WALDORF CAFETERIA, Downtown Brooklyn

by Kevin Walsh

Forgotten NY correspondent

Remember E.J. Korvettes, Woolworths, A&S, Coward Shoes, Gage & Tollner, Mays and Martins?  If you’re a Brooklynite of a certain age, you will.  The aforementioned businesses once all thrived in their respective locations throughout Downtown Brooklyn. All of them, and many more, remain only in our memories.  The revelation of this sign was due to a newer sign being removed for the next tenant at this storefront near an entrance to the Jay Street/Metrotech station at the northeast corner of Fulton and Jay Streets.  Are there any FNY fans who know about the Waldorf Cafeteria?  Please comment if you have any knowledge of this former restaurant.

[That’s one dentist I think I’ll avoid. –Ed.]


Waldorf Cafeteria, 1960 [Brooklyn Historical Society]



S.E. Silk March 16, 2016 - 6:35 am

The dentist probably looks a lot like Sir Lawrence Olivier.

JOEL March 16, 2016 - 8:57 am

Noticed in your picture the Thom McAn, also once a huge store chain in addition to the other long gone chains mentioned in the article!

BobK March 20, 2016 - 7:03 pm

I still miss Thom McAn. Until I became a teenager several decades ago, I thought he sold the only shoes in town….

ron s March 16, 2016 - 9:10 pm

Does anyone know of an existing cafeteria of the old style still open?

NY2AZ March 18, 2016 - 10:13 am

The modern equivalents are:
The Panera chain (national)
The Paradise Bakery chain (in AZ)
Joe’s Barbeque (Gilbert, AZ)

Steve March 17, 2016 - 8:17 am

Something doesn’t look right– where is the subway entrance in the 1960 photograph? Also, the entrance to the Waldorf is on the right side in the 60’s photo, and the left side, above. These are different locations.

Al Trojanowicz March 18, 2016 - 7:47 am

How about an L shaped occupancy around the corner business, with an entrance on Jay Street and one on Fulton?

Gary Fonville March 18, 2016 - 1:06 am

Nope Steve. If you know the neighborhood, you’ll see that Waldorf’s had two entrances at that location- one on Fulton and the other one on Jay (the color photo). Did anyone noticed in the black & white photo that there’s a sign urging folks to vote for J.F. Kennedy/L.B. Johnson for President/Vice President of the United States?

ecastro@mercy.edu March 18, 2016 - 3:36 pm

This was shopping hell for me! My mom used to drag me to downtown Brooklyn to shop for hours. We must have hit everyone of these stores. Her favorites were Macy’s and Abraham and Strauss, which were at the opposite side of Fulton and encompassed the whole block with entrances on Livingston St.

Bill Tweeddale March 18, 2016 - 8:13 pm

Other “big” stores along Fulton St. in the vicinity of Jay St. were Bond Clothing (where I worked in the mid-60’s), and Howard Clothes.

r. keane March 23, 2016 - 8:00 am

My mother worked at a Waldorf in Parkchester in the Bronx in the 1950s while I worked summers in the Macy’s store across the street. Good folks, good times.

NY2AZ March 24, 2016 - 11:30 am

Ah, yes, I remember them well. I too was a child of the fabulous ’50’s, raised in Parkchester, & very familiar with both Macy’s & Waldorf. I’m sure our paths crossed at one time or another.

r. keane March 28, 2016 - 6:34 am

We may have crossed paths at the small Circle movie theatre near the subway; or the bowling alley in the Chester House (where I hand-set ten-pins), or Macy’s men’s shop in the basement. Those are a few of the old places.

chris March 23, 2016 - 6:49 pm

Yes,I remember most of them particularly Modell’s which sometimes sold cool army/navy stuff.
There was a maniac street preacher back in the 60s who set himself up in a kind of pulpit
right in the middle of the sidewalk and scream sacred music.Sounded like he was howling
not singing.Dudes mind was snuffed out completely.Shot out,bruh…

Pumkin April 15, 2016 - 3:11 am

You mentioned Coward Shoes, my mom brought my shoes from there until I out grew them. 🙁
Everyone I ask they seem not to remember except my family. Maybe its because I’m scarred. Do you have photos?

Larry April 30, 2016 - 6:01 am

My Mom took me to the main Coward Shoe store in the Empire State Building for years…We were told I had “bad” feet and I needed the support of The Coward Shoe….


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