Wherever they are outside of Greece, Greeks create… — Greek City Times

There may not be enough ink to write the history of Greek immigrants to America. The Greeks left Greece very poor, with all the odds against them, and yet they succeeded.

And wherever the Greeks are, it’s in their DNA to create, even if they start by washing the dishes.

They saved money, first bought houses, then opened shops and then built churches, and next to the churches they built Greek schools!

And today, they are financially and socially strong.

What exactly has happened in recent years? As America grew stronger and became a world power, did Greek Americans also grow stronger?

READ MORE: Greece to strengthen global Hellenism and ties with Greeks in the Diaspora.

Americans used to say “Never burn bridges” and Greek immigrants never forgot Greece – either by traveling frequently, or by inviting relatives to seek their fortunes in the “Promised Land”, or by sending foreign currencies.

In many homes in New York, but also in other cities and states, you see two flags flying in front – one American and one Greek!

In some cases, only one flag, and that is the one with blue and white stripes.

The flag means something, doesn’t it?

Competitive Greek Spirit

The Greeks put their fighting spirit everywhere – sometimes to retreat if they saw danger, sometimes to push forward.

Many years ago, a Greek painted the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York, for several million, and in the end he left it under pressure from the mafia.

The largest chain of glaciers, named Carvel, has a Greek mastermind behind it, and it all started at the turn of the last century.

READ MORE: Tom Carvel, Greek-American businessman and founder of Carvel.

Behind the mega sportswear brand New Balance are Greeks. Many started out as employees and eventually bought the business and the entire building.

I met a Greek in New York who started as a waiter and now owns 2,000 properties, that is, a serious real estate company.

“Estiatorio Milos” has become the informal ambassador of Greece in Manhattan and America (here you meet the sure and experienced hands of manager Dimitris Z.)!

I also discovered Jimmy’s Famous Seafood restaurant in Baltimore, whose customers land at nearby helipads to enjoy flavors reminiscent of Greece.

Father and son, Denny and Dino, in Brooklyn have a successful coffeehouse chain (here you meet the safe and experienced hands of manager Doaa M.).

The Greeks also advanced not only in the “serious professions” of doctors and lawyers, but also in the corridors of politics, business, art and university education.

How did all this happen?

It is clear that the Greeks of America – who over time have acquired all the rights and won the admiration of all – had an excellent field of action to succeed.

They wanted money, they got it.

And if “The Godfather” from Coppola’s famous film told Italians that they had to go to university to learn, “our people” knew instinctively that their children had to learn.

And they have the genius to transform their labor into the education of their children. The New York Greeks also saw the Jews, who believe in power, and whoever has the education in power always wins, and “copied” them.

There is of course a small percentage of Greeks in America who have not made it.

These are the people who ran after women and casinos, and didn’t stop in time.

They are also people who believe that against the Greek “philotimo”, dollars have no value.

But in America, all that matters is money and this perception – it is wrong – strengthens the society, which constantly produces wealth, functions and gives new innovative ideas.

Voting rights of expatriates

Personally, I noticed that in London, where I lived for seventeen years, I don’t remember twisting my foot.

In New York it happened, I twisted it twice in the same week.

Why did this happen? A friend of mine, Nick Droukas, when I asked him rhetorically, replied, “In America, everyone runs, even mice run.”

The rhythms here are frenetic. The constant rush and value of time is the definition of what is called “the New York minute”.

In conclusion, there is a second Greece in America, advancing into the future and triumphing.

READ MORE: Greek Diaspora: Which cities have the largest Greek population outside of Greece?

The Greeks in Greece, when they saw their former compatriots return, after years, “well dressed and with green money in their wallets”, made various assumptions and called them “Brooklydes” (they lived in Brooklyn , where the famous mafia also lived).

The Greeks of New York and America generally have good hearts, good minds and great experience.

These elements are useful for metropolitan Greece, which has been on its knees for several years.

May the Greeks of the most powerful country in the world find serious ways to help their homeland.

The acquisition of the right to vote by the Greek diaspora – an obvious right – would be a good start, especially after the brain drain of the last years of the crisis and the ongoing pandemic.

(And the same story, “as described above”, was repeated for Greek immigrants in: Australia, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, Belgium, Canada, Brazil and so many other countries around the world.)

Dimitris Eleas is a New York-based political scientist and contributor to SLPress.

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