Greek Letters & Spice in Scalia’s Life



NEW YORK – Among the articles providing tribute and criticism of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia– some include both for the complex, brilliant, and dedicated jurist – are a few that simply tell the tale of his rise from humble origins in Queens, NY where his family moved when he was 6.

His life experience also has some Hellenic flavor. In high school he studied ancient Greek in addition to Latin – which served him well in his future studeies – and he had Greek neighbors and classmates at Public School 13 in Elmhurst.

“There are no blacks in the class, and there really weren’t any in our neighborhood, but other than that it was, my goodness, polyglot: There were Greeks — one of the girls in the class was named Eurydice,” the Time quoted from an article he wrote in 2013.

“We didn’t even know how to say it; we called her ‘you’re-a-dice.’ There were Irish, German, Jewish, Italian…It was the face of New York City,” Scalia said.

“He spent much of his childhood in a red brick home in Elmhurst, a neighborhood of Queens that is now largely Asian and Latino. Ask him where he was from — Queens. What was his team?  The Yankees. ‘What else would I be?” he told the New York Times of a childhood that preceded the arrival of the Mets.

Noting the stronger affinity among people from Brooklyn and Queens that that between either of those boroughs and Manhattan, the Times wrote “Justice Scalia knew enough to not let politics get in the way of a good New York friendship. His closest friend on the Supreme Court was the liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from Brooklyn.”

It remains to be seen if he spent much time in Astoria.





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