April 4, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
A local architecture preservationist is working on a way to save the Shalimar Diner from being demolished by its new owners.
Michael Perlman, founder of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, has begun his search for someone who wants to give the diner, located at 63-68 Austin St., a new life by relocating the structure before it gets demolished.
Perlman says the new owner, Arthur Koptiev, has given him 30 days (starting April 3) to find someone to transport the diner elsewhere, having already filed permits for demolition of the diner on March 15th.
The diner structure, according to Perlman, is free. The only cost to the new recipients would be the cost of rigging to move the building via flattruck.
Perlman has a history of saving diners from wrecking balls. He found new owners for the Soho Moondance Diner in Wyoming in 2007 and a new home for the midtown Cheyenne Diner in Alabama back in 2009.
His success in these ventures landed him the title “The Diner Man” by The Observer.
Shalimar, a family owned Greek diner that was a Rego Park icon for 45 years, was forced to close down this past November due to a looming rent increase and business decline.
The diner acted as a community hub as well as a filming location for Martin Scorsese’s movie “Wolf of Wall Street” and the CBS television show “Blue Bloods.”
Perlman says that it is important to preserve the structural integrity of diners, particularly this one which he has memories of patronizing with this grandparents.
“Diners are ultimate public institutions and I feel that they are an endangered species so my goal is to preserve as many as I can,” Perlman said. “This diner was a neighborhood cornerstone and it means very much to many people.”
Shalimar Diner’s current owners bought the 14,000 square foot plot for $6.5 million in November and plan to demolish the structure in 30 days if Perlman cannot find someone who wants to adopt the structure.
Anyone interested in adopting the Shalimar Diner and transporting it can contact Michael Perlman at [email protected]