the reality was often not that great at all. And yet we hang on to and lionize scraps of the past, bemoan the loss of old retail shops, and express dislike for the new retailer in its place or perhaps a radical change in decor or operations of an old establishment. The realist, like Joe Plourde, looks life squarely in the face and judges strictly on merit and not on nostalgia. Read about Joe here.
On December 3, 2008, I wrote Greasy Spoon. However, I did not reveal that the subject of my poor diner experience was the Waverly Restaurant. I avoided mentioning the name of the diner for a number of reasons. One is that I avoid writing stories which essentially serve as negative reviews. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with helping the restaurant patron avoid the poorer dining establishments, but personally, I have decided to leave this type of reporting to the review sites, of which there are many good ones, such as Yelp.com.
The other reason I avoided slamming the Waverly is that I, too, am a sucker for nostalgizing, the very type of person whom I characterized in paragraph one. The Waverly, good or bad, was a Village icon and landmark. To see it was a great comfort, a balm in a city of harsh extremes. To know that the Waverly was open 24 hours likened it to the Chinatown restaurant of Woody Allen - a constant, something steadfast and reliable.
So recently, when I went by the Waverly and saw it boarded up, I was shocked and ALARMED. My first GUT REACTION WAS DISMAY. I bemoaned the loss. Regardless of how good or bad it was, who wants a homogenized New York City, populated only by chain stores? It's places like the Waverly that give New York its unique character.
Then I saw and learned that it was closed for renovation. I was SO RELIEVED. Because, as you can see, I LOVE THAT OLD CRAP, and WHEN IT REOPENS, I'LL BE THE FIRST IN LINE. Really, in all of my writings and diatribes about the old and new, I have been lying to you. Yes, that's correct, and I am willing to put it in writing. I am a LIAR.
Photo Notes: The bottom photo is an artist's rendering of the new Waverly Diner from the architectural firm of Jorge Fontan. The restaurant is being expanded into an adjoining commercial space and is undergoing its first renovation in the 30 years it has been open. The interiors will be fully renovated, keeping the original atmosphere while modernizing and enlarging the space.
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