In Astoria, Queens we met Brother James Stewart who was still raw in his emotion from attending the funeral of a friend from his former drug-dealing days. After extensive interviews and a visit to Brother James' old drug-dealing spots in the Bronx, Melissa has filed a story about this man's remarkable turn-around. Look for it this month.
Astoria has become religiously complex. There are, of course, plenty of beautiful Greek Orthodox churches. We censused during one of Orthodoxy's religious holidays and were invited to photograph one of the ceremonies by the priest's daughter. We are always wary about intruding. A woman on the porch asked if we would like to photograph the ceremony. I wondered if that would be too intrusive. She laughed and retorted, "I am the priest's daughter. Of course, it is alright. I know him!" And, indeed, everything turned out pretty good.
There are also Greek Pentecostal churches, African American churches, the national headquarters of the Egyptian Coptic church and of several Greek Orthodox groups, Chinese churches, Hispanic churches, an Indonesian-orientated mosque, German churches, a Nepalese church and a whole bunch of Brazilian churches. And there's more!
And by the way we ate royally at Greek, Mexican, and Brazilian restaurants! All in all, a very satisfying census.