Property Grunt

Monday, October 26, 2009

The tragedy of Mont Parnasse

The closing of diners has been a sore topic of late. I would like to examine a particular diner outside the boroughs of New York City.

Mount Parnese was not just a diner but also a place where those with newly granted licenses and cars could go for a meal AKA high school students. Think of it as Arnold's for the all the high schools in the area. There is even a Facebook Page dedicated to it. During my school days, I recall going their once for lunch in my junior year with my chemcom class.

So what does the diner look like now?

Hello progress!

The story behind this change from historic diner to bank is a common one. Now I am unsure if Mont Parnasse owned the property or they leased it. Either way the owners were given an offer they could not refuse and decided to pack it in with the enormous check clenched in their fist. It was one of many significant changes that occurred on Central Ave during the last real estate boom.

However, it was only the beginning for Mont Parnasse when they moved their operations a couple of blocks down on the Central Ave strip.

Just like old times!

That's what I thought. Then I went back and realized it was definitely not like old times. Food was meh and the service was below meh but their prices had gone from meh to "I am paying how much for matzoh ball soup?" It appears the rest of the customers felt the same way and decided to take their business elsewhere. And diners are just like armies. They march on their stomachs and bring their pocket books with them.

The Mont is now out of business and I learned what also contributed to their demise is that besides jacking up prices they got rid of all of their old staff and got newer, younger and cheaper labor.

Mont Parnasse is also a textbook case on the subtleties of parking. They had ample parking however it was on a hill while their last location was completely flat. What also did not help was that the new location was right next to a busy intersection.

You see, besides kids with learner's permits, Mont Parnasse was a favorite hangout for the geriatric. The elderly are not big fans of hills because it requires more effort for them to maneuver. Which is why Arizona and Florida are a huge part of the retirement scene. The elderly also like to take their time when they enter and exit a parking lot. The amount traffic at that location probably increased their stress levels. The elderly also do not make a lot of money since they are retired. These barriers of entry are unacceptable for the less physically inclined who are on fixed incomes.

What also did not help was that the new location was known to be a bit of a black hole for restaurants. The last place that opened there also suffered a similar fate.

So should Mont Parnasse stayed at their old location? Who is to say that they would have still been around if they decided to stand their ground? Maybe they would have survived the recession. We can only speculate. Regardless, Mont Parnasse still lives. As a facebook page.