Archive for April 2008

Nice View of the Empire State Building

April 16, 2008

I was walking along 2nd Avenue the other day and looked up to see a rather nice view of the Empire State Building.  Took a quick pic to capture it.  I guess all that I can say is that I liked the framing of the building and the clouds.  The two buildings framing the Empire State are much, much smaller (half the size at most)than the Empire State Building; but I was closer to them.  That’s emphasized by the fact that the top of the Empire State Building is slightly obscured by the lowhanging cloud.

Just a nice picture for a quick post.

(Oh yeah, I still hate the new WordPress editing software! This post took about ten attempts to get right. I started it a day ago and it appears they had server problems and wouldn’t let me upload the picture. I know, I know: server problems aren’t the same as editor problems; but I ascribe all problems to the editor. I’m just in that mood, still mourning the loss of a known editor for a new one…despite the fact that the old one was pretty bad, too.)

-H

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The Church of St. Veronica in Greenwich Village

April 15, 2008

In a recent trip down in Greenwich Village, I ran into the very imposing Church of St. Veronica.

20080315-church-of-st-veronica-01.jpg

It’s Roman Catholic and has been around since 1886 (or is it 1887, as they have both dates in different places).  It’s located on Christopher Street, just off Greenwich Street.

-H

2008 Greek Independence Day Parade – Part 5 of 5

April 14, 2008

Ah, the fifth and final post on the Greek Parade. I keep think how I could have made this shorter, but I really didn’t want to eliminate parts of the parade just to make it fit into a smaller size.

The next part of the parade was the “Karpathian Youth Organization”. I presume it’s named after the Carpathian Mountains, but I think they end before they reach Greece. Well, maybe they reach parts of Greece that don’t show up on maps.

The Kassian Benevolent Society had a small contingent of marchers.  (All I could find in Wikipedia is a woman named Kassia who, bear with me, was a 9th Century poet/hymnist and beauty and nun in Turkey, but her forebears appear to be…Irish.)

Ah, the Dodecanese arises again! This is the American-Lerian Association. That seems to be associated with the island of Leros, which is one of the Dodecanese that I talked about in the previous post.

And if there’s one Dodecanese, there’s bound to be others. The Nisyrian Society of New York marched. I think they are from Nisyros, another island in the Dodecanese.

And we’re out of the Dodecanese and onto the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. Well, there are 162 or so islands in the Dodecanese…maybe there’s a St. George island.

And, back to the islands! The marchers below were proud of their home: Crete. It isn’t one of the Dodecanese, but is the largest island in Greece.

More Cretans from Crete. And despite coming from so far in the south of Greece, they are concerned with the north: they have a sign regarding Macedonia always being Greek.

Drexel University marched apart from the other universities showcased in the previous post, but this display was much bigger than any of the other universities.

Too-long-since-kids-in-native-costume-picture. Must-show-picture…

A nice float from the Cathedral of St. Paul in Hempstead, New York.

The below is a group called “Joy of St. Paul” from the Hempstead Greek Orthodox Church. I saw a few groups with the word “Joy”, so I presume it is an acronym. Probably the last two letters stand for “Orthodox Youth”, but I don’t know about the “J”. Of course, I may be reading too much into it (but I did eventually find that GOYA stood for “Greek Orthodox Youth Association” and I presume that something of the same holds for JOY.

The Greek Orthodox Church of the Ascension had a nice float and to the right back of it says “GOYA, JOY, & HOPE”. I presume all three are acronyms.

I loved this float for its politics…which I don’t have a clue to. This is the “Soccer Champions of Greece”. I didn’t see people who looked like professional soccer players, so I presume it was a youth group. They had the standard “Macedonia is Greece and only Greece” slogan. I’m aware that they have claims on it, although there is a separate country up there that calls itself Macedonia. But the sign I truly love says “Alexander the Great was Greek and Olympiakos! Never never never Scopianos.”

Well, his dad was Phillip II of Macedon. I don’t know what is meant by “Olympiakos”. And I’m a bit taken back by him never being Scopianos. I hadn’t heard about that one way or the other. I’m not part of the argument, so it is all the same to me, but there is a lot of bad blood about the part of (no longer existing) Yugoslavia that took on the name Macedonia.

Saint Paraskevi Church and Shrine of Greenlawn, New York had a nice little float.

And I thought the next group was pretty cool. They called themselves the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Orthodox Monastery in Astoria. Orthodox priests are allowed to marry, but I presume that Orthodox monks don’t have that right. But then, I really don’t know.

This was an interesting float. It was based on “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats. With young ladies dressed as Grecian Urns. They had a small exerpt from the poem on the side of the float. The group sponsoring it was St. John Theologian Cathedral of Tenafly, New Jersey.

