Friday, June 30, 2017

"the diner is a very democratic place"

A sad and poignant little article on the decline and probable death of the New York City diner and coffee shop:
"Among members of this comfort-food-obsessed, single-origin-bean generation, it’s become fashionable to mourn the passing of this old diner culture. In the past few years, the closings have spread, from Manhattan (the famous Cafe Edison in the Theater District, La Taza de Oro in Chelsea, the Lyric Diner in Gramercy Park), into the outer-boroughs (the Del Rio Diner in Gravesend, the El Greco in Sheepshead Bay), and lamentations in the food press and on the blogs have reached a fever pitch. But in a world filled with a dizzying numbers of choices — an array of options on everything from $25 chef burgers, to how you like your Ethiopian coffee dripped and what shade of almond milk you’d like to pour in it, to what kind of artisanal pork you desire on your haute breakfast sandwich — the diner has become more of a symbol and a curiosity than a regular place to eat. 'I grew up on iceberg lettuce, but this new generation knows that iceberg is the butt of all lettuces,' says Griffin Hansbury, who writes under the pseudonym Jeremiah Moss, and whose forthcoming book, Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul, chronicles these slowly disappearing institutions. 'For me, the diner is a very democratic place,' he says. But in this new, more moneyed era where it’s fashionable to say that everyone’s a restaurant critic, and arugula replaced iceberg as the green of choice long ago, this new class of eaters favors what he diplomatically calls a 'more curated dining experience.'”
It was pretty understandable when the Carnegie Deli shut down --  a 20 dollar pastrami sandwich wasn't the greatest business model.  But it's sad to think that the lesser known neighborhood type places are also on the way out.  The world always seems to be getting a little less colorful, a little less strange.

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