ASTORIA – A festive Tree Lighting Ceremony with carolers singing Christmas songs will be held in Athens Square Park, 30th Street and 30th Avenue in Astoria, on Monday, November 30, 6 PM.
The coordinator of the committee that took over the management of the project is Konstantinos Lambropoulos, who spoke about an effort that will symbolize hope and unity in these difficult times, to bring people back to the neighborhood, to help businesses, and raise the morale of the people.
He said, “I am very excited. We brought the tree from Pennsylvania, it is the largest tree after the one in Rockefeller Center. I believe that it will bring the Greek Diaspora closer. Families will be happy, they will come here and the year will end with a smile. We cried all year and now we will smile. And I believe that it will help the restaurants because people will come out and place orders from the surrounding shops.”
The tree was delivered and set up on November 20. One of the sponsors of the initiative, Gus Antonopoulos said that it is a “joy and honor to be together here in the center of Astoria.”
The installation of the tree was attended by other sponsors and members of the committee, including Elias Fillas, Luca di Ciero, and Kyriakos Karabelas.
Lawyer Maria Markou said, “It is a project of love and hope. We know very well as Greeks that the Christmas tree in our homes when we decorate it unites us and a tree in the heart of Astoria will bring this unity, this togetherness, love and joy that we need.”
The Park at Athens Square is named for the capital of modern Greece and the center of ancient Greek civilization. From 594 to 404 BC, literature, science, philosophy, and the arts flourished in Athens. The birthplace of democracy had its golden age during the rule of statesman Pericles (c. 495-429 BC), who made sweeping political reforms and actively supported the arts. Pericles is credited with the Athenian oath of fealty, which has been invoked by New York City mayors Fiorello H. LaGuardia and Rudolph W. Giuliani (in 1934 and 1998 respectively). Oath-takers pledge to “transmit this city not only less, but far greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.” In this spirit Astoria’s citizens transformed a playground into The Park at Athens Square.