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Tom’s Diner

by Twitchy on November 28, 2014

On my first ever visit to New York in 2012 (a lifelong dream), this awestruck tourist was taken to Tom’s famous restaurant. Naturally it had rightfully made it onto the list of must-see cultural landmarks of the city (and no, I did not do the Carrie/ Sex and the City tour.)

Toms diner arrow

Tom’s is widely known as the inspiration (and location visual) for Monk’s Cafe, the regular meeting place in Seinfeld where Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer would get together to talk about nothing (and grumble about the staff and their orders).

Tom's_Restaurant,_NYC (Image: From Here ; (en:User:Rdikeman) – by Rick Dikeman

How funny it was then, that I should be the one girl sitting in the Diner booth with three guys? (Some of whom kvetching about their orders… perfection.) One of life’s delicious little art-imitating moments. In New York, where dreams come true.

toms window cropped

The prime second booth, in that window, October 2012.

toms diner wall

Signed Seinfeld memorabilia on the cashier’s wall.

As we sat, Jean (the only native New Yorker among us) mentioned that Tom’s Restaurant was the “Tom’s Diner” of the Suzanne Vega tune. I couldn’t believe it- how dumb was I to have missed that particular connection?!

Inside Toms

Facing Broadway from the kitchen window.

Suzanne is one of my all-time music/writing heroes, a true poet, an evergreen. I caught her recent Melbourne performance and while there, collected her latest CD Tales from the Realm of The Queen of Pentacles. Two weeks ago on a Twitter surf I saw Suzanne (@suzyv) reply to a lyric query by a young follower. He’d asked what “the funnies” meant; she’d taken the time to kindly explain.

I responded to that tweet and to my delight, it was favourited by Ms Vega herself. Twitter can really bring the simple joy sometimes.

Twitter screen shot SuzyV

Two versions of Tom’s Diner were released on the album Solitude Standing (1987) but the one I consider the original is the iconic a cappella track. Remixed with a beat in 1990 by DNA, it became something else altogether fab- one of my all-time favourites. (Oh check out this so-typical early 90’s video: Black and White, yo. Flashing coloured lights, Bondesque, dancing female silhouettes two dudes bounce-dancing and coffee machines as instruments.)


DNA feat. Suzanne Vega ~ Tom’s Diner from Maria Perescu on Vimeo.

So with that recent addition, there you have my Tom’s Diner story. The place where Seinfeld, Suzanne Vega, Twitter and my American friends and I, all meet.

Have you ever visited a place from a book or movie or show? Was it what you expected?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

kelley @ magnetoboldtoo December 12, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Still one of my fav songs.

It is my ringtone. And has been for as long as I have been able to set a ringtone. It has been my one and only!

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stephanie@stephsjoy November 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Reruns of seinfield are back on. When we were in the US a few years ago, we got to go on the old set of Friends – that was special!

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Huzilla November 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Ooooh, that’s one landmark that would send me into a spin! So weird seeing the actual interior though, it feels so wrong.

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Emily Toxward November 28, 2014 at 11:57 am

How shocking that when I lived in NY I never made it there. Don’t hate me but I’m just not a die-hard Seinfeld fan. Although I do love Suzanne Vega! I have been to Serendipity cafe, you know the love movie with John Cusack??

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Fairlie November 28, 2014 at 10:42 am

Great post! I didn’t know that Suzanne Vega reference t Tom’s Diner…fascinating! On our last trip to NYC (a place I love!) we sought out the Friends’ apartment building and Central Perk in Greenwich. On a previous visit we did the TV and Movie bus tour…which took us to many very familiar sights!

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Ai Sakura November 28, 2014 at 10:14 am

I got the same excitement when I was in Korea for the first time and went to the locations where some of my fave dramas were filmed :P Was almost hoping to see the stars there themselves haha

Ai @ Sakura Haruka

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Angela November 28, 2014 at 10:06 am

So very cool! I’ve never visited anywhere like that but it would be on my list. And how different it is on the inside! Didn’t the inside of it feature as another restaurant when they got shunned out of their regular one? It looks familiar….Seinfeld freak here… :-)

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