Defining the corner of 43rd and Eleventh, the Market Diner stands as a living phenomenon of Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. Opened in 1962 by the Zelin family, it has attracted a shockingly eclectic set of people, including Frank Sinatra, Jerry Seinfeld, Geraldo Rivera and members of the Westie gang. As this area of the city was undeniably dangerous, there were always several police officers in and around the diner, and in a show of appreciation, the staff allowed them to eat at half price. As this diner was supposedly, at one time, the only one in Manhattan that offered free parking directly in front of the building, the restaurant was also frequented by many taxi and limo drivers.
In 2004, the Zelins sold the diner for economic reasons. The new owners kept it running until 2006, when it seemed to have fully closed. Loyal customers imagined the worst, that the Market Diner was shut down forever. In 2009, however, it was reopened, having been restored and ready for business. The diner has always brought in an assortment of people leading completely different lives. Nevertheless, there is one common aspect that has consistently drawn people in for almost sixty years - they are a 24/7 operation.
Since its initiation in 1959, Tony's Di Napoli has thrived as a family-run Italian restaurant. The menu, more specifically, is inspired by Southern Neapolitan cuisine. Everything at Tony's is served family style. That is, one portion is large enough to feed two or three people. Over the years, many in the world of show business have come through their doors, thus inspiring Tony's to memorialize their visits with portraits lining the wall. Some subjects of these paintings include Antonio Banderas, Hugh Jackman, Bernadette Peters, Whoopi Goldberg, Alec Baldwin, and Christina Applegate. The food was good, but for added entertainment, it was fun for some members of the Manhattan Sideways team to stroll around the restaurant trying to name everyone on the walls.
When the City of New York acquired this lot to house Engine 65 in 1895, clubs and residents around the area feared it would disturb the peace. Having calls since their very first night on the job, and as the first responder to Times Square, it became clear that the service was needed and soon became wildly appreciated. One of the firemen, Chris, told me this was something he had always wanted to do. “I love the camaraderie between the guys,” he said, a theme that seems to reoccur throughout all Manhattan fire stations.