Marcia Bricker Halperin, "Kibbitz and Nosh: When We All Met at Dubrow's Cafeteria" (Cornell UP, 2023)


In the middle decades of the twentieth century in New York City, Dubrow’s cafeterias in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn and the garment district of Manhattan were places to get out of your apartment, have coffee with friends, or enjoy a hearty but affordable meal. They were grounded in the world of Jewish immigrants and their children, and they thrived in years when Flatbush and the Garment District each had a distinctly Jewish character. The cafeterias were also places where working class and modestly middle class New Yorkers of European ancestry, with few great luxuries in their lives, could enjoy a taste of culinary abundance.

Under demographic changes, economic decay and high crime in the 1970s and 1980s, the world that produced Dubrow’s came apart. The Brooklyn branch of Dubrow’s closed in 1978, the Manhattan branch in 1985.

But before Dubrow’s cafeterias were shuttered, Marcia Bricker Halperin captured their mood and their patrons in black and white photographs. These pictures, along with essays by the playwright Donald Margulies and the historian Deborah Dash Moore, constitute Marcia’s book Kibitz and Nosh: When We All Met at Dubrow’s Cafeteria, published by Cornell University Press (2023) and winner of a National Jewish Book Council prize for Food Writing and Cookbooks.

Robert W. Snyder, Manhattan Borough Historian and professor emeritus at Rutgers University, is editing an anthology of New Yorkers’ memories of the COVID-19 pandemic for Cornell University Press.

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Robert W. Snyder, Manhattan Borough Historian and professor emeritus of American Studies and Journalism at Rutgers University. Email:

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