SKYLINE DINER 2022

by Kevin Walsh

EVERY few years I check in on what’s happening with the Skyline Diner at the Hunters Point Avenue #7 train at 49th Avenue and 21st Street. You may think a diner by a subway station and a Long Island Rail Road stop would be a choice spot but that’s not the case, as the station is still largely in no man’s land, as the LIRR Hunters Point station is used only by a few trains in the morning and evening. t’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 43-15 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. The future of the Skyline is still filled with murk, and the local youth have set to work “decorating” it.

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7/26/2022

12 comments

Joe Fliel July 26, 2022 - 12:17 am

“Greenpointites”………..Are you kidding, Kevin? Quoting my old algebra teacher at Brooklyn Tech, Mr. Kravitz, “What?!? Are you from the Brunks?!?” That’s a term that
only a playcationing, pipe cleaner physiqued fauxhemian from a flyover state would use. We’re “Greenpointers” or “Pointers”. Have been since the 19th century.
.

Reply
Kevin Walsh July 26, 2022 - 11:02 am

Forgive me please

Reply
chris July 26, 2022 - 3:48 am

Not sure why people wont go near diners these days.As a kid we sometimes went
to diners on the notorious Rt.22 in NJ and they were pretty gross.The food looked
embalmed.Howard Johnsons could have cleaned up on that road.But that was 50
years ago.
Nowadays theyre dropping like flies.All that stainless steel just going to waste.

Reply
RAY Palermo July 26, 2022 - 6:37 am

Eleven years unrented because the owner couldn’t provide a reasonable rent to one of NYs hottest restaurants, M Wells. Greedy fool IMO.

Reply
Eric Rosenfield July 26, 2022 - 7:49 am

This isn’t so much about it not being a choice spot, as being a case of high rent blight thanks to a greedy landlord who’d rather it sit empty than house something that will benefit the community and pay them a little less.

Reply
Nunzio July 26, 2022 - 9:00 pm

The landlord is stupid, not greedy. A greedy person would not let a property sit unrented for 11 years- He’ll never make all that lost money back.

Reply
philipe July 26, 2022 - 9:04 am

I commuted on the 7 from the Point to Grand Central for about 25 years back in the last century and the place was always a dive with food that would send you to the crapper in in an hour.

Reply
Anonymous July 26, 2022 - 10:15 am

oh for the old time diners that were all over williamsburg and greenpoint as well as LIC when the factories ruled these neighborhoods. def a lost part of americana!

Reply
redstaterefugee July 26, 2022 - 11:56 am

The days of the diner were probably numbered as soon as chain restaurants like IHOP & Denny’s appeared on the scene. Large menus, featuring comfort food, low prices, & good service. There’s also Village Inn which features all of the above plus a huge selection of pies; every Wednesday fruit pie for dessert is free with any entree (also show the server your ID & the pie is free on your birthday). No diner could match that one.

P.S. Please, no sarcasm about “fly over country”. Where I live in the American heartland, where you live is in rapid decline & no one seems to be able or even willing to reverse it.

Reply
Peter July 26, 2022 - 11:03 pm

Some diners are still doing well, but except for breakfast foods (and not always then) many have gotten quite pricey.

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Peter July 26, 2022 - 1:28 pm

Louis Rossman has done videos explaining why landlord ask huge rents for properties that have been vacant for years rather than just lowering the rent. The answer is, they often can’t. Many/most commercial mortgages consider rent reductions an impairment of collateral that could throw the mortgages into default even if payments are current. Of course, a property with fully rented commercial space is *more* valuable even if the rents are relatively low than one with high vacancies, but the mortgage terms aren’t written that way.

Reply
Don Gilligan July 29, 2022 - 8:51 pm

Reduction of rent for existing tenants? OK, an impairment.
Reduction of asking price? I would think that less an impairment than no income at all.
Is it possible that there is a tax advantage of some sort that makes it advantageous
to keep the property vacant?

Reply

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