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Kibbitz and Nosh: When We All Met at Dubrow's Cafeteria

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by Marcia Bricker Halperin
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In February 1975, Brooklyn-reared photographer Marcia Bricker Halperin, her fingers too numb with cold to flip the lever to advance the film on her Pentax Spotmatic camera, stepped inside a cafeteria on Kings Highway and 16th Street in the borough’s Flatbush neighborhood. She was wonderstruck.

The dramatically designed room with huge windows, a wall of mirrors, and a sweeping, amoeba-shaped ceiling that led the eye toward a sparkling mosaic fountain, was a world of its own with a population she would spend the next three years photographing. “I sensed it was a vanishing world on its last legs, and that impelled me to document it."

Kibbitz and Nosh is a collection of black-and-white photos which Halperin took, some surreptitiously, some candidly, and others as portraiture. Together with essays by playwright Donald Margulies and historian Deborah Dash Moore, the photos conjure a way of living and dining that is no more.

From the gentleman in hats, jackets and ties who posed for Over Eighty Club to Mr. Kornblum, who dispensed the tickets diners used to record the food they took; from all the women in variations on Woman with Hat (cloche, feathered, handmade, knit) to the Countermen and Busboys, every image in Kibbitz and Nosh is keenly observed and fully interested in humanity.

Hardcover. Black-and-white photographs throughout.

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