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Old year ends on sad note with closing of Palace Diner

TimesLedger Newspapers

Happy New Year to everyone! We hope 2012 is one of the best-ever new years for you. Don’t make too many resolutions, as we all know that even with the best of intentions they are hard to keep after the first few weeks.

New Year’s Day is not only a good day for resolutions, but also an excellent one for reflection. A few friends called early New Year’s Day to wish a Happy New Year and, of course, during the conversations the inevitable question came up: “What are your New Year’s resolutions going to be?”

After giving it some thought, my grandmother came to mind and I thought of what resolutions my Nanny always made. Nanny was a minimalist as well as a person given to the simplistic way of life. She didn’t believe in cluttering up her life with extemporaneous and useless details.

I remember her every New Year’s Day saying that everyone should start off with one solid resolution and that one was “Only Kindness Spoken Here.” Think about it: That is a one-size-fits-all bit of philosophy, and if everyone just took that simple, uncomplicated bit of advice, what a lot of problems in this world could be eliminated. What do you say we all try and give Nanny’s philosophy a try?

Friday evening was a rather sad night. It was the landmark Palace Diner’s last day of operation after 35 years. I had a last glass of red wine with owner George and his wife Vassos and James Gallagher, president of the Fresh Meadows Home Owners Civic Association, his wife Yolanda and their friend the Rev. Abraham Thaddeus. Of course, I took some photos and we chatted with many of the diners still there who seemed reluctant to leave. They all seemed to want to exchange their personal experiences at the diner over the years. It was the end of an era.

George said the neighborhood had undergone a number of ethnic changes and that the area is now mostly Asian. Asian and Greek food have little in common, and the new occupant of the old Palace Diner site will be a Chinese restaurant. From what I understand, George sold the new owners the building but he still owns the property, which he will lease to them.

It will be interesting to see how it all works out. Before leaving, some of us took a last look in the party room and reminisced over the many private parties, political meetings and monthly community meetings we had attended there. It’s sad to say nothing lasts forever, even the good old stuff. Money truly does make the world go ’round, and how long can you operate a business without turning a profit?

On Sunday, New Year’s Day morning, we had breakfast at the Landmark Diner on Northern Boulevard in Roslyn, L.I. Another breakfast guest was political commentator, author and television host Bill O’Reilly, who lives in the area and stops by often. Happy New Year, Bill!

Morshed Alam held a New Year’s Day party at Taj Mahal Caterers on Hillside Avenue in Jamaica. There were more than 200 guests in attendance. There were many old friends present at the event, including the Weprin brothers Mark and David, Chet Szarejko, John Liu and Ethel Chen. Morshed has organized the New American Democratic Club, which is mostly comprised of people from Bangladesh, but membership is also open to people of other nationalities. Morshed is to be complimented on building up a successful club.

During the course of the evening, both Mark Weprin and myself agreed on how beautiful the women were. At most events there are usually a few exceptionally attractive women, but the preponderance of women in this group were all attractive and that included the young, old and middle-aged. The ones who caught our eye and appeared to be the most attractive were the women who chose to wear the traditional clothing of their native country. The fabrics are rich and beautiful — much prettier than the typical American skinny jeans.

What was even more amazing was that they were not just pretty faces, but intelligent, highly educated women recognized in their chosen fields. Who says you can’t have it all?

I look forward to your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at

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