Edition Editor (Michael) Josh Parish’s
Department of the Interior, Bureau of
Indian Affairs, Identification Card.
159, 876 Queensites identified themselves as being
of Greek ancestry in the 2000 Census.
About 30,000 Greeks live in the Astoria area.
Many children of Greek parents who settled there
in the 1960s have chosen to move to Whitestone,
Bayside and other Eastern Queens communities.
A close-knit familial community, they come home
to Astoria for holidays and celebrations to stay
in touch with the largest Greek community outside
Athens. (Also, the area’s cultural and educational
opportunities often encourage the twenty-something
group to come back home.)
They Got There
The history of Queens’ Little Athens began
in 1927, with 16 newly settled Greek immigrant
“They were the pioneers of the Greek community
in Astoria,” says George Zachariadis, Community
Manager of St. Demetrios Cathedral. “Those
families worked to raise funds to build a Greek
Orthodox Church in the area. They were only able
to raise enough funds to lay a foundation, and
build the church basement,” he said. “And
for the next 13 years, members of the Greek community
in Astoria worshipped in that basement.”
in Queens have maintained their culture
through niche businesses and a strong
religious presence. Tribune photo by Ira
Makes Them Who They Are
There are now more than two dozen Greek Orthodox
Churches in Queens, helping to preserve the rich
culture and history of Greece for everyone living
Queens elected its first Greek-American to public
office in 2000. Michael Gianaris, an Astoria resident,
fought hard for and won a seat in the New York
State Assembly. Today, Gianaris serves almost
200,000 constituents from his offices on Ditmars
Boulevard in Astoria. Italians, Hispanics, Asians
and Greek Americans seek his help and counsel
on any number of issues.
Greek community is a classic New York story,”
Gianaris said. “It is a story of immigrants
coming to this country, working hard and making
a better life for their children than they had
Though an issue rarely spoken of publicly, a sore
point between many Greek-Americans and the U.S.
Government started in 1974, when hostilities were
inflamed between Turkish and Greek military forces
on the island of Cyprus, a territory of long dispute
between two cultures of long dispute. The conflicts
culminated in a quarter-million Greek Cypriot
refugees. The U.S. effectively backed away from—some
say thwarted—efforts to restore areas of
Cyprus to Greek control.
© 2004 TribCo, LLC | Return to Queens Tribuner home page