Q to Astoria

Q is for Queens, Dining on Dips and Drafts

by: Tania

This week, we decided to board any train headed toward Astoria from Union Square.  At approximately 7:03pm on Friday, we found ourselves on the Q train – Queens bound.

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Joining us on this trip was one of my best friends – Caitlin.  Caitlin moved from New York to San Francisco a couple of years ago (a bit of a reverse commute from the ever steady flow of SF to NY transplants).   I always admire, and slightly envy, her courage to pick up and move somewhere new. Looking back, I had always intended to end up in San Francisco as well, and am sometimes surprised that I am still here.

After so many years, NY has become my home and my anchor.  They say home is where the heart is – which is funny because your heart can be in many places – and while many places can feel like home – the laws of time and space only allow you to have one physical home at a time.  I wish it wasn’t so.

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After a beautiful sun filled ride on the elevated train, we arrived at the Ditmars Avenue station in Astoria at 7:31 pm.  We had been tipped off that there was some Egyptian restaurant on Steinway with an eyeball on the facade.    We walked around for a bit trying to locate it with our own navigational instincts – and failed miserably.  When Bonnie finally asked a man on the street and his ice cream eating daughter (it seems that August is prime ice cream time in Astoria) – we learned that Steinway was 3 lefts, 5 rights, 2 roundabouts and a train ride away.  No Egyptian eyeball for us, we were hungry!

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We found ourselves in front of the Astoria Beer Garden – a large outdoor beer hall where Bonnie and I had spent more than one evening having more than one drink – and decided we could not pass up a quick walk down memory lane.  It happened to be karaoke night.   In less time than it took Mary Carney to bring “a little Broadway to Queens”, we had finished our beers and were on our way.  I would recommend the Beer Garden to anyone – for just one drink or ten.

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We had noticed several Greek restaurants in the neighbourhood and decided that would be our plan for the night.  It was difficult to distinguish between them, but we decided on Zorba’s – a restaurant that serves breakfast all day.  We were seated outside and made our selections: 2 Greek Beers (Mythos Hellenic Lager), 1 House Wine, 1 Spinach Pie, 1 order of Greek Style Spreads (Tzatxiki, Tirokateri and Melitzanosalata), Grape Leaves and Chicken Souvlaki.  The food came out at lightning speed.  As one might expect with food that comes out suspiciously fast, it was not excellent.  But it was good.  I particularly liked the Melitzanosalata – a dip made from eggplant, olive oil and lemon.  That being said, I seldom meet a dip that I don’t like!

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We paid our bill and headed out.  We did not finish our Grecian feast, and so Bonnie took some of the food to go (a first in End of the Line history).  We boarded the train, and who should be standing right next to us, but a fellow with a subway map on his chest. I bet he can always find his way home!

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Caitlin sometimes thinks of moving back (and I hope she does). I sometimes think of moving away.  Home is comfortable and shouldn’t you be pushing your limits in this life – experiencing new things and meeting new people?  Seeing the kind of person you are when you don’t have “home” to back you up or perhaps trying out other homes – representing those other parts of your heart.  The pull of this crazy city which holds most of my good friends and is close to my family is hard to resist.  For now, I feel fortunate to live in a place where I can have adventures at the end of the line with my nearest and dearest.  In the future, who knows!

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