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Thread: James New York - new hotel at Grand Street @ Sixth Ave - by Perkins Eastman

  1. #1

    Default James New York - new hotel at Grand Street @ Sixth Ave - by Perkins Eastman


    NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 30, 2007) – A fundraiser to save the historic Moondance Diner, will be held on Thurs, May 3, 2007, from 6 PM to 9 PM at artist Ruth Litoff’s studio at 80 Varick Street, #9E (one block west of Moondance). Diner owner Sunis Sharma, concerned patrons, artists, preservationists, & community groups, are coming together, as Ms. Litoff will auction off her artwork. We hope to spare the culturally & architecturally significant Moondance from demolition, since it is slated to be replaced with a high-rise condo. Possibly on May 15th, the diner will close its doors forever. Therefore, it is urgent to raise sufficient funding to purchase & transport the diner to another site within the 5 boroughs. Freestanding diners were erected on site in one piece, and manufactured to move.

    The “1933” Moondance Diner, located at 80 6th Ave in SoHo, is a highlight in terms of its diverse patronage including celebs, and the motion picture, sitcom, & Broadway world (Spiderman, Friends, Igby, Sex in the City, etc). This is also where Jonathan Larson was employed for a decade prior to producing RENT. This railway car-inspired diner, formerly called the Holland Tunnel Diner, retains several original &/or distinctive elements; chrome detailing, a barrel roof ceiling, wrap-around windows, counter & stools, as well as a retro revolving moon sign.

    During the 40's & 50's eras, freestanding diners numerously dotted the 5 boroughs, and brought together individuals of various occupations in a cozy, personable, & striking ambiance. Today, they are becoming an endangered species at an alarming rate, but the Moondance Diner can be salvaged. Please join us in solidarity to celebrate nearly 75 years of the Moondance’s diverse history, with hors d’oerves, cocktails, & music, and an art auction that will be integral in determining its fate.

    Moondance Diner visuals: (Courtesy of Michael Perlman)

    **To start bidding on Ruth Litoff’s artwork prior to & post May 3rd, please visit:


    Ruth Litoff, Renowned Artist
    (212) 925-0272

    Sunis Sharma, Moondance Owner
    (212) 226-1191 & (212) 464-8060

    Michael Perlman, Preservationist
    (917) 446-7775

    Please assist us by forwarding the above press release to potential parties of interest, and attending the fundraiser or bidding online. Thank you!

    Some recent press coverage is as follows:




  2. #2
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    The Ultimate Moveable Feast

    James Estrin/The New York Times
    Meals on wheels? The owner of the Moondance Diner hopes to achieve just that.

    New York Times

    April 29, 2007


    The Moondance Diner, which opened in the 1930s, sits at the corner of Grand Street and the Avenue of the Americas, technically a SoHo address. But in spirit, the diner belongs to the grittier, motor age New York that built the Holland Tunnel, whose traffic roars nearby.

    The Moondance is a chromed, railcar-style place, topped by a cheddar-colored crescent moon and decorated with sequins the size of silver dollars. “EAT,” a 70-year-old fluorescent sign blinks in back.

    The diner has appeared in the television series “Friends” and in the 2002 movie “Spider-man.” Jonathan Larson, the creator of the musical “Rent,” was a waiter there for a decade.

    But SoHo is creeping westward; this year, the diner’s landlord, Corey Shanus, made known his plans to build a nine-story condominium on the site. In response, the diner’s fans are considering an option unavailable to most preservationists: pick the thing up and move it.

    Like many old diners, the Moondance was built elsewhere and hauled here in one piece on a trailer. With comparative ease, it could be dragged somewhere else.

    “I could pop it up tomorrow,” Sunny Sharma, the beefy, jocular owner of the business, said the other day, kicking the building’s base. “I could put a car jack under this diner and run.”

    He was exaggerating, of course. Moving a diner can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Nonetheless, Mr. Sharma would like to buy the structure and operate it elsewhere in the city. The total tab, he said, including a new lease, would easily exceed $100,000.

    To help him raise some of that money, an artist and longtime customer named Ruth Litoff plans to hold an art auction in her studio on Thursday.

    Even if Mr. Sharma cannot buy the diner, he would like to see someone else do so. The building is listed on the “for sale” page of the American Diner Museum’s Web site and has already attracted three interested buyers.

