Cultural Associations

The culture of every ethnic community remains as strong as its cultural associations. Without these associations there would be no place to gather all those in the community who wish to live out the traditions of their people. Greeks are especially fond of clubs and associations, and many keynote organizations can be found in Astoria, NY.


President Roosevelt and Officers of the Order of AHEPA Greek American Society. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) has a base of operations in Astoria, and it is worthwhile first mention as it was the first large scale Greek Association to have been founded. To answer the racism and bigotry of the streets in 1922, AHEPA was founded to take powerful Greek ethnics and values and allow the Greek people to assimilate beneficially into American society. Today, AHEPA still brings ideals such as duty to the community and duty to family into 21st century American society. AHEPA has offices all over the country, and its Astoria branch can be contacted at

However, a truly great example of an association central to Astoria, rather than national in America, is the Greek Cultural Center (GCC), located at 26-80 30th St, Astoria, NY. This non-profit is centered around the Greek Arts and providing the public an opportunity to connect with the culture’s roots in all art forms. At the time of this article, the GCC was hosting “Sons and Daughters”2 , a “play about the quest for happiness.”3  And plays are just one of the many types of productions the GCC hosts. There are other types of shows such as shadow puppet theatre, folk dance, music, and workshops to help Greek-Americans express their creativity.4


The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York . Image courtesy of Jared Cox.

Another association that helps maintain Greek-American culture in Astoria is the The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York. The Federation exists “To support the patriotic, philanthropic and humane pursuits of the American and Greek peoples.”5 Located at 22-51 29th Street, Astoria, NY, this organization organizes and executes large scale events and opportunities to promote the Greek-American heritage. This goes as far as to hold the “Miss Greek Independence Beauty Pageant” as well as the annual Greek Independence Day Parade. Other annual events include a children’s Christmas party, a large gala, and celebrations for Oxi Day.6

Finally, another important variation of Greek organizations is social service organizations in Greek communities. The Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee (HANAC) has been helping new Greek Immigrants since 1972. “Dedicated to providing the education, vocational training and support services”, HANAC has built affordable low income housing for qualifying Greek Americans, and currently provides education and employment opportunities, as well as legal counsel and more, for diverse NYC communities. HANAC even has programs for Senior Citizens and the Youth. This organization touches 30,000 people annually and due to how expansive the organization has become, its members have moved its base of operations to 49 West 45th Street, 4th Floor New York, NY 10036.7

Author: Isaac Gordon