Monday, February 8, 2016

Market Diner Demolition

The lovely, doomed Market Diner is being prepped for demolition. It has now been surrounded by a wall of green plywood.

Thank you to Andrea Kleiman for taking these photos

The Market Diner, opened in 1962, was forced to close a few months ago by its owner, the Moinian Group, who bought the site with plans to demolish the beloved vintage restaurant and erect on its grave a high-rise luxury condo tower -- making a total of three towers they will have on that very same intersection.

The diner is a true one-of-a-kind. What's replacing it is a dime-a-dozen. Once again, we're losing authentic local character for more soulless architecture from the "geography of nowhere." And no one in City Hall is doing a damn thing to stop it. As the proprietor of Chelsea's shuttered La Lunchonette restaurant just told the Daily Beast, "There’s not much integrity left in New York when chains get breaks and small businesses struggle."

The same goes for mega-developers, who have received billions of dollars in tax breaks and other incentives, corporate welfare from New Yorkers' pockets, to reconstruct West Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen into a glittering city within the city for the super-rich.

It all makes me think of the 1995 essay “The Generic City" by architect Rem Koolhaas.

He riffs on the blankness of homogenization, the “superficial” city that, like a Hollywood studio lot, has no identity and no age. The Generic City is an “endless repetition” of blank facades, offering a kind of sedative to urban dwellers.

“The street is dead,” says Koolhaas. “Close your eyes and imagine an explosion of beige.”

I’d rather not.

In 2011, he commented on his prescient essay: “These days, we're building assembly-line cities and assembly-line buildings, standardized buildings and cities.”

Across the street from Market Diner

That cannot be said about the Market Diner. It is not one in an endless repetition of the same. It is not generic.

But it is dead. And, like much of the city we've loved and lost, it's the victim of murder.


Tal Hartsfeld said...

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."

Once again, generic and conformity win against originality and the creative.
Both the corporate and PC crowd should be proud of their recent accomplishments.

mrnickcooper said...

It's getting more and more like anywhere else. You might as well be in Baltimore or Philly half the time.

Scout said...

mrnickcooper said "It's getting more and more like anywhere else. You might as well be in Baltimore or Philly half the time."

I started saying that back in 1987; I had been impatient of older folks saying it to me in the late 70s when I moved here, but eventually came around to their point of view, when places and people I loved began to vanish.

However, I still meet young folks who have just moved here and still think it's the most exciting place in the world to be. Just imagine!

Anonymous said...

This Vanishing site just makes me cry losing places I knew and loved. I lived in New York from 1979 to 2004. And God help me I worked at Club Edelweiss next to the Market Diner for a few glorious perhaps infamous years as a bartender and I miss all of it with all my heart. The good and bad times. Sitting in the Market Diner at 4-30am ordering a scrambled eggs soft on toast after 8 hours at Edelweiss is something I'll never forget or, taste again the same way. Or ordering a side order of bacon during shift while on the Atkins Diet, or a Cheese burger deluxe cause it was just so good after so many White Russians! Toast to the Market Diner! And to you Edelweiss as sour and happy as you made my life. I miss you both. With love Crystal, or Xeta as I am now called.