Nov. 11, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
A group of Astoria business owners and a non-profit are coming together to put up a large Christmas tree inside Athens Square Park on 30th Avenue next week.
The group, which is comprised of Greek-American and Italian-American business owners, plans to put up a 27-foot tall tree inside the park, located at the intersection of 30th Avenue and 30th Street, for the duration of the holiday season.
The business owners have raised $25,000 to buy, maintain and decorate the tree in an attempt to bring joy to the community following a year where the borough has been rocked by COVID-19.
The tree, which will be 15 feet wide, will be placed on the park’s circular stage – in front of the three large columns. It will feature bright lights, multi-colored decorations and will also have a star placed on top.
The business group is being led by property management owner Gus Lambropoulos, who said the tree will serve as a symbol of unity for people of all faiths.
“It will be a magnificently beautiful tree and it will look spectacular,” Lambropoulos said. “We want people to come, take pictures and create memories.”
Lambropoulos, who is of Greek heritage and the founder of Agora Asset Management, said the tree will be a new attraction. He said it will bring people to Astoria, which will in turn bolster the local economy and help struggling small businesses.
The business group that is funding the tree is comprised of the law firm Saco and Fillas, the real estate firm NYSpace Finders, Antonopoulos Funeral Home, Farenga Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Alma Bank and The Rock Health and Fitness.
The group is working with the non-profit Athens Square Inc., an organization that regularly hosts entertainment at the park and previously raised funds for some of the park’s Greek-themed sculptures. The non-profit has come on board to assist with the group’s efforts.
The businesses all contributed to a fund and have hired Egan Acres Tree Farm to supply, erect, and decorate the tree. The Yonkers based-company has been a supplier and decorator of some of America’s tallest Christmas trees for over half a century.
Organizers have sourced an evergreen coniferous tree called a “Norway Spruce” from Pennsylvania and it will arrive on a large flatbed truck on the morning of Nov. 20.
A crane will then offload the tree and place it on the stage before a group of workers from Egan Acres will spend five to six hours decorating it, Lambropoulos said.
An official lighting ceremony will take place on Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. and a group of carol singers will be on hand to mark the occasion.
Lambropoulos said that the tree will stay up at the park until Jan. 20 and Egan Acres will be responsible for dismantling it and disposing of it.
He is encouraging all visitors to the park to wear a mask and abide by social distancing rules.
Luca Di Ciero, CEO of NYSpace Finders, said that his firm was eager to get involved with the plan given the hardship residents faced this year.
“It will bring a little light and will put a lot of smiles on people’s faces,” Di Ciero said.