We Have A ‘Wiener’
Joey Chestnut and Takeru “Tsunami” Kobayashi face off at the weigh-in before the Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Nathan’s Famous at the corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues on Coney Island. In the contest, Chestnut reclaimed the Mustard Belt from the six-time reigning champion from Japan; besting his own record by eating 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes. Despite facing jaw injuries, Kobayashi finished with an impressive 63 wieners.
City Loses Classics
You’ve seen it on the big screen in “Spiderman,” the small screen on “Friends” and “Sex and the City,” and perhaps you’ve even had a milkshake there yourself – but as of July, the Moondance Diner is closed, with luxury condos going up in its place.
“It’s an all too familiar story with the real estate pressure on New York neighborhoods,” said Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “Many iconic and historic buildings are protected, but not all, and a building like this is a perfect example of buildings that help make the character of the neighborhood that we are losing.”
The Moondance Diner was the last free-standing diner in Manhattan, and aside from its on-screen fame, it’s known for being the diner where Jonathan Larson worked while writing the hit Broadway musical “Rent.”
In addition to the Moondance Diner, the legendary Copacabana night club closed earlier this month, although its owners are looking for another new home and plan to reopen in the fall. Its West 34th Street location is the club’s third site and its home for just five years, while the Copa name has remained famous because the original club on East 60th Street will forever be glorified in Barry Manilow’s catchy song “Copacabana” and in everyone’s favorite mob flick, “Goodfellas.”
The popular nightspot was condemned by the city in January to accommodate the expansion of the No. 7 subway line.
While the Copacabana searches for a new location, the Moondance Diner will live on as an exhibit in a Pennsylvania museum. Although the Moondance Diner and Copacabana are not official New York landmarks, they have remained symbols of historic New York culture, attracting tourists and natives alike, and unfortunately memories alone are not enough to save them from city development. – Jovana Rizzo
Gemma Brings Gourmet To Bowery
The people that brought New York the ultra-exclusive Waverly Inn have just made the East Village a tastier place. Partners Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson have answered the west side with Gemma restaurant at their boutique Bowery Hotel.
The Italian restaurant opened on June 29 with just the right amount of laid back, East Village cool. Despite a flood of gossip surrounding its opening – including comparisons to Keith McNally’s Morandi and, of course, the Waverly Inn – the eatery opened without a party or announcement; the doors just swung open and awaited the rush of hungry New Yorkers.
This new posh restaurant is just another step in the latest Bowery gentrification, replacing dive bars and junkies with climbing real estate prices, an art museum, new shops and, of course, a Whole Foods market.
Good luck getting a reservation at this hotspot; just weeks after its soft opening, the restaurant is looking to be as elite as its West Village counterpart. – J.R.