2015-03-11 / Front Page

CALDC Celebrates 35th Anniversary

BY JASON D. ANTOS


CALDC President George L. Stamatiades, CALDC Executive Director Marie Torniali, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, Councilman Costa Constantinides, honoree Atlantic Bank President Athanassia Papaioannou, state Senator Michael Gianaris, honoree former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and CALDC Executive Vice President Tony Barsamian. 
Photo Jason D. Antos CALDC President George L. Stamatiades, CALDC Executive Director Marie Torniali, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, Councilman Costa Constantinides, honoree Atlantic Bank President Athanassia Papaioannou, state Senator Michael Gianaris, honoree former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and CALDC Executive Vice President Tony Barsamian. Photo Jason D. Antos The Central Astoria Local Development Coalition (CALDC) held a special 35th anniversary gala dinner at Melrose Ballroom on March 5, where two important members of the community, Atlantic Bank President Athanassia Papaioannou and former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., were honored.

Papaioannou, who is originally from Athens, Greece, joined the National Bank of Greece at the age of 18 and was eventually transferred to its US affiliate, Atlantic Bank.

Vallone, who represented Astoria for three terms, successfully led the fight against graffiti, stopped cuts against the NYPD, and helped add more officers to local precincts. He was recently appointed as Special Assistant to Governor Andrew Cuomo and is also assigned to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

“We want to thank everyone for coming out on such a warm evening,” CALDC President George L. Stamatiades said jokingly. “We are honored to be here tonight to celebrate 35 years of accomplishments.”

Stamatiades, who worked diligently to put the evening’s festivities together, thanked Atlantic Bank for its years of support.

“We thank all those who attended this event considering the weather outside,” said Executive Director Marie Torniali. “This kind of dedication can only happen in Astoria.”

Also in attendance at the event were state Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and Councilman Costa Constantinides. All elected officials thanked CALDC for its efforts, and helping to make Astoria the destination spot it is today.

“This is an amazing evening,” said the emcee, Gazette Publisher and CALDC Executive Vice President Tony Barsamian. “Astoria is a growing community and we who have lived here for so long have always known that Astoria is an amazing place to live.”

The evening’s festivities also featured a performance by a standup comic known only as Basile. The Bronx-born comedian entertained all in attendance with his stories about growing up in a Greek American household.

Founded by the late Julian Wager, CALDC has been dedicated for the past 35 years to preserving and enhancing the neighborhood of Astoria as a vibrant, affordable, harmonious and desirable community

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