Hello, everyone! As a woman who always enjoys the sights, sounds, and tastes of different places, I recently decided to visit the beautiful borough of Queens along with my beloved Sandy along with his delightful caregiver. From the moment that my fantastic doorman greeted us on our way out, I knew that we were in for a great day of sightseeing, shopping, and dining amidst the superb weather. What’s more; the wonderful driver that arrived to pick us up was none other than the star of Off Broadway Boutique and fashion coordinator, Pat’s, grandson, Jonathan, whom I have known since he was a baby. From here, the four of us started out on our wonderful sojourn through Queens!
Our first stop was in Queens was in Astoria, where I immediately asked around for the best restaurant in the neighborhood. Out of the four people that I had approached, each recommended the same place to dine – Taverna Kyclades - which I took as a sign that we were in for a wonderful treat. Once we arrived at the restaurant, we had unexpectedly encountered a poignant memory in the form of Jonathan’s uncle and Pat’s son, Frank Justich, a beloved sanitation worker and artist who had passed away three years before. He was tragically killed when a milk cart tragically hit his garbage truck. In addition to receiving a hero’s funeral that plenty of people attended – including Mayor Bloomberg – Frank had a garage and a street dedicated to him by our great city. Presently standing in front of the restaurant, it was Jonathan who pointed out that we were, in fact, standing across from Frank Justich Way. As I recognized the broom and shovel that was designed as a part of his street sign, I felt touched that we were able to share such a heartrending moment.
I believe that it was kismet to dine at Taverna Kyclades while overseeing Frank Justich Way, as I felt his strong presence around us while we enjoyed the delicious Greek cuisine outside. As for the lunch, everything about it was superb – from the delectable grilled calamari to the refreshing salad with the best feta cheese. Along with a plate of delicious lemon potatoes that I had for the first time, I consider this meal to be better than the food that I had while visiting Greece. We had such a divine time dining outside that I simply had to offer my rave reviews to the owner, Andreas Skenari, who was kind enough to visit our table. After introducing him to Jonathan as Frank’s nephew, Mr. Skenari expressed his admiration and shared his memories of him with us as goosebumps rose on his skin along with his arm hair. Before leaving our table, he provided us with a free dessert in the form of the galaktoboureko that melted in our mouths. Needless to say, we were hardly able to move by the time we polished off our meal.
Our next stop was a shopping trip on Steinway Street, where we found tons of shops with plenty of crowds and cars. The one-of-a-kind shops and the 99-cent stores were such a delight to explore that we had a wonderful time. We also stopped along Ditmars Boulevard to shop some more, as there were plenty of treasures to find on that lively street. From there, Sandy and I decided to take a walk down memory lane by visiting Jackson Heights – the neighborhood where we had lived in during our first few years of marriage. We thought it would be fun to see our old residences, so we visited 86-10 34th Avenue, as well as The Towers off of Northern Boulevard where we shared memories of raising our children during their early years. Although we eventually fulfilled our dream of moving to Manhattan and have been happy here for over 50 years, it was wonderful to stroll back down memory lane.
The final stop on our magical tour in Queens was at Roosevelt and 74th Street, where we were treated to many fine Indian shops. While discovering wonderful finds that I eagerly added to my collection, we got a bird’s eye view of the various cultures that make up Jackson Heights. The entire experience made me feel as if I have been all over Europe in the course of one day, as the different sights, sounds, and tastes reminded me of the melting pot of European culture that I adore. With fun had by all, this was the perfect way to end an exciting day in Queens – although it did take us two hours to get back to the city due to the less than pleasant traffic!