Thursday, August 02, 2007

Moondance Diner Leaves Manhattan for Wyoming

Our Lady of Vilnius' Culinary Counterpart

Another vestige of low-rise Manhattan will soon be gone. The Moondance Diner, on Grand and 6th, is being relocated to La Barge, Wyoming, where fisherman will congregate at the counter.

The diner's departure has received its fair share of media attention. The New York Times ran a piece today titled "Downtown Diner Is Moving to Wyoming, Lock, Stock and Original Stools" The article quotes La Barge's town clerk Betty Moceika as saying “We haven’t had a restaurant in town for quite a long time. Everybody is real excited. This is a big deal in La Barge, you know.” Moceika? Is that Lithuanian?

A squib in Resident Publications, headed City Loses Classics notes that the Moondance Diner was the last free-standing diner in Manhattan, and is known for being the diner where Jonathan Larson worked while writing the hit Broadway musical “Rent.” A salient quote from Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation:

"It’s an all too familiar story with the real estate pressure on New York neighborhoods. Many iconic and historic buildings are protected, but not all, and a building like this is a perfect example of buildings that help make the character of the neighborhood that we are losing.”

Mr. Berman is quoted again by Brooks of Sheffield in his "Lost City" post, Moon Over Wyoming:

"It's an indication that the real estate market in New York, and particularly in Manhattan, is so superheated that anything that doesn't dedicate itself to the super luxury market does not seem to be able to survive."

This drew an "Amen, brother" from Brooks.

Amen, brother X 2.

2 comments: said...

I remember many an early Sunday morning cup of coffee at the Moondance with author Merlin Stone. We dicussed everything from paleontology to feminist spirituality to "the new physics."
For nearly eleven years, as I returned from working a late night shift, the iconic moon and glittery calligraphy of the Moondance lightened my homeward journey. Lately, the darkened facade had become another hole in a landscape of reverie. What gluttonous "luxury" architectural monstrosity will rise in this place?
It is a cheerful comfort to know that the Moondance will be loved and appreciated outside of New York City. said...

I had the crazy idea that someday soon the Moondance Diner would be towed up Sixth Avenue ,all in one piece,as if on a barge and her fans would line the sidewalk to wave good-bye to our former gathering place. Not so, not to be. Returning home from work last night I saw that the moon and the glittery calligraphy were gone. On their separate way to Wyoming I guess. All that remained was the stainless steel box, soon to depart for the west in its own time.