New York.- (GreekNewsOnline)
VICKY’S DINER: AN AMERICAN STORY, a documentary directed by Chris LoDuca, recounts a Greek immigrant woman’s struggle to establish herself in New York City’s tough restaurant business. The film is available for viewing free of charge on the YouTube channel of the Hellenic Film Society USA.
Vicky Limberis migrated to the U.S. from Greece in 1975 with $50 in her purse. She spoke no English. After working for 20 years in restaurants, she was able to open her own place, Vicky’s Diner, in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. Legions of loyal customers made the eatery famous.
LoDuca was one of those customers. Over the ten years that he lived near the corner of Ft. Washington Avenue and 187 Street, he became a regular at the coffee shop. “The place was like a second home to me. We were like family,” he said. “At some point it occurred to me that Vicky’s would make a good movie.”
At first Vicky was reluctant to commit to the project. “Eventually, she warmed to the idea and allowed me full access to the diner, day and night, for two months,” LoDuca recalled. The result was 80 plus hours of footage that he edited into a 40 minute documentary.
While the film preserves one woman’s inspiring pursuit of the American dream, the real life story of Vicky and her diner does not end happily. This past September, the diner closed when restrictive protocols imposed during the pandemic made it impossible for Vicky to pay her $8,000 monthly rent and meet the payroll for her loyal staff.
The Hellenic Film Society USA is a 501©(3) non-profit organization rooted in the belief that Greek cinema should be part of the American cultural landscape. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is the lead supporter of the Hellenic Film Society USA. Additional funding is provided by the Kallinikeion Foundation, the Onassis Foundation USA, the New York City Council, and the Queens Council on the Arts. For information on all of the society’s film offerings, please visit www.hellenicfilmusa.org or call 646-844-1488.