4. A diner stood abandoned along the West Side Highway for years
Abandoned between auto repair shops and a gentlemen’s club, the lost diner at 357 West Street, which stood for years and drew comparisons to Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, closed in 2006 after 50 years of operation. It went through a steady succession of owners and names, including the Terminal Diner, the Lunchbox Diner, Rib, and perhaps most fittingly, the Lost Diner. Constructed by the New Jersey-based Kullman Diner Car Company, the structure was typical of the Art Deco diner cars manufactured in the 1940s and ’50s, which have since become an iconic fixture of cities across America.
In the dining room, shattered glass joined a host of reflective surfaces, causing the room to glimmer with points of light in the evening. Food piled up behind its front door under a Zagat rating. Old mattresses, fresh garbage, and a homemade toilet pointed to a recent habitation. In the former kitchen, a dry erase board listed celery seed, walnut oil, and Windex for a shopping trip that was doomed to be this diner’s last… The abandoned structure was destroyed in place of a residential tower designed by Herzog & de Meuron.