Automat, 977 Eighth Avenue, Manhattan
Berenice Abbott American
During the Depression, Horn & Hardart’s chain of "waiterless restaurants" served as many as eight hundred thousand freshly prepared meals a day to customers in New York and Philadelphia. With its clean lines, polished chrome details, and mechanical efficiency, the Automat struck Abbott as "an extremely American artifact." New York’s first Automat opened in Times Square in 1912, but Abbott chose to document the branch at Columbus Circle, popular as a nighttime gathering spot for musicians and cabaret patrons.