A Jackson Hole stand-alone diner in Bayside, Queens. Image via Jackson Hole
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 10 you can still visit:
1. Square Diner
Ironically, Square Diner at 33 Leonard St., is actually in the shape of a triangle. This tiny, 1,000-square-foot stand-alone diner dates all the way back to the 1920s although it took the form of a wooden shack at the time. The train-car itself was made by Pullman Dining Car Company of New Jersey in the 1940s, but Square Diner as we know it today dates back to 1945. Inside its familiar blue, chrome fitted exterior, you’ll find red vinyl booths, wood-paneled walls decorated with pictures of celebrities, and a menu of Greek and American fare.