Friday, June 01, 2012

RIP, Chelsea Gallery Diner

Was sad to see that the Chelsea Gallery Diner on Seventh Avenue and 15th Street had gone out of business, after an astonishing 30 years in the neighborhood. There was a sad handwritten note hanging in the window, lamenting how Chelsea had gone from being a quirky place where everyone was welcomed to a Yuppie hellhole, but it was gone before I could photograph it. But this is what it said:

Due to our Madison Ave. lease and a dying customer base we have been forced to close our doors after 30 yrs at this location. We have watched our quaint neighborhood turn into the very ‘upscale Chelsea’ of today’s Manhattan. So let us remember a time when this diner was a meeting place for so many strange, unusual & different people to say the least. All were welcomed at a time when St. Vincent’s stood tall, the Halloween Parade was small and our diner at any given time could turn into a fun free for all.

Tonight I noticed several new signs had replaced the management's goodbye, each filled with well-wishes from the restaurant's loyal customers. While this may seem like just another old New York City diner, the Chelsea Gallery will always have a special place in my heart as it was where Michael and I used to go for breakfast and late-night snacks all the time in the early years of our relationship. (Their coffee was always scalding!) While writing this post, I noticed I wasn't the only one who had taken note of this news. Chelsea Now has a nice eulogy of the greasy spoon, Jeremiah's Vanishing New York wrote a great post about how nothing that isn't trendy can survive in the "new" New York anymore and then Eater picked up his story.

With the demise of Bendix, Florent, Brite Food Shop, 18th and 8th, and now the Chelsea Gallery, my neighborhood is virtually unrecognizable from when I moved here in the 1990s. While change is inevitable, it's getting to the point where there is barely a single place left where you can go for reasonably priced meal and feel comfortable. So join me in bidding the Chelsea Gallery adieu, with this video by TimmmyK, who seems to be taking the news about as well as I am.


1 comment:

JimmyD said...

Oh no! I use to eat there frequently during my 10 years in NYC. I lived around the corner on 15th.
I knew about Florent (scrambled eggs at 4am) but Bendix (French Toast on Sunday) is also news to me.
You're right. It is getting harder to find reasonably priced food in the city any more. The same in San Francisco.

What's the deal with Mary Ann's? When I was there a couple of years ago they were closed (with a creepy notice from the Board of Health on the door). When I was there a couple of months ago they were open. I LOVE Mary Ann's. They must never go away!