And every Greek Macedonian society group around seemed to be part of the next float, appropriately named the Pan Macedonian Society.

The next group was the Benevolent Society Ladies of Kastoria. I only got the last of the benevolent ladies in this picture. They were followed by the Society of Kastorians “Omonoia”. Well, Kastoria is a part of northern Greece, near Macedonia, but I’m at a loss on Omonoia.

The Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church of Roslyn Height, Long Island, had a nice little float.

Fighting for the human rights of northern Epiros. Epiros is an area in Greece and Albania.

I left before the parade was fully over, but I was tired and, as you can tell, the weather was a little cool. All in all, a pretty good parade and I enjoyed it.

-H

2008 Greek Independence Day Parade – Part 4 of 5

April 13, 2008

It looks like it’s going to be a total of five posts for the 2008 Greek Parade on Fifth Avenue to be covered. It’s been a week since it happened, but the new WordPress editor and I don’t get along very well and I probably would have done it in 3 posts normally; but I can’t quite create a “storyline” like I used to. Now, I just put up the pictures and write about them.

Speaking of which, the next picture was the most unusual float in the entire parade. It was a celebration of Greece and a Greek-American boxer: Mighty Mike Arnaoutis. His float was a bit of bragging: that Mike is “The Pride of Greece” and a bit of politics: “Macedonia is Greek”.

Another Bank made an appearance. This time it was “Alma Bank”. From what I understand, it is a brand new institution located in Astoria and Brooklyn. Always remember that Astoria and New York Greeks are tightly intertwined. They may or may not be Greek themselves, but they are marching right amidst their customers.

And the Greeks are very family oriented. Lots and lots of kids in native costume in the parade. I like this picture despite accidentally lopping off the top of the woman’s head.

The next set of marchers and their float was from the Cathedral of Saint Markella in Astoria. The float was pretty colorful.

Kids from St. Markellas Cathedral School.

I really liked this one, although I sympathized with the man-horse. This is from the St. Andrews Greek Orhodox Church in Randolph, New Jersey.

The next float was from the Cyprus Federation of America. You may just catch a glimpse of the politics of this float saying that “37% of Cyprus” is under Turkish occupation since 1974.

The next set of marchers was from the Association of Asgata. I believe that “Asgata” is Cyprus, or at least Cyprus-related.

My notes on the next group calls them the “Greek Orthodox Council”. I don’t know who or where they are from, nor their authority in terms of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Next came a whole bunch of marchers associated with St. Demetrios. This group is from the St. Demetrios Cathedral High School of Astoria.

St. Demetrios High cheerleaders. It’s a parade in America, we gotta have cheerleaders. (Well, we don’t have to, but they always make a parade a little more of a parade.)

I can’t go very long without a picture of costumed kids. It’d be…unGreek.

A continuation of St. Demetrios. I like the sign. I have no idea what it means, but I like the sign.

Some more high schoolers from St. Demetrios. I presume they were too old (and not old enough) to wear costumes, so they wore their school uniforms.

More marchers from St. Demetrios. My pictures are a little out of order here, but I presume it isn’t critical for you to catch the parade’s nature. Me? I blame the WordPress editor despite the fact that it had nothing to do with me getting this out of order.

The Bronx High School of Science’s Hellenic Cultural Society had some representation. Good for them.

Universities were also represented. There was a group from the Intercollegiant Hellenic Society. The schools I caught being represented were Baruch, Hofstra, Montclair, NYU, Seton Hall, and St. Johns. Not a bad representation.

My final picture for today’s post is the Federation of Dodecanese Societies. At first, all I could think of was some sort of multisided object like a dodecahedron, but that’s my foolishness. It turns out that the Dodecanese are a group of about 162 islands in the Aegean Sea. Most are uninhabited…maybe I oughta stake a claim…but I sunburn way too quickly. Okay, you folks go out and grab yourselves an island.

I shouldn’t be too flippant. It turns out that Patmos is one of the Dodecanese. Wow.

It also turns out that a dodecahedron has 12 sides.  There are 12 major islands in the Dodecanese.  Not a real coincidence, but I figured someone would point it out.

-H

2008 Greek Independence Day Parade – Part 3

April 12, 2008

Here starts my third post on last Sunday’s Greek Parade on Manhattan’s 5th Avenue. There was a pretty large contingent from Marathon Bank. I remember Marathon. However, I don’t know if the bank is named after the battle, the athletic event, or the location.

More Greeks in costume. This was a nice group.

