The 1942 painting portrays the customers at a city coffee shop through the window one dark night. The painting’s setting has never been given.
Edward Hopper passed away in 1967 and left only the clue that the painting ‘was suggested by a restaurant on Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet.’ Additionally, he noted that “I simplified the scene a great deal and made the restaurant bigger.” It’s also possible that Hopper only imagined the diner rather than paint an existing structure.
The restaurant of Greenwich Street and Christopher Street in Manhattan’s West Village is in the former space of Nighthawks, a restaurant that tipped its hat to the famous Edward Hopper painting by the same name. The similarity between the building and the one in the painting which both feature triangular spaces and large windows.
Many others researchers believe the painting is based on a spot on Mulry Square at the intersection of Seventh Avenue South, Greenwich Avenue, and West 11th Street, about seven blocks west of Hopper’s studio on Washington Square.
Featured Image: Nighthawks (painting) by Edward Hopper