Greek-American Community Leaders Met with Mayor Eric Adams at Gracie Mansion

NEW YORK – New York Mayor Eric Adams met with representatives of the Greek-American community at Gracie Mansion in Manhattan on February 15.

Among those present were His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, businessmen Michael Psaros and John Catsimatidis, Chairman of the Friends of St. Nicholas Dennis Mehiel, President Biden’s nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis, New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes, AHEPA Supreme President Jimmy Kokotas, EMBCA President and AHEPA National Hellenic Cultural Commission Chairman Lou Katsos, former assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Division George Venizelos, National Philoptochos Director Amy Kalogeropoulos, Zoe Koutsoupakis, Archdiocese Treasurer Elaine Allen, the co-chair of the New York Parade Committee Dimitris Kalamaras, Maria Allwin, Fr. Eugene Pappas, and other members of the Greek-American community.

In a statement, the Archbishop Elpidophoros expressed his appreciation for Mayor Adams, recalling their acquaintance in Brooklyn, when they demonstrated together for justice, after the murder of George Floyd. At the same time, His Eminence noted that, shortly after his election victory in November, Adams paid a visit to the Archdiocese, where he met with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

“During this visit, His All-Holiness expressed the vital concerns of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which are also concerns of the community represented here today. These included the ongoing struggle for the reopening of the Halki Theological School, our pain over the re-conversion of Aghia Sophia into a mosque, and the restrictions on religious minorities in Turkey. As a Province of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and as a Church located here in New York, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese wishes and prays for the peace and prosperity of all nations around the world,” said Archbishop Elpidophoros, referring to the open issues between the Greece and Turkey.

“The Greek-American community in the U.S. feels that it is unlikely to achieve these goals in the Eastern Mediterranean, as long as the illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus by Turkey continues and as long as there are such irrational and illegal demands on Greece from Turkey. We are here because we know that our good friend, Mayor Adams, knows that justice is the prerequisite for peace and we know his commitment to both is the strong foundation for our continued close relationship and warm friendship,” His Eminence said.

For his part, businessman Michael Psaros spoke of a “constructive discussion” with the Mayor of New York. “The meeting with His Honor, Mayor Eric Adams, was extraordinarily constructive. He is a humble, gracious, respectful and thoughtful leader. He is a true friend of the Greek-American Community and the Holy Orthodox Church. As a resident of New York City, I am proud I voted for him and believe he will restore the city to greatness,” Psaros told The National Herald.

Businessman John Catsimatidis, center, spoke with The National Herald following the meeting with Mayor Eric Adams at Gracie Mansion. Photo: TNH/ Zafeiris Haitidis

“We talked about the difference between the Turkish-American community in New York City and Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government, we had a frank exchange about that and the mayor understands it. We also talked about the ‘resurrection’ of New York City. I do not want to overstate it, but John Catsimatidis was here as you know, and he made the point very strongly that New York City’s got to come back, at this moment in time, he is the right person at the right time, and frankly, he was very well-received by the community and he also received us well, he listened, and it was well done,” Dennis Mehiel told The National Herald, among other things.

At the same time, Mehiel expressed his satisfaction for the positive atmosphere of the meeting, expressing the belief that Adams is a “friend of the Greek-American community,” attributing the issue created by his statements two months ago to communication issues.

“We talked about that. Many times communications are not what we would like, and what degree of awareness he had at that time versus the conversation we’ve had since then, but we’re looking to the future, we’re not looking to the past. We think we’ve got a wonderful mayor and a good partner and we’re optimistic,” said Mehiel.

When asked if the mayor is a friend of the Greek-American community, he replied: “Absolutely. We talked a lot about the commonality between the African-American and the Greek-American communities in terms of heritage and what we went through, but also the fact that the Abolitionist movement in this country against slavery was substantially impacted by what 20 odd years earlier happened in Europe and in Greece.”

Mehiel concluded that the meeting with the mayor was “well done, we should do more of them.”

John Catsimatidis also stated that he was extremely satisfied with the meeting with the Mayor. “We talked about the Greek issues, about Cyprus, Constantinople, Greece, I discussed the New York that New York must make a comeback, since it is the number one city in the world and we want to keep it number one. And I said ‘Mayor Adams you are the nation’s mayor’ and all the rest of the cities are looking to him for leadership,” said Catsimatidis.

Finally, George Venizelos, who was leaving with Catsimatidis, regarding the date of the New York parade, simply said that “we are set for June 5.”


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