April Vacation, 2011 – Part 2

I left off the last post (April Vacation, 2011 – Part 1) checking out Dewey’s Diner and Inga’s Diner on Fuller Road in Albany, NY. Next up was the Farmer Boy Diner on Central Avenue (Rte. 5) in Colonie. This was not a new diner for me but a new version of one I photographed back in October of 1982. The original one I photographed was a 1972 vintage Paramount Diner (I originally guessed this was a Swingle but the owner told us Paramount) and was replaced by the current one in 1992.

1972 vintage Farmer Boy Diner. October 2, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

1992 vintage Farmer Boy Diner. April 16, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

1992 vintage Farmer Boy Diner. April 16, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

After leaving the Farmer Boy Diner, we shot over to U.S. Route 20 to get over to Duanesburg and see Joe Merli’s little set-up of old wagons, trucks, trains and buildings.  Chief among the items Joe has is another old diner I photographed, circa 1981…. the old 9 & 20 Diner from Schodack, NY, south of Albany. He moved it here in 2009 and it is now on a cement pad with a tarp over it.

The former 9 & 20 Diner on U.S. Route 20 in Duanesburg, NY.
April 16, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

The former 9 & 20 Diner with an old Divco milk truck sitting next to it on
U.S. Route 20 in Duanesburg, NY. April 16, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Here is something even older near the old diner and milk truck, an old milk wagon!  On U.S. Route 20 in Duanesburg, NY.
April 16, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

We headed back east about a mile on Route 20 toward Albany and stopped for dinner in Princetown at the Chuck Wagon Diner. The Chuck Wagon is another transplanted diner that was brought here in 2007 by Tom and Sally Ketchum. The Chuck Wagon Diner (a Mountain View Diner) operated from 1956 to 1976 in Champaign, Illinois. It closed in 1976 and was auctioned off. The diner ended up in nearby Urbana, IL and operated as the Elite Diner in the 1980’s. It eventually closed and was moved, ending up in storage in Detroit, Michigan by 2002 where the Ketchums found it 5 years later. They spent some time restoring the diner and placing it on a foundation with an attached kitchen, diningroom, restrooms and full basement. Ironically there was a fantastic neon sign that had been on the diner back in the Champaign, IL days, and the crowning achievement was in being contacted by the person who bought that sign at the auction back in 1976. They offered to sell it to the Ketchums, who needless to say, were happy to get the sign and had it refurbished!  The diner reopened in April, 2010 and the original owner was there.

Glenn Wells outside the Chuck Wagon Diner on U.S. Route 20 in
Princetown, NY. April 16, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Chuck Wagon Diner on U.S. Route 20 in Princetown, NY
(with the neon sign turned on) April 16, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Chuck Wagon Diner on U.S. Route 20 in Princetown, NY
April 16, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

It was cloudy and drizzly the next morning when I got an early breakfast at the Gateway Diner on Central Avenue in Albany. Denise and I had eaten here back in 2002, but I never photographed it. So this particular morning was not condusive to photos either so I came back in the early afternoon and shot 2 really nice photos.

Gateway Diner, Albany, NY. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Gateway Diner, Albany, NY. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

So, to get back to why I came out to Albany……  I have been a huge fan of Tommy James since his heyday in the mid-to-late 1960’s. I have caught at least 5, if not 6 of his concerts since 1979. He still puts on a fantastic show! In fact I would be willing to say that his voice is as good now, if not better than it was over 40 years ago. I brought my copy of his book along with an LP of his from 1977. This LP, Midnight Rider was actually autographed by Tommy back in 1979, but due to the fact that he signed it with a ball point pen, it has kind of faded over the intervening years.

I also brought a real collectors item from my collection, a “Picture Book” by “It’s a Visual Thing” that was put out about 1969. It was almost the size of a 33 1/3 record album cover but it had no vinyl. It was made up of a number of pages filled with photos from a publicity shoot for the band. There were a number of these put out for other bands as well, I believe Iron Butterfly may have been another band that had one made.

