Family-owned diners are disappearing from NYC

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You can have all kinds of eggs and breakfast anytime.

Dozens of deserts tempt you at the door.

Get a gyro or some spaghetti or order the cheeseburger deluxe platter.

But diners are disappearing around the boroughs of New York City.

"You have to be a weight-lifter to get the menu," says Archie, a regular customer at Townhouse Diner on Second Avenue between 37th and 38th Streets in Manhattan.

The NYC Health Department currently reports that 378 places identify as a "diner or coffee shop" although there may be others not included in the search. Crain's New York and The New York Times have reported that a generation ago, there were more than 1,000 diners.

The restaurants are often family businesses.

Steve Vouvoudakis, owner of Townhouse Diner, describes long days and an appreciation for customers. His business moved in almost 30 years ago.

At the tables and along counters of diners across the boroughs, rising rents and changing tastes are often the reasons for an apparent decline.

But then another midnight rush comes in and any order seems possible.

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