The 2nd Annual Athens Square Park Tree Lighting Brings Joy to Astoria

Athens Square Park held its second annual tree lighting on Friday December 3rd, and
what a way to kick off the holiday season here in Astoria. The park was packed with Astorians
and people from all over New York City who hitched a ride on the N/W to be part of this
fantastic jubilee.

Image Steve Robayo

Holiday music filled the venue as children ran and danced around in their Santa hats in
anticipation. Adults held their hot cocoas and cuddled together, and media outlets from all
over came to capture the event. Give me Astoria as well as several incredible local businesses
raised $30,000 to bring this tree lighting to the community, with special thanks to Gus
Lambropoulos and Elias Fillias who founded the Athens Square Park committee and
spearheaded this event.

L to R: Tony Sacco (Sacco and Fillas LLP), Rocco Sacramone of Trattoria L’incontro ,
Sonia Mylonas of Give Me Astoria, Gus Lambropoulos of Athens Square Park,
Ellias Fillas (Sacco and Fillas LLP and founder of Athens Square Committe) and
Luca DiCiero of NY Space Finders.

The evening kicked off with the committee welcoming the crowd and reflecting on the
past year and the hardships that people and businesses faced during covid 19. They gave a
special thank you to local Mt. Sinai for all that they did to help during that time, and reinforced
the strength and resilience of New York City, and of course Astoria.

They created this event not only to bring something spectacular to the park, but also as an
effort to uplift the spirits of so many after the devastating losses experienced.
This was followed by a blessing from the Greek Orthodox church, blessing the crowd
and talking about the importance of unity.

Afterwards, the children of St. Demetrios Greek American school sang Christmas
carols, with the entire crowd joining in on jingle bells, creating a feeling of communal holiday
cheer.

Image Eleni Louca

Every year, the committee chooses a beloved local business leader to light the tree.
This year it was Rocco Sacramone of Trattoria L’incontro, who has served Astoria for over
twenty years with his incredible Italian cuisine.

The crowd began the countdown and the spectacular thirty foot tree was lit in every
color with a beautiful shining star to top it off.

Image Paul Lambriakis

There was another full hour of performances from the School of St. Demetrios. They danced
and sang Christmas songs in English as well as Greek, with the crowd clapping and joining in.
The DJ spun a few more Christmas tunes, but the biggest surprise of the night was a visit from
Santa Clause himself!

The tree will be displayed until January 10, 2022, and in case you missed it, you can
find a live recording of the event on the Give me Astoria Instagram page.