Did You Know? from MetroBlogs

Each Thursday, Metroblogs NYC posts an interesting, little-known trivia tidbit that will help you get to know this city we call home and will also shock and amaze others at parties or around the coffee machine at work. If you have a suggestion for a good trivia subject, LET US KNOW. You can read past trivia entries here.

MB_didyouknow-thumb.jpgBOW… BAH DAH DAH DAH, BOW WOW BOW. CHICKA!!!! (That is my attempt at transcribing the bumper music from Seinfeld).

If shown a picture of Tom’s Restaurant, most will recognize its exterior as that of Monk’s, the coffee shop where the four neurotic characters from the hit 90’s show spent a good chunk of their time. But, did you know that the Morningside Heights eatery was the inspiration for two other popular works besides Seinfeld?

In 1981, singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega sat at Tom’s and tried to imagine what it would be like to describe life in a fly-on-the-wall perspective. As she continued to write, her creativity led her to pen the famous song “Tom’s Diner.” While the song’s diner was undoubtedly meant to symbolize an unnamed restaurant, not necessarily in Manhattan, Vega is clear that this particular greasy spoon diner was her inspiration.

In 1997, author Meredith Sue Willis released the novel Trespassers. Set in 1968, the story has a short descriptive paragraph where it talks about how Tom’s is a microcosm of New York:

“He knew a restaurant called Tom’s, which he said had nothing really bad, and the hand-cut steak fries were top quality. It was a diner with big stainless-steel coffee pots and red vinyl booths. I think I had hoped for something darker and more atmospheric, but after I’d looked around at the coat racks, desserts under glass, the steam in the air, I thought, But this is the real New York, this is what is.” (p.60)

A lot has happened at this small, family-owned shop located on Broadway and 112th Street (Hopstop, Google Maps). Only in New York could an ordinary place like this become such a haven of creativity for locals.

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