Once I had a great money-making idea.
I would go to Kansas and sell flights to Greece. The Kansans would pay willingly for air travel to this beautiful and ancient destination. I would instead then take them to Astoria, Queens where Greek is spoken on the street, restaurants serve Greek food with Greek ambience and most of the people have their roots deep in the heart of the Greek Peninsula. They would never realize the difference.
O.K., it is dishonest, I won't do it, but it is a great idea!
Two weeks ago, my beautiful wife Lorraine led an expedition to Astoria. It was a day of museums, barbecued lamb, Greek salad, retsing and moussaka. Four couples, in two cars, left the hamlet on this safari. The Steinbergs, the Rottos, the Brooks and, of course, the Greenbergs plunged forth on this journey into the depths of Astoria. It was on a Sunday and parking was no problem.
We started with the American Museum of the Moving Image on 35th Street. We are all old-time movie fans and seeing Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Linda Darnell, Jeanne Crain, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Hedy Lamarr, Alice Fay, George Brent, Susan Hayward, Bette Davis. Gary Merrill, Anne Baxter, Audrey Hepburn, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, John Garfield, Anne Sheridan, Lawrence Olivier, Merle Oberon, Vivian Leigh, etc., brought back memories.
There are so many technical aspects to movie making and we had fun with them all. We danced and sang for the cameras. There was a lot of suppressed talent in this group of old-timers. Also, a lot of "ham."
Next, we motored over to Socrates Sculpture Park, which sits on the East River at the end of Broadway and Vernon Blvd. The artists were preparing for a show in the future and there were only a few exhibits. However, the view of Manhattan was extraordinary and the walk was invigorating.
Next, to Uncle George's on Broadway and 34th Street. This is the restaurant I wanted to take the Kansas people to. Mostly Greek is spoken and until recently the entire menu was printed in Greek.
We got a table for eight and began our feast. It was an orgy of lamb, chicken, kababs, gyros, souvlaki, moussaka, escarole, hummus, lemon potatoes and Diet Pepsi with lemon. Those Kansans would have loved Uncle George's. No coffee is served at Uncle George's.
So, on to Ominia, the fabulous pastry and coffee shop across the street. So many different, luscious cakes and cookies. So many types of coffee (try the Frappé). This is the bakery that supplied the wedding cake for the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Back in the cars - back on the LIE. Back to suburbia.