Call it the “Miracle on 30th Avenue.”
Astoria business leaders have come together to bring a little – much-needed – Christmas cheer to the area this year and formed the Athens Square Tree Committee, comprised of Gus Lambropoulos, Elias Fillas, Tonino Sacco, Gus Antonopoulos, Luca Di Ciero, Kirk Karabela and Andrew Latos.
On Friday, Nov. 20, a 30-foot-tall, 16.5-foot-wide Norway Spruce tree was delivered to Athens Square Park, where those who donated it hope it will serve as a beacon of light and faith in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It will be the tallest tree ever installed in Astoria, Long Island City, or possibly in Queens, according to the Parks Department archives,” said Gus Lambropoulos, the president of Agora Asset Management. “It will be decorated in multicolored lights, with a star atop, and flanked by Greek columns and statues of Socrates and Plato – but it is a multicultural tree that signifies peace, unity and hope. Unity will be at an all-time high.”
The tree, donated by Gus and Maria Lambropoulos, Sacco & Fillas, The Rock Health and Fitness, NYSpace Finders, Alma Bank and Farenga Funeral Homes, will be a destination for the community – and a way to bolster business.
“Everyone knows Astoria and its festivities, now we are filling in the gaps for Christmas,” said Luca Di Ciero, founder and CEO, NYSpace Finders. “Astoria has a special place in my heart. I started my office here because I believe in the neighborhood. In these uncertain times, I’m excited to see joy come to 30th Avenue.”
Once lit on Dec. 2, residents far and wide can enjoy the beauty of the tree – with social distancing, of course.
“There is no power for change greater than the community discovering what it can do, and this Christmas event will be symbolic of something we need,” said Gus Antonopoulos, of the Antonopoulos Funeral Home.
The spruce will shine from Dec. 2 at 6 p.m., when there will be a tree-lighting ceremony — complete with carolers — until Jan. 20.
“It’s going to be great,” said Maria Markou, Esq., the founder and president of Markou Global Legal Group LLC. “The tree will bring unity and family, and for us as Greeks, family is most important.”
And the organizers are already looking ahead, as they plan to make this an annual Christmas tradition.
“We are already looking to next year,” said Elias N. Fillas, of Sacco & Fillas, LLP. “It’s going to be like Rockefeller Center, but in the heart of Queens.”
Sponsors include Gus & Maria Lambropoulos; Elias Fillas & Family; Tonino Sacco & Family; Luca Di Ciero & Family; Fillas & Sacco, LLP; Farenga Funeral Home; Alma Bank; Rock,Health & Fitness; Mentis Photography Inc.; Uptick Mulimedia; The Valias Group, Inc.; and Athens Square Inc.