Journalists Bid Farewell to New York’s Market Diner

Eater and Jeremiah's Vanishing New York among those paying their final respects.

MarketDinerMenuRents ain’t what they used to be. That, in a nutshell, is why the 24-hour Market Diner in Hell’s Kitchen closed its doors Sunday.

For Eater, reporter Robert Sietsema and photographer Nick Solares paid a recent final visit to the joint open since 1962. Their “Eulogy” features nostalgic elements like these:

It was a once a hangout for celebrities who wanted a plainish meal on the down-low. Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, Rudy Giuliani and Kate Smith ate there, and so did Geraldo Rivera, who appeared one evening in a priest’s outfit with a gaggle of cops, having just returned from an undercover assignment.

Frank Sinatra, who had a back room curtained off for him and his pals, came to the Market Diner more than once in the wee hours after bar time. A Times article from 2007 quotes Saul Zelin, one of the owners, “That was the big thing, at 3 or 4 or 5 a.m., when the bars closed,” he said. “That was back in the days when drinking was the thing. Guys came in pretty loaded, to be honest with you. They were exciting times.”

CBS New York crunched the dwindling New York diner numbers. From a high of 1,000, we’re now at around 400. A residential highrise will take the place of the Market Diner, at the northeast corner of 11th Avenue and West 43rd Street.

In a piece about his last meal at the Market Diner over the weekend, Jeremiah Moss of Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York minced no words:

The Market Diner was always packed with customers. They closed because the Moinian Group bought them and shuttered them. They closed because City Hall allowed it. Because our government offers no protections for small businesses. They closed because New York is in the midst of a small business apocalypse – and a cultural genocide.

[Photo via: @bookhopper]