Tuesday, May 18, 2010
On my way to a benefit last night in Chelsea , I happened by the Empire Diner and was distraught to see a closed sign in the window. The Empire Diner! Another icon of Olde New York Dinery gone. Lost its lease, said its blog. (Yes, it had a blog! But social media savvy doesn't always pay the rent, as many are dismayed to learn.) For thirty years, the Empire's chrome and black interior, marquee lights, flashing "EAT" sign and stainless Empire State building silhouette presided over the corner of 22nd and 10th, a landmark in pre-Rennaissance Chelsea before machine shops, gas stations and auto parts stores morphed into art galleries tony enough to be event sites for benefits. Will the historic eatery turn up in another time zone, as did the nearby Cheyenne (now in Alabama) or Soho's Moondance (Wyoming)? Surely New Yorkers aren't the only diners capable of properly appreciating Empire Chili Sundae. Until then, memorial T-Shirts are available.