The Council of the City of New York
Office of Council Member Costa Constantinides
For Immediate Release
May 7, 2016
Contact: Shachar Sharon
Late Community Leader Demetris Kastanas Commemorated with Street Co-Naming
Astoria, N.Y. – New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides today celebrated the co-naming of 31st Avenue between Steinway Street & 41st Street in honor of the late Demetris Kastanas. The celebration took place at the intersection of 31st Avenue & Steinway Street with Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, members of the Kastanas family, and others.
Kastanas founded the national Greek Television program in 1975, and expanded the program into its own channel in 1987. He also founded Eseis Magazine, a bi-weekly publication focused on issues affecting the Greek-American community as a whole. Through these forms of media, he created an opportunity for the Greek-American community, many of whom were not native English speakers, to directly engage with news and current events. Kastanas also spread awareness of charitable causes and helped raise donations for worthy organizations such as the Greek Children’s Cancer Fund.
Constantinides said, “Demetris Kastanas helped promote Hellenism and Democratic values throughout his life. We honor him because he served as a great example of civic engagement. As the founder of the first Greek-language channel, he made news and entertainment accessible to Greek-Americans throughout our city and our country. We are proud to commemorate Kastanas’ contribution to our city with this street co-naming.”
“There is not a single Greek-American in New York whose life has not been touched by Demetris Kastanas,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris. “I have fond memories of watching his Saturday afternoon television show with my grandmother when I was a child, as it was the center of the Greek community at that time. It is an honor to continue his legacy through the addition of ‘Demetris Kastanas Way’ right here in Astoria.”
Simotas said, “Demetris Kastanas was a television pioneer whose hard-work and dedication touched and bettered the lives of so many Greek immigrants and Greek-Americans. I have such fond memories of my time visiting his station to express my best wishes to his listeners for the holidays and special occasions, both as a young student and in my current role representing our Astoria community. I am honored to be a part of this ceremony, renaming a street for this special person, right here in Astoria, which so many Greeks have called home.”
Nomiki Kastanas, widow of the late Demertis Kastanas, said, “I am so pleased, proud and deeply humbled by this street co-naming honoring my husband, and although we miss him deeply, it gives us an inner peace knowing that all his years of hard work, and sacrifice have been vindicated, recognized and appreciated.”
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.