Charybdis Playground and other examples of Greek humor

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Every Sunday morning, Laura and I walk Ella through our neighborhood to Astoria Park for a pre-9:00 am romp with her friends. It takes about half an hour to get there. Last Sunday, Laura brought the camera along and took pictures.

Astoria Sidewalk

Astoria has the largest population of Greeks outside of Greece, or so I am told. It's the kind of neighborhood with a Dunkin' Donuts on one block and a supper club called ΠANΘEON on the next. Astoria's sister city is Athens, which donated a couple of statues to a little park on 30th Avenue called Athens Square.

We don't always walk through Athens Square on the way to Astoria Park, but when we do Ella usually barks at the Socrates statue. (Had she lived in ancient Athens, she'd have been one of the citizens calling for the death of Socrates.) Sunday, though, she couldn't be bothered.

Socrates Lectures

From Athens Square, it's another twenty minutes or so to Astoria Park. There's a children's playground in the park that overlooks the once-dangerous East River channel known as Hell Gate. Only in a Greek neighborhood would the playground be named after Charybdis, the ravenous sea monster of Greek mythology responsible for whirlpools.

Charybdis Playground

I'm sure the Charybdis reference comes from the channel the playground overlooks, where hundreds of ships sank before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began blasting the rocks out of the river in 1876. Still, I laugh my ass off thinking of all the little kids romping in a playground named for a terrifying monster. Oh, the nightmares that would come if they only knew!

I'm keeping an eye open for the Scylla Carousel.

More photos from a Sunday morning in Astoria.
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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on April 24, 2007 3:36 PM.

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