2016-05-11 / Features

Kastanas Commemorated With Street Co-Naming


Community leader Demetris Kastanas was commemorated with a street co-naming by the City Council. Attending were his family, Councilman Costa Constantinides, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and others. Community leader Demetris Kastanas was commemorated with a street co-naming by the City Council. Attending were his family, Councilman Costa Constantinides, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and others. Councilman Costa Constantinides celebrated on May 7 the co-naming of 31st Avenue between Steinway and 41st Streets in honor of the late Demetris Kastanas. The celebration took place at the intersection of 31st Avenue and Steinway Street with Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, members of the Kastanas family, and others.

The City Council unanimously passed INT. 1054, which co-named this street, as well as other streets throughout the city, on February 5th and it was signed into law on February 25th.

Kastanas founded the national Greek Television program in 1975, and expanded the program into its own channel in 1987. He also founded Eseis Magazine, a biweekly publication focused on issues affecting the Greek-American community as a whole. Through these forms of media, he created an opportunity for the Greek- American community, many of whom were not native English speakers, to directly engage with news and current events. Kastanas also spread awareness of charitable causes and helped raise donations for worthy organizations such as the Greek Children’s Cancer Fund.

Constantinides said, “Demetris Kastanas helped promote Hellenism and Democratic values throughout his life. We honor him because he served as a great example of civic engagement. As the founder of the first Greeklanguage channel, he made news and entertainment accessible to Greek-Americans throughout our city and our country. We are proud to commemorate Kastanas’ contribution to our city with this street co-naming.”

“There is not a single Greek- American in New York whose life has not been touched by Demetris Kastanas,” said state Senator Michael Gianaris. “I have fond memories of watching his Saturday afternoon television show with my grandmother when I was a child, as it was the center of the Greek community at that time. It is an honor to continue his legacy through the addition of ‘Demetris Kastanas Way’ right here in Astoria.”

Simotas said, “Demetris Kastanas was a television pioneer whose hard work and dedication touched and bettered the lives of so many Greek immigrants and Greek-Americans. I have such fond memories of my time visiting his station to express my best wishes to his listeners for the holidays and special occasions, both as a young student and in my current role representing our Astoria community. I am honored to be a part of this ceremony, renaming a street for this special person, right here in Astoria, which so many Greeks have called home.”

Nomiki Kastanas, widow of the late Demetris Kastanas, said, “I am so pleased, proud and deeply humbled by this street co-naming honoring my husband, and although we miss him deeply, it gives us an inner peace knowing that all his years of hard work and sacrifice have been vindicated, recognized and appreciated.”

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