No More Dining at these New York Diners

“We simply don’t want to live in a world without old-school staples like rounded coffee counters, shiny stools, leather booths, jukeboxes, prefabricated stone or steel exteriors and black-and-white photos of “famous clientele” hanging on the walls”

Best of Gothamist


New York 248 New York 213

Manhattan Diner Upper West Side 2008


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Big Nick’s Upper West Side 2008


I’m posting these photos as a farewell to two New York diners. Being a bit of a food faddist (organic, unprocessed, no GMO), I never expected to like these places so much. Perhaps it was the sense of community that struck me most.  Big Nick’s closed its doors in July 2013, after fifty years in the business. Sad.  Though I have to say, some of  the decor on these shots looks as if it hasn’t been  ‘refreshed’ in all that time. The rather smarter Manhattan Diner, where we had breakfast while staying in Upper West Side’s Hotel Belleclaire, was  just across  the road from Big Nick’s, on the corner of Broadway and 77th. It was forced to close a few years ago to make way for development.

These diners were much loved and served neighbourhood locals and visitors 24/7. Perhaps they did  not offer the healthiest menus in the world, and dishes were served up with mega-portions. But fresh fruit and yoghourt at the Manhattan Diner made a delicious breakfast, to say nothing of their frittata. And all the coffee you could drink and huge glasses of iced water, and that feeling of being part of NYC even though we were strangers…

© 2014 Tish Farrell



14 thoughts on “No More Dining at these New York Diners

  1. One of the things that drew my family to Grand Marais in northern Minnesota every summer was the old fashioned ice cream parlor. Miss these old Woolworth’s-type lunch counters.

  2. It’s so sad to hear this. I love diners. It’s a New York and Brooklyn (where I was born and raised) staple.
    One could go and always find a nice juicy burger and fries and a garlic pickle.
    I will be in New York in May I am going to the famous one in Manhattan. I’ll have to snap some pix’s in the event that it, too, closes. ~~~~ : – (
    Nice pix’s … XD

    1. Thanks, Isadora. Yes, snap the diners while you can – just in case. Have a lovely trip homewards. We went in May and it was 100 degrees. We had to keep going to Central Park for iced coffee to cool down.

  3. This looks very tempting – as someone who has a ‘healthy’ diet I don’t feel like I have been rewarded these last few days – bring on the burgers 🙂 A time and place perfectly captured.

  4. It’s a shame, Trish, but it’s happening all over. One by one, the old diners are closing. My neighborhood has lost 2 recently. Whether it’s because the owner/cook is retiring or a nearby fast food chain “restaurant” took away its business, diners are a vanishing breed. I agree that they didn’t serve the healthiest foods but, sometimes, I just want a simple breakfast without any whipped cream, powdered sugar, or rhyme-time names. One that’s served to me by a person and not an arm reaching through a window. Best of all, give me the seat at the end of the counter so I can talk with the waitress and watch the “show.” 🙂

  5. we spent 4 weeks in New York, for sure 50 % of the time in diners – if there is a paradise, it should be organized like those little restaurants…

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