May 1, 2012

Remembering The Owner Of A Times Square Holdout The Grand Luncheonette

When I moved to NYC, 42nd Street was still pretty gritty and one of my favorite spots along the Deuce between 7th and 8th avenue was the Grand Lucheonette.  It was essentially a hot dog stand squeezed into the lobby entrance of one of the old grindhouses on the block.  It was a classic old New York joint that had been there since the 1940's which was run by a classic old New Yorker, Fred Hakim.

Hakim, age 83, died yesterday and got a lovely obit in the TIMES, recalling his place in the storied block's history as well as his stand against the gentrification which ultimately took his business in 1997 and changed 42nd Street into a corporate playground.  When Fred took ill last week, Jeremiah's Vanishing New York ran a lengthy post with photos (by Richard Estes) and video of the Luncheonette from back in the 90's just before it was closed. The video is especially beautiful with it's grainy quality and the utter lack of tourists!

Hakim said that the closing was ultimately a stroke of great luck as the theatre itself collapsed just a few weeks after his departure due to a combination of demolition work next door and high winds. Anyway, I will always remember him standing in the window and slinging dogs in this quaint relic of long gone era.


  1. Thanks for this post, Brian. I, too, remember the Grand from my halcyon days in New York in the Seventies and early Eighties. The hot dogs were good, there, too. Much better than those at Gray's Papaya on the UWS, which is also a landmark to NYC's pre-Disnification days.

  2. I remember always seeing Fred Hakim at the Bowling alley, he use to coach Boys bowling when I was in high school playing for Seward Park, WOW I cannot beileve he is gone, he was a great man and He was not only good for the food stand but a great coach and man as well...