The coverage in the Mineola American and the article on Mineola in the Real Estate section of The New York Times from Sunday, Dec. 23rd ("Next Generation: Mineola Wants You") both detailed the possibility of the Jericho Diner closing to make way for yet another CVS on Jericho Turnpike. In light of this development, I felt compelled to write to persuade the community to work to preserve the Jericho Diner.
It's bad enough that my beloved Sparta Diner on Herricks Road closed for unknown reasons, but another diner closing in our village is simply intolerable. Yesterday, I was eating breakfast with my mom at the Jericho Diner and the place was packed with young families and other members of our community enjoying a Sunday breakfast amidst the madness of holiday shopping - I had never seen the diner so crowded.
Now, I make no claims to be an urban planner, but I question the logic of putting up another CVS on the corner of Jericho Turnpike and Roslyn Road for several reasons: First, it would be across the street from a 24-hour Walgreens, another drug-store/pharmacy that is, in fact, not a CVS. Approximately a half-mile west from Walgreens, located next to McDonald's and King Cullen is RiteAid, yet another drug store. Second, other than the modest-sized Mineola Diner located on Jericho Turnpike and Willis Avenue, Kiss The Chef located close to Hampton Street School off Second Street and the Williston Townhouse Diner on Hillside Avenue in Williston Park, to the best of my knowledge there are no other diner-type establishments located in Mineola - especially one with such a prime location, expansive square-footage and extensive availability (open 24 hours). Finally, considering the mayor's plans to increase housing developments which may result in between 500 to 550 residents moving to Mineola (this was mentioned in the Times article), it appears to me that such an influx of residents would necessitate more eating establishments - so why close the Jericho Diner?
Driving down Jericho Turnpike, the red, pink and blue neon of the Jericho Diner is a beacon of hope for those searching to satisfy their hunger at any time of day or night. I know, I was there late Thanksgiving Eve enjoying my cheese fries and Coke, along with many other folks - I shudder to think that there will be no option next year.
It comes down to not only the needs of our community but also what makes Mineola a better place in which to live. I cherish the diners of Long Island. My friends from college who come up from the south to visit marvel at the seemingly infinite variety of foods offered nearly any time of day. We deserve more than another drug store, bank or faceless office building that adds little to the character of our community.
I understand it's the nature of our free market economy to allow for business owners to do what they wish with their property, but I urge our community to come together and support the diner. If they haven't voted yet, then I urge the board of trustees to vote to prevent the CVS from being constructed. If you haven't been in there for a while, stop in and let the workers know you appreciate them being there. Make the owners realize that you appreciate their business.
Like many things in life, only once something's gone will one realize how truly fortunate they were for having it there to begin with - I fear this will be the case if the Jericho Diner is lost.