July 11, Shane O’Brien
The Shalimar Diner in Rego Park has been demolished, despite the efforts of local preservationists who had planned to relocate it to Long Island.
Forest Hills native and preservationist Michael Perlman, who is credited with previously saving the Moondance and Cheyenne Diners from the wrecking ball, had launched a campaign in April to save the Shalimar. However, pictures emerged on social media yesterday of the iconic diner lying in piles of rubble at its former home at 63-68 Austin St.
Perlman had teamed up with New York attorney Ronald Hariri and former Mets player and 1986 World Series champion Lenny Dykstra to attempt to save the diner by moving it to a new home in Riverhead Long Island, but the plan failed because of strict zoning laws in the town, according to Hariri.
“The town of Riverhead is extremely restrictive in trying to keep the rural character of the hamlet and our professionals advised us that the diner would not meet the town’s tough zoning standards, and that an application for a variance would likely be unsuccessful and take too long,” Hariri said.
“We are disappointed that another part of New York’s past with so many great memories is gone,” he added.
The diner, which was featured in the 2013 movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” and the CBS show “Blue Bloods,” closed in November of last year due to rising rents and declining business.