Tag Archives: evzones

A Sea of Blue Flags Waving For the Greeks on 5th Avenue

23 Apr

 

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Flying Flags Proudly

     Greek Independence is a long standing tradition celebrated by the hundreds of thousands here in New York City and the millions back in the Motherland of Greece. For the last 80 years, the celebration has turned 5th Ave into a grand spectacle of revelers waving blue and white flags. Usually the parade is celebrated near March 25 when the actual  date of the uprising and successful revolt against the Ottoman Empire in 1821 is remembered.  The Greeks are are a very religious people and since Easter arrived early this year, the parade was moved to April 22. Turns out better since the weather warmed up and allowed thousand of revelers to line up the parade route from 63rd to 78th Sts. on 5th Ave. The event is broadcast live for local television and transmitted out to Greece where millions tune in to watch the event. This years Grand Marshall was none other than NY Governor Andrew Cuomo who has helped the Greek community immensely over the years.  It’s also an election year, so it’s a good move to get more free publicity. The two other Grand Marshalls were the Honorable Madeline Singas, District Attorney of Nassau County and Pantelis Bombouras. As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade while the lead marching band for the last few years, the Greek School of Plato from Brooklyn, got things started.   Parade VIPs and Guests including NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio, US Representative Carolyn Maloney, this years Grand Marshalls, and the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America,  marched up the reviewing stand on 68th St. to enjoy the annual celebration.

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Parade VIPS Waving to the Crowd

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Evzones Marching up 5th Ave.

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Traditional Costume on Display

 

      One of the most anticipated parts of the parade is the arrival of the Greek Presidential Guard, or Evzones, with their traditional attire and synchronized march. They always get the largest applaud from the revelers. The Evzones stopped by the reviewing stand where both the US and the Greek National anthems were sung with great pride. They were soon followed by the representatives from the Hellenic College of Thessaloniki with their flags raised high. A perennial favorite is the Greek American Folklore Society group with their traditional costumes. They always get a lot of applause from the crowd. Joining in the celebration are groups in solidarity with Greeks. The Cyprians always come out to celebrate and remind everyone of the Turks occupation of their land. The Cretians also come out to display their heritage and contribution. Just about all the Greek Orthodox churches in the Tri-state area come out including some from afar as Buffalo, NY and Canada. It’s always great to see the traditional costumes worn with pride and to witness tradition being passed down from one generation to the next.

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See You Next Year

 

 

 

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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