On Anthony Weiner's home turf, some sympathy but no support (+video)
The patrons of the Shalimar Diner are Anthony Weiner's people, part of the Queens district that elected him to Congress seven times. They were behind his bid for mayor, too – until Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning in a diner deep in Queens, a group of New Yorkers are discussing the future of their former congressman, Anthony Weiner. Just hours earlier, he and his wife, Huma Abedin, had stood before a frenzy of New York media, admitting that he had been ‘sexting’ again, even after he resigned his seat.Skip to next paragraph
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Locals have been kvetching about politics for decades at the Shalimar Diner, an old Queens haunt in Rego Park that sits in the heart of Mr. Weiner’s former district, where 3 of 4 residents are registered Democrats. He won seven straight elections here by whopping margins, and these are his people: wage earners, lunch-pail union workers, life-long residents. Archie Bunker’s fictional house sits just a few blocks away, and the CBS sitcom “The King of Queens” is set here.
As some patrons might say of Shalimar: “Itsa place fuh tawk of Noo Yawk pahlatics.” But it's also a place that Weiner in all likelihood needs to hold if he is going to have any future prospects as mayor, since the people here say they have always been big Weiner supporters.
Yet on this morning, not a single voter voices support for their former congressman.
A few of the patrons are hunched over their bacon-egg-and-cheeses on a roll, sipping from New York’s iconic-blue Anthora coffee cups. A stack of Newsday tabloids sits near the entrance, it’s headline “Stand by your man” blares between a picture of a grimacing Weiner and a distraught Ms. Abedin.
But Denise Guardascione, who has been a waitress at Shalimar for 24 years, is not standing by Weiner.
As she flies from the kitchen’s flipping doors with a row of plates in her hand, she stops to talk to David Schantz, a former community board member and a worker active in 32BJ, a local chapter of the Service Employees International Union.
“I was all for this guy – I really wanted him as mayor, I really did, because I figured he was the best they had,” says Ms. Guardascione, a 47-year resident of Queens. “You cheat me once, I can forgive it, but I won’t forget it. But the idea that you did it a second time? The second time? You’re history, honey. You’re with the fishes, someplace else. You’re gone.”
Mr. Schantz, another long-time Rego resident who’s been dining at Shalimar for 16 years, agrees.