As we heard in July, the Waverly restaurant is being gutted for a renovation, its first in 30 years. Recently, a peek through the open door revealed the carnage:
Before the gutting, New York magazine called the old aesthetic: "working-class steakhouse with dark-wood paneling, snug, vinyl-padded booths" where "you just might reinterpret those black-and-white actors’ eight-by-tens lining the perimeter as a forgotten pantheon: patron saints of cheap food, fast service, and fading traditions."
Fading is right. When the Waverly replaced their neon sign in 2008, we lost "STEAKS CHOPS SEAFOOD." (See also Lost City's "Fall of the Chop.") That was the beginning.
Here's what the diner will look like after the renovation, sort of Southwestern, the moody dark-wood paneling replaced by something optimistic and sandy beige:
It's too bright for my taste, too bland. And I have to wonder: What will happen to all those forgotten actors' 8x10s? And will the bacon and eggs still be served in a battered frying pan on a block of wood?