It was only by chance and a whole lot of rain that we discovered Ellen’s Stardust Diner at Broadway and 51st.

A chain reaction you could say.

central_park_rain_2Two days earlier we had been booked on a walking tour of Movie Locations around Central Park. But just as the tour started so did the rain. The skies opened up. The rains came down. Appearing just as suddenly as the rain, street vendors started waving souvenir umbrellas for sale at highly inflated prices. We had already looked like drowned rats but of course we bought the umbrellas. After all, the tour must go on.

It was a bedraggled looking group of umbrella huggers who finally entered Central Park. Our determined guide rattled of names and locations as we tried to listen and avoid increasingly large puddles of water. But as the rains continued to bucket down, it soon became evident that tour was quickly becoming a wash out. And although it wasn’t in the terms of the ticket (which said tours would happen rain or shine), we were offered the chance to take a future Movie Location Bus Tour instead. Having stepped in one to many puddles, it was an offer we couldn’t refuse.

The pick up point for the bus tour was Broadway and 51st, just outside Ellen’s Stardust Diner. And that’s how we discovered a slice of Americana, complete with singing wait staff.

singing_cafeThis retro theme 1940’s and 1950’s diner, outfitted with nostalgic memorabilia, provides great diner style food, good service and plenty of entertainment. We were there for breakfast and it couldn’t be faulted – a huge plate of eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast, and a constantly filled coffee cup. And then there was the singing. We were entertained with a steady stream of music. One minute you were being served coffee, then next your waiter was bellowing out ‘Sweet Caroline’ to a group of girl scouts celebrating the birthday of one of their group. Yes, you guessed it – the birthday girl was named Caroline.

It was like being in a time warp, circa 1950s. I kept looking to the door, expecting the gang of ‘Happy Days’ to walk through.

(originally posted at Write To Travel)

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Liz Lewis is a New Zealand based writer who favors wine tasting and food markets over bungy jumping and mountain climbing.