Snow Day

9:00 a.m.: 82nd St. & 34th Ave., Jackson Heights, N.Y.

Alternate-side-of-the-street parking and shoveling out the car notwithstanding, I love snow.

Last week, when a snowstorm blanketed our neighborhood in 10 inches, I was in It’s a Wonderful Life heaven. What a pleasant surprise, then, to wake up this morning to more snow!

Gazing down onto the street, I got that same cozy feeling I’d experience during winter back in elementary school, when, first thing in the morning, my mom would creek open my bedroom door and announce with a sing-songy whisper and a grin: “Guess what? It’s snowing! School is closed!”

Which meant one thing only, that fun was on the agenda.

The view of our street.

Fun was definitely on our agenda as J.C. and I headed over to one of the best neighborhood spots for breakfast, The Jackson House. A typical New York diner, it was in business when I first moved to Jackson Heights way back in the 1970s and is still thriving today.

I shot this picture from our booth near the door. When the flash went off, someone yelled out “Paparazzi!”

The art deco design on the booth dividers and efficiency kitchen in front confirms just how long this place has been around. The two short order cooks are amazingly good at what they do. Waitresses shout out orders, often three to four at a time, and these cooks remember every single detail with absolutely nothing written down.

In a rapidly changing world, their level of professionalism inspires trust. I guess you could say that the Jackson Diner has become a sort of “safe place” for me.

If I’m stressed out or depressed or experiencing cabin fever caused by too much time in front of the computer, this is one of the places where I like to go.

The waitresses call me “dear.” Without asking, the busboy brings me coffee. The cooks shout “Happy New Year” or “Be careful, it’s slippery out there” or “See you tomorrow.” And you can always count on the wisecracking counterwoman in the Yankee cap to deliver a sarcastically funny remark.

To top it all off, I don’t have to wash a single dish.

In closing, I’d like to wish everyone A Happy and Healthy 2010!

(And to our Nobel Peace Prize winner in D.C.: Bring our troops home!)

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