ASTORIA – The unveiling of the statue of Sophocles at Athens Square Park in Astoria on March 4 was a moving event for two reasons. First, because it marked the completion of a monumental three-decade-long undertaking, the establishment of the only such Greek-themed park in America, and second, because it is the first statue unveiling which was not attended by Dennis Syntilas, the founder and thirty-year president of the Athens Square Committee.
The ceremony, which lasted about two hours, was attended by the former speaker of the New York City Council, Peter Vallone, Sr., and former City Councilman for Astoria Peter Vallone, Jr., Astoria’s current City Councilman Costas Constantinidis, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, and State Senator Michael Gianaris.
The event was graced with the presence of the Evzones, the Greek Presidential Guard, as well as a number of the community’s dance troupes whose performances delighted the Astorians.
George Stamatiadis, George Delis, George Kitsios, and George Alexiou led the charge for the statues’ fundraising.
On March 4 the four Georges of the endeavor spoke with reverence about Syntilas and warmly welcomed his wife, Rita, his children, and his grandchildren.