We recently posted about the effects of gentrification in Chelsea. Symptoms include increased rent, higher cost of living, and the disappearance of small businesses such as laundromats, bodegas and mom-and-pop stores.
Gothamist is reporting the loss of the iconic Market Diner in Hell’s Kitchen. The diner dates back to 1962 and has earned its status as a local landmark for its delicious, unpretentious food and for its 60’s-era décor and vibe. It was a destination for many, and a cherished routine for some. Now, after over 50 years of egg sandwiches, fresh-squeezed juice, flapjacks and cheeseburgers, Market Diner will close its doors forever on Nov. 1.
The reason? Luxury apartments.
A 13-story, mixed-use building will take its place. Moinian Group, who built the apartment buildings at nearby 605 West 42nd St, is the developer. The building will house high-end apartments from the second floor up; the ground floor will be retail space.
Jeremiah Moss, whose blog documents the “extinction” of New York City’s character-rich establishments, calls it “the Hudson Yards Effect.”
“[Market Diner] is not biting the dust because business is bad, or because it’s not a viable business,” he insists. “It’s dying because of development…It’s dying because Joseph Moinian’s Moinian Group bought the property and evicted the diner so they can put up a luxury tower.”
Is this sort of “luxe-ification” really the Hudson Yards Effect?
In the rapidly-changing landscape that is Hudson Yards, smaller businesses sometimes do come out on top: Hudson Yardies recently wrote that Related Companies signed Think Coffee to occupy space in the Abington House, rather than relying on a major international chain such as Starbucks.
Yet in either case, the landlords who made these decisions were informed by an anticipation of change in the neighborhood. A change in scale, a change in purchasing power, a change in customer preferences—whether perceived or real.
And that should prompt us to take a long, hard look at ourselves.
We’ve reached out to Councilman Corey Johnson’s office for his comments on the specific initiatives his office is working on to address these concerns. We hope to provide his views here soon.