The Council of the City of New York
Office of Council Member Costa Constantinides
For Immediate Release
March 28, 2015
Contact: Shachar Sharon
Constantinides Celebrates Archbishop Iakovos Street Co-Naming
Astoria, N.Y. – New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), today celebrated the co-naming of 33rd Street between Ditmars Blvd. and 23rd Avenue in honor of Archbishop Iakovos of America. The celebration took place in front of St. Catherine & St. George Cathedral, with NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Archbishop Demetrios of America, the Federation of Hellenic Societies, and others.
Archbishop Iakovos led the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America for 37 years, from 1959-1996. He was also a vocal supporter of the civil-rights movement and showed that support by marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders in Selma, AL in 1965. In recognition of his role as a spiritual leader, President Carter awarded Archbishop Iakovos with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980. Iakovos died in 2005 at the age of 93.
Council Member Constantinides said, “Archbishop Iakovos serves as a great role model for this community. His faith, leadership, and commitment to justice and tolerance symbolized the best of the Greek Orthodox faith. These values will be imparted on passersby on this street and throughout the Astoria community. Archbishop Iakovos took a courageous stand for freedom by marching with Dr. King in Selma, one of the few non-African-American leaders to do so. He brought people together and stood for what is right – that will be always commemorated at this location. I am proud that Archbishop Iakovos’ contribution will be permanently recognized on 33rd Street.”
Public Advocate James said, “Archbishop Iakovos was a truly remarkable religious and civic leader, who was not afraid to stand up for what was right. This year we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Selma, where the Archbishop was one of the few non African-American leaders to march with Dr. King. It is fitting that this year we honor the Archbishop with this street naming.”
Senator Gianaris said, “It is an honor to be a part of renaming this street after Archbishop Iakovos, who was a spiritual leader on a national level and a cornerstone of the Greek-American community. It is fitting that a street will now bear his name in a neighborhood that benefited so much from his work to make the world a better place. I hope this street will inspire future generations to follow the exemplary way in which he lived his life.”
“Archbishop Iakovos was a model citizen and great supporter of civil rights,” Senator Jose Peralta said. “It is with a great deal of honor and pride that we recognize the Archbishop with today’s dedication.”
“Archbishop Iakovos was a symbol of courage and conviction, not only for those of the Greek-Orthodox faith, but for all Americans,” said Assemblymember Simotas. “At a time when many were silent, the Archbishop marched against hatred and oppression. It is truly fitting that we honor him following the fiftieth anniversary of the Archbishop and Reverend King’s civil rights march on Selma.”
Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Sub-Committee on Libraries and sits on seven standing committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Environmental Protection, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.