I first ate at the diner at the 'triangle' intersection of 9th Avenue, Hudson and West 14th Street during the summer of 1980 when during a weekend trip to NYC that I visited Frank at an apartment that he shared with one or two other guys in the yellow brick apartment building located at the corner of Christopher and Hudson Street in The Village.
At the time, if my memory serves me correctly, the Hellfire was one of the 'sex clubs' located in the triangular building at the intersection just across the street from the diner. There always seemed to be at least two different clubs located in the building.
The back entrance which led down into a dungeon attracted more of a straight crowd. While the back room bar at the street level was strictly for gay men. Over the years, the names of the clubs would come and go. In 2004, after a few months of closure, the Hellfire Club would re-incarnated as the Fetish Warehouse in Brooklyn, which a year or so ago would go on hiatus.
So, sometimes after a weekend of partying and bar hopping at the many different gay clubs in the West Village / Chelsea area including the Mineshaft ... it was on our way home to the studio that we shared on West 21st Street in Chelsea that Frank, I and whoever he may have collected along the way ... would stop in at the diner at the corner of 9th Avenue and West 14th Street.
While the food was relatively cheap, it was not all that impressive. After my September 1980 move NYC and with the sharing of the 319 West 21st Street aaprtment we found much better eateries on 8th and 9th Avenues in the Chelsea area. In particular, the greek diner, which still remains at the corner of 9th Avenue and West 23rd Street.
And then, too, it was just a few weeks after my September 1980 move to NYC that the Saint opened.
Which, therefore, and for the most part our 'weekends of partying' took place at the lower east side on Saint Marks Place. Where after partying and dancing at the Saint followed by a visit to Saint Marks Bath House (now Saint Maraks Hotel) we sometimes stopped in at a diner on the Lower East Side / Bowery area.
When in NYC for the 2006 Black Party that I embarked on a Saturday evening photo walk I observed that the old diner at the corner of West 14th and 9th Avenue had gone more 'upscale'.
Though I did not stop in since I had already dined at the greek diner on 9th Avenue and West 23rd ... when taking a series of photos of what is now "The Meatpacking District Diner" I remembered the first time that Frank, in the summer of 1980, introduced me to the diner.
It was also the first time that I would become acquainted with the 'sex clubs' located in the triangle building at the intersection of West 14th, Hudson and 9th Avenue. It would became an area that, over the years, I would become very familiar with.
According to a PDF press release dated 14 October 2005, accouncing its opening "The Diner ... is a hip New York diner serving American, comfort food."
A September 2005 JoonBug Productions blog posting reports that "Along with seasoned restaurateurs Sergio & Mario Riva (Candela) and Marc Packer (Tao, Rue 57, Bolzano), and some of NYC’s biggest nightlife moguls, the Diner will bring modern interpretations of 30’s & 40’s American diner food like southern fried chicken, blackened catfish, and macaroni & cheese with or without chorizo – 24 hours a day, and at reasonable prices."
And here are some mostly favoritable reviews at Yelp.
Located at 44 9th Avenue at the corner of West 14th and Hudson, the next time that I visit NYC I'll make a point to stop in at The (Meatpacking District) Diner. Perhaps, for a spiritual reconnection with Frank who passed in May 1989.
Click the above image to view my Meatpacking District / NYC and March 2006 NYC photo sets.