The Moondance Diner, with its iconic revolving sign already removed, was almost unrecognisable on Tuesday afternoon. But it was still eminently there on Sixth Avenue in Soho, which no one, not even the restaurant’s owners, expected it to be at that stage of the day.
The diner, famous for its appearances on both the big and the small screen (it has guest-starred with both the Friends cast, and with Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in the Spiderman movies), had been saved from demolition by a couple from La Barge, Wyoming, named Vince and Cheryl Pierce.
They spotted the diner online, bought it, and were aiming to transport the whole set-up westward, where it’s supposed to take pride of place as the town’s only restaurant.
But the endeavour has suffered something of a set-back. When asked when the diner was due for lift-off, “Well, it was supposed to be today!” was the wry response from John Moore, Mr. Pierce's, who had travelled to New York to help out with the move. “But there’s been a delay. Some kind of problem with a permit, or a letter, or something, which was only discovered last night.”
Mr. Pierce was remarkably calm, given the circumstances.
“It’s taken us 48 hours to drive down here, and it’s going to take us seven days to get back home with the diner in tow, what with the towing rules, speed limits and all that,” he told The Observer. “It’s not even a permit that’s the problem; we’ve got all the permits. It’s just a letter that needs to be signed by some official. I don’t know…
“This whole experience with the diner has been so positive all the way through. All the family’s been helping. My cousin, his wife, my father-in-law—they’re all here today helping out, and they’re all really excited. But this delay is kind of frustrating.”
The move, then, is set to happen tomorrow. Under the supervision of Mel Brandt, of the M & M rigging and leasing company, the whole will be lifted, placed on beams, rolled to the curb, moved onto a trailer (leant to Mr. Pierce by a well-wisher back in Wyoming), and then transported to La Barge. Mr. Brandt was the only one at the scene on Tuesday who seemed to be any more than a little ticked off at the situation, as he paced up and down, talking anxiously with his cell phone clamped to his ear.
“Mel’s definitely hoping to get the go-ahead sometime today,” said Mr. Moore, “but we won’t be doing any lifting or moving until tomorrow morning.”
It looks like there’s going to be at least one more New York sunset seen by the Moondance Diner.