SKYLINE DINER, Long Island City

by Kevin Walsh

It’s a shame to see a classic chrome diner sitting empty and going to waste, but that’s exactly what has happened at 21-17 49th Avenue adjacent to the Sunnyside railroad yard since 2011. It’s a Mountain View diner originally known as the Skyline and has been in place since 1952. 

When I encountered it in 2008 it was recently closed after having been known as the Blue Sky Diner. Handwritten signs were taped to the windows.

In 2010-2011, the Skyline enjoyed a brief period when it was the hottest “diner” in Queens, as the high-concept steakhouse M. Wells occupied the space, with fare such as bone marrow stuffed with escargot. Williamsburgers and Greenpointites flocked in, despite the prices. However, after a year the property owner raised the rent dramatically and Wells relocated to Crescent Street as well as another restaurant near PS 1. 

Since then, the diner has stood unoccupied, as many owners will hold out however long it takes till they get the rent they want.

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Jack Zalium November 15, 2018 - 7:29 pm

I thought they were using it still for a variety of tv and movies productions….

Punto November 16, 2018 - 1:37 pm

Slight correction. There is a restaurant operated by the M. Wells people inside of PS 1, not just near it.

BTW, since I have have been commuting to work in LIC for the last 8 or 9 years, I was once able to lunch at the high-concept incarnation of the diner. It was quite good (and plenty expensive, as you note). There was a pleasant contrast between the “proletarian” surroundings and the haute fare, since there was no effort that I can remember to alter the seating area of the diner in any way.

By another odd coincidence, I worked down in pre-super-gentrified Williamsburg for a few years in the early 90s and sometimes picked up coffee at a prototypical greasy-spoon diner, complete with grumpy short order cook in a dirt tee shirt. This place has morphed, along with the neighborhood, into “Diner” which gets reviewed as “Retro railcar environs & seasonal New American eats draw cool sorts to this funky spin on the diner.” on google maps. Good to see that at least the structures have survived (though the recent amazon-mania emanating from LIC makes me think that that one may not be around too much longer).

Tal Barzilai November 16, 2018 - 5:57 pm

I have a feeling that this place will probably be demolished to make way for something else shortly after Amazon locates one of their headquarters in this neighborhood.


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