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Lately, I’ve been writing about diners. I don’t really know why I love them so much. It might have to do with the abundant portions, the encyclopedic menus, or the way you always feel like you’re part of a family, whether it’s your family or someone else’s.

Earlier this year I published a piece in The Inquisitive Eater-New School Food about the three diners I worked in when I was in college. Then in June I wrote a story for Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood about a magical night I spent in a diner on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with one of my mother’s BFFs in college.

But I’ve had epic diner experiences all over town, including at the Astro at 56th and Sixth, where I often go before a show at City Center. When my friend Mark comes to town, he stays in midtown and goes there too. Last time he was here, he tried to explain the allure:

At a place like Astro, “Don’t even think about pulling out your laptop. You come in, drink multiple cups of coffee in the shortest amount of time, order immediately, eat your food and get your check. The one acid test? You’ll need a stopwatch: How long does it take for your third cup to be filled, from the time the last drop is gone, until the waiter walks over with the pot?”

Yeah, that’s another reason I love diners. You can read my latest diner story about The Nectar Diner here. This piece was published in the June 15, 2024, edition of Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood.


Ann Levin Blog Post Nectar Diner Booth
The booth where Lois and I sat in the Nectar Diner.