English muffins, they served hamburgers on them as well. The store is now a Starbucks.

  8. tom says:

    I had a cup of watery coffee at Flatbush ave. It was a hellish place. One night some character held his hand high in the air and yelled “This is a stickup!” from my location underneath a table I realized his hand was empty, it was his finger pointing at the ceiling. He looked at us all cowering and burst into a deep satisfied laugh, and nonchalantly walked out.

  9. tom says:

    It was 1970.

  10. Ed says:

    There was a Bickford’s coffee shop in Jamaica, Queens in the late 1950s/early 1960s. As I recall it was on 168th Street just south of Hillside Avenue near the E/F subway station. Seemed to be a decent and popular place.

  11. JF Purcell says:

    On 8th Ave. off 34th St, there is a Famiglia Pizzeria there now in Dec. 2017.

  12. garfinkel says:

    My buddies and I would stop by the Flatbush ave branch every morning on our way to Brooklyn tech hs…… and 2 tiny donuts only 25 cents………..if only it could be 1963 again

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