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Demolition Permits Filed For Shalimar Diner

The former Shalimar Diner at 63-68 Austin St. (Photo: Queens Post)

March 27, 2019 By Christian Murray

The now-shuttered Shalimar Diner is about to face the wrecking ball.

The property owner, Arthur Koptiev of 63-38 Austin LLC, filed plans on March 15 to demolish the one-story structure.

The iconic building, located on the corner of 63rd Drive and Austin Street, was home to the Shalimar Diner for 45 years, prior to it closing on Nov. 25. The diner was part of the fabric of Rego Park for decades, and had been used in movie sets, such as Martin Scorsese’s film “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

The property was purchased in November by Koptiev’s firm for $6.55 million, according to city records.

Koptiev said that he is demolishing the building to reduce his liability issues, and that he doesn’t have any plans yet for the site. No plans have been filed with the Dept. of Buildings.

The 14,000 square foot lot has 140 feet of frontage along 63rd Drive, and 100 feet of frontage on Austin Street that includes the parking lot next to the diner. It is zoned R4 residential with a C2-2 commercial overlay, which allows Koptiev’s firm to build a structure up to twice the size of the lot with a “community facility bonus” included.

The diner closed amid a decline in business and a hike in rent.

Demi Karayiannis, who owned the Shalimar with her husband since 1974, said at the time it closed that the changing neighborhood was another factor.

“Our original customers got older, moved to Florida and passed away,” she said. “Different people have come.”

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Debbi R

Having worked at the Shalimar Diner for over a decade and being a customer of Ben’s Best deli for many decades I completely agree with those who are saying “these“ people are coming in and destroying our neighborhood. I guess they feel it’s OK when the trucks that are making deliveries to their business and completely blocking the streets is OK. We don’t need bike lanes on Queens Boulevard, we need parking spaces so that the cars are not double parked up and down the streets. This neighborhood has definitely been changing and it is for the worse not better.

Ira Pollack

The real problem is that change is inevitable. Everyone wishes we can keep things the way they were. That (sadly) is not realistic.

Eva Klaus

Do NOT build bike lanes. They are rarely used, mostly by delivery people, and make it much more difficult to move by car from the main road to the service road, as one has to twist one’s neck in order to make sure no one is in the bike lane. Of course, having fewer parking spaces also impacts business. In my opinion, it makes crossing the street more, not less, difficult.

Matt McElroy

In the past few months, I’ve seen articles about diners closing in Bay Terrace, Elmhurst, and Rego Park. All of these articles talk about changing populations, changing tastes in food and restaurant exprerience, and rising rents. Yet somehow, when Ben’s Diner in Rego Park was closing, local opponents of the safety improvements on Queens Blvd asserted– very often, very loudly, and very insistently– that Ben’s was closing because the city had inflicted a bike lane on Queens Blvd. I hope we all see this now as the lie it has always been. The bike lanes & other safety measures on Queens Blvd have saved lives and provided a new way for emergency vehicles to bypass traffic congestion on the Boulevard. Those safety improvements should be celebrated.


Absolutely!! Now let’s get going and close the rest of the small businesses in Queens

Olivia 11415

Not true. These bike lanes that are used primarily by bike messengers, when they’re not using the sidewalk, are absolutely hurting businesses and decreasing the already scarce number of parking spots. There are parks for bike riding.

not a socialist like Olivia 11415

You should pay for private parking for your private vehicle


We pay gas taxes, registration fees, inspection fees, tolls and sales tax when we buy a car. Crawl back into the stone age and keep walking and riding your bicycle

Sara Ross

Koptiev? Another Russian ruining the neighborhood the way Forest Hills/Jewel Avenue area has been destroyed. People miss Shalimar, the people and the food. It’s disgusting that there will probably be ANOTHER residential building there! We don’t need any more people in Queens!!! Too bad local politicians didn’t fight for this the way they’re fighting over Amazon. Small businesses not companies run by billionaires built this city.


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