Greek Unity Abound on 5th Ave.

11 Apr

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5th Ave. was turned into a sea of blue and white flags as thousands of Greek-Americans came out on a brisk Sunday afternoon to celebrate the 195th anniversary of Independence from the Ottoman Empire. This the largest gathering of Greek Americans outside Greece to honor and respect Orthodoxy, Hellenism and Greek contribution to America. A large contingency from Greece always make their way to the parade as a show of unity with the motherland. The mounted police signaled the start of the parade soon followed by parade organizers, VIPs and the lead band, The Pluto School Marching Band from Brooklyn. This year’s Grand Marshall was Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the head of Greece’s new Democracy opposition party and honoree Alex Scarlatos, who prevented a terrorist attack in Europe last year.

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The crowd was treated to an annual treat when the Presidential Guards, Evzones, with their unique march made their way up the parade route from 64th to 79th Sts.  They stopped by the grandstand on 67th St. and participated in both the American and Greek National anthems. Another group with a large following is the Greek American Folkloric Society with their traditional attire. The group keeps getting larger and better each year.  The second  half of the parade included a large group of Cyprian nationality, groups from Canada and Washington DC. Orthodox Churches from the Tri-state area sent their representatives to march in the festive parade. A group of traditional dancers took the stage by the grandstand and showed off their moves to the delight of the crowd. They weren’t far from the stage of the televised broadcast where NY TV personality Ernie Anastos anchored the event. The parade is also televised to thousands of viewers in Greece.  I’m pretty sure they were looking on with lots of joy, love and happiness in their hearts knowing that New Yorkers carry on the tradition and culture from Greece.

Long Live Greece.

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See you next year.

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