2012-03-21 / Features

Queens Celebrates Greek Independence

BY JASON D. ANTOS


(L. to r.); State Senator Michael Gianaris, honoree Sophia Cotzia, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, honorees Evangeline Douris and Savas Konstantinides, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and honoree Nicholas Diamantidis at the 10th annual Queens celebration of Greek Independence Day. 
Photos Jason D. Antos (L. to r.); State Senator Michael Gianaris, honoree Sophia Cotzia, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, honorees Evangeline Douris and Savas Konstantinides, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and honoree Nicholas Diamantidis at the 10th annual Queens celebration of Greek Independence Day. Photos Jason D. Antos Queens Borough President Helen Marshall presided at the 10th annual Queens celebration of Greek Independence Day on March 16 at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria.

Held one week before the 191st anniversary of Greece’s independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821, the evening’s event honored the civic achievements of four members of the Greek-American community.

Accompanying Marshall were state Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. and City Comptroller John Liu.

“The Greek community of Queens is a proud one,” Gianaris said during his opening remarks.


Youngsters from St. Demetrios of Astoria recited poems and stories about Greece’s fight for independence. Youngsters from St. Demetrios of Astoria recited poems and stories about Greece’s fight for independence. Also present was the Consul General of Greece Georgios Iliopoulos and the Consul General of Cyprus Koula Sophianou.

Liu welcomed all in attendance with a display of some of his Greek by wishing everyone “kalispera” or “good evening”.

“Astoria is community built by immigrants,” Simotas said. “The Greeks have played a major role in making this a thriving community.”

Miss Greek Independence Olga Motska made an appearance and students of St. Demetrios of Astoria recited poems and stories telling the history of Greece’s fight and victory for independence.

“I am an honorary Greek,” Vallone said jokingly. “Even though I am from Agrigento, Sicily.”

Proclamations were awarded to Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater NY President Elias Tsekerides and Greek Independence Day Parade Chairs Philip Christopher and Dr. Frixos Goussis.


Elias Tsekerides, Gianaris, Demetrios K. Demetrios, Marshall, Simotas and Philip Christopher and Dr. Frixos Goussis with the Proclamation announcing March 25 as Greek Independence Day in the Borough of Queens. Elias Tsekerides, Gianaris, Demetrios K. Demetrios, Marshall, Simotas and Philip Christopher and Dr. Frixos Goussis with the Proclamation announcing March 25 as Greek Independence Day in the Borough of Queens. Also honored were Nicholas Diamantidis, Sophia Cotzia, Savas Konstantinides and Evangeline Douris. “We owe our way of life to the men and women who sacrificed their lives in 1821 for freedom,” Demetrios K. Demetrios, past president of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater NY said. “It was another revolution which took place across the Atlantic in 1776 which made Greece and the whole world realize that it was possible to stand up for the right to be free.”

The Greek Independence Day Parade will be held on Sunday, March 25, the day Greece was declared independent from the Turks, on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

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