Queens may be the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world, but Astoria is still Greek as fuck.
A lot of it may be Greek in the cologne-drenched, unibrowed, oontz-oontz-oontz kind of way, but there’s still plenty of fisherman-cap-wearing, Ouzo-slugging, old-country style Greekness to be found here.
The day before Thanksgiving I was walking home from the subway and I saw two people struggling to get something large, furry, and bloody onto a laundry cart. I thought someone’s pit bull got killed and they were getting the body out of the street. When I got closer, I saw that the Astorians carrying this thing weren’t sad or freaked out, they were smiling and laughing. Then I noticed the cute little tail.
These fucking Greeks, man! They weren’t carrying a dead dog, it was a deer carcass! In New Jersey a dead deer is roadkill. In Astoria, it’s Thanksgiving dinner. Moreover, it’s considered completely normal to toss the thing on a cart and wheel it into a Laundromat.
I love a good steak as much as the next omnivore, but watching two Greeks transport Bambi’s mom was a little much for me. I looked down and a dog-eared copy of "Animal Liberation" was in my hands, I was wearing skinny jeans, and I thought I was better than everyone else. I tried, in vain, to shake 15 no-bake vegan cookie recipes from my head and walked home. Oddly, reflecting on the deer incident made me really thankful that Astoria has become my home.
I love Astoria because it’s filled with good restaurants and markets. I love Astoria because the location is so damned convenient. Sure, every now and then a burqa-clad ninja runs up the side of a building and disappears into a cloud of hookah smoke, but that’s alright.
There’s even a few hipsters here and there. But thank Christ there’s no live music scene, otherwise the place would be overrun with Brooklynites the way their homeland is overrun with rats and roaches. Hopefully the meat-loving Greeks, with their windows full of dead baby lambs, baby goats, and baby pigs can keep the hipsters away.
It’s not that I have a problem with hipsters, It’s just that when I see them, I see my rent going up. If too many organic-eating trust-fund kids move in, there goes the neighborhood. Me and the old country Greeks know the deal. As soon as Astoria becomes a cool place to live, it’s Adderall-snorting, scarf-wearing idiots as far as the eye can see.
Shit. I take back all the good stuff I said about Astoria. You don’t want to live here. It sucks. It’s quiet and you can see the stars at night. It blows. Stay in Brooklyn.
I’ll be here dining on deer souvlaki with all my Telly Savalas lookin’ muthafuckas.
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