So, I went down the street from where I had been staying at the Travelodge to the Albany Marriott. This was where the Rock n’ Roll Expo was being held. I got there plenty early and was one of the first waiting for Tommy to show up. I met and spoke with his manager, Carol Ross-Durborow who was very pleasant. I also met Martin Fitzpatrick who was Tommy’s co-writer for the book. Tommy was detained by a TV interview but finally came in to the hall and said hi to me. He autographed the things I brought and spoke with me for a couple or 4 minutes. Then I handed my camera over to someone I had just met and they were able to snap a decent shot of Tommy and I!

Tommy James and Larry Cultrera. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

I went back to the motel hoping to take a nap, but I turned on the laptop computer and went on Facebook after checking email. I saw that Mike Engle was on and chatted with him, asking him if he wanted to do lunch. We ended up meeting at the Latham 76 Diner in Latham. I had driven by this place many times over the years (including once the day before) and felt it was time to finally make its acquaintance. I got there a few minutes before Mike and got quite a few photos, here are a couple….

Latham 76 Diner, Latham, NY. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Latham 76 Diner, Latham, NY. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

After lunch, Mike and I went our seperate ways. I went back to Albany and snapped those photos of the Gateway Diner, then went back to the motel. Right after I arrived, Glenn Wells called. He was done with his personal obligations for the day and wanted to take me on a little excursion down to the Taconic Parkway area. The first place we visited was the wonderfully restored 1925 vintage Jerry O’Mahony diner called Dan’s Diner. Yet again this was another diner I was familiar with at a previous location. Formerly operated as Moe’s Diner in Durham, CT, it was bought by Dan Rundell in 1993 and moved to his property on Route 203 in Spencertown, NY. Dan spent over 10 years restoring this. The diner reopened almost 2 years ago.

Dan’s Diner, Spencertown,NY. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Dan’s Diner, Spencertown,NY. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Dan’s Diner, Spencertown,NY. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Dan’s Diner, Spencertown,NY. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Glenn and I went over to Ancram, NY and had a little something to eat at the West Taghkanic Diner, a beautifully preserved Mountain View Diner. Unfortunately, this is the second time I have visited this place in the middle of the afternoon and the light for photographs is not really perfect at that time of the day. But I made the most of it.

West Taghkanic Diner, Ancram, NY. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

West Taghkanic Diner, Ancram, NY. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

The final destination for our little Taconic Parkway trip was the newly transplanted Elizaville Diner. Here is yet another diner I have photographed at a previous location… as the former Eat Well Diner of Lebanon, PA. I had never had a meal or been inside this diner at the old location, so this was a treat. The new owners did a wonderful job of bringing the diner back to life. They removed the mansard roof that had been installed (back in the 1970’s, I presume) and there was minimal damage to the structure.

Elizaville Diner, Elizaville, NY. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Elizaville Diner, Elizaville, NY. April 17, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

That’s it for the New York part of the vacation, the next post will be about the diners I stopped at on the way back through Massachusetts (April Vacation, 2011 – Part 3) coming soon!

Abandoned Luncheonettes

As I have stated recently, some of my favorite photos have been of “Closed” and/or “Abandoned” Diners! I have found quite a few over the years and I would like to share with my readers some of these. In fact I am contemplating possibly having a calendar made with some of these photos in the future.

The Abandoned Luncheonette, aka the Rosedale Diner
Kennilworth, PA

Of course the inspiration for all “Abandoned” Diner photos for me was the Cover photo of Daryl Hall & John Oates 1973 LP record album entitled Abandoned Luncheonette! The photo was of the former Rosedale Diner that operated in Pottstown,PA from around 1950 until the mid 1960’s. Here is  the shot from their album, which was recorded for Atlantic Records…

Here is my shot which everyone will recognize from my header at the top of my blog page. I shot this in 1982, around 9 years after the album came out.

Right after I started this blog I promised I would expand upon the story I originally wrote in 1991 for Randy Garbin’s Roadside Magazine on finding this diner. The piece was part of his “Diner Hunting” section he ran back in the early days of Roadside. I am still planning the update with a lot more background info on the diner including vintage photos from back when it operated. Hopefully I’ll find the time in the near future to do this story justice.

