11/03/16 9:52am
Jessica Jones in the Court Square Diner.

Jessica Jones in the Court Square Diner.

The Lobster Shift is a monthly column by Kenneth R. Rosen that explores the city at night.

There is just one spot in the five boroughs suitable for a psycho-prism support group meeting and for hatching a plot to take on the Yakuza. That’s Court Square Diner in Long Island City.

Located near the former 5 Pointz graffit mecca, and the junction of 7, G, M and E trains, the diner is a mainstay in the modern noir universe of Marvel. It is the go-to haunt for Matt (Daredevil) and Jessica (Jessica Jones). Scenes from CBS’s Person of Interest and FOX’s Gotham were also filmed at the stand-alone diner, one of the last in New York City.

Tucked beneath the elevated 7 train, it beckons after-hours mischief with its neon signs and slick, aluminum train-car interior. Silhouette etchings of the Queensboro Bridge and the Silvercup Studio sign line the mirrored walls. Across the street, an adult viewing booth sits incongruously tucked between Vietnamese and Thai take-out restaurants, in a neighborhood with high-rise, high-rent condos.

Absent from this scene on a recent Monday night, but not unimaginable given the atmosphere: an orange and white smokestack puffing clouds of baleful steam, suffusing the street with mood. (more…)

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11/16/15 10:54am
Baklava and a martini--what else do you finish the night with? Photo: Kenneth Rosen

Baklava and a martini–what else do you finish the night with? Photo: Kenneth Rosen

The Lobster Shift is a monthly column by Kenneth Rosen that explores the city’s all-night eateries and their inhabitants.

At two a.m. the Empire State Building goes dark. I’ve seen the lights dim while wandering the city during or after my overnight Lobster Shift at a newsroom in Midtown. The lights extinguish and the skyline edges closer to the eerie Gotham that this city once was. The past lingers below, on darkened streets where cabbies sip from Anthora cups, couples clutch each other and stagger home, manholes puff scarves of steam beneath high-pressure sodium light fixtures–a nocturnal landscape that may soon disappear.

South of the Empire State in Madison Square Park, the mellow amber glow from the Met Life Tower’s gilded peak is the piece of Manhattan that persists after my exit to Queens–always visible during my nightly walks home through Sunnyside. Its glow is so insusceptible to dimming that I like to believe the luminescence of its bigger sibling uptown hides there overnight, waiting.

When I think of those two towers, I think about a time in New York that lingers after dark. Like North Stars, they lead me to where people are awake, where there’s revelry and, importantly, food. (more…)

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