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Iconic Shalimar Diner Building to be Moved to Long Island

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

June 20, 2019 By Shane O’Brien

The Shalimar Diner in Rego Park is likely to move to Long Island and be converted into a brewery/diner, according to local preservationist Michael Perlman.

Perlman has joined forces with attorney Ronald Hariri and Lenny Dykstra, the former Mets baseball great, to ensure that the structure gets a new home in Riverhead, Long Island.

For Hariri, a Forest Hills native, the quest to save the building is a personal one. The lawyer said that he was raised on the diner’s egg creams when he grew up in nearby Forest Hills.

“Similar to ‘Nails’ (Dykstra’s nickname), the Shalimar Diner is a piece of Queens & NYC history,” Hariri said in a statement.

The Shalimar Diner closed its doors at 63-68 Austin Street in November 2018 due to rising rents and a decline in business and locals were dismayed to see the 45-year old Rego Park stalwart fall by the wayside.

Demolition plans were announced, but Perlman, who is chair of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, launched a campaign in April to help save the structure and give it a new lease of life.

According to Perlman, it is now just a matter of moving the building to its new home in Long Island and his “Save the Shalimar Diner” group is actively working with a local architect.

It was delivered to its current home in 1974 on the back a flatbed truck and has been described by Perlman as a “public institution” where customers would sit elbow to elbow with each other at the counter at almost any hour. It was one of several Greek-owned diners in the tri-state area in the 1970s.

The diner has also made its fair share of Hollywood cameos, featuring in the CBS drama Blue Bloods and 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo Di Caprio.

Perlman has built a reputation of saving classic diners, previously saving both New York City’s Moonlight Diner and the Cheyenne Diner from going out of business, earning him the nickname “Diner Man.”

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11 Comments

Butter weed and 9trey

Hey when I go to my summer home in South hold I’ll be making a stop there. Best cream of turkey soup haven’t had it in yrs

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todd wolfe

I wish Perlman had saved the Empress Diner on QB in Forest Hills but so it goes. Good luck with the move!

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Flushing Skeptic

I am thrilled to see that the Shalimar will continue to afford diners the joyful pleasures that it afforded me for many years. Unfortunately, Riverhead is just a tad too far to go for a morning cup of joe and a piece of pie.

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Danielle LoBono

It was my second home. My sons Mitchell and Jeffrey, we loved eating there. The best!!

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Pat DeStefano

So happy. My father-in-law used to take us there on Saturday nights with the whole family including our kids in high chairs. Can’t wait to eat there in Sri rehear and make new memories with our grandchildren.

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Scott Scheidt

Business affairs and bankruptcy
In September 2008, Dykstra began a high-end jet charter company and magazine marketed to professional athletes known as the Player’s Club,[33] LLC. The magazine was part of a business plan to offer financial advice to professional athletes, according to a profile article in the New Yorker magazine,[34] Dykstra had a website entitled “Nails Investments” [35] to impart information about his investment ideas.

In early 2009, stories and evidence began to emerge indicating that Dykstra’s financial empire was in a tailspin. A GQ article by Kevin P. Coughlin, a former photo editor for the New York Post, detailed Coughlin’s 67-day employment with Dykstra producing The Players Club, a magazine geared toward athletes and their expensive lifestyles. Coughlin detailed incidents and accused Dykstra of credit card fraud, failure to pay rent on the magazine’s Park Avenue offices or for bounced checks, lawsuits and printing costs.[36]

An extensive article about an ESPN.com investigation in April 2009 went into greater detail, asserting that Dykstra has been the subject of at least two dozen legal actions since 2007.[37]

Dykstra, whose net worth was estimated at $58 million in 2008, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2009, listing less than $50,000 in assets against $10 million to $50 million in liabilities. He claimed to be a victim of mortgage fraud after having lost the house purchased for $17.5 million from Wayne Gretzky to foreclosure,[38] in the Sherwood Country Club development in Thousand Oaks, California. [39]

According to the July 7, 2009 petition in the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California [40] Dykstra’s debts and creditors include $12.9m to Washington Mutual (unsecured), $4m to Countrywide Financial /Bank of America (unsecured), $3.5m to Rockridge Bank of Atlanta, $2.5m to David and Teresa Litt,[41] $1.5m to K&L Gates (a large law firm), and smaller amounts to others.

In August 2009, Dykstra was living out of his car and in hotel lobbies. The estate purchased from Gretzky was riddled with water damage, torn-up flooring, missing toilets, and other major damage. His second house, also in the Sherwood development, was uninhabitable due to toxic mold. A dispute with his insurance carrier over reimbursement for the necessary repairs.[clarification needed] Fireman’s Fund provided Mr. and Mrs. Dykstra with a temporary residence pending resolution of the outstanding claim.[42] According to papers filed in court, one of the houses in question was in “unshowable” condition as “the home was littered throughout with empty beer bottles, trash, dog feces and urine and other unmentionables.” Raw sewage had been leaking inside the house and electrical wiring had been damaged or removed by vandals.[43][44]

