A verbal dispute at an Astoria diner that escalated into an assault is being investigated as a possible anti-gay hate crime and authorities are looking for three suspects in connection to the incident, police said.
The victims, a 30-year-old woman and 32-year-old man, were inside of the Neptune Diner, located at 31-05 Astoria Blvd., about 5 a.m. on Jan. 8, when they became involved in an argument, which involved anti-gay statements made towards them, the NYPD said.
The three suspects then allegedly threw plates at the victims, police said.
The victims were taken to Mount Sinai Queens with lacerations to their heads, cops said.
Investigators from the Hate Crimes Task Force are looking to question two women and one man depicted in surveillance photos police have released from the diner.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.
There is a secret weapon at the new Neptune Diner of Astoria, which is under the longtime leadership of partner and manager Peter Katsihtis, whose friendly smile lights up this sparkling sibling, named Neptune II.
I didn’t immediately recognize the street address on Classon Avenue in Prospect Heights, a Brooklyn neighborhood with Park Slope on one side and Crown Heights on the other. It turns out the restaurant was carved out of the former Brooklyn Jewish Hospital where I was born! The name is still there, carved in stone, but the building has been made into condos.
The newly-opened restaurant is handsomely designed in woods and soft blue. The customary diner refrigerated showcase offers multiple desserts. The menu is an abundant one since Neptune II is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the summer, there will be outdoor dining on the large front porch. There are plans to enclose it to allow for more seating.
I visited with my friend Bill Spanakos, who is their attorney. The owner of the Neptune Diner in Astoria joined us, but quickly disappeared into the kitchen to make us some of his specialties. He comes every day at 7 a.m. to prepare and supervise the kitchen staff to create his Greek dishes.
Indeed, owner George Katsihtis is a real Renaissance man whose cooking is famous in Astoria. He even plays the bouzouki!
We began lunch with a huge bowl filled with Greek salad with crispy greens overflowing with tangy Feta cheese, tasty olives and grape leaves. I had to take half home because I wanted to be able to eat what turned out to be the best mousaka I ever ate. It was so good I ordered another portion to take home for my husband.
Venison is in season and this is the place to go for that seasonal dish. Of course, there are innumerable other lunch choices and they will take requests too.
We were tempted to try the desserts but resisted. I did have my eye on the luscious-looking apple pie. But that is a good reason to return.
They do a big takeout business and on weekends they stay open 24 hours. Try it, you’ll love it.