Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bidding adieu to the diners

From the Daily News:

The familiar names once beckoned customers across Queens on buzzing neon signs: the Bayside, the Fame, the Scobee and the Future.

The comfy atmosphere at these diners lured locals to their favorite booths, oversize menus and kitschy memorabilia on the walls.

Not anymore. Those four diners are among many to close in the borough in recent years - an indication, some fear, that the distinctive gathering spots are disappearing from Queens.

And it's not just diners. Locals worry the borough is losing traditional middle-class hangouts that once provided a sense of place.

Now in its second installment, the "Vanishing Vintage Queens" series is exploring the loss of communal spots such as ice cream parlors, movie houses and bowling alleys. Some feel the demise of those unofficial landmarks has diminished local civic pride.


Anonymous said...

Scobee stunk but I have to admit that I'm really sad to be losing all my diners. I still prefer a diner to any other eating out location.

Anonymous said...


georgetheatheist said...

Can't beat the Neptune under the Hoyt Avenue "el".

-Joe said...

Sals pizza down the street from the Scobee bit the dust. Another just east of Nassau road (I forgot the name) is closing.
According to business owners the growing Asian community and landlords behave like Hasidic Jews.
They boycott all the American business and want everybody not Asian out.

-These people hate Americans and want no part of the heritage or culture. Little Neck business owners have it really bad, Id say outright hostile.
The loss of the Scobee is the tip of the iceberg to come

Anonymous said...

every opportunity i get i wave and try to yell hello...i even tried to learn a few words in chinese and korean...but i only get blank stares from my asian's never been this hard to say "good morning"...guess i must be a racist

Anonymous said...

If those places remained popular, they would have made enough money for the owners to maintain them.

Anonymous said...

Why, because the Scobee or Sals didn't serve snake or turtle jello soup ?

Joe said...

Yelling hello, and learning a few words in Chinese and Korean to turn the other cheek?

..Forget it, aint gonna happen !
You have a better chance with the Chinese and Korean on Skype.
I have spoken to some, they speak good English, respectful, well mannered.

It seems all the shit comes here.
Don't worry about being called a racists. Most these new immigrants and criminals breaking into the states are total colonists, feral or balkanite shit only here to drop babies and "get over" and that's it.

It seems any 2+ generation born US citizen is not accepting of this "crapola" is now a racist.
Being its the Pinko libs who have redefined the word "racist" for anyone who disagrees with what they are doing. I wouldn't worry about it.

Anonymous said...

it's sad but it's been a longterm trend and places like Scobee had issues with the landlord and aging clientele.

Sticking to Queens for a minute, take the intersection of Astoria Blvd and 94th St (Junction blvd). Three decades ago that one intersection supported -three- diners: Red Wagon, Deerhead and only that last one remains and it is seldom full. Not many Asians there either.

I like diners and know the business well, this past three years have been the worst ever in that business.

If you go into most diner/coffee shops in any of the boroughs or NJ -at any other than weekend "family hours" you'll see mostly gray heads.

Among young people dining habits have shifted and although most still like a greaseburger every so-often, the reality is that many prefer to go to places that are known to be good at a few items rather then have a bloated menu of mostly frozen, mediocre dishes.

Here in Manhattan places like Shake Shack have lines of people waiting for what is in reality a rather average burger. But they are known for that...and have succeed in creating a lemming buzz over it.

Back in Queens, go over to 49th Ave & 21st. What used to be known as the (hapless) Blue Sky Diner is now the phenomenally successful "M Wells" -a place the NY Times listed as one of ten places to "take a plane for".

Again, being well regarded for a few items trumps a large mediocre menu.

Anonymous said...

Still have the Metro diner on 74&metro st and fame on grand& 69 pl. When they're closed the Georgia is good............

Queens Crapper said...

"If those places remained popular, they would have made enough money for the owners to maintain them."

The fact is that most of these places rent and the greedy landlords jack up the price of the rent well past what a restaurant can afford because they know a bank or pharmacy will pony up. It actually says that in the article if you had bothered to read it.