On October 6, 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that Dykstra’s World Series ring had been auctioned off for $56,762 “to help pay the former major-leaguer’s $31 million debt.”[45] On November 20, 2009 the case was converted to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to liquidate the estate and pay creditors.[46] In June 2010, a court-appointed federal trustee in Dykstra’s bankruptcy case charged he had lied under oath, improperly hidden and sold assets and repeatedly acted “in a fraudulent and deceitful manner” during his ongoing bankruptcy case. The trustee accordingly asked the bankruptcy court to deny Dykstra’s request for a bankruptcy discharge.[47]

On April 13, 2011, Dykstra was arrested for investigation of grand theft by Los Angeles police at his Encino home on suspicion of trying to buy a stolen car, the day after Dykstra, in an unrelated federal complaint, had been charged with embezzling from a bankruptcy estate. He faced up to five years in federal prison if convicted. Federal prosecutors contended that after filing for bankruptcy Dykstra hid, sold or destroyed more than $400,000 worth of items from the $18.5 million mansion in question without permission of a bankruptcy trustee. The items allegedly ranged from sports memorabilia to a $50,000 sink. At one point, he sold “a truckload of furnishing and fixtures” for cash at a consignment store, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.[48]

On June 13, 2011, Dykstra appeared in Federal bankruptcy court and pleaded not guilty to thirteen charges. He was represented by a public defender.[49] Dykstra faced up to 80 years in prison if convicted of all charges relating to embezzlement, obstruction of justice, bankruptcy fraud, making false statements to bankruptcy court, and concealing property from the bankruptcy court.[50] The bankruptcy fraud trial was set to start on June 5, 2012.[51]

On July 13, 2012, Dykstra pleaded guilty in federal court to three felonies: one count each of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering. He admitted to hiding, selling or destroying over $400,000 worth of items that were supposed to be part of his bankruptcy filing.[52] On December 3, 2012, he was sentenced to 6.5 months in prison and 500 hours of community service, and ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution.[53] On June 21, 2013, Dykstra was released from prison.[54]

Incidents
At approximately 1 a.m on May 7, 1991, Dykstra crashed his red Mercedes-Benz SL 500[55] into a tree on Darby-Paoli Road in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, after attending the bachelor party of Phillies teammate John Kruk. Dykstra suffered broken ribs, a broken collarbone and a broken facial bone, in addition to second-degree burns on his left arm and lower back. Darren Daulton, also a teammate, was a passenger in the car at the time; his injuries included an injured eye and a broken facial bone. According to Radnor Township Police, Dykstra’s blood alcohol content was measured at 0.179% shortly after the crash.[56]

In 1999, he was arrested for sexual harassment of a 17-year-old girl who worked at his car wash, but the criminal charges were later dropped.[57]

In March 2009, press reports alleged that Dykstra’s businesses were facing financial ruin and that he had used offensive terms when speaking about blacks, women and homosexuals.[58]

In September 2009, he was banned from both of his foreclosed multimillion-dollar properties in Lake Sherwood, from which security officers were instructed to deny him access. He was accused of vandalizing the properties and not maintaining homeowners’ insurance on them, and the court assigned a trustee to manage them.[59]

In December 2010, Dykstra was accused of hiring a female escort and then writing her a bad $1,000 check: adult-entertainment star and escort Monica Foster claimed he had hired her on December 13, 2010 and then wrote her a worthless check. Monica Foster later posted a copy of the check on her blog.[60][61]

In January 2011, Dykstra was accused of sexual assault by his housekeeper, who alleged that he would force her to give him oral sex on Saturdays. The woman told investigators “she needed the job and the money, so she went along with the suspect’s requests rather than lose her job,” according to the filing, and “returned to work in the suspect’s home with knowledge obtained from the Internet about a claim of sexual assault by another woman.”[62]

On April 14, 2011, Dykstra was arrested and charged with bankruptcy fraud. The Los Angeles Police Department Commercial Crimes Division also arrested Dykstra on separate grand theft charges related to the purchase of vehicles. He was held on $500,000 bail.[63]

On June 6, 2011, Dykstra was arrested and charged with 25 misdemeanor and felony counts of grand theft auto, identity theft, filing false financial statements and possession of cocaine, ecstasy and the human growth hormone (HGH) known as Somatropin.[64] He first pleaded not guilty to the charges, but later changed his plea to no contest to grand theft auto and providing false financial statements in exchange for dropping the drug charges.[65] On March 5, 2012, after unsuccessfully trying to withdraw his nolo-contendere plea, he was sentenced to three years in state prison,[65] receiving nearly a year’s credit for time already served.[65]

On August 25, 2011, Dykstra was charged with indecent exposure. The Los Angeles City Attorney accused him of placing ads on Craigslist requesting a personal assistant or housekeeping services. The victims alleged that when they arrived, they were informed that the job also required massage service. Dykstra would then disrobe and expose himself.[66]

On May 23, 2018, Dykstra was arrested after uttering terroristic threats and for possession of drugs. He allegedly held a gun to his Uber driver after the driver refused to change destinations.[67] On October 10, 2018 Dykstra was indicted by a New Jersey grand jury for cocaine and methamphetamine possession, and making terroristic threats.[68]

Why would you want this guy attached to this project? He’s a racist, lying disaster.

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