Monday, April 19, 2010

Empire State of Mind

Was heartbroken to read in Chelsea Now that the famed Empire Diner -- a staple for many of us who live in Chelsea -- will be closing on May 15 after lease-negotiations recently fell apart. It was just over a year ago that the Cheyenne Diner at the corner of 33rd St. and Ninth Ave. closed, and I'm starting to wonder how long before these retro tin-can eateries are completely extinct in the city. Off the top of my head, the Brooklyn Diner (on West 57th Street) and the Tick-Tock (on 34th and 8th) are still around. But with the two closest to me shutting down in about a year's time it feels like the end of an era. The proprietor of the Empire, Renate Gonzalez, is hoping to be able to find a new location nearby soon. Here's wishing her much luck with that.

8 comments:

Leo said...

About 10 years ago, I was in New York on a solo trip and having heard about the Empire Diner, decided to go there for dinner. It was a Sunday evening and the place was mostly deserted. I was shown to a small table in the very back of the place that was wedged up against what I remember was a piano, though at this point I can't be sure. I asked for a different table. I was told they had to save the other tables for patrons who might soon be making their way there. I asked, "Are you joking?" and was assured they were not. I left.

Lest you think they somehow found my appearance objectionable, let me assure you that I am completely average-looking, and because I had been to the matinee of a Broadway show, was dressed nicely. So therefore, would not have been a blight to their scene.

I'm glad they're going out of business. Should have happened a long time ago.

Knox said...

So sad to read this. So sad.

Anonymous said...

Leo, you non-new york douche.

BernieK said...

Truly sad news. I haven't been in years but loved hanging out there.

Todd said...

I'm sure you were dressed very nicely from your matinee, Leo. You sound like a complete tool.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed that anything that ever gave NYC its magical charm seems to be closing down, only to be replaced by crappy overpriced restaurants or stores that sell baby strollers?

Scott said...

Ahh, the memories. Used to go there for pre-dawn coffee after a night out. Often scored a free breakfast as well (I was young and poor, and there was a waiter who took a shine to me and would offer me "mistakes" from the kitchen.)

A sad loss.

Aron said...

Because everything relates to Madonna (sorry Debbie), the Empire was used as a location in her arguably best video ever, Bad Girl:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUII7DTACf4

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