Which brings me to M. Wells, a metal-clad diner as shiny as a magpie's trinket, situated on a corner in Queens as dead-drab as one of the borough's countless cemeteries. A little more than a year ago, the diner was an abandoned shell, and now it symbolizes the renewal of Long Island City as surely as the MoMA PS1 art museum and the Silvercup film studios. I don't know what a burger once cost at the derelict diner that became M. Wells, since I never ate there, but I'm betting it was about $2.99. M. Wells sells one for $42, proof that gentrification is thriving in Queens. ... My experience there was like no other. The motto is "All's well at M. Wells." I assure you it is not.
When he arrived at the warehouse, the first thing he noticed (after “the beautiful, sweet, mellow smell of aging Canadian whiskey,” he says) was the black stuff. It was everywhere—on the walls of buildings, on chain-link fences, on metal street signs, as if a battalion of Dickensian chimney sweeps had careened through town. “In the back of the property, there was an old stainless steel fermenter tank,” Scott says. “It was lying on its side, and it had this fungus growing all over it. Stainless steel!” The whole point of stainless steel is that things don’t grow on it.