There was a protest by the people of Pontos (or Pontus). It’s now a part of Turkey and is located on the Black Sea.

More protestors. Their sign reads “The 4 genocides by Turks: Armenians, Kurds, Pontians and Cypriots.”

More Pontos protestors. The sign reads “The Greek-speaking people in Pontos have their own language, culture and history of 3000 years! They deserve rights, too!”

The next float was pretty generically named: the Hellenic Communities of Brooklyn and Staten Island. I guess that’s to differentiate themselves from the big Greek community is Astoria (part of Queens).

Just some of my neighbors. The guy at the right was one of a bunch of bluish characters.

The GOYA of Brooklyn. (Greek Orthodox Youth Association)

The Constantine and Helen Society marchers.

A bunch of kids from the Constantine and Helen Cathedral School.

The next group called themselves St. Nicholas at Ground Zero.

A sort of not-necessarily-Greek-specific group: the Park Ridge Marching Band.

Perhaps the strangest named group of the day: Youth of Kimisis Theotokou of Brooklyn. Brooklyn? How many Youth of Kimisis Theotokou are there around? (Probably hundreds, but this was the only one of that group that I saw in the parade.)

The next group of kids was from the Hellenic Classical Charter School. The little girl in the center (the one with the big, big smile) isn’t looking at me, but at the guys whose heads are painted like the Greek flag. C’mon kid, it’s NYC and they’re way too many of those guys wandering the streets for it to be that unusual. Okay, maybe most of them don’t have the Greek flag…

The next group was the Kaloidis Parochial School of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church. Their first major task in education is getting kids to learn the name of the school.

Another school group. This time it was the Three Heirarchs Parochial School. They did have their priest with ’em. Maybe I’ve got the name wrong…should it be “patriarchs”?

The below group of hoplites was called “The Greek Warriors”. They did a pretty good little show.

Next was a very long-named float: Holy Trinity St. Nicolas Church of Staten Island.
When I’ve zoomed in on the pictures, they seemed to be saints.

The next float was the Federation of Sterea Hellas. Well, “Hellas” is Greece/Greek. Beyond that…well, it’s a Federation that quotes their version of Nathan Hale, I guess. “Freedom or Death” is one heck of a slogan.

The last picture in today’s post is the St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church of Albany’s float. I always get a kick out of the use of their native language in their floats. Other than their identity and a slogan about believing in their youth, they aren’t making any concessions to non-Greeks. I actually like that.

These posts just go on and on, don’t they?  What can I say?  I enjoyed the parade and don’t want to forget it.  More to come.

-H

2008 Greek Independence Day Parade – Part 2

April 11, 2008

This is the second of several posts on last Sunday’s Greek Independence Parade.  Where were we….oh, yeah:  marchers in costume!  As I said, it’s one of the really nice parts of the NYC parades and I do enjoy the Greek native costume.

The next group was a little odd, but not really.  It’s the Olympic Dancers from Pittsburgh, PA.  The only thing that’s odd is the name.  The Olympics have been trademarked like crazy and I understand that they are really big on protecting it, but “Olympic” goes way, way back.  I don’t really know if they protect the name as much as the interlocking rings symbol.

Here’s a closer picture of the Olympic Dancers. They were dancing, but my picture doesn’t quite do it justice.

One of the interesting things about the Greek Parade is all of the Greek Schools that are represented. The next is St. Basil’s Academy.  (And all of the schools had one or more priests walking with the group.)

More fraternity action…or in this case, I guess, it would be sorority action. This float was the Association of Hellenic Societies.

And the Greek Parade also had a lot of bank floats. The below is Atlantic Bank. I don’t know their link to the Greeks, but I imagine there is a distinct one.

Another school marching group. They identified themselves as “The Cathedral School”.

And the next group called themselves “The Cathedral After School”. Well, they did come after The Cathedral School, but I’m sure they’re just identifying the time they meet. (But I like to think that they should have transposed it and called it “After The Cathedral School”, but I’m just a guy struggling with the new WordPress editor so my judgement is a bit clouded.)

Continuing in the scholastic vein, next came AHEPA – the American-Hellenic Educational Progressive Association. That is not a particularly euphonious name so I presume it was chosen to match up with the acronym, which isn’t a bad ‘un.

Yet more AHEPAtarians! AHEPAites? AHEPAtonians?

Followed by the Daughters of Penelope. Now, I like that name and the historical/mythological reference.

Right next to me was a raucous group of young men with…paint job faces. They attracted the attention of the Aktina TV reporter who came by for a quick interview.

