$3,000 worth of plates smashed at Greek Fete


| vmimoni@queenscourier.com |

Three thousand dollars worth of plates were broken during a party at Terrace on the Park on Thursday, October 26, and nobody was fired. That is because it was a traditional Greek “Name Day” party for Terrace owner, Demetrius (Jimmy) Kaloidis.
Among Greeks, tradition requires they be named after a Saint, and the annual party is held not on their birthday, but on their Saint's day, frequently the day the Saint died. Demetrius was killed with spears about 306AD in Thessaloniki, during the Christian persecutions under Roman Emperor Maximian.
Jimmy and his wife Georgia used to host these events at their home, but since 1998, when he took over Terrace on the Park, they entertain “a thousand of their closest friends” there, according to Mark Gelfand, the manager.
Among those lauding Kaloidis for his contributions to the community were Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Assemblymember Mike Gianaris and the Consul General of Cyprus, Martha A. Mavrommatis.
State Senator Karl Kruger from Brooklyn told Kaloidis, “As we say in Greek, Mazel Tov” and presented him with a congratulatory Senate Resolution.
Members of the Greek Orthodox clergy in attendance included Father Paul Palesty of St. Nicholas Church in Flushing and Metropolitan Paisios from St. Irene's Church in Astoria.
Kaloidis spared no expense in feting his guests. There were whole lambs and suckling pigs, mountains of split lobsters, fish and fowl, caviar, sushi, salads of every description, desserts and cordials, which were set up at both ends of the room. It seemed as if there were two of everything, including bands, belly dancers, birthday cakes (one decorated in Greek, the other in English) and even two violinists playing light chamber music in the elevator lobby, who provided a contrast to the bubbling joy in the ballroom.
Belly dancing has a long tradition in Greek culture, and men frequently join in, more to accompany the women. The breaking of plates and throwing of money at dancers is a part of the Greek concept of “kefi” which means celebration with abandon and an unrestrained expression of joy and emotion.
The practice may seem dangerous to some, but the practice replaced an older tradition of throwing knives at the dancers' feet. There is a modern trend in Greece to replace dishes with flowers - which is safer and more fragrant. Nevertheless, the practice is still maintained, some might say for the benefit of tourists, who are often charged by the plate.