Rumplemeyer’s and The Auto Pub

Hotel St. Moritz, 50 Central Park South

I can not for the life of me find a photo of Rumplemeyer’s Ice Cream Parlor which was housed at the St. Moritz on Central Park South but it was my first favorite place in New York.  Begun as a restaurant originally called Rumplemayer’s and imported from Paris and run by the Viennese chef Rumplemayer, it was an original part of the hotel (built in 1930) in which the likes of Marlene Dietrich dined.  By the late 60s when we moved to New York it was the most wonderful ice cream place filled with white painted iron, stuffed animals and leather booths.  It was like Christmas.  We’d go after skating lessons at Rockefeller Center or after a walk through the park from the Dakota or a trip to the slide at FAO Schwartz.  Once we even went there for dessert after eating at the Auto Pub in the GM building…

The Auto Pub at the General Motors Building

…which was like having Christmas on top of Christmas.  The Auto Pub was just a burger joint that had regular booth and table seating but also had seats inside sections of cars.  In another room there was a kind of mini drive-in where you could eat and watch movies.  Our mother’s second marriage may have been spirallying out of control but New York was not stingy with wonderful distractions for me and Robbie.

14 thoughts on “Rumplemeyer’s and The Auto Pub

  1. My husband and I used to go to the Auto Pub when we were dating. Loved this place it was so much fun. There were a number of themed restaurants then. The Cattleman East and Hawaii Kai. They all were special places. I wish they had venues like that today.

  2. If you want to see the Autopub when it was still open…check out the documentary series: The Age of Uncertainty (1977) by John Kenneth Galbraith. It's toward the end of episode 9 – The Big Corporation.

    It was never released on DVD or any other format…but someone has uploaded it to Youtube. And it can be downloaded at uTorrent.

    I'd like to see some photos if anyone finds any.

  3. Thank you, Wendy. I have no photo, but an early childhood recollection from the 50’s of the ice cream parlor. Tonight I was conjuring the scent of popcorn and sugar and the name Rumpelmeyer’s finally came into my mind. When my father was still alive I had asked him to help me remember the place but he had no idea from my description. When the name came to me just now, I googled it just to see what might appear, and your blog popped up. As an adult I stayed at the St Moritz without realizing the connection. Thank you for this tiny puzzle piece. If anyone turned up a photo for you, I would love to see!

    1. Hello Page, Thanks for reading! I’m afraid the only photo I was able to find was from the internet. Those were happy times it seems for both of us. I feel lucky to have experienced that time capsule NYC which no longer exists.

  4. Thank you for the memories. I remember going with my dad to the auto pub as a kid. Memories……

  5. Hi Wendy, I worked at the auto Pub as a young student living in NYC. It was a blast. I believe that it opened in 1970, not in the 60s. I wish i had some photos from those days but alas, I do not. Weren’t there any photos published back then? It got a great deal of publicity so I’m surprised that there is not more information about it.
    BTW, One of the waiters, when it opened, was none other than Richard Simmons, the fitness guru!
    Please let me know if you find any photos. Thanks!

    1. Hi Louise, That’s a very cool college student job I must say! I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures though in this comment thread someone mentions a documentary that it briefly appears in so you could check that out. “The Age of Uncertainty” by John Kenneth Galbraith.

  6. Hi. I loved going to both places as a kid. Such fond memories. So happy to come across this blog and find others also with the same feeling.

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