    “A lot of people love this place,” Mr. Sharma said. “Humans die. But this material, we still can save it.”

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  3. #3


    Good spot for a bank.

  4. #4


    I respect your opinion. However, in my view, this building is filthy and disgusting. The Drake, the 56th Street townhouses, etc. should have been saved -- not this. Only in NY are regal buildings razed without notice, and firestorms are generated over the demolition of filthy, mundane structures.
    Last edited by londonlawyer; April 30th, 2007 at 11:11 AM.

  5. #5


    This building is horrible and belongs on a roadside in Jersey. I can't think of a less approporate location for a roadside diner. Bring on the bulldozers! Anything (short of a gas station or parking lot) would be more appropriate and environmentally sound.

    If people really love this building so much, then move it somewhere else. I really don't understand the appeal. There are about dozen such diners within a two mile radius of my Brooklyn apartment. They all serve horrible food.

  6. #6

    Default Re:

    I am in support of razing it and building a condo here. Who is saying no to advancement here?
    Last edited by chan_2001; April 30th, 2007 at 03:23 PM.

  7. #7
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Food at Moondance is NOT horrible (unlike its counterparts in Queens) ...

  8. #8

    Default Additional opinions on the Moondance...

    I respect your opinions, but why not salvage and relocate the Moondance Diner, "a piece of art," especially when there are so few diners left? Let the developer build a condo, but please realize that there are a number of patrons and historians who wish to see it moved, so it can gain a new lease on life. This would be a win-win situation for all.

    - Michael

    P.S. As a side note, the only diner that is landmarked in NYC is the Empire Diner. We're not looking into landmarking for the Moondance at this time. Evidently, there are other ways of advocating for its preservation.

  9. #9

    Default Moondance saved! Uh, sort of...

    It's coming here to Wyoming, which is good. But it's going to a crap town in the middle of nowhere. Not so good.

    dan c

    <H1>Famed NYC diner is moving to Wyoming


    NEW YORK Like the pioneers of old, the city's landmark Moondance Diner is about to pull up stakes and head west to Wyoming. Not to Sundance -- that would be too poetic -- but to LaBarge, a wide place in the road with only one other restaurant and not even a local grocery store.
    Within a few weeks, the Moondance's stools, counter and tables -- which have stood for some 70-plus years near the Holland Tunnel entrance in lower Manhattan -- will reopen for business in LaBarge, Wyo., pop. 493.
    The Moondance is not the first traditional dining-car style eatery to have faced oblivion. The American Diner Museum, of Providence, R.I., claims to have saved more than 30 from being destroyed.
    But few carry the Moondance's cachet as an after-hours haven where a less than sober celebrity might drink coffee next to the cab driver who brought him there and as a setting for films and sitcoms ranging from "Spider-Man" to "Friends" and "Sex and the City."
    LaBarge residents Vince and Cheryl Pierce found the Moondance for sale on the diner museum's Web site and bought it for $7,500 -- a bargain price that museum founder Daniel Zilka said reflected the urgency to find a buyer quickly to save it from the wrecking ball. The site is marked for a luxury condominium development.
    He said the diner is an important example of American culture and architecture.
    "It's a plain Jane diner, but it has intrinsic value in this age of franchise restaurants," Zilka said. "People in LaBarge will have a chance to experience what a real New York diner is. There is nothing like it in Wyoming."
    The Pierces hope the Moondance will attract business not only from oil and natural gas industry workers in the area but also from tourists traveling between Jackson Hole, 120 miles north, and Green River, 56 miles to the south.
    Cheryl Pierce said she and her husband, who drives water trucks for the nearby oil fields, have wanted for years to own a restaurant, and "we saw an important need for one in LaBarge."
    An experienced camp cook, she said she may take up the spatula herself when the Moondance reopens -- and perhaps modify the menu, which features a breakfast sandwich on a bagel called the "Oy, Vey!"
    "We're meat and potatoes people, so it will probably have meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, and things like that," she said.
    She said her husband and her father will haul the 36-by-15-foot diner back to Wyoming on a flatbed truck. The package includes the grill, counter, stools, tables and chairs, but the flatware and crockery stays behind.
    The move, expected to take place within 10 days, is already a hot topic in LaBarge, whose population actually is "probably more like 600 people," according to town clerk and LaBarge native Betty Moceika.
    "When I heard about it, I was just shocked," she said in a phone interview. "Everybody is excited about the Moondance Diner."
    Michael Perlman, a New York preservationist whose Save The Moondance Committee played a key role in the rescue, said traditional stainless steel-sided diners like the Moondance are "an endangered species, and we need to preserve the few that are left."
    Perlman said he had never been to LaBarge, "but this definitely is going to give me an excuse for going there."

