Michael Perlman requests help for NYC’s Empire Diner

Empire Diner, photo early 1980’s by Larry Cultrera

Michael Perlman who was instrumental in helping to save 2 other New York City diners (the Moondance Diner and the Cheyenne Diner) from destruction is now on a new crusade to keep the Empire Diner intact. The former operators lost their lease recently and the new operators are planning to make changes (including the name).

LAC – If they do make changes, I hope it is just operational and not physical as I personally do not want to see this iconic diner altered.  Anyway here is the press release Michael has put out to various interested parties……

Hi Everyone, This is very important. Please help…

Under the NYC Landmarks Law, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designated landmark status to the historic Empire Diner, which is a 1946 Art Deco freestanding diner by mastermind Joseph Fodero of the Fodero Dining Car Co). It is of a dying breed, since it is one of the last of 2 highly intact examples in Manhattan, which was once dotted with freestanding diners. The Empire Diner is a marked contributing property to the city’s Historic District. Note the Dept of Buildings’ classification for 210 10th Ave as L for Landmark: http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/PropertyProfileOverviewServlet?boro=1&houseno=210&street=10th+ave&requestid=0&s=A03C41B885

HOW YOU CAN HELP: As many people as possible need to call the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s investigation unit and main phone number, and ask why the Empire State Building model was removed from the top corner of the landmarked facade of the Empire Diner at 210 10th Ave, and also mention that the new operators likely plan on changing the famed name (according to many press clips), which to our knowledge also has protection under the Landmarks Law. E

mpire Diner with ESB model: http://www.flickr.com/photos/professorbop/720225154/  Diner with ESB gone astray: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanjatiziana/4775179361/  Is the latter photo the ideal of progress? We believe a permit would need to be approved by the Landmarks Commission first, so it is imperative that they know.

1. Call the LPC investigation unit – Diane Simonson at (212) 669-7948
2. Also call the main LPC # for Dir of Research Mary Beth Betts, and make her aware of the ESB removal and diner name endangerment. The interior should also be recommended for Interior Landmark status (facade already has landmark status). Mary Beth Betts is reachable at (212) 669-7700.

Please call, & tell your friends to call as well. Keep Michael Perlman informed of your correspondence with the LPC via unlockthevault@hotmail.com Thank you,
Michael Perlman
Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Chair (Rego Park & Forest Hills) http://regoforestpreservation.blogspot.com/  
Four Borough Preservation Alliance Corp, Queens VP Queens Preservation Council, Bd. of Dir. Central Queens Historical Association, Bd. of Dir. Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, Chair Friends of The RKO Keith’s Flushing Theatre, Member Committee To Save The Forum Diner/Cheyenne Diner/Moondance Diner, Chair
(917) 446-7775

Notes from the Hotline, 10/20/09

New blog  for Culinary Arts Museum

I received this email recently about the newly launched Blog from The Culinary Arts Museum (Richard Gutman is the Director of the Museum).
Here is the text of that email……

Greetings from the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales! 
We’re excited to present you with two new ways we’ll be keeping
you better informed about all the engaging events and exhibits
here at the museum.  We have started a museum blog to bring
you up-to-date information.  Check with us regularly for details
about our upcoming exhibits, book signings, art openings and
activities we offer throughout the year.  In addition to the blog,
we will be sending you a short musEumNEWS letter about once
every two months.  Feel free to send us an email with any questions
or to let us know what you think, and remember to stop by to visit
when you’re nearby! You can get to the blog at……… www.culinaryartsmuseum.blogspot.com

Culinary Arts Museum Blog page


Updated Info on the preservation effort for NJ’s Forum Diner

Forum Diner, Paramus, NJ photo courtesy Michael Perlman

Michael Perlman sent along the latest Press Release on his efforts to save New Jersey’s Forum Diner. Here is the piece…..

Committee To Save The Forum Diner


Effort to Spare “Endangered Species” from Oblivion!

