Cheyenne Diner: Saved (again!) and moving to Alabama
The Cheyenne Diner on a rainy April 2008 night, just days before it closed. That neon might shine again in Birmingham, Ala. (Photos by Rolando Pujol)
After the collapse of a Red Hook rescue plan left the historic Cheyenne Diner imperiled again, the shuttered Manhattan greasy spoon has been saved thanks to a little Southern hospitality.
The rail car-style diner could soon serve up home-style cooking in Birmingham, Ala., according to Michael Perlman, who has led the effort to save the Cheyenne, which would become the only free-standing diner in that city.
The fate of the neon-lit Cheyenne Diner, which has been vacant for the past nine months at 33rd Street and Ninth Avenue, sat in the balance after a much-heralded move to Red Hook fell apart. The Manhattan Bridge could not fit the diner by flatbed truck and a move by barge proved very expensive.
After a cry for help, two owners of a Birmingham investment group, Joel Owens and Patti Miller, took a tour of the iconic eatery Wednesday and signed on to move it down South, Perlman said.
Im very proud that I located a couple that value the diners architectural and cultural history, and they are planning to restore and open it for future generations to cherish, said Perlman.
The owner of the diners lot set a six-week deadline for the buildings removal, Perlman said. The Cheyenne will likely be transported in two pieces on a flatbed truck by a rigger who has moved about 50 diners nationwide.
"Cheyenne's going to be happy," Miller said. "We're going to give it new life."
The Cheyenne could be included in a Birmingham tourist attraction with a special events center and classic car and miniature diner museums, Perlman said. The new owners put down a $1,000 deposit Wednesday. The total cost of the purchase will be $5,000.
The owner of the Cheyenne property, George Papas, had been working closely with Perlman to relocate the diner and avoid destroying it.
Papas, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, had said he plans to build a residential and commercial development on the site.
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