Mrs. Claus joins makes an appearance at the third annual Athens Square Christmas Tree Lighting in Astoria on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)
Hundreds of Astoria residents celebrated the third annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Athens Square Park, which included a spectacular parade with horse-drawn carriages on Thursday, Dec. 1.
The parade began at 49th Street and 30th Avenue, with revelers marching southwest along 30th Avenue to 30th Street, followed by local students singing Christmas carols at Athens Square Park before the tree lighting ceremony.
Founders of the tree lighting, Gus Lambropoulos and wife Maria gave remarks at the event.
“We are New Yorkers, we are everybody here. I see happiness and true love. I see the good spirit of Christmas and this is what matters, that we are together,” Maria said. “We had COVID, we lost people, we suffered as a business, but what happened? We are New Yorkers, and we can deal with it, and we are together.”
City Councilwoman Tiffany Cabán said the start of the holiday season is the lighting of the Athens Square tree, “which is like the pride of the community of Astoria.”
“It’s just a beautiful representation of when we all come here to celebrate community, of caring for one another and it’s what I hope that we can leave this park with and carry for the rest of the holiday season,” Cabán said.
With the help of Egan Tree Farm, this year’s Athens Square Park stands at an astounding 43 feet and uses more than 5,000 lights. As the city’s second largest tree after Rockefeller Center, it takes a neighborhood effort to assemble everything, from installation to decorating.