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Associations

The Athenians’ Society of New York Cutting of the Vasilopita (Photos)

January 16, 2023

BAYSIDE, NY – In a festive atmosphere, the Athenians’ Society of New York gathered with family and friends for its cutting of the traditional Vasilopita on January 15 at Laterna Restaurant in Bayside. The event included dinner, live music and dancing as well as raffles.

Athenians’ Society President Panos Adamopoulos gave the welcoming remarks, referring to the difficult years of the pandemic and wishing everyone the best for the New Year with “optimism and hope so that we can a live life full of light and with even more light.”

He noted that “it is a great honor and joy to have you with us. We all feel proud of the Athenians’ Society and warm congratulations to the previous president Vana Kontomerkou and the Board members who held the Society’s torch lit in the most difficult period for the Society in its 103-year history. This recognition of the previous leadership gives us the incentive and your presence here gives us the strength and courage to continue doing what we do.”

The Athenians’ Society of New York cut the Vasilopita on January 15, left to right: Vana Kontomerkou, Fani Pagoulatou, Marianthi Papafragkou, Iro Plakogiannis, Sylvia Adamopoulos, President Panos Adamopoulos, Dora Lagos, Tasos Mouzakis, Andreas Kontomerkos, and Pavlos Hatzikyriakos. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Adamopoulos continued: “The Society was founded 103 years ago on the West side of Manhattan at 46th Street and 8th Avenue by seven people without even knowing if they were actually from Athens, and that doesn’t matter, as everyone knows Athens, that Athens is an idea, it’s not a city, not the cement, Athens is something romantic, it’s something particular, and we don’t have a house, because our house is our hearts, your hearts, the Athenians’ Society.”

“For all of you who are here for the first time, if you like what you see, we would like you to become members and take part in our events which are social, educational, artistic and philanthropic,” he said, mentioning the Society’s efforts during the years of the financial crisis.

Adamopoulos then thanked Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America V. Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Papazafiropoulos his presence and Consul of Greece in New York Dimitris Papageorgiou for his dynamic efforts for the Greek-American community and its relations with the homeland along with the delegation from the Consulate General of Greece in New York.

Adamopoulos also thanked George Delis, George Alexiou, and George Stamatiadis of the Athens Square Park Board, Greek-American Homeowners Association President George Kitsios, Fannie Petallides Holliday, Nomiki Kastanas, Kyrenia Opera General Director Constantinos Yiannoudes, Dr. Fotios Plakogiannis, among many others present. He also acknowledged the presence of the members of the media in attendance.

Left to right: Vana Kontomerkou, Fani Pagoulatou, Marianthi Papafragkou, Iro Plakogiannis, Fr. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, Sylvia Adamopoulos, Panos Adamopoulos, Dora Lagos, Tasos Mouzakis, and Pavlos Hatzikyriakos. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Adamopoulos then welcomed everyone in French and also in English, “it is a privilege to have you with us tonight, a warm welcome and best wishes to all of you. What you see tonight might inspire you to become members and then active participants in the association. It is an extremely thrilling and at the same time humbling experience to be serving on the Board and that underlines the responsibility to cherish and preserve this small community called the Athenians’ Society of New York.”

Fr. Papazafiropoulos gave the opening prayer and then presided over the blessing and the cutting of the Vasilopita. In his remarks, he also noted how pleased he was to be present and to see the events returning after the difficult days of the pandemic. “We are all Athenians, because Athens is our capital city,” Fr. Papazafiropoulos said, adding his best wishes for happiness and health to all in the New Year.

Adamopoulos’ wife Sylvia Adamopoulos, also the Society’s Secretary, read a letter from United States Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) who shared his best wishes to the Society for the New Year noting “the influence that Greek history, art, and culture has in the United States.”

The Athenians’ Society of New York held its cutting of the traditional Vasilopita on January 15 at Laterna Restaurant in Bayside. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

The event’s organizing committee, Theodora (Dora) Lagos, Vana Kontomerkou, and Iro Plakogiannis, then shared their best wishes for the New Year with Lagos speaking on their behalf and thanking everyone for attending and for their love, contributions, advice, and especially for their smiles which encourage the Society’s efforts moving forward. She also noted the door prizes and raffles which were drawn later in the evening and included over 25 valuable prizes such as a smart TV, tablet and Fitbit smartwatch, donated by the members and friends of the Society.

The talented musicians, Aggeliki Psoni on vocals, Konstantinos Revelas on bouzouki, and Paul Denesidis on keyboard, performed a wonderful selection of popular Greek songs as well as the New Year’s carols that kept the audience entertained throughout the evening.

The Board of the Athenians’ Society of New York:

President Panos Adamopoulos

Vice President Tasos Mouzakis

Secretary Sylvia Adamopoulos

Assistant Secretary Stelios Stroumpakis

Treasurer Andreas Kontomerkos

Members

Iro Plakogiannis

Dora Lagos

Pavlos Hatzikyriakos

Elias Neofotistos

Alternates

Marianthi Papafragkou

Fani Pagoulatou

Advisor Vana Kontomerkou

The Athenians’ Society of New York held its cutting of the traditional Vasilopita on January 15 at Laterna Restaurant in Bayside. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
The Athenians’ Society of New York held its cutting of the traditional Vasilopita on January 15 at Laterna Restaurant in Bayside. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
The Athenians’ Society of New York held its cutting of the traditional Vasilopita on January 15 at Laterna Restaurant in Bayside. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
Left to right: The talented musicians,Paul Denesidis on keyboard, Aggeliki Psoni on vocals, and Konstantinos Revelas on bouzouki, performed at the Athenians’ Society of New York cutting of the Vasilopita. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
Sylvia Adamopoulos read a letter from U.S. Senator Bob Menendez at the Athenians’ Society cutting of the Vasilopita on January 15. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
The flag from Athens was displayed at the Athenians’ Society cutting of the traditional Vasilopita on January 15 at Laterna Restaurant in Bayside. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

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