Patrons Organize To Save Venerable SoHo Diner
New development in Manhattan is chewing up another neighborhood landmark. The next victim could be the Moondance, a downtown diner that has fed locals and tourists for decades. NY1's Roger filed the following report.
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Like a burger and fries, the Moondance Diner seems to be forever linked to SoHo, but changing times are splitting up the act.
"It's just a heartbreaker,” said one Moondance Diner customer.
"It's just a really good place for the neighborhood to gather," said another.
The restaurant has been a good place to gather for 70 years; not only in real life, but also in movies like “Spiderman,” television shows like “Sex in the City” and “Friends”. Even the late creator of Broadway's “Rent,” Jonathan Larson, worked here.
But now a developer wants to build condos on the site and has no room on the plate for the venerable eatery. Sunis Sharma, who has owned the place for nearly 10 years, has a plan -- to move it.
"I'm trying to save the diner, that's the only thing,” said Sharma. “I need a place to put it. I am still looking around the neighborhood everywhere, find a nice spot."
Sharma is limiting his search to the city. He has no desire to take it somewhere else, like the owners of the Munson Diner on 11th Avenue did a few years back, moving their restaurant upstate to Sullivan County. Sharma has a group of eager preservationists who want to help save the diner. After all, the free standing chrome-colored diners of the past are a dying breed in this town.
"They're apparently an endangered species, so it is very significant to keep a bit of what we have left,” said Michael Pearlman, a preservationist.
"It's not that hard to keep it together and move it, so that's not the hardest part,” said another preservationist, Kyle Supley. “[What’s hard is] the real estate.”
Though moving the diner alone could cost upwards of $100,000.
For many people, the Moondance diner isn't just a place to grab something to eat, but it's also a second home.
"There is always a good energy here, beautiful light, the food,” said customer Ruth Litoff. “It just feels like home."
In an effort to help save the diner, supporters are holding a fundraiser on Thursday, May 3rd. For information on the event call 212-925-0272, or e mail email@example.com
Moondance patrons still have hope, but in the meantime, New Yorkers may want to grab a last look at the place if they are in the neighborhood. Sharma says if he can't move the diner, it will close on May 15th.