Greek-American diaspora writing its own history, before it’s too late

The neighborhood{ of Astoria was almost entirely Greek when I spent a few months there a decade ago, carrying out research at Queens College on a Fulbright scholarship. In fact, I could go about my daily business - visiting the bank or post office, shopping at the supermarket, eating at restaurants and having a coffee - without speaking a word of English. And rental rates were still tolerable in an area that was just seven subway stops from downtown Manhattan. This is by no means the case today, as the borough of Queens becomes the new Brooklyn and Astoria is filling up with hip professionals and young parents. The Greek presence, meanwhile, remains strong, though it is losing some of its vitality.

The history of this pocket of Greekness has never been recorded in a comprehensive manner, an oversight that has long nagged at Queens College sociology professor and...

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