Experts trace the downfall of Queens diners in large part to a ravenous real estate market in which the typical diner plot - a sprawling structure with a parking lot - makes landlords salivate.

Deep-pocketed banks or chains are enthralled by the large square footage in dense New York City, offering a rent that most diners can't match. So when a diner's lease expires, the eatery's run may end, too.

Anonymous said...

Told you all a year ago..

"Charlie Don't Eat At Diners!"

Anonymous said...

I only miss the vintage neon signs.

At one point in time...diners such as the Scobee,forgot that they were diners.

They became "restaurants" almost overnight featuring huge menus of mediocre food at high prices.

That's why people stopped going there!

Like...$1.50 extra for a f----g cup of coffee served with your meal?

You can shove it!

FYI (for instance):
Just about two blocks further down (same side) on Northern Blvd. you can have a wonderful buffet lunch at La Barraka Restaurant (a cozy family owned French restaurant) for only about $13+ and socialize with friends to your heart's content!

That's what I do.

So who needs Scobee...dishing out only fair fare served by indifferent waiters?

All of those sour faced Greek diner owners can now sell their property to developers and sit on their lazy fat asses as they stroke their monthly bank statements.

Anonymous said...

Today, the average "Joe & Jane" sit at their PC screens huddled down in their "cozy" tech-caves...text message one another from smart phones (though they're sitting side by side) their entertainment...and consume fast food.

In a word...a lot of us have slowly become anti social and
unappreciative of Life's finer offerings.

Ah...we still have to eat, sleep and go to the our human qualities continue to survive in more basic form.

But thank heaven for sex!

We still have to "bump our uglies" occasionally and communicate erotically.

But there are more and more weirdos who are opting to engage in cyber-sex as each day passes.

O-o-o-o-o...a-a-a-a-h...I think I just wet my keyboard!

Anonymous said...

You can still go to Kane's Diner on College Point Blvd. in Flushing to get ripped off because they're the only "Occidental" joint still around.

But "Pappa" passed away in recent years.

Let's see if his greedy offspring will continue running their hash palace.

They're sitting on a fortune's worth of real estate frontage.

Anonymous said...

Movie houses; Woolworth's; diners, etc.

They're just relics of the last century and no longer really needed.

It's much healthier for the mind to move on lest we wallow in sentimentality until we all wind up in costly therapy.

Just enjoy the old photos of such spots for they're gone to dust forever!

Anonymous said...

"Stereotypical diner food is frowned on," said Michael Stern,

NOT TRUE - Diners offer 24x7 choice - eat fat or lean - they offer everything to everyone! Of course quality is subjective and each diner provides a different level of quality and service. But they all seem bent on achieving a friendly place to go to be fed a great variety of choices.
Diners are not going away they are just being pushed out of traditional spaces into more conventional spaces and adapt accordingly if the families who operate them remain in the business. They serve an important social need as gathering places for festivites!

Anonymous said...

"Like...$1.50 extra for a f----g cup of coffee served with your meal?"
- - - - - - - - - - ---
$1.50 for a cup of coffee at the diner is cheap, considering that you get unlimited refills.
How much do you pay for a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts w/o refills?

Anonymous said...

Three words:

The Clinton Diner.

Anonymous said...

"Charlie" eats at "Kane's'.

You should see them nurse a cup-o-Joe for an hour or so.

That's why there's a minimum charge of $4 per table there.

Asians think the purchase of a cup of coffee entitles them to own the real estate for an hour.

In Mc Donald's on Roosevelt Ave. in downtown Flushing, they had to post a notice stating "1/2 hour per table please".

Otherwise those minions of old Chinese men would take their micro sips of tea and bullshit for hours on end.

Roger said...

But on the bright side, new places have opened in our neighborhood - an overpriced upscale wine shop, several expensive restaurants - soon we'll probably get one of those shops with designer baby clothes. I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Go to the "Tick Tock Diner" (8th Av. near Penn station) if you want to indulge in nostalgic clap-trap (LOL) and "comfort" food.

