All photos by Jinwoo Chong for Untapped Cities
In an example of the perennial struggle of small businesses and traditions to withstand the bulldozer of Manhattan’s modernization, the Market Diner on West 43rd Street is set to be torn down to make way for a new 13-story multi-purpose building.
The local Hell’s Kitchen diner, which has stood on the property since 1962, is one of the last vintage, chrome diners left in the city (one of five, according to Scouting NY). In its heyday, it was a popular spot for the likes of Frank Sinatra and numerous west-side gangsters. This is not the first time the place has fallen on hard times. It closed for three years in 2006, after which a renovation that restored some of its 60s vintage flair proved successful, at least until now.
The diner sits on an enormous open lot, and most agree that it’s a wonder it has kept its location in one of the fastest growing high-rise neighborhoods in the city so far. The lot is so big that the diner is has its own parking lot, a luxury most New Yorkers can’t fathom nowadays.
As reported by The Real Deal and Vanishing New York, the development that was filed with the Department of Buildings by Moinian Group last week details a tower containing 163 residential units and ample retail and commercial space. The lot was actually bought by the Midtown developer more than ten years ago for 6 million dollars. While there is no set date for the start of construction, or even the closure of the diner, it seems likely that the lot will be unrecognizable within the next few years. We can only hope that New York City’s diner saver, Michael Perlman, will get involved.
The Market Diner is open 24 hours, for anyone wishing to pay their respects.