New York has lost another vintage factory built diner: The Cheyenne, a popular all night eatery near Penn Station, will close its doors on Sunday after 68 years of operation. And the owner of a rival diner – the bigger Skylight Diner nearby – is to blame. Skylight owner George Papas also owns the narrow 20-by-100 foot site the Cheyenne currently occupies and he plans to build a nine-story apartment building on the property. Forgotten-NY’s Kevin Walsh tells us the days of the one-story, stand-alone diner are almost over:
Unfortunately the reality is that Manhattan’s becoming so pricey that you just can’t sustain these diners no matter how good business is. I was in the Cheyenne a couple weeks ago at lunchtime and it was packed, but the owner of the property feels he can make a lot more money on that spot by building a multi-story building and having a lot of tenants. I’ve been to the Skylight around the corner a couple times and it’s an inferior diner to the Cheyenne; the food is not as good nor is the atmosphere as good as the Cheyenne.
Cheyenne owner Spiros Kasimis may try to reopen the diner at another location, a move that worked (sort of) for the vintage Moondance Diner after it closed on 6th Avenue and Broome Street; it relocated to Wyoming when a couple bought it for $7,500. Daniel Zilka, director of the American Diner Museum, says he’s been talking with Kasimis about a similar option. Michael Perlman, who started the Committee To Save The Moondance Diner, plans to launch a similar campaign for the Cheyenne, according to amNY.
The number of remaining prefabricated diners in Manhattan include the Empire Diner in Chelsea, Tribeca’s Square Diner, and the Pearl Diner in lower Manhattan. The Market Diner in Hell’s Kitchen, circa 1960, closed two years ago but is expected to reopen this summer. And the ‘40s-era Munson diner on 11th Avenue and 49th Street – used as an exterior for the plan-B Seinfeld diner “Reggies” – closed in 2004 but has since moved on up to the Catskills.