For the last 53 years, at all hours of the day and night, those in and around Hell's Kitchen have stopped into Market Diner on the corner of 43rd Street and 11th Avenue for a quick meal, a sweet snack, or a cup of coffee.
We ruined Charles Nelson and Harry Hawn's Thursday when we informed them their diner of choice for the last couple of decades would soon close because its landlord plans to build a high-rise building in its place.
We can blame money for the end of Market Diner. Charging rent for 163 rental units earns a landlord much more than whatever he charges from one small-business tenant. And so, in the future, some say mom-and-pops may vacate Manhattan altogether.
"The moms and pops that were for average, everyday New Yorkers -- those aren't going to exist, at least not in Manhattan, in the hipper, sexier areas of the city, you're going to see some boutique retail but it's catering to a different kind of New Yorker," said Hiten Samtani, the managing editor of The Real Deal. "Not what we grew up with."
Samtani watched the real estate market stomp one famed neighborhood establishment after another.
"It's sad because these are the spaces that sort of made New York New York," Samtani said.
And so this one-story art deco holdout on the floor of a climbing steel jungle of high-rises -- a spot where Frank Sinatra, the Westies gang and guys like Charles Nelson and Harry Hawn all haunted when they needed a hot affordable meal at any hour -- prepares to serve its last customer. It remains open while waiting for the final eviction notice that it knows will come.