Bickford’s: Inwood Memories Wanted


Bickfords Closes-181stAs many regular MyInwood readers know, I love collecting oral histories and old photos of the neighborhood. A while back I put out a call for for memories on the old Inwood Lanes and the response was overwhelming. Within days readers sent in photos of the pro-shop and so much more. Truly amazing.

This time around I’ve chosen Bickford’s, once located on Broadway and Dyckman. From what I’ve heard Bickford’s was once a neighborhood institution. The accompanying article from the Heights-Inwood newspaper from 1974 describes the closing of another Bickford’s located on 181st.

If you have memories or photos of either location, please share them with me and other readers. Just post a comment below and I’ll get ahold of you.

Thanks in advance. I hope you are up to this latest Inwood challenge.


  1. As a kid in the 50s, Bickfords was where we would go if we didn’t have the money for a drink of water (usually soda was 7 cents for a small cup). There was a dual water fountain with glasses in a rack above and nobody would give us anything but smiles despite coming in for free. In the early 60s the glasses were replaced by paper cones when one of the local gangs spoiled the process by coming in and knocking most of the glasses to the floor.

  2. We went there almost every night after the bowling alley closed. English muffins and coffee.
    The waitress behind the counter was called Rita. She was a small middle aged woman in a mustard yellow uniform. After we would ask for the English Muffin, she’d always say “jelly or marmalade”?. Somehow we thought that was funny and would impersonate her for years afterward. This was in the late 50’s thru the late 60’s.

    The bars closed at 2 AM during the week and 3 Am on Saturday. We’d look at our watches and if it was closing time we say let’s go watch the main event. That meant Bickfords to watch the action. Tables, chairs, glasses, flying. The cops didn’t even come in.

    Amazing that you tweaked my memory of those days.

  3. So many memories of Bickford’s on Friday and Saturday at about 3 or 4 am but the best story ever was the time a few of us were eating breakfast when a guy stumbled in went to the counter and ordered eggs, pancakes, bacon and sausage his tray was full. He then proceeded to a table but they hadn’t cleaned it so he placed his tray down on one of the chairs and proceeded to remove the dirty dishes and glasses from the table. At first he had forgotten where his table was but we kind of pointed to it and refreshed his memory. He proceeded to the table and without hesitation sat down right on top of his tray and was looking for his food. He had no clue that it was beneath him ,THAT IS HOW DRUNK HE WAS. I remember laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face. I miss those nights.

  4. I remember how you could always find someone you knew eating, or just sitting, in Bickford’s, no matter what time of night it was… I haven’t thought about that place in years… I lived in the Heights until I got an apartment in the “city”… I miss those days…

  5. Does anyone remember a salt water swimming pool in Inwood? I grew up in Washington Heights? I have memories, as a young child, of my mother and I riding the Broadway bus uptown to Inwood. We would then walk east until we came to the pool.

  6. Bickford’s had an L -shaped configuration, with two entrances-one on the east side of Broadway to the north of A Schulte Cigar Store (there is a 1945 photo of this in “My Inwood Now & Then” on this website),and the other on the north side of Dyckman Street near the exit from the uptown IND subway station. I remember the free water fountains on the east wall next to the service counter that Rob Menken mentions above. On the wall nearby was a warning sign from New York City about the numerical limit of occupants allowed in the premises at any given time. By the time I was old enough to be aware of this sign Robert Wagner was the mayor of New York, but the sign was so old it has his name from when he had previously been Manhattan Borough President.

  7. Before or after seeing a movie at either The Alpine or The Dyckman we would stop for dinner at that Bickford’s. My father preferred it to others, not that there were many restaurants around in the mid-thirties.
    As to the swimming pool, The Miramar, it was my favorite Saturday hang-out. I would spend the whole day there, my mother bringing me a lunch, passing it through the chain link fence on the sand side.

  8. I remember Horn and Harters……The only time we went there was when my Mom went into Jewish Memorial Hospital to have a baby. My Dad would take us there for dinner and it was such a treat. We lived on Academy St. I went to Good Sheperd and then on to The Academy of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Park Terrace. Does anyone remember Broger’s where you went after school for a soda…and stayed for hrs. with your school mates? Also, my first job was on Dyckman St. at Mae Moons…..does anyone remember that. I am referring to the 40’s and into the 50s’s. We left Inwood in ’57, when the projects were built and crime began in our neighborhood. Many left for Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut and other places. Growing up in Inwood was WONDERFUL.


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