While New York City has its own abandoned diner, the famous little lost diner on the West Side Highway, New Jersey also has its fair share of endangered diners. We were alerted to this one in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey by our partner site Urban Ghosts Media. They write, “photographer Gregg Obst created the creepy and incongruous effect of “turning on the neon sign” – which in reality has been defunct since the venue closed.”
At the intersection where this diner stands used to be two diners, popular stops when this road used to be the main artery carrying drivers west from New York City. The opening of the new Interstate 78 in the 1970s diverted traffic away, along with business to the diners. According to Larry Cultrera, who got inside the diner, there is a barrel roof hiding inside.
While several of New York City’s diners have been saved due to the efforts of preservationist Michael Perlman, the movement in New Jersey is less focused. According to Kevin Patrick, who has been documenting abandoned diners around the country, “The average person cannot save these buildings by their patronage. It’s too late for that. Salvation has to come through community involvement and active participation with local elected officials and planning authorities.” In 2010, Preservation New Jersey, released their Ten Most Endangered Historic Sites list and included a general listing for Historic Diners of New Jersey. Patrick then took on the task of detailing twenty diners at risk for his own website.
Read more about abandoned places in New York City in our column Abandoned NYC.