Looked like a midcentury lunchroom on the West 51st St. side, and a Danish-Modern cocktail lounge from the West 52nd St. entrance. One of the larger Schrafft’s, it not only ran through the block but had two levels.
It opened in the mid-40s while the Esso Building was being completed at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, and seems to have closed about thirty years later.
Originally Rock Plaza was intended to extend to West 53rd Street, but the developers were unable to buy out the ’21’ Club on the south side of the , across from what would become the north entrance of Schrafft’s, and a stone’s throw from Toots Shor.
For its July 1960 issue, Esquire magazine featured an all-star lineup of contributors offering their paeans to New York City (which in this case means mostly, though not entirely, the sort of Manhattan depicted in The Best of Everything). Perhaps the best piece, a one-page affair, was written by the obscure T.E. O’Neill. Called “The Years with Wrath,” it’s a pointed but affectionate parody of James Thurber’s memoir about working under Harold Ross at The New Yorker.
With any luck you should be able to read this image here . . . somehow . . .
Surely the IND subway station at West 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue must be the most gawd-awfully arranged hole in the city. Its three levels, with a near-complete dearth of escalators (okay, there’s one, if you can find it, and it’s working) must defeat even the most intrepid first-time visitor.
Descending to the lowermost, or Downtown, ramp, you find that one side takes you down 8th Avenue (E train) whilst the other takes you down Sixth (D or B). Make your decision carefully, as it’s not a question of Express versus Local. If you’re just going to 34th St. and pick the wrong one, you’ll find yourself 3/8ths of a mile from where you wish to be. If you think you’re going Uptown (or Crosstown), a mistake may be much bleaker, and you’ll end up in Queens when you really wish to change for the A train at Columbus Circle. Then of course there’s the problem of rerouting, with F and M and Q trains coming through the station as their fancy strikes them.
No doubt there are fascinating historical reasons for this confusion, but your best bet is just to avoid the station altogether. Sometimes there are fires and it all shuts down.