  10. #10


    A local perspective...

    dan c

    Manhattan diner finds Wyo home
    Southwest Wyoming bureau
    New owners Cheryl and Vince Pierce stand in front of their newly purchased Moondance diner in New York City last week. The couple has bought the famous 80-year-old diner and plans to move it to LaBarge in southwest Wyoming next week. Courtesy, Cheryl Pierce.[]
    GREEN RIVER -- OK, Spidey fans, here's one for you: What's the name of the famous New York City diner where Peter Parker's girlfriend, Mary Jane, waited tables in the 2002 "Spiderman" movie?

    Fans of the web slinger know it's the late-night watering hole called the Moondance Diner, located in the fashionable SoHo District of Manhattan -- and soon to be serving customers in LaBarge, Wyo.


    That little piece of New York City history is coming to southwest Wyoming on the back of a semitrailer next week, thanks to the efforts of LaBarge residents Vince and Cheryl Pierce.
    The Pierces finalized the purchase of the famous diner last week and are moving the nearly 80-year-old piece of Americana to the tiny town of LaBarge, located right on the Lincoln/Sweetwater county border.

    The plan to renovate and then run the diner for the approximately 500 residents of the remote community who currently enjoy no operating restaurants at all.

    "We hope this will be something that will be very fun and different for LaBarge," Cheryl Pierce said in a phone interview Monday.

    "We're going to try and really keep the (Moondance) atmosphere and stick to the original diner menu and food," she said. "We're trying to keep everything as original as possible."

    Located on Sixth Avenue, the Moondance Diner was one of the last free-standing diners in Manhattan, according to the American Diner Museum. The diner seats about 34 people with 10 stools and six tables.

    But a boom in urban redevelopment in SoHo forced the closure of the diner earlier this summer. A real estate developer bought the site between Canal and Grand streets with plans to turn it into luxury residential condominiums. An Aug. 1 demolition date was set.

    Nowhere to eat out

    Cheryl Pierce was born in Rock Springs, raised in Big Piney and moved with her Montana-born husband and their two children to LaBarge three years ago. The family operates a water truck company that hauls water to the nearby Jonah and Pinedale Anticline natural gas fields in southwest Wyoming.

    She said the couple has always "toyed with the idea" of running a family-style restaurant and has been particularly interested in diners, which they try to frequent whenever possible.

    "We saw a need in LaBarge ... There's two restaurants that are here, but they're not open, and everybody usually goes to Big Piney or Pinedale to eat out," Pierce said.

    "And we thought LaBarge was kind of a nice location (for a diner) because it's right in the hub of the natural gas fields. So we just one day decided to see what's for sale."

    An online search revealed that the Moondance diner was listed for sale on the American Diner Museum's Web site, Pierce said. The museum works to preserve, advertise, sell and relocate historic diners across the country.

    "We liked the looks of the diner right off ... The exterior itself was kind of that old shiny metal, and the sign was kind of extraordinary," she said. "We got researching it a little bit further and found it had some history with the movies and television. And the price was good."

    A big move

    The couple flew to New York last week, finalized the purchase and hired a moving company in Manhattan to remove the diner from its foundation and to prepare it for the cross-country move. Pierce declined to disclose the sale price.

    She said her husband and father are driving one of their semitrailers to New York City this week to haul the 36- by 16-foot structure to Wyoming. The move should begin this weekend.

    "Just getting it out of the city will be a huge undertaking ... There's a lot of red tape to go through in Manhattan, and we had to get permits to close off Sixth Avenue and Grand Streets which is a very big deal," Pierce said. "But we hope to get it loaded and actually have it back in LaBarge by Aug. 10."

    The diner needs some renovation, but "is very sound structurally for its age," she said. A kitchen addition built onto the back of the diner was left behind for demolition. "So part of the plan is to build an addition ourselves once the diner is in place."

