Cheyenne Is Again in Jeopardy As Red Hook Deal Falls Through

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Photo: Michael Perlman

Michael “Diner-Man” Perlman, founder of the Committee to Save the Cheyenne Diner, has sent out a press release indicating that Mike O'Connell’s plans to bring the landmark diner to Red Hook have fallen through. Apparently the diner won’t fit on a flatbed across the Manhattan Bridge, and it would be too costly to transport it by barge. It will, however, fit across the George Washington. Any Jersey takers? The press release follows.


HISTORIC CHEYENNE DINER FOR SALE ONCE AGAIN:
Must Be Transported ASAP or Will Be Demolished!‏‏

NEW YORK, NY (Jan 8, 2009) – NYC's historic Cheyenne Diner (411 9th Ave & 33rd St), "the diner of popular demand," is now for sale at a reasonable but negotiable price (once again), on the condition that it be transported off the property ASAP, or the diner will be demolished within the next few weeks, if a deal is not brokered.

Michael Perlman a.k.a. “Diner-Man” (http://www.observer.com/2008/diner-man-rescue) is ready to broker another deal, & this time it is the Cheyenne Diner all over again. As of this week, Cheyenne Diner owner Mike O'Connell's plans have been abandoned since the diner wouldn't fit across the Manhattan Bridge via a flatbed, and the next option, transporting it by barge, proved 3 times as costly as traditional figures a year ago. The best route towards the diner’s future salvation is the George Washington Bridge, amongst a few others, but the GW route didn’t connect to Red Hook, Brooklyn. It was difficult to access Red Hook due to its location.

Perlman has already received notification from potential buyers from NY, MI, AL, & UT. While the Cheyenne can potentially land a good home out of state, many patrons are praying that a NY-based buyer will contact the Committee at unlockthevault@hotmail.com, so it can ideally remain closer to its roots than the Moondance Diner in WY. All information will then be relayed to Mike O’Connell and George Papas. Rigging costs will vary upon where the diner is transported to and the route. The diner can be transported in 2 sections. According to PropertyShark.com, the Cheyenne Diner's building dimensions are 15 ft x 96 ft (2,000 sq ft), Lot dimensions 19.75 ft x 100 ft (1,975 sq ft).

Backtracking... As Chairman of Committee To Save The Cheyenne Diner, Perlman presented a proposal to property owner George Papas (owner of nearby Skylight Diner & developer for Cheyenne property) on closing day, Sunday, April 6th 2008, and convinced him to work together. A 9-story condo is slated to rise on premise, which marked the end of the diner's 68 year-run for its Manhattan chapter. A total of 24 prospective buyers came forward within a record-breaking 2 weeks after its Apr 2008 closure (and more continue to date). It came down to first-come, first-serve. Mike O'Connell of O'C Construction bought the historic Cheyenne Diner structure, and once considered it his dream to transport, restore, and reopen the diner in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

HISTORY: The Cheyenne Diner is a highlight in terms of its diverse patronage including celebs i.e. Jerry Lewis & David Letterman, and since it's the LAST streamlined railway car-inspired diner in Mid-Manhattan, and a scarcity borough-wide. It was pre-assembled by Paramount Diners in 1940, and known as the Market Diner through '86 after the popular chain. It retains a majority of its original &/or distinctive elements. The streamlined façade features vertical and horizontal stainless steel securing bowed colorful enamel panels, wrap-around windows, a curved entryway with glass block, & a reverse channel illuminated neon sign. The interior features a streamlined barrel roof, counter & stools, & Indian tribal coins. The Cheyenne was recently granted 1st prize on NYC-Architecture.com's “Top 10 NY Diners/Restaurants.”

Perlman explains: “Diners are amongst the ‘ultimate public institutions’ which harbor countless memories and bridge the generations. During the 30's - 60's eras, freestanding diners numerously dotted NYC’s 5 boroughs, and brought together individuals of various occupations in a cozy & striking ambiance. Today, they are becoming an endangered species at an alarming rate, and their loss is often most heartfelt. It is essential to preserve & reuse all remaining classic freestanding diners. Despite time constraints, we are committed to doing all we can for a noble cause.” The Committee’s consensus is that “A steady market for such nostalgic gems, coupled by the fact that they were manufactured to move; can ensure a victory for the Cheyenne Diner.”