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New Mural Celebrates Greek Heritage Near Hellenic Federation

29th street mural 501(see)(streets)

June 10, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge

A new mural celebrating Greek philosophers and icons has come to 29th Street, as part of an effort that local officials hope will stave off graffiti.

The mural was painted on both sides of the overpass at 29th Street between 23rd Avenue and Ditmars Boulevard through the community arts group 501(see)(streets). According to Council Member Costa Constantinides, it was created following conversations he had with the Federation of Hellenic Societies, located next to the overpass at 22-51 29th St., regarding a consistent graffiti problem there.

“We wanted to do something that fit with the Federation of Hellenic Societies’ theme, so we decided to do a mural that captured Greek-American heritage,” Constantinides said. “We felt this was a nice addition to the community and it would also alleviate this consistent graffiti that was going on in our neighborhood.”

Funding for the mural came from local officials including Constantinides as well as U.S. Rep Joseph Crowley, Assembly Member Aravella Simotas and State Sen. Michael Gianaris, the Councilman said. It cost $4,000 in total, according to his office.

Noah Sheroff, executive director of 501(see)(streets), said the mural took about a month to paint and was completed last weekend. The artists were Marthalicia Matarrita and Jorge Matarrita.

“[Astoria] is my favorite place to work because the community is so receptive,” Sheroff said. “They’re appreciative. It’s such a great place to work because of the community.”

501(see)(streets) also worked on an Astoria-themed mural that was painted on a 48th Street overpass last fall.

“I think we’re going to continue to strive to put more of these murals throughout the neighborhood,” Constantinides said. “There’s so many stories to be told.”

The Federation of Hellenic Societies could not be reached for comment.

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I just saw the mural they are painting in Forest Hills on NY1. Its is beautiful and represents many recent aspects of the neighborhood.

angry resident !

guys ! guys ! the mural is the furthest thing you should be concerned about ! the westway is without a doubt the most important issue in astoria ! crime is up bigtime ! wtf up everyone ! the westway is the problem not a greek mural ! impeach diblasio for what he did to our once safe and beautiful neighborhood !


The contract with service provider Women In Need, Inc. was registered with the city Dec. 16 and it expires in June 2019. After 2019, who knows. They will either renew the lease, sell it to the city or private buyer. Personally, I know many that oppose it but see it as something they have to deal with. The time when homeowners control what is happening in their neighborhood is over, unless you have the funds to back up what you want. Its all about being politically correct. People (voters) owning homes and getting by even struggling are outnumbered by people struggling to pay rent and bills.


Crime is not up big time. If you have a link to the NYC crime stats that show it is up in Astoria then go ahead and post it. Don’t make things ups.

If you use this link you can at least get records from 2001-2014 that show you how much worse things were in 2001. Look at the trulia map. You live in one of the safest places in all of NYC. Geez.


I do not mind the mural. After all, they consulted with the Hellenic Society on that block which is mainly Greeks. Many Greeks and Greek Americans are hardworking and family oriented. Many make good neighbors and friends. The only thing I did not like this year is Greece’s song choice for the Eurovision song context which was a flop and that My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 was a waste of my time.


I do not mind the mural. Now can we cut back on all those recent souvlaki stands on 23rd Ave and Ditmars? I can not stand the smell of pork and neither do many of my friends. They just dirty the sidewalk area, make walking difficult and cause traffic. How many are needed in a 5 block area? Do greek people eat that for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Gross.

Anonymous visitor

At least Greek people have some culture and food that represents their culture. If you don’t like it, there are other neighborhoods you can move to. Greeks work hard to provide for their families and if that means having a souvlaki stand then so be it. Better than living off of welfare like a lot other people.


Why not a mural that reflects the diverse community in Astoria! This mural reminds me of the of the corruption, unemployment, crime, anti-immigrant and racist policies and culture in Greece. The people of Greece are leaving in droves to escape all that. The refugees are begging not to stay there.

Frances Michaels

Hey…… Illiterate MORON…… Google the word “Greek” to see what it stands for !!! You could be pretending to be Greek…..but if you are ….just shoot yourself !!!


