NEW YORK – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York held its annual fundraising event the Greek Independence Parade Gala at Terrace on the Park in Flushing on April 15. The event honored Ahepan and well-known businessman Paul Makropoulos and the New York City Public Advocate, Letitia James.
Among those present, were the official members of the Federation, the representatives of the two major Greek-American banks, and institutional guests from Greece. President of the Federation Petros Galatoulas reiterated the encouragement for a mass turnout on 5th Avenue for the parade on April 22.
Video: TNH/Costas Bej
Both the Chairman of Greek Independence Parade Gala at Terrace on the Park, Nikolas Mpardis, and the Chairman of the Parade Committee, Nancy Papaioannou, shared the same sentiment.
The Consul General of Greece in New York, Konstantinos Koutras, called for a moment of silence for the unfortunate Greek pilot, Giorgos Baltadoros, reminding of the tragic incident that plunged Greece into mourning.
Galatoulas then acknowledged Mr. Koutras’ initiative and announced that next year an invitation to the parade will be sent to the two soldiers being held prisoner in Turkey, as he expects all will be resolved by then and the soldiers will be released.
There will be three vacant seats on the officials’ dais at the parade, one in memory of Giorgos Baltadoros and two in honor of the detained soldiers.
The award presentations followed, first to Letitia James, who will be an honorary grand marshal of this year’s parade. During her speech, she mentioned the important role played by Greek-Americans in New York, while she joked about the nickname “mavroula” that her Greek friends have given her.
“Everyone can feel the strong presence of the Greek community. Greek-Americans have offered much to the city of New York and, like other ethnic groups, are helping New York remain the most important city in the world,” she said, adding words of praise for Greek-American City Council Member Costa Constantinides, who was present and thanked her for her contribution.
Immediately afterwards, the event’s MC, Nomiki Kastanas, presented the award to Paul Makropoulos, praising his contributions to the Greek community and his business career.
“I want to thank you all. This prize is a great honor for me. It is very important to me that I can talk to my children about their Greek-American heritage and show them the parade of Greek Independence,” said Mr. Makropoulos, who also thanked his brothers in AHEPA.
Galatoulas then gave special thanks to the well-known businessman, Yiannis Kalafatis, whom he praised for his contribution to the Greek community and his low profile.
Also in attendance at the event were the Mayor of Corfu, Konstantinos Nikolouzos, as well as the Corfu Chamber of Commerce President Giorgos Chondrogiannis.