Lousy food and ersatz "atmosphere" abound...a regular yuppie/youngster or tourist's "paradise".

Anonymous said...

So "Charlie" don't eat in diners?

You can't get into I-Hop (a pancake diner on Northern Blvd. in the Murray Hill section of Flushing) because it's filled with Asians.

The average wait for a family is about 45 minutes.

I go to Mc Donalds across the street...better coffee and quieter.

Anonymous said...

O-o-o-o-o...a-a-a-a-h...I think I just wet my keyboard!

EVAN! I TOLD you to stay away from Queens Crap. This is your last warning!

Moby said...

Oopsy. I forgot to sign my name I get so passionate.

Moby said...

Buz-z-z-z-z! o-o-o-o-h!

Just love my side order of dill pickles !

Please get me an extra napkin Evan!

Anonymous said...

I never went to Scobees but the food and service at the Fame started to stink at least five to eight years ago. Thankfully we still have the Georgia and Shalimar, but I know that doesn't help the Bayside - Little Neck folk.

Anonymous said...

You can still go to Kane's Diner on College Point Blvd. in Flushing to get ripped off because they're the only "Occidental" joint still around.

The Blue Bay Diner in Fresh Meadows is still in business, AFAIK. If I want diner food, I go to the Omega Coffee Shop/Diner on 32nd Ave in Bayside.

Anonymous said...

Had breakfast a few days ago at the new Cornerstone across from the late, lamented Hilltop mentioned in the article. Simple pancake breakfast probably double the price of what it used to cost at Hilltop or even Fame. DK that this place is long for the world, but it's actually bigger inside than you would think just passing by.

Anonymous said...

There's always McDonalds...or any of the fine establishments along Main Street...also the new Popeyes on Main Street shared with a bakery...ahhhh the beautiful people

nyc sleuth said...

Omega coffee shop is always great as is Blue baya diner.

BTW, Bayside Diner is under renovation and new ownership.The people who own Veranda Restaurant are opening it. Should have a grand opening by the first week of May at the latest.

Anonymous said...

"You can't get into I-Hop (a pancake diner on Northern Blvd. in the Murray Hill section of Flushing) because it's filled with Asians."

That Ihop was always crowded with long waits on the weekend. The demographic may have changed, but that is not the reason for the long wait.

Another factor for the closing diners is the cost of food. The price of food products has risen much more than the market will allow the prices on the menu to rise. The result is significantly lower profit margins on what is sold, even before considering the loss of sales. The food at many diners sucks anyway, I'm sure I'm not the only one who hasn't stepped foot in one in years.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem is very obvious:

The politicians (and the community boards they appoint reflect this) don't give two shits about you.

They control the media outlets that relentlessly hammer how wonderful they are. They control your taxes giving a few dollops to the mediocre while they starve the life out of any community groups that displays vitality but they disagree. They do everything they can to discourage the long term stable, middle class property owner who knows when they are getting bullshit, and lavishes attention on the gullible immigrant who came from some dump and thinks that a Queens slum lorded over by some Monsserat is miles ahead of where they came from - and you know - they are right.

So your pol (take a close look at most of them and you notice they are brain dead as they ooze arrogant self-entitlement) sells your community to a developer (who lives in some nice community where they enforce all the quality of life things they gleefully trample in Queens) and gives them your taxes not to help your family, but to make them rich through development.

I will not even speculate what your pol gets in return but must don't seem bright enough to get more than pocket change.

And you, you morons, send them back time and time again to office.

When you get some backbone, things will change.

And not a moment before.

Anonymous said...

I love IHOP!! used to go to the one in Flushing on Northern Blvd, now I go to the one in Jackson Heights on Northern Blvd...i think many moons ago there was a Jack in the Box on Northern Blvd, well at least we still have Taco Bell & White Castle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Junior Valloney said...

