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Politics

Street Bordering Astoria’s Athens Square Co-Named “Dennis Syntilas Way”

ASTORIA – The name of the late Dennis (Demosthenes)
Syntilas, prime mover of
the project that became Athens Square in Astoria wi
ll soon grace the street signs on
30
th
Avenue between 29
th
and 30
th
Streets, the southern boundary of the slice of
Greece in America he helped to create.
Syntilas, the first president of the Athens Square
Committee, will be honored through
a street “co-naming” after legislation passed in th
e New York City Council on July 23
authorized the establishment of Dennis Syntilas Way
.
The measure, which will also affect 51 other thorou
ghfares in the city, is expected to
be approved by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the ceremon
y expected in the Fall.
The touching act of civic appreciation is the initi
ative of Costas Constantinides, the
first Greek and Cypriot-American to serve on the Ci
ty Council.
Constantinides previously introduced the measure, p
romoted by the Federation of
Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, to rename t
he street in front of the church of
Sts. Catherine and George in Astoria’s Ditmars Boul
evard district in honor of the late
prelate.
At the unveiling of the signs for Archbishop Iakovo
s Way on March 28, the day that
also saw the unveiling of the statue of Sophocles,
the latest work of art to be placed
in Athens Square, Constantinides, as was revealed b
y The National Herald,
discussed with the spouse of the deceased – educato
r Rita Syntilas – and her family
his idea for Dennis Syntilas Way. They agreed, acce
pting his proposal with emotion.
That day was the first time in thirty years that De
nnis Syntilas was not present for a
major Athens Square event.
Constantinides immediately proceeded to gain the ne
cessary support of other
neighborhood organizations. The Greek-American Home
owners Association, where
Syntilas once served as president, received the pro
posal with enthusiasm.
The National Herald reported that Syntilas died on
January 7, 2015 at his home in
Astoria, plunging into mourning his wife, children
and grandchildren, and his friends
and other relatives.
Syntilas was for many years a branch manager for At
lantic Bank in Astoria and
worked as hard as anyone else on issues of concern
to the Greek-American
community. He also served as president of the Aescu
lapian Thessalian Brotherhood.
Both of those organizations purchased building in A
storia, great achievements, but
the grand opening of the Athens Square, which has b
ecome a beacon of Hellenism
in New York as a venue for cultural events, was his
finest moment

Syntilas belongs to the “we,” in the immortal words
of Greek revolutionary hero
Yannis Makrygiannis, by virtue of his gentleness, s
implicity, consistency, dedication,
patience and perseverance. Syntilas was also distin
guished for his ability to get
Greek-Americans to dip into their savings accounts
to fund Athens Square.

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