8 JUNE 21, 2018 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Feds catch suspect in M.V. bank robbery bids
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
Federal agents tracked down a
convicted bank robber on Monday
linked to a series of recent attempted
heists in Queens and Brooklyn.
John Grant, 50, was taken into federal
custody on June 18 on charges related to
a robbery attempts at Chase bank on the
morning of June 8 in Brooklyn. Police
sources said charges are also pending
against him for an attempted heist in
Ridgewood on June 8 and a pair of robbery
bids in Middle Village on June 14.
According to law enforcement
sources, Grant allegedly paid a visit
to the Chase bank located at 51-15
Metropolitan Ave. at 9:55 a.m. on June
8. In that incident, police said, Grant
allegedly approached a teller and presented
a note demanding cash.
Aft er the employee refused to comply
with his request, authorities noted,
Grant fl ed the scene inside a dark-colored
Toyota Prius. At 10:25 a.m. that
same morning, federal agents said, he
made a similar attempt to swipe cash
from a Chase bank on Grand Street in
Six days later, at about 11 a.m. on June
14, Grant allegedly showed up at the
Chase bank located at 74-07 Eliot Ave.
in Middle Village. He again presented
a demand note to the teller, then wound
up leaving the bank empty-handed
aft er his request was rebuff ed.
Police said Grant then headed over to
the Chase bank at 74-03 Metropolitan
Ave., about 3/4 of a mile from the Eliot
Avenue location. Upon arriving there,
he presented a demand note to the teller
and was provided with $1,395 in cash.
Grant’s last known address is
on Kosciuszko Street in Brooklyn.
According to court records, he was
arrested in December 2016 for an attempted
bank robbery in Queens.
Photo via Twitter/@NYPD104Pct
Grant pleaded guilty to charges
in that caper and was sentenced in
May 2017 to serve between 2 1/2 and
5 years behind bars; however, according
to the state Department of Corrections
and Community Supervision, he
wound up being paroled in March of
Goodfellas co-owner ‘can’t even calculate’ cost of fi re damage
BY RYAN KELLEY
It’s been nearly three decades
since Martin Scorsese directed
the classic scenes inside the vintage
1950s-style diner in the heart of
Maspeth that propelled it into movie
history and ultimately became its
namesake: Goodfellas Diner.
Maybe it’s only fi tting that when
another Scorsese mobster fi lm, “The
Irishman,” gets released in 2019, it
could include some of the last scenes
ever fi lmed inside the diner.
Shortly aft er closing on June 11, a
fi re broke out inside the kitchen and
dozens of fi refi ghters responded to
the scene on Maspeth Avenue where
smoke could be seen billowing out.
The diner was empty and there were
no injuries, FDNY offi cials said, but
the full extent of the damage could
not be assessed right away.
When co-owner Nick Diamantis
spoke with QNS a week later on June
19, he described the scene that has left
him in shock.
“I can’t even calculate how much it’s
going to cost us,” Diamantis said. “It
depends on the insurance, so if it’s
covered we’ll rebuild. If it’s not, we’ll
have to fi gure out what to do.”
Diamantis explained that fire
marshals told him the blaze started
in the kitchen near the cooking
equipment less than an hour aft er the
diner closed for the day. The kitchen
received the most fi re damage, as well
as part of the front dining room and
the roof. But the entire restaurant
suff ered smoke damage.
The upholstered booths where
Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta and many
more stars have sat will need to be
replaced, Diamantis said.
Much of the remaining damage was
done while the FDNY was trying to get
the fi re under control. To ventilate the
building, the fi refi ghters broke all of
the windows and doors open and cut
holes in the roof above the kitchen.
Aft er fi refi ghters hosed the diner
down, there was nearly a foot of
water inside — and some of it is still
lingers today, Diamantis said.
When asked how the family was
coping with situation, it was diffi -
cult for Diamantis to describe their
“It’s not about feeling, it’s just taking
it one step at a time,” Diamantis said.
“We’re throwing everything damaged
in the dump and fi guring out what
needs to be done to put it back together.”
Part of the Diamantis family since
1985, the diner is co-owned by Nick
and his mother Denise. Since serving
as the backdrop for scenes of “Goodfellas”
in 1990, the diner has been a set for
more than 100 other titles, Diamantis
said. The vintage decor combined
with Maspeth’s central location in
New York City makes it an easy 10- to
20-minute trip for many major production
An actor himself, Diamantis said that
the family’s relationships with the production
studios is the most important
factor in securing so many gigs. The
list of shoots in the last decade include
TV series like “The Americans,” “Homeland,”
“Blue Bloods,” “The Punisher,”
“Power” and “Madam Secretary,” as well
as movies like “Going in Style,” “Chuck,”
“Urge” and “Jack Goes Boating.”
Those relationships could prove to
be important now more than ever, as
Diamantis said several studios have
reached out to him to off er their support.
With any luck, maybe the diner could
end up on some sort of restoration
show, Diamantis said through a chuckle.
While he does not know it for certain,
Diamantis believes the Goodfellas
Diner to be the most fi lmed diner in
America, and if restored he said it will
have the same vintage look as always.
In the meantime, three upcoming
gigs at the diner have been canceled,
Photo by Christina Wilkinson
A booth is covered with shattered glass after the fi re that devastated
Goodfellas Diner in Maspeth on June 11.