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Athenians’ Society of New York Summer Celebration at Laterna in Bayside, NY

BAYSIDE, NY – The Athenians’ Society of New York held its summer celebration in a convivial atmosphere on May 19 at Laterna in Bayside. The event brought together members of the Society, family and friends for a charming evening of dinner and dancing reminiscent of an Athenian summer night.

Athenians’ Society of New York President Panos Adamopoulos gave the welcoming remarks, thanking everyone for their presence at the event, and sharing a brief historical note about the Athenians’ Society. “In 1920, a very small group of Greek immigrants who lived and worked on the west side of Manhattan decided to found an association in order to relive and re-experience the life that they left before they got here,” he said. “We have their names in our archives but we don’t have the place of birth, where each was born in Greece, undoubtedly not all of them were born in Greece, if any, and that brings us to another thought, if they were not born in Greece, in Athens, then why did they call this association Athenians’ Society of New York?”

The Athenians’ Society summer celebration was held on May 19 at Laterna in Bayside, NY. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

“One explanation is the fact that this title was to draw all the Greeks together as a means of identity, as a point of reference for the things to come,” Adamopoulos continued. “Imagine these are people who lived back four generations before us, so tonight we pay tribute to them, our founders, and with that spirit I just want to tell you that the Athenians’ Society today is moving along the same lines, we welcome everyone from any place from Greece, from any place in the world, you are a member of the Athenians’ Society as long as you adhere to the spirit of the Greek civilization, of what the Greek culture is all about and what the Athenian philosophy is all about.”

Adamopoulos then mentioned the charitable efforts of the Society so far this year: “From the beginning of year until today, the Athenians’ Society has donated to Stony Brook University’s Center for Hellenic Studies, to the Queens College Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, to the Catholic philanthropic institution Our Children, in Long Island City, NY, to the Academy of Hellenic Paideia, and St. Basil Academy in Garrison, NY, and it’s only May, so we have until the end of the year many things to do.”

Left to right: George Liristis on keyboards, Eleanna Finokalioti on vocals, and Samir Shukry on violin at the Athenians’ Society summer celebration on May 19. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

“The goal of the Athenians’ Society is not to sign up every single one of you as a member, and this is because there are obligations that go with it, there are things that we have to do,” he said and then invited all the Board members present to come up, “because what you see tonight could not be done without them.”

Adamopoulos then spoke about the passing of longtime Board member Stelios Stroumbakis. “Stelios was an exceptional human being with a big heart, a big smile, and great ideas and above all ready to take us out of any difficult moment in the Athenians’ Society board meetings with a smile, with humor with a joke. We always remember him, we miss him terribly, may his memory be eternal.

He also noted the passing of Filitsa Roussos, a member of the Society, “memory eternal also for Filitsa, we lost her this year.”

Adamopoulos again thanked everyone for attending and also thanked the many donors “because without them, we would not be able to fund the projects we are undertaking.”

Sakis Floros, at left, won the 50/50 raffle and donated the winnings back to the Athenians’ Society, shown here with Athenians’ Society President Panos Adamopoulos. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

The 50/50 raffle was won by Sakis Floros who donated the winnings back to the Athenians’ Society which drew a warm round of applause from all those present.

Guests enjoyed live music by talented musicians Eleanna Finokalioti on vocals, George Liristis on keyboards Samir Shukry on violin, and Yiannis Kyriazis on bouzouki, keeping everyone on the dance floor throughout the evening with their performance of beloved songs from their impressive, international repertoire. Finokalioti is known for singing in seven different languages including Greek, English, and Spanish. Shukry performed an original song he wrote for his daughter Rona and invited the audience to sing along on the chorus.

The music and dancing continued well into the night with everyone looking forward to the next Athenians’ Society event.


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