Tuesday, May 18, 2010

end of an Empire

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.


Howie said...

I didn't read the whole book: the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. But I learned one huge thing from it. Impermanence. The only guarantee in life is 'change' (vs death and taxes). I see this stuff all the time and we all break nostalgic. On the bright note there are many places recently opened that will create the same for others in the future.

Doesn't change the fact when nostalgia hits home for each of us it still brings sadness.

I have been past the diner ad knew of it before but never ate there before. Now I regret not stopping in for an Egg Cream!

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Interesting to think what landmark eatery will make future generations wax nostalgic, Howie. Chuck E Cheese? Starbux? Seems beloved non-franchised neighborhood joints are a thing of the past...not beloved quite enough, I guess. Until they are gone!

RayPod said...

They're beloved, just not by their greedy ass landlords who jerk up the rents so that no one except a giant corporate franchise can afford it.
The whole city is becoming just another mall, alas.
Jane Jacobs was not a believer in impermanence!

Howie said...

No I don't think any of those crappy chains. Yes it would be sad if that was the case. There will always be great entrepreneurs who start unique businesses. The Brand Factory is one for Advertising right?

They did a study to see the effect of Starbucks when they open near private coffee shops. Ironically (and awesomely) it always led to an increase in sales for the private coffee shop.

So being the optimist that I am doomed to be always (doomed optimist is that an oxymoron?lol.) Someone will replace that diner with something as cool that in 20 years the kids in elementary school will think of it as a landmark. (If not I will personally arson the chain store ok? lol)