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The Empire Diner to close

I wouldn’t normally write obituaries around here for diners, but the news that NYC’s iconic Empire Diner is shuttering its doors on May 15th has my panties in a bunch. I mean, really? Yet another institution destroyed in NYC’s grand scheme to put bank branch in every single retail storefront in every single city neighborhood on every single city block. Yeah, it blows.

The Empire Diner never had good food. But you don’t want good food at 3AM. You want grease. And fries. And milkshakes. Yes, I am vegan. But if I am up at 3AM all that goes out the door. No one would tell on you at The Empire Diner. Madonna, Barbra Streisand, and Steven Spielberg all dined there. And assuredly did most drag queens, hustlers, go-go boys, and club kids. After nearly three decades the yuppie encroachment of West Chelsea is complete. And with it goes a landmark, a diner that was a little more style than substance. But with a killer shake.