The Council of the City of New York
Office of Council Member Costa Constantinides
For Immediate Release
October 17, 2015
Contact: Shachar Sharon
Late Civic Leader Dennis Syntilas Commemorated with Street Co-Naming
Astoria, N.Y. – New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides (Astoria) today celebrated the co-naming of 30th Avenue between 30th Street and 29th Street in honor of the late Dennis Syntilas. The celebration took place in front of Athens Square Plaza with State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, members of the Syntilas family, community group Athens Square, Inc., the Greek-American Homeowners Association, and others.
A civic leader and community organizer, Syntilas helped make Greek culture an enduring part of Queens culture. He founded the Greek-American Homeowners Association, a community-based organization that connects Greek-Americans with government resources and promotes civic engagement. The organization’s charitable presence in the neighborhood is best known for coordinating a free Thanksgiving-Day dinner and meal delivery service for those in need. Syntilas was instrumental in creating Athens Square Plaza on 30th Avenue. The robust public space serves as a cultural center and recreational hub with a playground, amphitheater, and several sculptures of Ancient Greek figures.
Constantinides said, “It is my distinct honor to recognize Dennis Syntilas with this co-naming. He was a pioneer of the Greek-American community in Astoria and spent his life dedicated to civic engagement. As a founder of the Greek-American Homeowners Association and Athens Square, he made it his mission to promote charity and engagement within the neighborhood. His leadership served as a role model to Astorians and I am proud that he can now serve permanently as a role model for our entire city through this co-naming. I thank his dedicated family and friends for joining us in commemorating his tireless work and contributions.”
“If Dennis was with us today, he would be proud to see how well his dream has come to life. It is an honor to continue his legacy through the addition of “Dennis Syntilas Way.” He made so many sacrifices not just for this park but for our entire community and all the immigrants who made their way here over the decades,” said Gianaris.
“Dennis Syntilas is the embodiment of civic responsibility, ” said Simotas. “For decades, Mr. Syntilas dedicated his personal time and considerable energy to making Astoria the special place it is today and to educating his neighbors about Greek culture. His contributions to Astoria are immeasurable. It is truly a fitting honor to rename this street for a man who worked so diligently to make this neighborhood and, particularly, this park so vibrant and welcoming.”
Rita Syntilas, widow of Dennis Syntilas, said, “Dennis was the epitome of compassion, kindness, and humility. He embodied all the character traits of a fine human being. He always said ‘you cannot correct society, but you can teach by setting a good example.’”
George L. Stamatiades, Treasure of Athens Square Inc., said, “Dennis lived the the Athenian Youth Oath when they reached the age of maturity everyday of his life. Swearing to leave our city better than we found it.”
George Alexiou, President of the Greek-American Homeowners Association, said, “Dennis Syntilas was an energetic person. Everyone know how much he loved Astoria. I admire how he worked day and night on his vision to design Athens Square. Thank you to Council Member Constantinides for honoring his memory with this street co-naming.”
Council Member 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 Environmental Protection Committee and sits on six additional committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.