NEW YORK – The New York City Council on March 11 recognized Greek Independence Day in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Speaker Corey Johnson with Council Members Costa Constantinides, Paul Vallone, and Justin Brannan presented this evening of song, dance, and tributes to Greek-American leaders throughout New York City.
“I take great pride in being the first Greek-Cypriot-American elected to a New York City office — carrying on our culture’s dedication, hard work, and community service,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22. “Greek-Americans helped build New York City into the wonderful metropolis you see today. Whether it’s in my native Astoria, Bayside or Bay Ridge, we make the community a better place with our rich traditions, great pride, and love for one another. Those we honored tonight are the perfect embodiment of that spirit. I want to thank my partners in the City Council for joining me on this celebratory evening.”
“Greeks and Greek-Americans have been essential in building our City and our nation. They have made great contributions in fields ranging from the arts and sciences to sports and politics. I want to thank our hosts Council Members Constantinides, Vallone, and Brannan and everyone who participated in our annual Greek Independence Day celebration at the City Council and made it a wonderful success, and congratulate all of our esteemed honorees,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“The Greek-American community continues to be one of the most culturally proud and vibrant in our City and I am proud to join Council Member Constantinides in hosting this event every year. This year I was happy to honor and recognize HANAC, Inc. for their outstanding contributions to communities throughout Queens and the city. Their reputation of excellence is well-deserved, as their hard work has touched many lives,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Greek-American community on issues important to them, as well as sharing with them in celebration and appreciation of their rich culture and history.”
Council Member Constantinides honored Dr. Florentia Christodoulidou, a widely respected physician based at Mt. Sinai Queens in Astoria, and AHEPA Delphi Chapter #25, a Hellenic organization based in New York City for more than 95 years. Council Member Vallone presented a citation to HANAC, a longtime Queens charitable organization well known for developing senior housing. HANAC’s Director of Social Services Nick Nikolaidis accepted the citation on behalf of the organization. Also present at the event, HANAC Chairman Evangeline Douris, former President of AHEPA Delphi Chapter #25 Argyris Argitakos and many Ahepans and community members.
Greek Independence Day is widely celebrated by Hellenic communities across the globe, commemorating Greece’s War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire in the 1820s. Greek-Americans have for more than a century made New York City stronger, whether settling in Lower Manhattan and then Astoria, Bayside, and South Brooklyn. In 2013, Constantinides became the first Greek-Cypriot-American elected to New York City office. This community is only growing, as the economic crisis in Greece has led many to find new opportunities in New York City.
Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the Chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on the For-Hire Vehicles, Land Use, Parks, and Transportation Committees and the Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.