The transformation of the Clinton Diner - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the December 2014 Juniper Berry Magazine

The transformation of the Clinton Diner

The Clinton Diner has been a Maspeth landmark since 1935. The following was provided to us by Nick Diamantis. Nick's family has owned the diner for decades.

The oldest photo of the diner, taken in the 1930's, shows a square building. It is uncertain whether it was torn down at some point or may be part of the diner's current kitchen.

Nick recalls, One old diner customer, that has since passed away, said that he remembered that the diner was moved across the street at some point in the 1940's or 1950's (probably while they were renovating). The second photo was definitely taken at the gas station across Maurice Avenue. It looks like an old dining car.

Then in 1955-56, they delivered and installed a new Kullman Dining car, which looked very similar to the Airline Diner on Astoria Blvd. (The Kullman Company constructed diners from 1927-2011.) Unfortunately, Nick does not own photos of the diner taken during this time period.

This customer, Mike, also told us about Clinton Hall across the street which was a popular dance hall that catered to the area, Nick remembers. There was a park next to it called Clinton Park. He also said that in the early 1900's people would go to the town docks that were nearby in the Newtown Creek and they would go fishing.

In 1957, a new left side dining room was added to the diner, and in 1965-66 a right side dining room was added and the entire diner interior and exterior were renovated to convert it into the 'Space Age' style, which is what it continues to look like today.

The stuck-in-time look of the diner has made it a popular venue for filming, especially of period pieces. Right is a partial list of movies, TV shows and music videos shot at the diner. In 2012, the diner officially became the Goodfellas Diner after the most famous production to be filmed there. (However, most locals will continue to call it the Clinton Diner.)

Nick wonders if anyone in the area has old photos of the diner, especially from the 1950's. Please write to info@ junipercivic.com if you have such photos or other information about the diner's history.

Nick Diamantis, who co-owns the diner with his parents, is also an actor. He has had small parts in 4 out of the 5 seasons of the HBO drama, Boardwalk Empire. In the penultimate episode of the series, Nick, playing a gangster, backed up Lucky Luciano in a showdown with Nucky Thompson's entourage (see photo

opposite page).

Interestingly and coincidentally, Lucky Luciano was portrayed in the series by Vincent Piazza, who was born in Middle Village and grew up in Maspeth.

Here are some of the projects filmed at the diner:

Movies:

GoodFellas (1990)

Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta (Example of Reverse Tracking or Hitchcock-Zoom)

Six Ways to Sunday (1997) Deborah Harry Blondie

Vincent Pastor & Norman Reedus

Brooklyn Rules (2007)

Scott Caan, Freddie Prinze Jr., Jerry Ferrara, Mena Suvari

Beautiful Ohio (2007)

Chad Lowe, Hilary Swank, William Hurt, Rita Wilson, Michelle Trachtenberg & Julianna Margulies

The Baby Sitters (2008)

John Leguizamo

Three Backyards (2010)

Edie Falco & Elias Koteas

Beware The Gonzo (2010)

Jesse McCartney, Campbell Scott & Zoë Kravitz

Jack Goes Boating (2010)

Phillip Seymour Hoffman

& John Ortiz

You Don't Know Jack (2010)

Al Pacino, & Barry Levinson

Over/Under (2011)

Twiztid

Dark Horse (2012)

Vamperifica (2012)

Dreama Walker

Zarra's Law (2013)

Tony Sirico, Michael Badalucco

Maladies (2012)

Alan Cumming, Catherine Keener, David Strathairn, James Franco

Glass Chin (2014)

H.O.M.E. – Life of a Passenger (2014)

Karen Lynn Gorney, Jesús Ochoa

Life of an Actress the Musical (2014)

The Magic Man BACARDÍ presents The Untameable Series (2014)

Urge (2015) Pierce Brosnan

TV Series:

Third Watch Ep. 207

After Hours (2000), Michael Beach, Coby Bell, Bobby Cannavale

The Job (2001) Denis Leary

Third Watch Ep 307

Childhood Memories (2001) Michael Beach, Coby Bell,

Amy Carlson

Johnny Zero (2005)

Denis Leary & Franky G.

Law and Order‒Criminal Intent (2006) Chris Noth, Annabella Sciorra & Alicia Witt

Law and Order‒Criminal Intent 2007 Chris Noth

Bored To Death episode 6

The Case of the Beautiful

Blackmailer (2009) Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis, & Ted Danson

National Geographic Inside

Mafia Detectives (2011) Tom Jennings

The Good Wife (2010) Chris Noth

Person of Interest TV Pilot (2011), Jim Caviezel

Person of Interest (2011) Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman

Blue Bloods (2011) Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes, Tom Selleck,

Pan Am (2011) Christina Ricci, Margot Robbie and Michael Mosley

666 Park Avenue (2013) Terry O'Quinn, Dave Annable

Person of Interest (2014) Jim Caviezel

Elementary (2013) Exteriors only Lucy Liu

Good Wife (2013) Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles

Leftovers (2014) Justin Theroux

Commercials & Print:

Got Milk, Old Guys (2001)

Tums (2007)

Becks Beer (2006)

10-4 Magazine September 2011, A Jewel on Long Island

Trane Air Conditioners (2000)

ELLE ITALIA January 2011,

Coco Rocha by Michael Sanders

Hysteric Glamour Spring/Summer 2011

Bergdorf Goodman (2005)

Proctor & Gamble Downy (2012)

American Express (2014)

VOGUE UK November 2013, Claire Danes

Music Videos:

Rapper AZ I'm Back (2004)

Newton Faulkner Dream

Catch Me (2008),

Selah Sue Crazy Vibes (2011)

December 2014 Juniper Berry Magazine

December 2014 Table of Contents