What Astoria is Voting on the 2020 Election: Everyday Greek Americans Speak their Mind

A man rides his bicycle on election day in Astoria, NY Credit: Anastasios Papapostolou / Greek Reporter

Election fever has also caught the Greek-American community in Astoria, New York, as millions of Americans are heading to the polls for the Presidential election which is regarded as one of the most divisive and polarized ever.

“Politics was so quiet in Astoria, but things have changed. I have never seen anything like this before. They make people hate each other,” said Nick Mavridis a shopkeeper in Astoria.

“Elections in the past were conducted in a orderly and civilized manner. Now we see hatred,” noted retired businessman -and President of Olympiacos Fan Club USA- Terry Menis.

Astoria, a neighborhood in the western portion of the New York City borough of Queens, was the reference point of the early Greek immigration to America. Even today, thousands of Greeks live and work in the area.

Irrespective of their political views, most, speaking to Greek Reporter, express anxiety over the danger of civil unrest after the election, but also a sense of pessimism that things will not change much in the U.S. whoever is elected.

“People should be more smart. Politics is always the same. Nothing is going to change anyway,” Mavridis said, adding that America “should keep the one [President] we have.”

John Gatzonis, owner of Akropolis Meat Market, is disappointed with the Democrats. “They were traditionally for the working people, but are now in favor of the super rich.

Ditmars Blvd in Astoria, NY. Credit: Anastasios Papapostolou / Greek Reporter

“It appears that Trump is more for the working person. Trump’s idea of America first, is more in tune with the Greek mentality,” he claims.

Theodoros Moschokarfis, owner of Thessaloniki Jewelry shop in Astoria has switched allegiance: From Democrat to Republican.

“I have been in the U.S. since 1970 and I have voted in many Presidential elections. Although a Democrat, I will now vote for Trump.

“He loves his country more than Biden,” he tells Greek Reporter.

Running “Souvlaki Lady” for the last 30 years Elpida Vasiliadis, has had enough of the tension and the election fever.

“This is not the New York we all knew. I’ve been here so many years that I feel NYC as my home city. I want things to return to normal again,” she says.

She is pessimistic about the future. “I don’t think that the situation in the U.S. will change whoever wins. I think everybody should help America get over this crisis. The President cannot do miracles.”

She admits that Trump is “a strange character.”

“Either you love him, or you hate him, there is no middle way.” Still, she has not made up her mind. I will decide by Tuesday she said.

By contrast, Terry Menis, a Greek businessman and President of Olympiacos Fan Club in Astoria for the last 26 years has no doubts about who to vote.

“The characteristic of this election is division which I never experienced throughout my years in the US. The person responsible is Donald Trump,” he tells Greek Reporter.

“I believe this man is a catastrophe for America. He is egocentric and paranoid who should not be in charge of the US. Many people, especially among the Greek Americans, have been conned by him,” he claims.