November 10th thru 11th, 1984 – Staten Island, New York & New Jersey Roadtrip

Here is another blast from the past, a road-trip from late in 1984 that encompassed parts of Staten Island, New York City, New Jersey and upstate New York. It seems the reason for this trip other than shooting photos of some diners was to get to the opening day of an exhibit of John Baeder paintings at the OK Harris Gallery in Soho.  According to my Log Book, that Saturday was November 10th and it looks like Steve Repucci, Dave Hebb and myself got into New York City fairly early and had some time to kill, so we grabbed the Staten Island Ferry to check out that most southern borough of NYC. I believe Dave had already done some exploring on his own there previously so he knew the lay of the land somewhat. The first diner we visited was the Victory Diner on Richmond Rd. not too far from the ferry dock. Victory-1
Victory Diner, Richmond Rd., Staten Island.
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

Victory-2
Victory Diner, Richmond Rd., Staten Island.
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

Here is an aside about this post… what inspired me to do this particular post is the news that the Victory Diner which had been moved from the location seen here a number of years ago recently made the news again! That move happened in fact back in 2007 and I wrote about it in the last installment of the former hard-copy version of Diner Hotline that appeared in  the Fall 2007 edition of the SCA (Society for Commercial Archeology) Journal magazine.

The last owners were retiring and the spot where the diner was located was slated for redevelopment. This meant the diner was slated for a possible demolition. A group of preservationists stepped in before this could happen and had the diner relocated to the Ocean Breeze waterfornt, specifically, Midland Beach. Since the move in 2007, the diner has remained in storage behind a chain link fence. This fence only partially protected it but it has been reported that the diner has received some vandalism over the last 5 years.  But to top the whole thing off, the October 29th Super Storm Sandy virtually destroyed what was left of the diner, basically leaving the steel frame and roof.  It seems the above info was incorrect when a report surfaced not too long after I wrote this stating that the diner had been stripped and the materials removed were placed in a storage trailer on the site in anticipation of restoration….. LAC

Here is a photo from the (Dec. 4, 2012) Staten Island Advance by Jan Somma-Hammel showing what is left of the diner…….

Victory_Jan-Somma-Hammel

Now back to 1984……. the next diner we saw on Staten Island was Joe’s Diner. At least that is what I have in the Log Book. I am not sure how we even knew what the name was for this place as it looked like it was not in operation anymore. It seemed to be well cared for as my photos will show and a current Google street view of the address shows the place pretty much still looks the same now as it did back then.

Joe's-Diner_Staten-Island-1
Joe’s Diner at 84 Lincoln Ave. on Staten Island.
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

Joe's-Diner_Staten-Island-3
Joe’s Diner at 84 Lincoln Ave. on Staten Island.
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

I am not sure who manufactured this diner but it looks interesting for sure!

The next diner must have been a drive-by as I only shot one photo of it. In fact I did not even have it officially in my Log Book until I was creating the data base a number of years ago. I also did not have a name or an address for the place until I scanned the slide a week ago for this blog post. There is a sign for the diner in the shot but it was hard to read the name. So I looked at the adjacent business….. Grant Tailors and did another Google search. This turned up an address. The address turned out to be 140 New Dorp Lane and from that I was able to deduce that the name of the diner was the Lane Diner!  By the way Grant Tailors is closed and out of business.

Lane-Diner
Lane Diner, 140 New Dorp Lane on Staten Island.
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

This place looks to be a modern stainless steel diner that was covered over – “Mediteraneanized”, so to speak. The dimensions are certainly right. The diner is still there and operating as a Los Lobos Mexican Restaurant as of 2012.

The next diner was the last stop on Staten Island before getting back to John Baeder’s exhibit at OK Harris was one diner Dave Hebb recalled for sure from an earlier roadtrip. This was an old 1920’s vintage barrel-roof diner known as Whoopsie’s Diner located on Jennett Ave. on Staten Island. It was closed and for sale, besides being in a little bit of rough shape but still usable. The building itself was modified at an earlier time, it seems someone decided to change the location of the entrance by “slashing” the corner of the diner.

Whoopsie's-1
Exterior shot of Whoopsie’s Diner, Staten Island.
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

Whoopsie's-3
Exterior shot of Whoopsie’s Diner, Staten Island.
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

Whoopsie's-4
Interior shot of Whoopsie’s Diner, Staten Island.
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

We got back to the city prior to John’s exhibit opening and I finally got to take a couple of shots of the Moondance Diner around the corner from OK Harris. I had seen this diner on earlier trips when it was operating as the Tunnel Diner, but never documented it with photos. In the intervening years it had been reopened…. resurrected as the upscale Moondance Diner.