PARAMUS, NJ & NEW YORK (Oct 13, 2009) – A multi-faceted, creative preservation movement is underway by the Committee To Save The Forum Diner, to spare the historic Forum Diner (211 East State Route 4, Paramus, NJ) from demolition, and is calling upon parties of interest to come forward ASAP, and spare this gem from oblivion.  Shortly after the diner’s former owners retired in 2007, Kevin Ormes’ Jeep 17 dealership was slated to rise on premise, but has since fell through. As a result, there are more preservation options than before, but time is of the essence for a diner attributed with a “series of firsts.” Reopening and restoring the Forum Diner to its former glory would become a dream come true to devoted fans, on the basis of memories made within its walls and its unique architectural style for a diner. It merits a new lease on life, so future generations can have a chance too.
(thanks to an agreement with Kevin Ormes):

1. Purchasing the Forum Diner structure at the low cost of $15,000 ($1K per sq ft), in which the buyer would be responsible for rigging costs. All or most of the diner’s 7 sections can be transported elsewhere, and saved along the lines of Preservationist Michael Perlman’s other projects, NYC’s Cheyenne Diner transported to AL in Oct 2009 & NYC’s Moondance Diner to WY in Aug 2007. Rigger Mel Brandt of M&M Rigging, transported over 50 diners countrywide, & took dimensions of the Forum Diner. Also, a deal can be worked out with Al Suwara, who is willing to accommodate anyone seeking land to move the Forum Diner to. He owns a 15 acre property in Cairo, NY with an 800 sq ft frontage on Route 23, a heavily-trafficked main road that leads to Ski Windham and Catskill Park. 

2. The Forum Diner at its current property can be purchased for $3.9 million. The diner has a history of great business, which is marked by its convenient location on a major intersection with a school and shops nearby. 
3. The Forum Diner can be leased at $55,000/month.

**For the above options, it is very likely that grants and tax
credits are available to help finance future historically-sensitive
restoration & renovation work, through the State & National Register
of Historic Places.

Forum Diner History:    The Forum Diner is an architectural gem, and rare for 60s style architecture. It was prefabricated by the Fodero Dining Car Co, and was announced that “money was no object” when it came down to detail, shortly after it first opened. Joseph Fodero of Bloomfield, NJ was the mastermind of diner manufacturing (also manufacturing NYC’s famed Empire Diner). The Yannitsadis brothers were the original owners of the Forum Diner. The exterior borrows from the Environmental style, and features stainless steel, wrap-around windows, groovy gold frame doors, corner entryway with stone & colored mansard roof, & decorative ornamentation gracing the top. The interior is elegant, featuring fine Greek wood fluted columns & moldings and coffered wooden-paneled walls (rare for a diner), wood ornamentation, recessed areas for chandeliers, etched mirrors with regal logos, stone, curtains, counter & stools with backrests, kitchen out back, terrazzo tiles and wave-patterned terrazzo distinguishing circular wooden booth areas. Pat Fodero, son of Joseph Fodero, came up with the idea of circular booths to seat more patrons per table, and it was first popularized at the Forum Diner. It became the norm to build large to boost business. The interior portrays the Colonial style. 

Forum Diner Photos:  http://www.flickr.com/gp/8095451@N08/okNvP5  (Can be enlarged by clicking on each photo and then “all sizes” to view small, medium, or large. Some photos appear to be slightly larger, since they were taken with a super wide-angle lens)   

Review of Specifications
Address: 211 Route 4 East, Paramus, NJ
Circa 15,000 square feet 
10 ft ceilings
Historic/Rare architectural features
Lot size: 2.05
Heat: gas
Parking: 200 spaces
Seats: 220
Property with diner sale price: $3.9 million 
Leasing: $55,000/month
Purchasing the structure only: $15,000 one-time fee
      Perlman explains: “Diners are amongst the ‘ultimate public institutions’ which harbor countless memories and bridge the generations. During the 30’s – 60’s eras, freestanding diners numerously dotted the tri-state area, and brought together individuals of various occupations in a cozy & striking ambiance. Today, they are becoming an endangered species at an alarming rate, and their loss is often most heartfelt. It is essential to preserve & reuse all remaining classic freestanding diners. Despite time constraints, we are committed to doing all we can for a noble cause.” The Committee’s consensus is that “A steady market for such nostalgic gems, coupled by the fact that they were manufactured to move; can ensure a victory for the Forum Diner.”

Parties of interest can contact Committee To Save The Forum Diner
Chairman Michael Perlman at unlockthevault@hotmail.com &
(917) 446-7775, and all information will be relayed to the
property owner.