June 7, 2010
One of my favorite local history blogs, Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, has posted part one of a two-part mystery surrounding the location of the diner which inspired Edward Hopper's painting "Nighthawks". For years, the rumor has been that the diner was located at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Greenwich Street, where the MTA currently has a fenced in lot for vehicles with controversial plans to build a ventilation plant there. However, after some diligent research, Jeremiah has found pictures of a gas station on the site from the 1930's. And no evidence of anything else being built there since, other than the MTA's fence.
Hopper has said the diner was inspired by a place he saw on Greenwich. But Hopper has also been known to take liberties with his inspiration and was not exactly a documentary painter. If you tune in tomorrow, Jeremiah says he'll reveal where the real diner was located. It would be amazing if he even found a picture. I wouldn't put it past him....this guy really knows his stuff.