Moondance-2
Moondance Diner, 6th Ave., Manhattan
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

Moondance-3
Moondance Diner, 6th Ave., Manhattan
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

Here is a sort of crappy shot of John Baeder’s painting of the Comet Diner (Hartford, CT) at the OK Harris Gallery. It was based on a slide I shot for John back then.

Baeder_Comet

Shot of a John Baeder painting of the Comet Diner at OK Harris Gallery
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

After visiting with John and checking out the exhibit, we left with our ultimate destination being New Jersey. On the way out we saw a former White Tower Restaurant somewhere in lower Manhattan (I did not document the location unfortunately).

former-White-Tower_NYC
former White Tower Restaurant in lower Manhattan
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

After going thru the tunnel over to New Jersey, we somehow made it over to Springfield, NJ and the Lido Diner on Route 22, (in my opinion one of the most scary sections of highway anywhere)! The Lido Diner on the other hand was a great 1960 vintage Paramount diner that has since been demolished for a bland, boxy 7-Eleven convenience store. I had previously documented this one on one of my first trips coming home from Harrisburg, PA by way of New Jersey.

Lido-Diner-3
The Lido Diner on Rte. 22 in Springfield, NJ
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

Lido-Diner-4
The Lido Diner on Rte. 22 in Springfield, NJ
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

The Bendix Diner in Hasbrouck Heights was our last stop for the day, this time for dinner. I had been there before so I did not need to log it but I did try 3 nighttime shots… here is one of them.

Bendix-@-nite-3
The Bendix Diner at night…. Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
November 10, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

The next morning we checked out 3 New Jersey diners for photos. The first was the Arena Diner, a large Kullman circa 1940’s vintage was on the U.S. Rte. 1 truck route and was most certainly a truck stop. Closed on Sundays, this one was rough around the edges but still in operation.

Arena-Diner-4
Arena Diner, U.S. Routes 1 and 9 – South Kearny, NJ
November 11, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

Arena-Diner-2
Arena Diner, U.S. Routes 1 and 9 – South Kearny, NJ
November 11, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

After South Kearny we ran across a very old Silk City diner similar to the West Shore Diner in Lemoyne, PA. This was the Miss Jersey City Diner farther up U.S. Routes 1 & 9 in Jersey City. This place was closed and pretty much derelict…. not long for this world!

miss-jersey-1
Miss Jersey City Diner, Jersey City, NJ
November 11, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

miss-jersey-2
Miss Jersey City Diner, Jersey City, NJ
November 11, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

The next place we found was a complete rarity for the Garden State, a Sterling Dinette located at Newark Ave. and 6th St. in Jersey City. This is possibly the only known example of a Sterling diner in New Jersey!

Dekay's-Diner-2
Dekay’s Diner, Jersey City, NJ
November 11, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

Dekay's-Diner-3
Dekay’s Diner, Jersey City, NJ
November 11, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

A current Google street view shows an empty lot where this place used to be!

The last diner we documented for this road-trip was in North White Plains, NY, just off Route 22 near the Post Office. It was appropriately operating as the Off Broadway Diner (Rte. 22 is called Broadway here). Not sure who built this one, but my guess would be Kullman. It may also be a renovated model, who knows for sure but I believe the place is gone now.

Off-Broadway-Diner-3
Off Broadway Diner, North White Plains, NY
November 11, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

Off-Broadway-Diner-2
Off Broadway Diner, North White Plains, NY
November 11, 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

Memorial Day roadtrip – 1982

1982 was a pivotal year in my life, some really good things along with one huge event. That huge event happened in January of that year when my dad Sam died suddenly at the young age of 59 (the age I currently am now). In retrospect I must have been unconsciously trying to get things going in a positive direction after my dad’s passing.

So in February of 1982, I  started a temp job at Megapulse Corp. in Bedford, Mass. (a job that would become a permanent position and last 5 years). This was to this day one of the best jobs I have had due in part to the lasting friendships I had made there. Even after a layoff in 1987, I kept my bridges intact with Megapulse which eventually lead to another stint with the company from 1991 to 1995.

