George Tenet is welcome back home in Little Neck

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Tenet, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency for the past seven years before resigning last week, grew up in the neighborhood with his twin brother, William, and attended PS 94 and Cardozo High School.

In their youth, the brothers served as altar boys at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Flushing.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s Tenet's parents, John and Evangelia, owned the diner built in the shape of a railroad dining car on the corner of Northern Boulevard and Little Neck Parkway, then called the Twentieth-Century Diner. They sold the place in 1963, when it was renamed Scobee Diner.

Tenet's motherstill lives around the corner from the diner. In 1997, when Tenet was first appointed CIA director, his mother told the TimesLedger "he was a very good boy. He was never in trouble."

Gregory Christ, one of the four owners of the diner, had worked the counter while George and his brother were teenage busboys in 1969.

"It was a joy," Christ said of working with George Tenet. "He was very outgoing, hardworking. He had a great sense of humor. I don't know much how much of a sense of humor he has now, though."

Christ said the Tenet boys, who were both in high school during the time they worked at the diner, were "talkative and sports-oriented."

"They were both very smart, very bright," Christ said. "I just didn't know they would head that far. If I did, I would have hung out with them more."

William Tenet is now the medical director of cardiovascular medicine at the New York Medical Center of Queens in Flushing.

Christ said George Tenet was welcome to come back to his old job. "Stay local, come back to the diner!" Christ said. "I would definitely hire him."

At Scobee, George Tenet would have his pick of jobs, not just busboy, Christ said. "I would start him off as whatever he wants to be."

The last time Tenet visited the diner was a couple of years ago, according to manager Sandee Winder, who has worked there for 27 years.

"Around the holidays, he'll visit his mom," she said. "If you saw him, you wouldn't know he was the director of the CIA. He just wants to be him."

"He's a regular guy, nice as can be," Winder said. "I'm sure he'll be here this Christmas with his family."

Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Updated 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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