Flags of 22 different nations fly on the awning of the Family Food Farm grocery store at 94-01 63 Dr. in Rego Park. Old Glory is not one of them.
And that is something Vietnam War veteran George Gardner, 66, of Rego Park finds “ridiculous” — though many passersby and even store employees have never even noticed the lack of the Stars and Stripes.
“It’s astonishing that you can have flags of 22 different nations on your store but not one of them is the American flag,” Gardner said. “It’s just ridiculous.”
Andy Lee, a manager at Family Food Farm, has been working at the grocery store for the past five months, and he did not realize the American flag was missing from the awning.
“There really isn’t an American one?” Lee inquired as he walked outside to look at the row of flags. “I don’t even look up there most of the time; I didn’t know.”
Lee also said that if a customer would donate an American flag to the store, he would have no problem adding it to the rooftop collection.
“If someone wants to bring a flag here and we have space for it, I’ll put it up there,” he said.
However, Gardner claims to have already made such an offer.
“I went to the store and offered to pay for a flag,” he said. “It’s a fantastic store and I understand they’re busy, but they just said ‘Yeah, yeah’ and that was it.”
Lee said he hadn’t known about Gardner’s concerns.
“I’ve never heard of anything like that,” he said.
A nearby shopkeeper, who wished not to be named, believes that there should be an American flag on top of the building, but had never even noticed that it was missing until it was pointed out to him.
“I never even knew the flag wasn’t up there,” he said. “But there definitely should be an American flag up there, for sure.”
The store owner’s uncle, Mohamed Hussan Abdel-Baki, also had never noticed the lack of Old Glory before, and sees its absence as disrespectful towards the United States.
“As a person, and for anyone who lives in the United States, we have to show our thanks to the goodness of this nation,” Abdel-Baki said. “We have to respect what this land has given us and from now on, I will beg the store to have an American flag up there.”
Lee, while stating he is not sure of the real reason for the American flag’s absence, believes it could be because the store doesn’t carry U.S. products.
“We really don’t carry many American products, the store across the street does,” he said. “We carry a lot of products for immigrants. Maybe that’s why we don’t have one.”
Gardner simply laughed off the thought.
“You’re telling me that those oranges and grapefruits aren’t American?” he said. “It’s just unbelievable that you could have a store in America and have 22 flags on your roof without an American flag being one of them.”