Yo, I takes da Maya ovah da Mike's Dinah so as he ken see what da reel peeps look like. It makes him feel reel down ta oit.

Kevin Walsh said...

Hey guys, the post is about the loss of diners and shouldn't turn into an exercise in bigotry. The loss of the Scobee/other dibers was all about owners trying to maximize the property value, since you'll likely see a TD bank or strip of stores on that site. They'll let the property sit for months if they have to in order to attract banks or stores.

If anything the prejudice was towards 55+ people, since the Scobee and other diners catered to them. 55+ are not in the habit of spending a lot of moo-la-dee, so owners are NOT going to cater to them.

Kevin Walsh said...

AFAIK the small Gold Star on Bell Blvd and 42nd Ave is still there, I like the fare there

Snake Plissskin said...

I think the problem is obvious ...

Dont waste your breath - here all they want to talk about is the merits of IHOP vs White Castle.

You are over their head.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, the post is about the loss of diners and shouldn't turn into an exercise in bigotry. The loss of the Scobee/other dibers was all about owners trying to maximize the property value,

Not bigotry at all - no secret that newcomers are clueless when they are being manipulated compared to old timers, and that generally coming from cultures that are defferential to authority figures - they are a politicans dream.

'Diversity' brillantly undercuts a community's cohesiveness and, after a few years, even they get the trick and move on to greener pastures setting up the wheel to churn again faster and faster and faster.

Be it diners, landmarks, shopping or housing, the place quickly runs down.

... and opens the door for .... (roll the drums please) more development!!!!!!!!

Queens Crapper said...

"Dont waste your breath - here all they want to talk about is the merits of IHOP vs White Castle.
You are over their head."

Sounds like

Anonymous said...

Too bad that Wendy's & Joe's Bestburger on Main Street are gone..and the Burger Barn on Northern..why!?!?!?!?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the beautiful Pop Diner on Kissena & Elder in Flushing...remeber the Saravan on Northern?? Candlewood Inn on College Point Blvd? the restaurant in Stern's on Main? how bout that diner that used to be near Stern's too & TJ's????

Anonymous said...

Chains control quality better. GO overseas and you'll flip for joy when you see McDonalds

Anonymous said...

Dont waste your breath - here all they want to talk about is the merits of IHOP vs White Castle.
You are over their head."

Sounds like


ew-3 said...

The root cause of losing diners is the same root cause for Queens Crap in general - destabilizing neighborhoods due to the transient nature of the population.
A few years ago I reviewed NYC records on-line for real estate transactions in my old neighborhood (Queens Village). That struck me was that in the years when I was growing up maybe 1 house on my block was sold every two years. In the mid 80s the rate when up to 5 to 7 per year. And the new people moving in didn't seem to stay very long. Whereas my parents owned the house for 35 years (typical back then) the same house has changed hands 5 or 6 times in the last 25 years.
The new people moving in have no cultural memory of the neighborhood. In the past when someone moved in they adopted. Now the people in are creating their own mini-culture.

Anonymous said...

I can afford to eat in diners and I can afford to eat in restaurants that are more ethnic-specific.
I eat in the ethnic ones.
Diner food is mediocre in most cases.
People's culinary tastes have improved.

Anonymous said...

C'est la vie.

Joe said...

Now the people in are creating their own mini-culture.

Translation: Bringing there home country shenanigans an debauchery here.
Last summer I almost threw up on Decatur street (Between Seneca and Cypress) where some ass painted the stoop and door entry banana yellow and lime green.
There was also a car with 1/2 the roof, rear seats and trunk cutout) on casters rolled inside the front gate serving as a Cruzan pickup truck and trash can rack.
I used to rent a garage at that same house ($30 mo) for my Firebird.
It F_*d up my whole day !!
The house used to be owned by Italian immigrants (they didn't do that and kept it immaculate

Anonymous said...

at least Mikes Diner in Astoria will never go out of business. Where else will Peter Vallone bring Hillary or other big politicians when they're in town to rub shoulders with the "blue collar" folk?

