Remembering Freddy’s and Empire Diner

Photo: Shanna Ravindra

On the “Brian Lehrer Show” today, listeners toasted Freddy’s, which as we mentioned yesterday closes today (for further reading, see the Times eulogy and a video interview with manager Donald O’Finn below, care of the Tavern). At WNYC’s website, everyone from former employees to the wife of a man who wrote a novel in the basement of the bar (and took her on their first date there), are writing in to add their memories. Our favorite: “I’d like to propose a toast to the wonderful bartender who let me cut off my mullet there one evening.”

Meanwhile, the nostalgia isn’t quite as thick over at Diner’s Journal, where some are sharing fond memories of Empire Diner ahead of its May 15 closing, and others are more cynical: One commenter describes it as “the first beacon of the gentrification that is now engulfing West Chelsea,” and another adds, “the look of the place is the only thing it had going for it (which I assume will remain under the new ownership).”

Memories of the Empire Diner [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Open Phones: Farewell to Freddy’s [WNYC]
Last Call at Freddy’s Bar [NYT]
Episode #1: Donald and Episode #2 [Vimeo]

Remembering Freddy’s and Empire Diner