12 September 2006

Ballad of the Sad Cafe

I was trolling Lexington Avenue the other day and noticed that the old Skyline diner had bitten the dust, replaced by a branch of the weird new health-conscious, program-your-own-sandwich, badly named Starwich chain.

Skyline what now? Right. This appears to be a completely unmourned eatery, though it sat at the southeast corner of Lex and 75th Street for 45 years. Nothing was written about its passing (that I could find) and a search of the web contains barely a mention and a single, one-line review, on DineSite.com: "Visit Skyline Café and you'll get a leisure place that serves a Chinese cuisine." Hmm.

So, maybe people don't care about this one. But I'm a little sad to see it go. It was so odd. You'd know the place if you saw it because of the peculiar, vaguely Swiss architectural. A ponderous, filligreed, brown metal, circular awning (now painted dull green) loomed over the corner entrance, like the cornice over a brownstone. (I first mistook the place for an old-style pharmacy; that's the vibe it gave off.) And inside there was a line of window seating almost completely sealed off from the rest of the restaurant by a wall (a feature Starwich retained). Furthermore, the official name of the place is the charmingly redundant Skyline Restaurant Cafe.

Can't find out much more about the history of the place. But it's memory is not entirely erased. The word Skyline in gold letters is still inbedded in the sidewalk outside the door.

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