Greek Independence Celebration at City Hall, New York

The National Herald

The choir of St. Demetrios School in Astoria performed at the celebration. Photo by Costas Bej

NEW YORK – City Council Members Costa Constantinides and Paul Vallone, in conjunction with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, on March 2, celebrated the anniversary of Greek Independence. The celebration honored Greek-Americans who have dedicated themselves to serving their communities.

The Council Members honored the Greek Americans Homeowners Association, 9 HUGS (Help Us Give & Share), and Haeda Mihaltses- National Board Member of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

The honorees have helped promote Hellenic and democratic values and have been examples of civic engagement throughout the community. Serving as important role models, the organizations have dedicated their time to charitable causes including supporting women and children, assisting refugees, and promoting diversity.

They have also helped make the holidays a more joyous time for families in need through annual Thanksgiving suppers, food drives, and toy drives for children.

Council Member Constantinides said, “We are proud to recognize the achievements of all our honorees, especially the Greek American Homeowners Association and 9 HUGS. As we celebrate Greek Independence, we acknowledge the Hellenic and democratic values that our Greek ancestors and that Greek-Americans have instilled in our communities. These values of charity and cooperation are what bind us together. As the first Greek-Cypriot-American elected to the City Council, there is also special pride in having the opportunity to honor Greek-Americans who have worked to promote Greek cultural heritage. I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and my colleague Council Member Vallone for honoring the contributions of Greek-Americans to our city.”

The National Herald

Fr. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, Stacey Tzortzatos, George Kitsios, Elias Tsekerides, Consul of Greece Manos Koubarakis, Council Member Costa Constantinides, Apostolos Tomopoulos, Haeda Mihaltses, Council Member Peter Vallone, Christine Koufalis Karanikas, Anna Maria Kalonaros, and Loula Argyris. Photo by Costas Bej

“The New York City Council is proud to support the rich diversity of our communities, especially through important events like our annual Greek Independence celebration,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I thank Council Member Constantinides for organizing this event and look forward to continuing to celebrate Greek heritage and culture in New York City.”

“The Greek-American community continues to be one of the most culturally proud and vibrant in our City. This year I was proud to honor Haeda Mihaltses, a decorated and celebrated public servant of Northeast Queens and New York City. 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,” said Council Member Paul Vallone.

The celebration included the National Anthems of Greece and the US both sung by Georgia Catechis, a prayer led by the Dean of St. Demetrios Cathedral Fr. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, and a performance by the choir of St. Demetrios School in Astoria.

Also in attendance at the event were Consul of Greece in New York Manos Koubarakis, the President of the Greek Homeowners Association George Kitsios, Stacey Tzortzatos, Elias Tsekerides, 9 HUGS’ Christine Koufalis Karanikas, Anna Maria Kalonaros, and Loula Argyris, family and friends, and members of the Greek community.

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 the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on six additional committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. More information is available online at