Also in that month I contacted John Baeder for the very first time as well as helped my good friend and roadtrip buddy Steve Repucci move back to Boston from a year and a half sojourn in Harrisburg, PA. In fact, it was on that trip to move Steve back that I located the “Abandoned Luncheonette” and was able to document it before it was ultimately destroyed within the next 2 years. Another landmark event happened early in 1982 when the movie “Diner” came out. I had been waiting to see what this movie was about and was certainly not disappointed. I made a mental note about the possibility of checking out Baltimore in the near future after seeing this movie.

The actual next roadtrip Steve and I went on was in March of 1982 (to Harrisburg again) where as I recall we actually took a little detour to Sussex, NJ to have breakfast at Prouts Diner, a 1940-ish Silk City diner that I had known thru a painting that John Baeder had done previously. When we got there I noticed there wasn’t any signage on the diner (that I recalled from John’s painting). I was kind of disappointed but took a couple of photos anyway. I don’t recall too much else from the March roadtrip, guess I’ll need to check the logbook when I have time.

Moving on to May, another great thing happened, my niece Katie was born on the 17th of that month, 2 years from the day that her parents (my brother Steve and sister-in-law Ann) were married. Two weeks later on May 29, 1982, Steve Repucci and I are back on the road to Harrisburg again. Just like the previous time we stopped at Prouts Diner for breakfast, where I was happy to see the signage back up after a remodeling had occurred to the building behind the diner. This remodeling had entailed installing new vinyl siding on the house as well as new roofing. This included a new roof structure that sloped down from the house and covered the raised section of the “monitor” roof of the diner. That is why the sign was removed temporarily!


Prouts Diner, Sussex, NJ  –  May 29, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Prouts Diner, Sussex, NJ  –  May 29, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After breakfast at Prouts, we made it to Stroudsburg where I  photographed the Colonial Diner. I had seen the Colonial Diner on previous trips thru Stroudsburg and finally decided to document it. This diner it turns out was a streamlined Paramount model  not too different from Rosie’s Diner (of Bounty Paper Towel commercial fame). Unfortunately the Colonial had previously acquired a stone facade over its stainless steel exterior as well as an orange mansard roof. This remodeling was to be reversed a few years later.  I also found out that there was an addition built on to the diner by Fodero Diners. The workmanship on the addition matched exactly to what Paramount had originally done when the diner was first built.


Colonial Diner, Stroudsburg, PA  – May 29, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Colonial Diner, Stroudsburg, PA  – May 29, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

There were no other diners placed in the log book for the remainder of that day or the next after getting to Harrisburg. So on Monday morning, May 31, 1982, we started back home from Harrisburg. But instead of heading northeast we went southeast to Baltimore to see if we could find the diner from the movie “Diner”.

We got down to Baltimore and went searching for the Fells Point Diner. We found the area but no diner. We must have driven Boston Street for 2 or 3 miles and did not find it. We finally stopped and asked a couple of guys and they pointed us back from where we had come. They said the diner was not there anymore. We came across the empty lot on the harbor side of Boston Street near the intersection of Hudson Street and South Montford Avenue, that upon closer examination  was recognizable as the place where the diner was located for the movie.


The lot on Boston Street in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore
where the diner was located for the movie “Diner”
May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


This building was in at least 2 or 3 scenes in the movie as it was diagonally across the street from where the diner was located.
May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

What we later found out is that the diner was only there for the shooting of the movie. Barry Levinsion’s production company actually leased the diner (a used 1950’s Mountain View diner) from Paramount Modular Concepts (formerly Paramount Diners) of Oakland, NJ. They had the diner transported from New Jersey to the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore. When filming was complete the diner ended up back at the Paramount lot in Oakland, NJ. So needless to say we did not have breakfast at the Fells Point Diner the morning of May 31, 1982, (ironically, that diner made it back to Baltimore a year or so later and we did finally eat there).

So, having figured out that our goal for breakfast was not attainable, we started driving north on Route 40 out of Baltimore. We came across the Double-T Diner in Rosedale, MD, a diner I had known about thru a postcard I had in the collection.


Double -T Diner sign, Rosedale, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Double -T Diner, Rosedale, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Double -T Diner, Rosedale, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After breakfast at the Double-T, we proceeded north on Route 40 and saw the closed Magnolia Diner in Joppa, MD.


Magnolia Diner, Joppa, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Magnolia Diner, Joppa, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Before we left Maryland we found the fantastically preserved New Ideal Diner in Aberdeen.


