Thursday, September 20, 2012

Save Our Diner

Reader Scott stopped by the University Restaurant last night after it had closed forever. He found this sign:

Scott writes, "A loyal customer, Margaret Laino ( had put up a sign and was urging people to reach out to the landlord to express their desire for a similar establishment to take UR's place. She said UR hadn't paid rent in 6 months. Landlord's contact is as follows (; 646.300.4891)."

Margaret's sign reads: "Neighbors for a Viable Village want to save our neighborhood diner. After 60 years of continuous service it is closing on Wed. Sept 19, 2012. Please join us in strongly urging Sutton-Garret Real Estate (212-593-3388) to only consider renting to a similar diner/restaurant: one that is low-key (soft lighting), affordable, with the same welcoming, friendly feeling. NO! to franchises, bankfronts, noisy bars, phone stores. NO! to pizza fronts with garish lighting.”   

It's a voice in the wilderness, but Margaret is not alone. Why not give Sutton-Garret a call and let them know what you think of them jacking up the diner's rent to $40,000 a month? We won't ever get anything friendly, welcoming, or low-key in this space--and it will become a chain, a bank, or a phone store, but at least they'll know how you feel. And maybe that's worth something.


Marty Wombacher said...

I'll stop by and sign this today. Doubt it will do any good, but it will be good to let the landlords know that people care about what goes in there.

Anonymous said...

They don't care...nobody in a position to do anything to change this cares.

The neighborhood has been steadily losing the local charms that have made it so attractive and loved by NYU students and faculty for so long.

But the new vision is an overbuilt, safe, sterile suburbanized Village where students from Anywhere USA can recognize the same signage and amenities from their hometown.

But it's worth calling them, even to disrupt one realtor's night of sleep knowing they've chipped away at something the locals actually wanted...

JAZ said...

I never thought that sitting in a diner in Manhattan was something we couldn't just take for granted, but obviously I was wrong.

I was up on the UES yesterday, and was disgusted to see 2 separate 7-11s in the process of being constructed just on 1st Ave alone within about 10 blocks of each other between the mid 70s and E88th. I guess their attack on the bodegas of Manhattan is in full effect now up and down the island.

Then I walked into Glaser's Bake Shop on 87th & 1st, and forgot all about those disgusting 7-11 signs for just 10 minutes while talking to the nicest lady in the world who runs the place and munching on the most delicious chocolate chip cookie I have ever tasted. The feeling you get stepping into the bake shop is something 7-11 can never ever duplicate - not that they have any interest whatsoever in doing so.

laura said...

do you think a diner can afford $40,000 a month? if this one cant, how can another? anon 10:21 am- these chains stores have little to do pleasing NYU students w/ familar sinage. this is happening all over the world. almost everywhere. this obsession w/students & new comers is a limited view. i wonder why the rents have gone up so much? is it that the chains offer to pay, then the small businesses close? i think it works that way. anyone agree? they buy their way in.

Anonymous said...

I find it quite amusing when the commenters lament the loss of a diner with the idea that the suburbs are closing in. What could be more middle America than a diner, the site of campaign photo ops from Iowa to New Hampshire?

I guess these sheltered urbanites are just going to have to try something new. Don't fear the hummus.

laura said...

anon: middle american WAS diners. now most of that has been replaced by surburbia. this is happening all over america (& the world). new york was last. middle america/ deep south/ west/ was first. the "hummus" place you think may be coming has to be a chain w/ fast turnover. with this kind of rent, you need fast food, chain drugstore etc. OR a very upscale fancy resturant. my feeling is the former. cell phone, nail salon, 7/11, subway, you know the deal. of the 2 choices i would go upscale. @least the visual may be nice.

nelsonbenson said...

It's always sad to lose a part of your past, but how many food outlets, be it trendy, or traditional, have lasted generations. What about all the expensive French restaurants that closed in midtown? It is nothing to do with vanishing New York, but with changing tastes and health needs. I live here 20 years, and a few years ago, for health reasons, stopped patronizing diners. In most part, they serve the lowest quality, highest fat, mostly processed food. No one is preventing them from adapting! And lamenting Tiffany Diner? They served inedible food. Sheridan? They closed themselves! Let's be partial (and publish stuff that doesn't always agree with this blog)