Harlem's M&G Diner shuttered back in 2008 when the beloved soul food restaurant went on vacation and never returned. It had been around for maybe 40 years.
Most of the antique signage was removed and the spectacular facade was made miserably dull.
Now reader Christina Wilkinson sends in a shot of the new business in the space. It's called Capsule. They sell men's "streetwear," brands like G-Star, Billionaire Boys Club, Ralph Lauren.
Photographers James and Karla Murray took before-and-after photos of M&G awhile back.
James and Karla Murray: Click photo to enlarge
In the older shot, the façade is resplendent, its red awning announcing SOUL FOOD in a typeface slightly serifed, while above, neon signs fringed in lights deliriously announce “Southern fried chicken” that promises to be “old fashion’ BUT Good!” (The letter “i” is dotted with a star.) Is the “BUT” meant to mean “nonetheless,” to say that while the chicken is old-fashioned, it yet tastes good? I don’t think so. The “but good” is likely the idiomatic expression, dating back as far as the 1930s, to mean extremely and thoroughly. In which case, “old fashion'” is not something to apologize for, but something to celebrate.
Casting your eyes over the old M&G, there is so much to look at it, to be stimulated by, to feel and to think about. In the after photo, there is nothing. The signs, the typefaces, the awning, the yellow paint, the crooked doors--all gone, replaced by dull sheets of glass. No variation. No unevenness. No life.
Today, you can find an artifact of the old M&G at Marcus Samuelsson's Streetbird restaurant.