Murphy’s Diner – Haverhill, Mass.

One of the Abandoned diners I have previously mentioned in 2 posts was Murphy’s Diner, see last post and also this link to the earlier one…. https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/murphys-diner-lives-on/. This was one of my earliest “Abandoned” diners. A 1950 vintage Jerry O’Mahony diner.

The Rainbow Vet Diner – Hooksett, NH

This diner was moved from Manchester, NH into the woods just off the Rte. 28 Bypass in Hooksett, NH. This single-ended Sterling Streamliner was obviously there a while before I got to take this shot. There was almost nothing left of it. I photographed it on December 5, 1981. It lasted a few more years but was eventually demolished. 

Kingsley’s Diner – Mansfield, Mass.

This small Worcester Lunch Car was rotting away in someones back yard when I shot this in August of 1981. Probably long-gone by now.

“Closed” Diner – Webster, Mass.

This is another old Worcester Car that was demolished not long after I shot this photo. I believe the building behind it (kitchen?) still exists but there is another small building where the diner is that was operating as a barbershop. This was right near the Webster – Dudley town line. Barry Henley informed me this was possibly called Ben’s Diner when it operated.

Gateway Diner – Phillipsburg, NJ

On my way back from Harrisburg, PA in early 1981, I was travelling along Rte. 22. Right after you crossed the state line from Easton, PA to Phillipsburg, NJ, this was on the west side of the road. I took this shot from the median strip. This diner was one of the first transported to England (circa 1982). It remained in storage for years there but is now in the Netherlands after operating for a short time in Germany. See Roadside Online… http://www.roadsideonline.com/component/content/article/57-diner-finder-updates/6652-gateway-diner-moves-to-the-netherlands

Topper’s Diner – Dalton, PA

This diner actually operated somewhere nearby to this location before it was moved here. I do not know what happened, it was set-up on a foundation but the installation was never completed for whatever reasons. It was a good-sized diner that had a large kitchen (factory-built) as well as a large addition behind that section. I shot this July 16, 1984. A very late model O’Mahony diner.

Mac’s Diner – Boston, Mass.

Here is one wreck of a diner! My friend Becky Haletky said this old Worcester Lunch Car was actually in operation not long before I shot this in early 1981. Hard to believe! This was located on Columbus Avenue in the South End section of Boston, just off Massachusetts Avenue.

Midway Diner – Shrewsbury, Mass.

This was a “double-diner” made up of Worcester Lunch Car No. 636 on the left and Worcester Lunch Car No. 666 on the far right. No. 636 was originally Park’s Diner in Worcester and No. 666 was McDermott’s (Al Mac?) Warren Diner in Warren, RI first. I believe 666 had a fire and Worcester Lunch Car brought it back to the factory and fixed it back up to become a diningroom to 636 when it was moved from Worcester to Shrewsbury. These diners were separated within a couple of years of when I took this photo in 1981. 636 is currently in Vermont and 666 is in Andover, Mass. They are both in private hands and not operating.

(I’m not sure about this one) Diner? – Liverpool, PA

On a road trip down Rte. 11 (from Scranton to Harrisburg, PA) in March of 1990, we came across this little building. With its rounded corner posts and metal window frames, not to mention its oversized (almost cove style) overhang, I had to believe this was built by a diner manufacturer. Do not know anything about this other than it was filled with trash and other junk.

Monarch Diner – North Berwick, Maine

This was the former Monarch Diner that operated in Dover, NH. It was part of the chain run by the DeCola brothers based in Waltham, Mass. This diner was moved out of Dover to downtown North Berwick where it operated for a number of years under different owners (& different names) before being put into storage here, It currently is in another storage yard in Salisbury, Mass. (where the Miss Newport/Miss Mendon was being stored).

