The Guy Sitting in the Court Square Diner

Stop by the Court Square Diner for breakfast or dinner, and you’re likely to see Hugh Carragher. He’s the tall, white-haired gentleman sitting at the corner counter seat closest to the subway. Hugh has been eating at the diner twice a day ever since he moved to Long Island City at the end of 1961. That’s, let’s see … 56 of his 81 years. Hugh is surprised by the math; he had it in his mind that he’s been a regular customer for only 50 years. “It’s amazing how quickly time goes,” he says. “I was never one to …

Continue Reading →

The Baker Who Makes Edible Art

“I always eat a cookie for breakfast,” says Amy Stack. She sets a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie on a plate then adds a raspberry-blueberry-almond scone for good measure. To compensate for all this sweetness, she takes her coffee black, sans sugar. “I never eat the whole cookie,” she says. “All the calories are in the last bite, right?” Amy, the co-owner of Pink Canary Desserts in Long Island City, laughs. It’s such a sweet joke that she takes a big bite of the scone. Homemade baked goods remind Amy of her childhood. She was born outside of San …

Continue Reading →

The Portrait Photographer

Fumi Sugino is a portrait photographer, so it makes sense that he sees things in scenes. His images are artfully and carefully composed. The people in them are merely props meant to blend in with their surroundings. “I tell the sitters to have no expression or feeling,” he says, with no expression or feeling. “I imagine the subject matching the background. It is as if they are in an old painting.” Fumi demonstrates. He stands next to a graffiti-scrawled wall and stares straight ahead like a Secret Service agent guarding a president. He’s small and slim; only his owlish …

Continue Reading →

The Family at Home in the Kitchen

“Would you like me to make breakfast?” Because the asker is Peter Giannakas, the chef at Ovelia, the answer is an enthusiastic YES. “I’ll just fix something simple,” he says as he begins frying organic eggs in Greek olive oil. “A traditional Greek family-style breakfast.” Within minutes, he brings the platter of eggs to the table. Then he presents country-style pork sausage made with leeks and orange zest; grilled halloumi cheese from Cyprus; grilled pita bread seasoned with salt and pepper and oregano; a dish of deep-fried boiled potatoes, onions and red and green peppers; and tomatoes and cucumbers …

Continue Reading →