Restaurants that pioneered waiterless service
"Meet Me at the Automat" Smithsonian magazine article
"Last Day at the Automat" recording from SoundPortraits.org
This automat on 38th and Broadway was open for breakfast and closed mid afternoon. It was a patternmakers' hangout. A Mr. Bauer was a very successful patternmaker and he was there to answer all other patternmaking problems, and Mr. Bauer always had a samplemaker's job too! One day I went looking for Mr. Bauer and was told he is making patterns up in heaven. What a gentleman!
Most people that worked in the area of 37th St and 38th and Broadway brought from home their sandwich and only bought coffee from the automat at 38th and Broadway until the manager would catch us. Coffee was only 5 cents.
Another important building which is still standing is 218 W. 40th St. because that's where shop meetings were held. We were called to straighten out prices for piece work, collect dues, and straighten out any shop arguments.
The automat at 102 W. 57th St. is the only surviving Automat structure in Midtown. Given its location in the heart of the music/gallery district of the late 1930s through the 1950s, it was a prime meeting place for those industries' cognoscenti.