The 30th Avenue sidewalks are quiet on early Sunday mornings, especially when there is snow on the ground. People who are out and about are taking life at a slower place than on the busy weekdays. This Sunday morning I found father and son Abdel and Ahmed Farghaly in the Bakeway café near 29th Street.
Most Sundays they come out and have coffee and breakfast together, sometimes in Bakeway, sometimes to the bakery at 32nd Street, sometimes at 7-Eleven. “There are lots of good places now,” says Abdel. “Before it wasn’t like this.”
Abdel came to New York from Egypt 20 years ago, choosing Astoria because he had friends already here. He works in a packing warehouse, “40 hours a week now, because you know, I’m getting older!” Ahmed, now 12, was born here and goes to school nearby.
“The area has changed a lot, particularly in the last five or six years,” Abdel says. “Especially the area from 21st Street and down to the river. It’s beautiful there now. Before you couldn’t walk over there in the night time. But before you could park anywhere. Now you have to have a tiny little tiny car just to get a spot to park.”
Ahmed hopes to be a heart doctor when he leaves school. When asked if he can see himself staying in Astoria, he replies, “I really would like to go and live in London. There are a lot of doctors there – I want to be a good doctor.”