Friday, May 17, 2013

Diasporic Dining XXIV: Murder at the Tick Tock

                                           Todd Heisler/The New York Times
“More Bad Stuff on Good Stuff Diner Shooting” read the headline in the Gothamist back in 2010. Aficionados of 24 hour Greek dining will immediately recall the late night shoot out that at least temporarily eliminated the feeling of safety that characterized one of the most prominent examples of 24 hour Greek diner cuisine in downtown Manhattan. Now the equivalent of the internecine gang wars that resulted in the murder of Joe Gallo at Umbertos Clam House back in l972 has occurred at the Tick Tock one of the best known Jersey diners. Well not quite, since we are not talk crime families, but rivalry in one non-crime family. You don’t get stories like this even on a hot TV show like Boardwalk Empire. “A Diner, A Family and a Murder Plot,” (NYT, 5/2/13) was headline of Kate Zernike’s piece in the Times. According to Zernike, Alex Sgourdos “owned the diner with his two brothers-in-law.” Zernicke commented that Sgourdos’ nephew Georgios Spyropoulos," a manager of the diner," located on Route 3, a major thoroughfare in the vicinity of the Meadowlands, “is charged with hiring a man to kill Mr. Sgourdos, with instructions to torture him first until he surrendered the combination to the diner’s safe--and the money his nephew believed Mr. Sgourdos was hoarding.” Apparently Sgourdos had a reputation for frugality. “Neighbors had long whispered that Mr. Sgourdos…was stingy in paying even his relatives,” Zernike went on to say. Diners serve comfort rather than gourmet food. Diners are places to gather and talk. You go to a diner when you don’t want the food to come between you and conversation. That’s why, besides being inexpensive, they’re so popular with people in recovery groups who depend on conversation to keep them sober. What happened at the Good Stuff and now at the Tick Tock doesn't bode well for the 24 hour diner as a respite from the cares of the world. After what’s happened you’re less likely to venture into a diner if you’re seeking serenity.

1 comment:

  1. jylle benson-gaussMay 17, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Fiction writers, despair. You can't make this stuff up; no matter how outrageous a crafted plot line you find it has already occurred in reality, usually in New Jersey.
    Lordy, I miss the Weekly World News!


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