HELL'S KITCHEN — The Market Diner, one of Manhattan's last freestanding coffee shops and a 24-hour institution that first opened in 1962, will close for good "in the next six months to a year," manager Jimmy Athanasopoulos told DNAinfo New York.
"The landlord wants to put up a building," Athanasopoulos said. "They're developing like crazy."
"Diners are a dying breed in Manhattan," he said.
The Moinian Group, which is also building the giant Sky development across the street from the diner, bought the property in 2004 and is planning a residential building, the Real Deal reported last week.
The Market, with its orange booths and terrazzo floors, survived decades on the West Side, even reopening after a 2006 closure. It was a favorite of limo drivers, who could park in the parking lot, according to regular Bob Cargill, who had stopped in for breakfast Monday. The Market Diner was also featured on Seinfeld as a trading post for black-market, extra-powerful showerheads.
Longtime customer and Hell's Kitchen resident Bob Feldman, a jazz musician, voiced his dismay at the closing on Facebook.
"For a lot of us in Hell's Kitchen, we don't sushi, tapas, frozen yogurt — just some scrambled eggs, toast, and coffee," he wrote. "If this place goes, what's left?"
Despite the diner's loyal following, a 13-story, mixed-use building will go up in its place at 572 11th Avenue, according to The Real Deal.
"We're not closing," waiter Stavros, who began working at the diner three weeks ago, said from behind the counter. "They're kicking us out."
Athanasopoulos said he was worried about his customers and himself.
"I gotta find a new job," he said.