May 9, 2008

Coming in out of the rain.

Empire Diner

Empire Diner

At the Empire Diner in Chelsea.


JohnAnnArbor said...

Diners are cool, all shiny and stuff. Is this one of those self-contained ones that looks like a silver-polished rail car?

Ann Althouse said...


dick said...

One of my old stomping grounds back in the day. I used to live right around the corner from that diner. At that time Chelsea was not so yuppified. The last time I was around there the old used furniture store on 7th avenue is now an antique shop with what looks like the same merchandise.

When they first opened that diner back up in the early 1970's nobody thought it would last since it was so out of the way and their prices didn't match the neighborhood. The bar a block over used to be open furing the day as a workingman's bar called the Hoboken Ferry Terminal Cafe and then at night it was a gay bar for the pseudo-leather crowd.The rest of the block on 22nd street and most of the block on 23rd street had the houses all boarded up and finally they renovated them. Now they are very expensive; then they had to get all the stray cats out and people were putting cat food out for the kittens to try to get them out of the houses to be renovated. That whole neighborhood was a funny mix of dock workers, gays and some theatre people. At the time Tony Perkins lived in the neighborhood and Orson Bean had renovated a home there but there were also a lot of SRO houses as well. The guy who was in Deep Throat with Linda Lovelace lived on 24th street just around the corner from the Empire.Times have certainly changed for Chelsea since those days.

ricpic said...

Aquarium diner on a watery day
Blue inside and outside gray
Time out place to sit and stay
Aquarium diner on a watery day.

titusgetme the ax!!!! said...

I hope you have a fabulous paraploui (sp) with you today.

Wow, Dick, you know Chelsea. You should write a book.

Yea, now NYC is one big playground for the rich-the interesting factor is gone.

dick said...

TItus - I agree with you. I think Jane Jacobs (?) had it right with her analysis of neighborhoods.

When I lived in Chelsea the mix was interesting. On 19th Street when I lived there my niehgobrs were a couple of porno actors, a bordello across the street, a bunch of unemployed Hispanics who sat on the front stoop and played dominoes on upside down garbage cans and drank beers, the ex-cook for the French ambassador who decided not to go back to Paris, a bunch of young execs who were living in some of the most affordable homes in a decent neighborhood.

On 23rd Street when I lived there there was a bar owned by an Irish cop on the ground floor and you definitely did not even mention Black and Tan or the Orange or he would throw you right out the door. Across the street was Leather Flats which was a trip of its own. The combination of little old blue haired ladies and gay leather queens in the same building and getting along just fine was priceless.

On 15th street, my last apartment in Chelsea we had a very rare building for NYC. The manager preferred to rent to people who had pets because she said they were nicer to deal with. I think almost every apartment in the building had at least a cat or else several dogs. When they had the Blackout, we walked the dogs and there were no breakins in the area at all. The deli around the corner threw a party in the street because he figured all his deli stuff would be spoiled and all the neighbors brought out chairs and we partied all night with beers and sandwiches and salads.

Would never happen now. The mix is gone and what you see in Chelsea is mostly clones. All the little places with the cheap eats are gone and you have good restaurants and plastic people.

OldGrouchy said...

When in Minnesota, which is a much more interesting state than the home of nasty Wolverines, visit Mickey's dinner in downtown St. Paul, about the only spot of real interest in that cow town other than the museums! However, be careful in the evening cuz the "homeless" will try to steal your food if you make a run to the facilities.

ricpic said...

Poor is authentic
Rich is plastic,
That is the Left's
Scale inelastic.

ricpic said...

When passing through Minnesota on I-90, I always stop at the McDonald's in Fairmont and gaze in amazement at the unending stream of solid stolid Minnesotans entering that emporium of bland eats. So much goodness packed into that one space scares the bejeesus out of me. But I soldier on, armed with fries.

From Inwood said...

Had lunch there 50 yrs ago while picking up a truck load of Scotch on one of the Chelsea Piers (Pier 59). Cost: under $1 for full meal. Went back for nostalgia a few years ago & had a cup of tea which cost more than $1.

Also sneaked into General Theological Seminary (this was before 9/11), which is used quite a bit for churchyard scenes on Law & Order.

dick said...

That seminary was an interesting place since it was the home of the guy who wrote Twas the Night Before Christmas when he was the pastor of that church there. Gorgeous place. Looked like it did not belong with all the warehouses that made up the neighborhood back in the day.