Anonymous said...

Do diners serve live octopus?
I didn't think so.
There you have it!

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't anyone mentioned the Palace Diner at the Horace harding/Main Street corner?

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't anyone mentioned the Palace Diner at the Horace harding/Main Street corner?

Do they have live octopus? It'll probably cost an arm and an arm.

Anonymous said...

There are many reasons for the closing of these diners. It's not JUST the increasing rent. RENTS ARE INCREASING ALL OVER THE CITY! property taxes are increasing! The demographics changed; the old customers to these places are dead, so they lost their loyal customers. The diners fail to adapt and change themselves to become more profitable. These diners have old out dated business models; they are running the same way they did 10 years ago, which isn't effective. All I'm saying is that you cannot attribute one cause to the closing of these diners. There are a myriad of reasons.

Anonymous said...

The owners made tons of money for serving bad food. You should care if they're gone. They ripped you off.

Anonymous said...

if you are looking for fresh,fair priced diner food in the Bayside area :

visit OMEGA RESTAURANT @ 201street/32nd avenue.

also the JACKSON HOLE DINER @ 35th avenue /Bell Blvd. the others in the chain in Manhattan are operated by a friendly Greek family. established about 25 years ago, they must be doing it right

both are clean,comfortable, with competent waiters.


Anonymous said...

It is the landlords, banks and chain pharmacies causing diners to close, not Asians or Hispanics or any other ethnic group. Just good old capitalists not caring about anything but money so readers focus your hatred against the system that supports greed rather than working class people of other ethnicities. And please, learn "good English."

Hey Joe, you pig, Jews don't hate America. They have dietary laws that long predate our country and the diners that closed as well as those that remain open do not observe those dietary laws.

Anonymous said...

The murray Hill Flushing I-hop was never that crowded on weekdays!

Now the inv-Asian has made the weekday wait impossible!

Snake Plissskin said...

I think a lot of the anti-ethnic crap posted here are by Democratic Machine operatives trying to discredit anyone that doesn't sing their crap - you know, the same people that tries to put lipstick on the pig of an ethnic slum.

The only problem is the immigrants are smarter than the native Americans - they don't buy the hack's bullshit and move out of Queens ASAP!

Anonymous said...

We used to call the Bayside Diner the Temple of Dendur.

It surely resembles the glass greenhouse extension at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

If the Veranda folks are going to take it over you'll have to take out a loan to eat there.

Diners are supposed to be cozy little spots not sprawling Las Vegas casino restaurants.

Anonymous said...

For what you spend at Jackson Hole you can eat in a real restaurant.

You're all missing the point here.

Diners were once affordable nice, comfy spots to eat.

They're no longer what they used to be.

So let's just call them restaurants covered over with some gleaming chrome eye-wash.

What I really miss are the old horn & Hardardt Automats.

Their old slogan was,
"It's not fancy but it's good"!

In the American "newspeak" language "diner" means "restaurant".

Anonymous said...

Mr. Walsh appears to be covering his ass by scolding posters for their "bigotry".

I suppose he wants to be sure that no Asians are offended here.

It might affect his book sales.

Was that his publisher's legal disclaimer?

Anonymous said...

The Clinton Diner is's good and it's real.

Too bad I live way across the borough or I'd be there once a day.

My closest spot is Steve's Coffee Shop on 162 Street off Northern Blvd.

It's good for the basics and their specials.

They keep their menu limited but the food is always fresh and well prepared.

The fabulous Omega is nearby but too far to drop in on at a moment's notice.

I have to drive or bus (or long-walk) it there.

To me a diner is a neighborhood thing.

Every nabe had one close by just like they had their local movie house.

But times have changed and not generally for the better.

Anonymous said...

Gold Star sucks!

You must have had a drink at Donovan's before you ate at that greasy spoon to think that their food is good.

They make out well because all of the restaurants on Bell Blvd. are too damn expensive to grab lunch if you're working.

