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Saying goodbye to a neighborhood eatery

August 19, 2013 11:59:15 AM PDT
Another neighborhood institution in Manhattan is about to close its doors because of sky-rocketing rent. Joe Juniors has been around for decades, but in two days it will be history. The popular diner is on Sixth Avenue, and now, its loyal patrons are getting ready to say goodbye.

"I feel like crying," David Moffly said. "We've been coming here for 10 years. This is the first place we'd let our kids walk to alone and have a meal and feel like big kids. We knew they'd be safe."

Teddy Hondros has owned Joe's for 33 years and worked there for 35. But he and the building's owner couldn't agree on re-negotiating the lease.

"I love more this place, instead of my house," Hondros said.

He arrived from Greece decades ago with little money and says America has helped him.

"I love this country," he said.

But still, customers remain hopeful and a petition sits by the cash register for people to sign inan effort to keep Joe's alive.

The food has almost become secondary at the eatery. Sarianne White, a regular since she was a baby, has pretty much nailed down why.

"It's just great to be here," she says.

And many patrons said Joe's has been good to people in the neighborhood and the entire city. On September 11th, they sent sandwiches and drinks to Ground Zero. For the elderly and the disadvantaged, there's always an extra cup of coffee, extra sandwiches and extra conversation.

"I don't cook at all, I'm a typical New Yorker," Jim Arnoff said. "So this is not only my kitchen, it's my living room, it's my family. I've been coming here for 17 years. In fact, I get packages delivered here because I don't have a door man."

Losing Joe Juniors will tear a hole in the neighborhood, neighbors say. For Teddy Hondros, too, it's very hard.

"I love my people," he said.

Web produced by Maura Sweeney


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