If I ever became a filmmaker and decided to shoot a movie in New York, one of the locations I'd exploit would be the Orange Hut in Woodside, Queens. There's something so ineffably Gothamish about this odd, squat little hamburger joint, hunkered down near the V subway station at the the corner of Broadway and Northern Blvd. It is an island of worn whimsy in a sea of ugly auto dealerships and big box stores.
It's a breakfast and lunch place only; shuts up tighter than a drum after 2 PM. Prices are rock-bottom cheap, though the plastic menu boards on the wall above the counter— patchworks of erasures and masking tape—betray the truth that costs have inched up a bit in recent years. Still, you can get a Coke, cheeseburger and fries for five bucks flat.
An L-shaped row of stools, plus some scattered stools near the window, constitute the only seating. The curvature of the windows and a string of yellow plastic signs, advertising what can be had inside, make for interesting viewing for the passerby. Of course, if the place only had that big orange block on top of the roof, it would still be worth looking at. I'm not sure why the owners settled on the color of orange. Certainly, oranges don't play a big culinary role inside.
The Orange Hut's previous life as a White Tower restaurant has been documented. I'd be curious as to whether the old White Tower signage lurks under the current orange awning. As it is, only a walk around to the white, castle-like back of the eatery provides a hint of what the place must have looked like in the old days.