If partying and having a good time is on your mind, then this is the place for you. If working and making a decent living suits you, AVOID THIS SWAMP. Greece is the land where everybody chases bargains (usually coming from the EU) and of course a place in the public sector, while talking about the wonders our ancestors did. Newsflash: There wasn’t a state called Greece back then in the B.C., just a 100 independent city-states (poleis-krati). This huge myth about the Greeks being all nice and great etc should be “busted” as all I see when I walk the streets is surly people, with no intention to be kind,no intention to work.. Just party, eat bla bla…


From my understanding, modern Greece has virtually no connection with the (Hellenes) of the ancient world. Any serious scholar will tell you this is true. Modern Greece was founded in 1824, and the population largely consisted of transplanted Albanian and Slavs as well as christian refugees from the old Ottoman empire. In other words, a Turkish-molded mixture of Slavs, Byzantines and Albanians. This is the truth and no amount of wishing can change the fact that in terms of culture, history, language and DNA, the modern Greek state has nothing to do with the old. With that said, you still should not generalize a group of people in terms of work ethics.

Anonymous visitor

Cite the “serious scholar” that informed you of this. Should make for some interesting fictional reading.

Anonymous visitor

Wow, someone truly enjoys making generalizations. I wonder why people stereotype so much. Grow up.


Smelly, lazy, gypsies who think they are related to Ancient Greeks.
Pay your debts! I seen the country myself and heard from many other Greek-Americans. Youth Unemployment Rate in Greece is 50% and that is because they are lazy and prefer to hang out all day smoking, drinking Frappes at the cafes while on their cell phones that yaya and poupou are paying for.

Anonymous visitor

Really? Do you know what the actual unemployment rate in this country is? Do you know how many people live off of welfare in this country? You just finished describing most of the people who live in homeless shelters in this country. Take a walk by Westway one more time. Take a good look as you walk by. Look at your own neighborhood first before you start judging others. You do not live in a perfect society.
And at least pappou and giagia paid for the cell phones and not the government. Shame on you.


The total unemployment rate in the US is under 5% for this quarter. That is pretty low.

Youth unemployment is about 52% for last year and averaged 34% during the last 10 years in Greece. Youth unemployment in the USA is at 10.8% percent last year..

So, like half the country of Greece is lazy and doesn’t want to work? I don’t think that is the case here or there when it comes to unemployed people.


Yes you are exactly right! However, culture and a way of life do play a role in all that. Some people outside of the USA do not realize that many of us have to work our “ass off” in the USA to get anywhere. The USA still is one of the best places to live in the world no matter what others may think.


They cut my grandfathers pension in half. He has no choice but others that work hide their finances and claim their government is all bark and no action when it comes to collecting their share. When I speak to people in Greece all they do is cry, whine and blame others for their economic crisis. Those who were able to come here complain about the amount we pay in taxes, the cost of cigarettes and our diversity but yet try their hardest to get public assistance and green cars. This mural should of portrayed Greek Americans like telly savalas and george stephanopoulos and an American flag!


Based on my experiences as a Greek American, the people of Greece have a very unfavorable and negative view of the USA and Greek Americans. As a matter of fact, they are very open about it and they will tell that to your face if you speak their language. Those of us who have visited and have ties to Greece know what I am talking about (kolo amerikane is a daily insult heard by many of us born here). It is sad what is happening in that country and they need a major change in their economic, political and cultural stances.

Anonymous visitor

Really? That’s what it reminds you of? That is quite interesting. Take some pride in your culture if you are Greek.
The refugees are lucky that they are there and that they are being well treated. Why don’t you look to Germany who welcomed them and then abandoned them.
Stop criticizing and show some pride. Take a look everywhere around you before you start criticizing Greece so sharply.


How did Germany abandon anyone? If the other countries that border Greece did not close their borders the refugees would of paraded into Germany/Northern Europe. Greece is a safe country. They can claim amnesty and have a life their. The EU-Turkey deal is reckless and illegal.


I am sure if some countries in the southern EU were able to border the Mediterranean Sea with a wall they would. But they cant!!


“We felt this was a nice addition to the community and it would also alleviate this consistent graffiti that was going on in our neighborhood.” Mr. Constantinides would later go on to ensure citizens that bike lanes and a 5 mile per hour slow zone would be added to the street to deter vandals and protect children from the awful, disgusting motorists that plague Astoria.


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