Automats and Internet Cafes

The Times Square Internet café was a noteworthy stop on any tour of New York City in the early 2000s. Ironically, little remains of these cathedrals to technology—not even photos or blogs on the Internet. They just weren’t impressive enough, I guess. I’ve scoured blogs and photo sites but wasn’t able to find anything that comes close to the memories I have. In 2000, this was pretty great stuff because computers were still expensive and Internet access was not widely available.




The Times Square Internet café was the largest café in the world, and was reported to have 850 (source) computers when it opened in 2000 (source). It was cheap at $1 for five hours. I remember two levels with rows of computers almost as far as I could see. Payment was easy and fast at one of the ticket machines lined up in rows at the entrance.

cafe pay

I don’t remember exactly when or how EasyInternetcafe closed: It got smaller and emptier, and then one day it wasn’t there anymore. It went the way of the automat.

dfb automat-1

There are still a few of these around in cities like New York and Amsterdam. BAMN! recently opened on St. Mark’s Place.