NEW YORK – New York Mayor Eric Adams met with representatives of the Greek-American community at the Gracie Mansion in Manhattan on February 15.
Those present included His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, businessmen Michael Psaros and John Catsimatidis, Friends of St. Nicholas President Dennis Mehiel, President Biden’s nominee for US Ambassador in Greece George Tsounis, New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes EMBCA Chairman and
AHEPA National Hellenic Cultural Commission Chairman Lou Katsos, New York Parade Committee Co-Chairman Dimitris Kalamaras, Maria Allwin, Fr. Eugene Pappas and other members of the Greek-American community.
In a statement, Archbishop Elpidophoros expressed his appreciation to Mayor Adams, recalling their acquaintance in Brooklyn when they marched together for justice after the murder of George Floyd. At the same time, His Eminence noted that shortly after his electoral victory in November, Adams paid a visit to the Archdiocese, where he met His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
“During this visit, His All Holiness expressed the vital concerns of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which are also the concerns of the community represented here today. These included the ongoing struggle to reopen Halki Theological School, our pain over the conversion of Aghia Sophia into a mosque, and the restrictions on religious minorities in Turkey. As a Province of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and as a Church located here in New York, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese wishes and prays for peace and prosperity for all nations of the world,” Archbishop Elpidophoros said, referring to questions open between Greece and Turkey.
“The Greek-American community in the United States believes that it is unlikely to achieve these goals in the Eastern Mediterranean as long as Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus continues and as long as there is will be irrational and illegal demands from Greece Turkey We are here because we know that our good friend Mayor Adams knows that justice is the prerequisite for peace and we know that his commitment to the two is the solid foundation of our close relationship and warm friendship,” His Eminence said.
For his part, businessman Michael Psaros spoke of a “constructive discussion” with the mayor of New York. “The meeting with His Honor Mayor Eric Adams was extraordinarily constructive. He is a humble, courteous, respectful and caring leader. He is a true friend of the Greek-American community and of the Holy Orthodox Church. As a resident of New York, I’m proud to have voted for him and believe he will restore the city to greatness,” Psaros told the National Herald.
“We talked about the difference between the Turkish-American community in New York and Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government, we had a frank exchange about it and the mayor understands that. We also talked about the “resurrection” of New York. I don’t want to exaggerate, but John Catsimatidis was here, as you know, and he pushed very strongly that New York City needs to come back, right now he’s the right person at the right time, and frankly , he was very well received by the community and he also received us well, he listened, and it was well done,” Dennis Mehiel told the National Herald, among other things.
At the same time, Mehiel expressed his satisfaction with the positive atmosphere of the meeting, expressing the belief that Adams is a “friend of the Greek-American community”, attributing the problem created by his statements two months ago to Communication.
“We talked about that. A lot of times the communications are not what we’d like, and how much awareness he had at that time versus the conversation we’ve had since then, but we’re looking forward, we’re not looking forward pass. We think we have a wonderful mayor and a good partner and we are optimistic,” Mehiel said.
When asked if the mayor was a friend of the Greek-American community, he replied, “Absolutely. We talked a lot about the commonalities between the African-American and Greek-American communities in terms of heritage and what we’ve been through, but also the fact that the abolitionist movement in this country against slavery has been significantly impacted by what 20 years earlier happened in Europe and Greece.
Mehiel concluded that the meeting with the mayor was “well done, we should do more”.
John Catsimatidis also said he was extremely satisfied with the meeting with the mayor. “We talked about the Greek problems, about Cyprus, about Constantinople, about Greece, I talked about New York that New York has to come back, because it’s the number one city in the world and we want to keep it number one. And I said ‘Mayor Adams, you are the mayor of the nation’ and all the other cities look to him for leadership,” Catsimatidis said.
Finally, George Venizelos, who was leaving with Catsimatidis, regarding the date of the New York parade, simply said that “we are set for June 5”.