Depot Diner – Booth Bay, Maine

This little Worcester Lunch Car had originally operated in downtown Booth Bay prior to being moved to the Booth Bay Narrow Gauge Railroad site where it operated as a concession stand. In fact I knew of this diner’s existence by viewing an old slide that Dick Gutman had shot when it was still operating. Denise and I were spending a weekend in Booth Bay in 1992 when I tried to see if I could locate it. I realized the likely spot was the Narrow Gauge Railroad. When we went in we saw a small building that said it was the Depot Diner but it was built on-site. So I thought the diner was gone. We made it up to the back of the place where they had a large building housing a vintage car collection. I spoke with the older gentleman who was manning the info desk there and mentioned the old diner. He confirmed that the small building out front had replaced the diner. I asked if it was torn down and he said… oh no, they dragged it up into the woods adjacent to where we were and pointed in the direction of where it was. I ran back to my car and grabbed my camera and trekked into the woods to take some photos.

Glenwood Diner – Auburn, Mass.

This monitor-roofed Worcester Lunch Car was located at the Auburn – Worcester town line on Rte. 12. It was previously located on Rte. 20 in Shrewsbury. The Edgemere Diner took its place there. I photographed it on September 26, 1981 and by sometime in 1982, it was gone.

Abandoned Silk City diner – Berlin, NY

This was located in a field off Rte. 22 in Berlin, NY. I photographed it a couple of times, the first being on July 20, 1983. As far as I know, it was still there in 1992.

Miss Jersey City Diner – Jersey City, NJ

This was closed and vandalized across from a large public housing project in Jersey City, photo was taken November, 1984. It is a rare model Silk City diner. I know of only 2 others, the West Shore Diner in Lemoyne, PA and another diner that operated as Gordy’s Diner in Casselton, ND. (Gordy’s is currently in storage somewhere in Montana). I assume the Miss Jersey City has gone to “Diner Heaven”.

Kenny’s Diner – Haverhill, Mass.

This Worcester Lunch Car has been closed more than it has been open since the early 1980’s. I first photographed it in 1981. It has operated breifly as Alley Oop’s Diner in the mid-to-late 1980’s and as the Lindsay Rose Diner in the early 1990’s.

Bob’s Diner – Ashland, Mass.

Bob’s Diner had operated in  East Bridgewater, Mass. from 1933 (original name – Brady’s Diner) until 1978 when it was moved to this storage site in Ashland. It was rehabbed in the late 1980’s by Tim Hanna of Ken’s Steak House. He operated it for a couple of years as Timmy’s Diner. Currently in storage. Worcester Lunch Car No. 711.

Hodgins Diner – York Beach, Maine

This was one of the oldest Worcester Lunch Cars in existence according to Richard Gutman’s “Worcester Lunch Car Company” book. It basically rotted away. Luckily, Dave Waller salvaged some key pieces from this before it totally collapsed. In all my years going up to York, I never recall this open for business.

Ray’s Diner – Fitchburg, Mass.

This 1950’s vintage Fodero diner was sitting in a farmyard when I photographed it on August 4, 1994. It formerly operated at a site on River Street in Fitchburg. I was told it had become either a lounge or nightclub, (hence, the remnants of black paint on the stainless steel skin) before being moved here sometime in the 1960’s. There was little or no back wall or interior and it was being used to store lumber and various junk.

Steve’s Diner – Clinton, Mass.

This old Worcester Lunch Car  had the remnants of 2 signs on the roof. The one on the top layer said Steve’s Diner and the bottom layer said Turini’s Diner. I believe Lou Turini of Lou’s Diner (also of Clinton) had operated out of this diner before moving to the current one that has his name. This photo was also shot in 1981 and the diner was gone within a couple of years. A small park is now on this location.

Vree’s Sterling Diner – Saugus, MA

This was a modified Sterling Diner (non-streamlined) that was located on the Lynn Marsh Road (Rte. 107) near the Lynn / Saugus townline. It had larger windows installed sometime in the 1960’s and the end-roof overhangs were chopped off. The addition on the right had more counter seating as well as booth service. It had not been open for business since 1970 or so. This photo was shot within a year of its demolition (2004). If you look at the 3 windows on the extreme left, you can see that they are pretty well distorted due to walls bowing out causing the roof to collapse.