Photo by Christina Wilkinson
A booth is covered with shattered glass after the fire that devastated Goodfellas Diner in Maspeth on June 11.

It’s been nearly three decades since Martin Scorsese directed the classic scenes inside the vintage 1950s-style diner in the heart of Maspeth that propelled it into movie history and ultimately became its namesake: Goodfellas Diner.

Maybe it’s only fitting that when another Scorsese mobster film, “The Irishman,” gets released in 2019, it could include some of the last scenes ever filmed inside the diner.

Shortly after closing on June 11, a fire broke out inside the kitchen and dozens of firefighters responded to the scene on Maspeth Avenue where smoke could be seen billowing out. The diner was empty and there were no injuries, FDNY officials said, but the full extent of the damage could not be assessed right away.

When co-owner Nick Diamantis spoke with QNS a week later on June 19, he described the scene that has left him in shock.

“I can’t even calculate how much it’s going to cost us,” Diamantis said. “It depends on the insurance, so if it’s covered we’ll rebuild. If it’s not, we’ll have to figure out what to do.”

Diamantis explained that fire marshals told him the blaze started in the kitchen near the cooking equipment less than an hour after the diner closed for the day. The kitchen received the most fire damage, as well as part of the front dining room and the roof. But the entire restaurant suffered smoke damage.

The upholstered booths where Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta and many more stars have sat will need to be replaced, Diamantis said.

Much of the remaining damage was done while the FDNY was trying to get the fire under control. To ventilate the building, the firefighters broke all of the windows and doors open and cut holes in the roof above the kitchen.

After firefighters hosed the diner down, there was nearly a foot of water inside — and some of it is still lingers today, Diamantis said.

When asked how the family was coping with situation, it was difficult for Diamantis to describe their emotions.

“It’s not about feeling, it’s just taking it one step at a time,” Diamantis said. “We’re throwing everything damaged in the dump and figuring out what needs to be done to put it back together.”

The Goodfellas Diner during a shoot for "Going in Style" in 2015 (Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso)

The Goodfellas Diner during a shoot for “Going in Style” in 2015 (Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso)

The GoodFellas Diner on June 11 after the fire (Photo by Christina Wilkinson)

The Goodfellas Diner on June 11 after the fire (Photo by Christina Wilkinson)

Part of the Diamantis family since 1985, the diner is co-owned by Nick and his mother Denise. Since serving as the backdrop for scenes of “Goodfellas” in 1990, the diner has been a set for more than 100 other titles, Diamantis said. The vintage decor combined with Maspeth’s central location in New York City makes it an easy 10- to 20-minute trip for many major production studios.

An actor himself, Diamantis said that the family’s relationships with the production studios is the most important factor in securing so many gigs. The list of shoots in the last decade include TV series like “The Americans,” “Homeland,” “Blue Bloods,” “The Punisher,” “Power” and “Madam Secretary,” as well as movies like “Going in Style,” “Chuck,” “Urge” and “Jack Goes Boating.”

Those relationships could prove to be important now more than ever, as Diamantis said several studios have reached out to him to offer their support. With any luck, maybe the diner could end up on some sort of restoration show, Diamantis said through a chuckle.

While he does not know it for certain, Diamantis believes the Goodfellas Diner to be the most filmed diner in America, and if restored he said it will have the same vintage look as always.

In the meantime, three upcoming gigs at the diner have been canceled, Diamantis said.


Join The Discussion

Related Stories
City expands its ‘Outreach’ to homeless people living on the streets
City expands its ‘Outreach’ to homeless people living on the streets
FDNY investigating cause of early morning Rosedale house fire
FDNY investigating cause of early morning Rosedale house fire

Skip to toolbar