When I sat down at Kane’s Diner waiting to interview its owner, George Kanes, I decided to order a pot of coffee. Little did I know that the coffee pot sitting on the table before me had significance to the diner and represented the historic influx of Asian immigrants into Flushing, which started in around the 1970s and has rapidly been increasing since then.
According to George, the area surrounding Kane’s Diner, which is located along College Point Boulevard in downtown Flushing, used to consist solely of factories and warehouses. George, who took ownership of the diner from his father over 30 years ago but has worked there for about 45 years, said the area was a “ghost town.” However, once immigrants from China, Taiwan and Korea moved in, the neighborhood changed drastically and George had to adjust the diner accordingly. This is where the diner’s tea and coffee pots come in.
Kanes is one of the only “All-American” eateries in downtown Flushing, and though George feels that this “one-hundred percent” helps the diner thrive, he did make more efforts to cater to the Asian influx. George said that he started using the pots, which he described as an “Asian adjustment,” because it was something customary that many of the Asian immigrants took a liking to. So if you ever pay a visit to Kane’s Diner and find it odd that your coffee and hot water is served in Asian-styled pots in an American-styled diner, you can now appreciate the cultural mixing they actually represent.
– Stephanie Geier