And...duh...diners are free standing structures not coffee shops tucked into a commercial row.

Kevin Walsh said...

"Mr. Walsh appears to be covering his ass by scolding posters for their 'bigotry'."

Drop the quotes, and you're on to something.

Kevin Walsh said...

I'd like to read the rules that say a diner has to be freestanding. The Gold Star has railroad car seating like a diner, it sells diner-type food, whether you think it's good or not. When I worked around the corner I ate there once a week for 10 years. Gourmet, it's not, filling, it is, and that's mostly what I ask for from a culinary experience...

I'm the only idiot in the universe that can get both Gothamist and Queens Crap regulars mad at me. That means I'm doing something right!

georgetheatheist said...


Make that "Kala Christougenna". [I gotta get outta here.]

Hey 65 posts on eating in a diner. Who woulda thunk?

georgetheatheist said...

And, not one mention of the T-Bone!!!!

Anonymous said...

C'est la vie.

Evan said...

Diner. Schminer!
I love eating out.

Right, ma?

Anonymous said...

georgetheatheist said...

And, not one mention of the T-Bone!!!!

AKA: Ptomaine Palace.

I miss UJ's.

Anonymous said...

Its sad to see Scobee go, but to be honest the food was crappy, prices too high and sh*t service. I made the mistake of going there recently for some remeniscing. that was a mistake. Its too bad these diners are going but what this place had turned into, I say good riddence.
To the owner of the land, he prob going to rent out to a co that will turn the space into yet another drug store or a chain restaurant.

Anonymous said...

Pretty close-- Hooters.
Most the infer-structure is already in place they also want to keep the red and green neon theme with an owl.

Blabs said...

Pretty close-- Hooters.

I tried out for Hooters once. Didn't make it. Now I'm flat (and) broke. Owl's well that ends well.

Anonymous said...

No wonder Queens is in such lousy shape...73 f-----g comments about diners?

It's time to redirect your thoughts (and posts) to more important matters like the crooked pols that are destroying your quality of life!

Start with the Staviskys!

No wonder democracy is dying...
all of this diddling with minutia!

Anonymous said...

Righto...Mr. Walsh.

He professed to love Flushing so much that he's since moved away.

How do you spell H-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e?

Anonymous said...

The Blue Bay Diner is where Donald Manes conducted "business".

It probably is still one of the epicenters for clandestine meetings.
That's why it's good.

These political crooks don't like to eat shit.

They just feed it to their public!

Anonymous said...

Uh...Walsh...we can do without your full color postage stamp countenance accompanying your posts.

You or your mom might like it but it seems rather self indulgent don't you think?

Anonymous said...

One who merely snaps posts and publishes photos of the forgotten past does not make one a qualified historian.

There are diners (very dining car looking) that began as FREESTANDING structures but were slid in sideways on building lots so they blend in with the rest of the store fronts but retain their original appearance.

I think these are better qualified to be called "diners"!

Anonymous said...

H--m-m-m....doing something right?

If you like to think of yourself that way...A-OK on ego strength.

See...I've even dropped the quotation marks...happy now?

Joe said...

I beleibe Mr.Walsh is from S Brooklyn and hates bad spelling.

Anonymous said...

i wonder if Steve is home tonight getting bathed by mommy or sitting in his batman pajamas typing away about the north flushing senior center ?

how many time has that guy run, said he was gonna run but didnt, ran and lost, or tried to run but couldnt carry enough petitions ?

Not Steve said...

i wonder if Steve is home tonight getting bathed by mommy or sitting in his batman pajamas typing away about the north flushing senior center ?

Uh oh. Evan's at it again! At least Steve doesn't change his mommy's diapers. Looks like someone's nervous about an investigation into THAT senior center. FBI---Are you paying attention? If not, why not?

Evan I mean Anonymous said...

Uh oh. Evan's at it again! At least Steve doesn't change his mommy's diapers. Looks like someone's nervous about an investigation into THAT senior center

Crap! You got me so scared I soiled myself.