The New Ideal Diner, Aberdeen, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


The New Ideal Diner, Aberdeen, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After leaving Maryland we came across this diner located near Hares Corners and State Road, Delaware (hard to tell which town it was actually in). It was known as the Grecian Diner at this point in time and much later, my friend Spencer Stewart found out it was once part of the Hollywood Diner chain of Delaware.


Grecian Diner, State Road, DE – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Grecian Diner, State Road, DE – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

I became much more intimate with this diner years later when it was moved to Somerville, Mass., 2 and a half miles from where I was living in Medford at the time. It has been operating as Kelly’s Diner in the Ball Square neighborhood of Somerville since 1995.

After Delaware we left Route 40 and ended up on Route 130 where we saw the Deepwater Diner in Penns Grove, NJ


Deepwater Diner, Penns Grove, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Deepwater Diner, Penns Grove, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

The Deepwater Diner remained relatively untouched until recently when it was horrendously remodeled by the current owners. No accounting for taste.

Not far up the road we came across the recently closed Joe’s No. 2 Diner in Verga, NJ, a 1950’s Fodero diner. This was another diner I had a postcard of in my collection prior to seeing it.


Joe’s No. 2 Diner, Verga, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Joe’s No. 2 Diner, Verga, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Continuing north on Route 130, we made it to Burlington and saw yet another diner I had a postcard of, the Burlington Diner.


Burlington Diner, Burlington, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Burlington Diner, Burlington, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

We also saw Irene’s Windsor Diner on Route 130, a 1939 or 40 vintage Jerry O’Mahony diner. This had previously been the Melrose Diner in Philadelphia prior to being replaced by a large custom-built Paramount diner in the mid-1950’s.


Irene’s Windsor Diner, Windsor, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Irene’s Windsor Diner, Windsor, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

We then got off of Route 130 and made it over to Hightstown to see the Hightstown Diner….


Hightstown Diner, Hightstown, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Hightstown Diner, Hightstown, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After Hightstown we hightailed it up U.S. Rte. 1 to Route 46 to check out Rosie’s Farmland Diner in Little Ferry, NJ. Rosie’s originally was named the Silver Dollar Diner but took on the newer name after it became famous for being the backdrop  in the series of Bounty Paper Towel commercials featuring actress Nancy Walker as Rosie the waitress who was always cleaning up after her messy customers with “the quicker picker upper”.  The “Farmland” part of the name was eventually dropped and it became Rosie’s Diner. Business was pretty slow that afternoon (it was a holiday I suppose) when we stopped in.


Rosie’s Farmland Diner, Little Ferry, NJ
May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Rosie’s Farmland Diner, Little Ferry, NJ
May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

I called John Baeder on the payphone from Rosie’s as he was in New York City doing a marathon rewrite for his soon to be published book, “Gas, Food, and Lodging” that weekend and I was hoping to finally meet him face to face.

He told me on the phone that he was really busy with the rewrite but that he may be able to break away and that I should call him when we had crossed the river and made it into the city. So off we went thru the Holland Tunnel and ended up in lower Manhattan where I photographed the Square Diner on Leonard Street.


The Square Diner, New York City – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


The Square Diner, New York City – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

We then drove uptown to see the former Kitchenette Diner that operated for years in East Cambridge, Mass. It had been moved from Cambridge to the Allston section of Boston by a man named Tony Bosco. Bosco located it next door to his “House” Restaurant and did a slight sprucing up of the diner and sold ice cream from it for a short period of time. He called it the “Diner on Wheels”, as it still had its original wagon wheel attached. Ironically, the diner got a lot of attention when he moved it which was noticed by the producers of the locally filmed movie “The Brinks Job”. They paid Bosco some decent money to have the diner moved to a vacant lot in Reading, Mass. where they set it up for one scene in the movie.

After the diner’s short stay in Allston, Bosco moved it to New York City which is where I saw it again on this Memorial Day in 1982.


The Diner on Wheels, New York City – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


The Diner on Wheels, New York City – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

I called John Baeder on the phone when we got to the old Kitchenette and he did manage to Cab it over to the diner where I showed him my diner photo albums I had with me. We had a very memorable meeting and to top it off, we gave him a ride back to where he was doing the rewrite for the book. Needless to say this topped off the roadtrip weekend we had and made it back to Massachusetts that evening.