Bel Aire Diner, a stand-alone diner in Astoria
In New York City, where office buildings and apartment complexes jet into the sky, a stand-alone diner is a rare sight to come by. Their vintage storefronts and neon lights easily stand out amongst the industrial gray that’s so characteristic of the city, but they’ve become quite the novelty over the years.
To clear room for real estate development, many establishments have been forced to shut down, as evidenced by the recent closure of Market Diner in Hell’s Kitchen (Moondance, Cheyenne and the Lost Diner have also disappeared over the years). So when Empire Diner, located on the corner of 22nd St. and 10th Avenue, covered up its windows in 2015, it seemed like New York City had lost yet another classic, all-American eatery. That was before we learned about its comeback in November. With the good news came a small glimmer of hope that the stand-alone diner would continue to remain a fixture on New York City streets. Here are 1o you can still visit:
Image via Flickr: Rich Mitchell
Pearl Diner, located on 212 Pearl Street in the Financial District, looks vastly out of place next to the buildings around it. The tiny stand-alone diner has been around since the early 1960s and still serves affordable breakfast specials, burgers and homemade soup. Although it did close down for a bit after Hurricane Sandy, Pearl Diner remains a local favorite, complete with its iconic neon signage and metal bar stools. Even as the office building behind it went up in the early 1970’s, it still claimed its spot on the corner of Pearl and Fletcher Street.