A Flame That Burns Forever

A Flame That Burns Forever

8 am at the Red Flame Diner

In a town where renovation and reinvention is a part of everyday life, it’s comforting to know that some things stay the same for decades, or maybe even longer. Ever since I was a little girl (and yes, that was decades ago), I loved coming into “the city” (what people in Brooklyn called Manhattan) for the classic NYC diner breakfast. To fall into this very rigid category, there are certain rules that apply. For one, walking into a diner for breakfast, you usually can't be seated until your entire party is present (which is fine, just gives you time for people-watching). Next, once you are seated, ice water is brought, along with thick coffee cups and saucers, while a wait person (usually with a thick, non-New York accent) asks, “coffee?,” the coffee pot already tilted toward the cup. You see, NYC diner wait staffs know that ice water and coffee is the first injection needed by most New Yorkers to start their day (hydration/de-hyrdation: it’s the way we roll). Next, you get a choice of virtually any kind of breakfast you want. Recently, my friend ordered one egg over easy with pancakes, while I opted for the protein only version of eggs: eggs over easy, sausage links, no toast, no potatoes. Food is served quickly and is always good. Mints are available at the cashier’s counter, which is also, by the way, where you pay: You never pay the server directly. Finally, should you feel the urge to go back for lunch, dinner or a late supper, the diner will be waiting. Red Flame Diner, where I enjoyed my recent protein-only breakfast, is faithfully open, seven days a week, from 6:30 am-11 pm.

It really is nice to know that some things never change.

» Red Flame Diner, 67 W. 44th St., 212.869.3965