The restaurant opened in 1933 as the Holland Tunnel Diner. Like most diners of its vintage, it was built elsewhere and transported to its site. Measuring about 36 by 16 feet, it could seat about 34 people, with six tables and ten counter stools.
Around 1997, it was purchased by Sunis Sharma.
In 2007, the diner's operators announced that they would close the diner due to rising rent. Its demolition was set for August 1. Preservationists and the neighborhood's residents organized benefits for the diner.
In mid-2007, the diner was donated by Extell Development Company to the American Diner Museum in Providence, Rhode Island, which put it up for sale on its website before the structure was moved. In August, the diner was purchased from the museum by Vince and Cheryl Pierce, who spent $7,500 to buy the structure and another $40,000 to move it by semi-trailer truck some 2,400 miles (3,900 km) to La Barge, Wyoming. Within months, there were reports that the diner was unused and falling into dilapidation in its new site. During its first Wyoming winter, in January 2008, the diner's walls buckled and the entire roof caved in under the weight of ice and snow. The rotating moon sign, kept safe in storage, was undamaged. By March 2008, the diner was mostly repaired and restored, and was open for business six days a week. It was included in a late 2000s / early 2010s list of 51 "great burger joints" compiled by USA Today through reader suggestions.
In popular culture
- In the television sitcom Friends, the character Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) worked at the Moondance Diner, which was depicted as a 1950s theme restaurant with singing waitstaff (akin to the real-life Ellen's Stardust Diner). However, the show was filmed in Los Angeles, and only the exterior shots depicted the real diner.
- The diner is featured prominently in the 1985 movie After Hours.
- The diner appears in the 1987 Equalizer episode High Performance, where McCall meets a murder witness looking for his help.
- In the 2005 rockumentary film The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie, six-year-old Alex faints on the counter of Moondance Diner after drinking and spilling cans of soda all over himself.
- The cable television series Sex and the City featured scenes shot at the Moondance Diner.
- In the 2002 film Spider-Man the Moondance Diner appears as the diner at which Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) is employed.
- In a-ha's music video for its 1988 single "You Are the One", the band enters the diner.
- The diner appears in the Miami Vice episode "The Prodigal Son".
- The diner appears in Reading Rainbow season 3 episode 9, "Animal Cafe".
- Jonathan Larson's time working at the diner is portrayed in his musical Tick Tick... Boom!, and its 2021 film adaptation.
- American composer and playwright Jonathan Larson was a waiter for ten years at the Moondance Diner.
- Actor Jesse L. Martin met fellow waiter Larson at the Moondance Diner and later starred as Tom Collins in Larson's stage and film versions of the musical Rent.
- Hegedus, Mike, ed. (September 14, 2013). "Moondance Diner". Hegedus World. Archived from the original on April 2, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
- McDonnough, Kaili (August 2, 2007). "Make That Diner to Go". New York Post. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- Mindlin, Alex (April 29, 2007). "The Ultimate Moveable Feast". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 22, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- Gearino, Jeff (July 31, 2007). "Manhattan diner finds Wyo home". Casper Star-Tribune. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- Clark, Roger (April 25, 2007). "Patrons Organize To Save Venerable SoHo Diner". NY1. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- Chung, Jen (August 11, 2007). "Moondance Diner, A Piece of New York, Moves West". Gothamist. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- Dillon, Nancy; McShane, Larry (July 10, 2012). "Historic Moondance Diner closed doors in March and owner is looking for a new buyer". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on April 2, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
- Shapiro, Gary (August 1, 2007). "To Find This New York Diner, Head to Wyoming". The New York Sun. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- "Moondance Diner moving to LaBarge, Wyoming". Pinedale, Wyoming: Pinedale Online!. July 31, 2007. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- Ozersky, Josh; Maurer, Daniel (September 12, 2007). "The Moondance Diner, Neglected in Wyoming, Now a Shell of Itself". New York. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- Lee, Jennifer 8. (January 7, 2008). "Wyoming Winter Weighs Down Moondance Diner". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 11, 2009. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- Ozersky, Josh; Maurer, Daniel (March 6, 2008). "The Moondance Diner Gets a Happy Ending After All". New York. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- "Owner: Moondance Diner on track to open in Wyoming". Associated Press via AM New York. March 5, 2008. Archived from the original on March 11, 2008. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- "51 Great Burger Joints". USA Today Travel. n.d. Archived from the original on May 17, 2012.
- Gruver, Mead (August 8, 2012). "Famous NY diner relocated to Wyoming up for sale". Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 2, 2014.
- Shapiro, Gary (February 13, 2007). "Goodnight, Moondance". The New York Sun. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. p. 29. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6.
- Buckley, Michael (August 3, 2003). "Stage to Screens: A Chat with Jesse L. Martin". Playbill. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
- Walsh, Kevin (ed.). "Nothing Could Be Finer: NYC's Classic Diners". Forgotten NY. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- Smith, Paul Art. "NETFLIX'S TICK, TICK…BOOM! BRINGS MOONDANCE DINER BACK FOR ONE DAY ONLY". Broadway Direct. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
- Desowitz, Bill. "'Tick Tick Boom': Crafting the 'Sunday' Diner Scene as a Sondheim Tribute with Broadway Legends". IndieWire. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
- Levitt, Hayley. "Lin-Manuel Miranda Launches Moondance Diner Merchandise for TeeRico". www.theatermania.com. Retrieved January 18, 2022.