Google+ Followers

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's All Greek to Me

People, it's been a hot time, summer in the city, but in my endeavor to keep cool, yearning for relief, I've given into my most basic impulses and I've gone totally Greek!

Ah, yes, Greece, ancient cradle of Civilization! I've never been there; why, I haven't even been to Athens, Georgia! But, remember, 'twas the Greeks who gave us drama queens, fashion, Steve Reeves, Lysistrata, same-sex dalliances, that big lez Sappho, urns, yogurt, constellations and philosophy. And, so, in my attempt to deal with extreme heat and to exercise my Greek-like hedonism, I've been indulging in Ben & Jerry's Greek Frozen Yogurt. So far, I've tried the quite tasty Blueberry Vanilla Graham and the extremely excellent Peanut Butter Banana. (I've yet to sample -- by which I mean wantonly devouring a pint of in the course of a night --  Raspberry Fudge Chunk and Strawberry Shortcake, but they're on my short hairs.)

It seems only appropriate to indulge in something Greek now that I moved to Bay Ridge which was traditionally, and still is to large extent, a big, fat Greek neighborhood. It's so Greek, a man here has recreated Crete in miniature inside a glass shack on his lawn.

In the article, "His Isle of Joy," The New York Times wrote, "GEORGE KORTSOLAKIS is the closest thing to a Greek god that Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, has to offer." Well, I was so ready to go knock on his door and say, "γειά σου, handsome, I'm your new neighbor! Care to invite me in over a few Ouzos?" Homemade souvlaki would be in hand. Then, I read on: "At 5 feet 6, with shoulders stooped from a lifetime of hunching over fabric as a tailor, Mr. Kortsolakis, a gray-haired immigrant, may be no Apollo, but he does have a bit of Hephaestus, the divine artisan, about him." Ok, so I can still admire him from afar.

The 83-year-old's miniature Crete is beautifully recreated. My friend, Tracey, who's visited there, said it looks exactly like the island, down to every detail. Plastic ships, goats, cypress trees, although I don't think the real deals are plastic. "[H]e has fashioned a remarkably detailed, homespun re-creation of his native land, Crete, out of thousands of pebbles, shells, thumb-size figurines - whatever came to hand. The result is an eye-catching pop sculpture that pushes the boundary between hobby and folk art, attracting a steady flow of admiring gawkers in this close-knit neighborhood of modest homes and yards."  I didn't see the famed Minotaur there, however. No matter, I think Mykonos might be more my speed.

"Modest homes and yards" did The Times say? They need to check out the Mediterranean mansions of Shore Road, many that, in summer, look like the Hanging Gardens of Nebuchadnezzar. And I know that king wasn't Greek. But, then, neither are ice cream franchise kings Ben & Jerry! Do we have any Babylonian communities in Brooklyn? Only on Long Island, as far as I'm aware.

I don't know if Greeks live in the Shore Road palaces, but the avenue is the Mount Olympus of Bay Ridge. Gated, private entrance ways, marble driveways, patios, pools; it's like Ben & Jerry for the eyes.

And, so, it's delicious Greek food from the restaurant next door, Everything Greek, on their summer patio out back. I ate there the other week for the first time with cousins Walt and Sue, after being tantalized by the restaurant's whiffs in my apartment since December. Out here in Bay Ridge, you better believe it's becoming all Greek to me!


No comments:

Post a Comment