Tag Archives: closing

End of an era: Flushing’s Palace Diner closing


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

The faithful frequenters of Flushing’s Palace Diner will have to find a new haunt once the local landmark serves its last meal after more than three decades in the neighborhood.

The diner, which sits along the Long Island Expressway on the corner of Main Street and Horace Harding Expressway and has been a neighborhood mainstay for 35 years, will close its doors for good on Friday, December 30.

“Friday is going to be another very emotional day,” said owner George Mantzikos.

Hostess Eva Ballas, who has worked at the diner for 20 years, said Friday will “be the worst day of [her] life.”

“Everybody is going to come say goodbye. I’m upset.  All my customers are crying,” Ballas said.  “I’m crying, too.”

The spacious diner created a cozy atmosphere over the years through devoted diners, a dedicated, long-tenured staff and good food.

One by one, the loyal customer base — called angels by Mantzikos — that built up over the years has been making the pilgrimage back to the neighborhood cornerstone to bid adieu.

One customer even flew up from Florida to say goodbye.

“There is no place like this place,” said Hedije Haliti, who has frequented the diner for 30 years.  “I’m so sad to see it go.”

Haliti, who stopped by the diner — which is down the block from her job at Dime Savings Bank — a couple of times each week, said she will miss the Greek omelets and the familiar faces the most.

The diner will be replaced by a Chinese restaurant.

Mantzikos said he has not decided what his next plans are, but after nearly 30 years of running the diner, he intends to take some time off to rest.

“I’m going to miss being in the diner, seeing all these people, working with my people,” said Mantzikos.

“We had a good run,” Ballas said.  “Every good thing comes to an end.”

After working at the diner for two decades, Ballas found it difficult to determine one memory that stands out above all the fond recollections.

“It was my second home,” she said.  “That’s my memory — I’m going to miss my second house.”

Will door close on Maspeth company?


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Karp Associates

After 50 years in the community, a Maspeth manufacturer may be headed for “greener” pastures out of state that provide more financial incentives.

Karp Associates, a third-generation manufacturing company, is leaving its current Maspeth location after losing their property to Eminent Domain.

Though Karp, which manufactures and distributes access doors, has received offers to relocate from about a dozen states, the company favors staying within the city.

“Our first preference was always to stay here,” said George Kosser, vice president of operations at Karp. He said that while Karp has received better offers from other locales, the company is merely looking for the same offer a new business coming into the city would receive.

“We weren’t going anywhere,” said Kosser. “For the fact that we’re being kicked out, treat us just like we were coming for the first time.”

Their location on 43rd Street between 55th Avenue and 54th Road, in the shadow of the Kosciusko Bridge, was seized by the state Department of Transportation to make way for a new bridge.

The city has worked with Karp since the company discovered their property was being seized to keep them in the five boroughs. But they are not eligible for certain assistance that companies relocating to the city are.

The company was offered tax breaks and incentive packages by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to stay in the city.

Karp was founded in 1957 by current owner Adam Gold’s grandfather and great uncle. Over its 50-plus years in Maspeth, the company has grown from an operation of 10 workers in a 5,000-square-foot space to about 120 workers in 120,000-square-feet in three locations.

“The feeling I get is that the city doesn’t care if we stay or go,” Kosser said.

The EDC said they are very committed to job retention.

“We take the needs of companies across the five boroughs very seriously, and are committed to providing certain types of assistance when necessary to keep good jobs here in New York City,” said EDC spokesperson Patrick Muncie.

Karp is resigned to the fact that it will most likely have to leave the city, but the company hopes to be able to remain in New York, specifically Long Island, and is continuing to work with the state. Most of the workers live near the company’s current location.

In June, Karp declined an offer from the Empire State Development (ESD) of a package that included $445,000 from the EDC along with $7 million from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency.

“ESD will continue to work hard to keep jobs in New York and talks are ongoing, but there cannot be an open faucet of taxpayer money,” said Austin Shafran, vice president of public affairs for Empire State Development.

Karp was offered the maximum amount of money allowable under state law, he said.

The company hopes to make a decision by the end of the year, with relocating to New Jersey being an option if a move to Long Island cannot be negotiated.

Karp, whose customers are mostly construction distributors, recently landed the contract for the World Trade Center.

“We’re the company that everyone wants,” Kosser said. “Except for the city.”