Greek Newcomers

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Image Courtesy of InfoShare


Throughout the course of studying Greeks in America, it has been frequently stated that the overall census as well as the population of Greek settlement in Astoria, has decreased. Dated from the late-1980s, the peak of Greek immigration to Astoria as depicted in the charts and tables from InfoShare was in the early 1990s.1 In fact, the time the immigrants spent over the past three decades building up their new life eventually allowed them to move up in social mobility. The successful Greek businesses that still remain in Astoria were what brought the new generation a better future with more opportunities. As a result, many older generation Greeks and their children have moved to newer suburban areas, such as Long Island. However, a small percentage of immigration continues and there are Greek newcomers to Astoria.


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Image Courtesy of Zip Atlas

According to the Greek Daily Astorian article, “Here’s to our newcomers,” the majority of the Greek newcomers are in their twenties or early thirties.3 Newcomers include college students, single men or women, and newly wedded couples. These young people are essential to a city’s rebirth, especially since older generations have been moving out, because they are willing to work, building new networks, and using their strong imagination. Other immigrants from Greece are professionals with college degrees and families to support. The management of Mediterranean Foods, a large and popular Greek supermarket, also

Image Courtesy of Zip Atlas

witnessed the trend of Greek newcomers. As the manager of the supermarket named Dimitris Pinos stated in his interview with the NY Daily News, many of the immigrants are under the three-months tourist or student visas to “test the waters” and they feel as if they never left their village in Greece. Though, they can now do and afford things that they would never think about in Greece such as tuition, apartment, and car. Altogether, these Greek newcomers come to Astoria either in support of themselves or their loved ones.4



Image Courtesy of The Pappas Post

Astoria is a middle-class neighborhood in upper west Queens, bounded by the East River. It is an easily accessible area coming from any of the five boroughs in New York City. In fact, it is 3.5 miles, approximately 15 minutes, 13.5 miles, approximately 45 minutes, and 31.5 miles, approximately 75 minutes away from the LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport, respectively. The small sub-borough area itself has nine bus lines and three subway lines from the MTA Transit.

Another reason why Greek newcomers choose Astoria to settle and/or work is because of the Greek ancestry. Although, the great decrease in Greek population, the neighborhood continues to offer a familiar feeling of home (as in the home in Greece). Houses and apartments in Astoria are not necessarily cheap, but are more acceptable that the prices in Greece. People are all leaving Greece because of the “political and economic turmoil”, as stated in the Wall Street Journal article. The expenses for living in Greece started to “skyrocket.” Effie Lekas, assistant director of the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College, believes that the crisis in Greece will lead to a new wave of young, educated immigrants looking for a future.7

Astoria is a special place for Greeks where they support each other “practically and psychologically”. In fact, the crisis in Greece will eventually lead to more “blue and white store fronts” to appear in New York’s “Little Greece”.6

Author: Jessica Bong