By Nick Stamatakis
Tomorrow at 1.30 the Greek-American community of the New York Metropolitan Area is ready to celebrate 200+1 years of Greek Independence and thousands of years of Greek cultural heritage!! The pandemic on the one side and the organizational issues on the other created problems but in the end, this is expected to be among the best Greek parades ever organized in NYC! We should all be there!
Exactly two weeks ago all indications about the upcoming Greek Parade were rather gloomy. At the critical moment, Helleniscope took the initiative to give an optimistic tone for the upcoming parade (link here). Then we supported HANC President Bill Mataragas’ initiative and we insisted on the need to bring in the Greek Presidential Guard – a long tradition in our parades and a necessary symbolic element… This finally happened two days later with a simple phone call from the Archbishop to the President of Greece.
Two weeks ago, We underlined these three basic elements which we have to repeat today:
- We are celebrating “200+1” years of Independence for this miraculous little Greek nation with the outsized ecumenical culture… Yes, my friends, unlike some other ethnic groups, in our parade we do not celebrate our “ghetto” and our self-contained little culture, but we celebrate our “cosmopolitanism”, a concept that our ancestors gifted to humanity… No city defines this concept of “cosmopolitanism” better than New York City. It is not a coincidence that in the melting pot of New York, we Greeks found the quintessential place to express our cosmopolitanism: the fact that we – and all people – should see ourselves as “polites” (citizens) of “cosmos” (the world). Greeks were never a colonial power and Hellenism was never about conquering and dominating others – but about peaceful coexistence with all…
- We will celebrate 200+1 years of Independence, which was won against a barbaric enemy who after these two centuries of freedom for Greece is still an enemy! This must be a worldwide phenomenon! America won her independence from Britain but the two countries are now allies… Some Balkan nations (Serbia, Bulgaria, etc.) also won their independence from the Ottomans but only Greece and Cyprus still today face active (!!) threats from Turkey and her “Sultan” Erdogan… And so our parade is not simply a celebration but a demonstration!…
- We will be parading among historic buildings in NYC, buildings themselves with neoclassical architecture that reminds all the people of the widespread Hellenic cultural heritage… We will be parading next to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with one of the greatest collections of Classical Greek Art…
Finally, at the end of the parade, we will fill the myriad of Greek restaurants in NYC and especially in Astoria and we will show everyone how to have a good time!!
The parade will be a celebration and a demonstration and, in the end, a big party!!
BELOW YOU CAN SEE PHOTOS FROM THREE MAJOR EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE PARADE to be followed tonight by the Gala at the NYC Hilton…
RECEPTION AT GRACIE MANSION – Thursday 6.00pm
LAST PARADE-ORGANIZING MEETING AT THE FEDERATION OF HELLENIC SOCIETIES OF GREATER NEW YORK Thursday 8.00 pm
CEREMONY OF RAISING THE FLAGS AT BOWLING GREEN Friday 1.00pm