    Pierce said the couple is working on buying a site in downtown LaBarge to relocate the diner. "There are some nice commercial lots available here," she said.

    The diner will also have to be renovated to meet Wyoming building codes, and the business will have to obtain local planning and zoning permitting and approval, she noted.

    The LaBarge Moondance will serve a "traditional" diner food menu, Pierce said. "Ours will be a meat-and-potato kind of fare, the kind of food that diners were popular for ... meatloaf and burgers and malts and milkshakes and the flavored sodas."

    Pierce said she has some experience in the food preparation business and looks forward to running a diner grill.

    "I've cooked a lot in my life ... We have a guest ranch we operate up in the Cottonwood Creek, and I've cooked there and for other guest ranches for many years," she said. "So I'm planning on working as well as managing (the diner). We're not in this to make millions ... The husband isn't planning on giving up the day job yet."

    Southwest Wyoming bureau reporter Jeff Gearino can be reached at 307-875-5359 or at

  11. #11


    Quote Originally Posted by Rapunzel View Post
    No matter how good an extermination job is done on the Moondance Diner's infrastructure before it's planted in Wyoming, some of the vermin living in it are going to survive. Inordinately robust, chemical-resistant strains of vermin will be introduced to another part of the country. Has anybody thought of this?

    Or should I be asking, "Who has been paid off to not think of this?"
    I don't know if the type of vermin that have evolved to thrive in cities could survive in the high desert badlands of Wyoming. No easy access to food, water and shelter, plenty of snakes and raptors to finish them off if they wonder outdoors. Don't think there's much to worry about.

    My daughter's the biggest Spider-Man fan in the world. I guess we'll have to take a special trip out there to check out MJ's former place of work.

    dan c

  12. #12
    Banned Member
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    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

    Default Site of the FORMER Moondance Diner 9/23/07

  13. #13
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    I don't get the wooden fence/gate surrounding the building in the rendering below. The rest of the tower isn't that great either.

    From curbed:

    More Glass for Soho: Grand Street Hotel First Look!

    Here's the first look at the Grand Street Hotel, the new 14-story edifice set to grace the Soho/Hudson Square DMZ, as uncovered on the website of developers Brack Capital by noted hospitality blogger Down By the Hipster. Fun facts to get you back up to speed on this project: (a) yes, this is the former site of the Moondance Diner; (b) there are rumors of "a monster amount of LED lights" gracing the facade—not to mention and a glass elevator; (c) Steve Cuozzo has suggested the place might actually be called 27 Grand Street; (d) architects were said to be Perkins Eastman, but there's no sign of this project on their website—though that website does reveal a little something called 835 Sixth Avenue that we'll return to shortly.

  14. #14
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    NYC - Downtown


    Moe NEWS on the Brack hotel project going up on this site.

  15. #15
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    in Limbo


    Rising hotel concerns

    By Patrick Hedlund
    October 29 - November 4, 2008

    Residents have been working with the developers of a boutique hotel rising on the site of the former Moondance Diner in Soho to ensure the plan includes noise-reduction precautions for the property’s patio and rooftop space.

    The project — a 17-story, 70,000-square-foot hotel with 114 rooms — is currently under construction at the corner of Grand St. and Sixth Ave., with the intention of securing three liquor licenses for the space’s ground-floor, deck and rooftop operations.

    Residents and members of the Soho Alliance met with representatives from developer Brack Capital Real Estate last month to discuss concerns over noise, especially as they relate to any open-air portions of the on-site restaurants/bars.

    The residents mostly took issue with hotel’s outdoor deck and roof areas, requesting that the developer enclose the rooftop and implement mandatory closing times of 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends.

    “That way you could have your rooftop open all year long,” said Alliance Director Sean Sweeney.

    The developer is currently trying to negotiate to keep the rooftop area open, and also wants closing times an hour later than suggested by the community.

    “I can tell you right now, we’re not ever going to give them that,” Sweeney offered, which should make for a spirited discussion between the two parties at their next meeting on Nov. 19. Other Downtown communities have successfully lobbied for even earlier closing times at similar hotel bars, getting operators to agree to closing times as early as 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

    Warren Pesetsky, counsel to the developers for their liquor license applications, said that community relations will be central moving forward.

    “You can’t live in atmosphere where everyone around you hates you,” he said.

    © 2008 Community Media, LLC

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