After they finished the interview, the reporter and cameraman stood about 15 feet away for at least five minutes, probably more. They were just oblivious to the crowd watching the parade…and mostly to the parade. I don’t know if they were discussing what to do next or whatever, but I kept waiting for them to move on. In the meantime, the Boy Scouts came by.

Well, that’s fine; but what about the Pan-Arcadian Federation, you ask? Where were they? Right behind the scouts.

They were followed by a pretty nice group from St. Demetrios Church of Jamaica. This is New York. “Jamaica” is a neighborhood in eastern Queens, not the island nation.

Cathedral High School, which I presume is the same thing as “The Cathedral School” had a marching band.

And where you have Greeks, you can expect to find Macedonians. There were a lot of political references to Macedonia during the parade. Since the breakup of Yugoslavia, the name Macedonia was taken and used by others that the Greeks don’t accept as Macedonians. I don’t know the history of it, but I am well aware that there’s a fair amount of bad blood between the Macedonians and the “Macedonians”.

St. Demetrios Church was all over the place. Lots of separate marching groups in the parade. In this float is the mysterious message that their history is for everyone but it isn’t for sale. Kids, this is NYC and everything is for sale. But I don’t know what they are referring to.

Another academic group. In this case, the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund. I presume the Hellenic Times is a local Greek newspaper.

For my final picture in today’s post, this is a taste of a large group of Ikarians. That is, folks associated in some way with the myth of Icarus.

Of course, the thing I find interesting is that Icarus died in the story.  They did name a small sea for him, but he did ignore his father’s wisdom and flew just a hair too close to the sun and paid the price.

-H

2008 Greek Independence Day Parade – Part 1

April 10, 2008

On Sunday, April 6 there was the annual Manhattan Greek Parade down Fifth Avenue (okay, up Fifth Avenue) starting in the 50s and going up to 80th Street or so. And Famous Ankles was there, as usual.

I do enjoy the parade. It was actually at last year’s parade that I found myself next to two adorable twin girls in Greek peasant costume. The sat next to my feet and being very young and very cute, attracted a lot of attention. My legs got photographed so much that I joked with people that my ankles were famous in Greece, and a few months later I named this blog in honor of that day.

Nothing quite so great happened this time though. But it was good parade. It was well attended.

Once the parade started, the dignitaries were in close proximity to the head of the parade. They would get to go to the end and then go into the reviewing stands, I presume. I think Mayor Bloomberg was somewhere in the crowd, but I didn’t spot him this time.

Excuse me Assemblyman Mike Gianaris, but you can pay a little more attention to your constituents.

Senator Chuck Schumer was there with his bullhorn. Most of these politicians just loooooovvvve their bullhorns.

Anthony Weiner had his bullhorn! He didn’t do his prototypical “run” where he goes and shakes hands and then “sees” people across the way and then dashes to them.

As usual, lots of kids in native costume.

The NYPD made its traditional show of strength.

I guess I was on the wrong side of the street if I wanted my ankles photographed again. Nah, I was on the right side. These kids were very photogenic, though.

A Greek military band, I think it was their Navy Air Force band, was in the parade. [Thank you Vassilis for the correction in your comment!]

The below is a Greek military honor guard that is one of the highlights of the parade. The key to their walking is their right foot. They would raise their leg on each alternate step and then slam down that foot.

Getting ready to slam that foot…

Yeah, those are poms on their shoes.

Honest, the NYC City Council is bigger than this!

Being Greeks, there had to be fraternities. I don’t know anything about the Kalavritan Fraternity of the Lavaron 1821, but they had a contingent. (No success in google, although it does have references to “Kalavrita” in Greece.)

More of the mysterious fraternity. This time “Kalavritan” is spelled “Kalavrytan”.

Speaking of “Kalavrita” and the like, there was a lone calvary man…(I don’t know if that qualifies as a pun.)

History and culture? Hey, the Greek-American Folklore Society has it covered.

The parade got delayed and this woman was near me for quite a while. I can’t tell whether she’s ready to bust out laughing at all the photographs being taken of her or because she can’t believe she’s wearing that costume.

Lots and lots of Greek flags. That’s one thing you learn in NYC parades: the USA has nothing on the prevelance of flag waving by other cultures. At these events, you discover that people absolutely love to wave their native flags. You can also see a bit of the crowd. This is a pretty well-attended parade.

More flags and natively costumed flag-bearers.

My last picture for today: more costumes. That’s something that I can never forget about the Greek parade. The native costumes are very important to the participants. Of course, every parade has it; just look at the Scots in the Tartan parade and their love o’ the kilt.

This was a really long parade and I can’t imagine it will take fewer than four posts to cover it all.

I’m still having trouble with the editor but I’ve found a way to speed stuff up a little.

-H