The last free-standing diner in Manhattan is closing tomorrow night after 70 years in business, and like many displaced New Yorkers it will be moving to Pennsylvania. The Moondance Diner in SoHo is shuttering, and next month it will be shipped to PA to become part of a museum. The lot where it currently sits is going to become the site of luxury condos. The New York Sun reported the imminent demise of the Moondance back in February and noted the diner's end as emblematic of the westward expansion of the fashionable SoHo district.
The Moondance Diner will live on in the movies. It was featured in several major motion pictures, like Spiderman, and in tv shows. It has actually been quite a tourist draw. The owner of the diner recalls in an NY1 piece how people would come from afar to see a sentimental landmark:
"A lot of people, they get married here, they find they're [sic, or maybe not -DH, Gothamist] girlfriends here,” said Sunny Sharma, owner of the Moondance Diner. “They live in New Jersey, all over, but most the tourists here come from Europe – Belgium, France, England – they all come here to see. Not to see me, just to see the Moondance Diner, the sign of Moondance Diner.”
Kevin Walsh has a great page on New York City's disappearing diners at ForgottenNewYork. To end on a positive note, we do enjoy visiting Relish: the super-chromed free-standing diner in Williamsburg, with a garden and a chain link fence rosebush trellis. It was a forlorn and forgotten unused building before the neighborhood underwent its "transformation" and the diner re-opened. The era of true greasy spoons may be past, but we appreciate the approximation.
(Looking out, by Goggla at flickr)