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A new wave of Greek immigrants in NY

Chronos online magazine in its article suggests that a “New Wave of Greeks Flocking to Astoria.” It was recently and with this title that the New York Daily News made widely known a reality that has confronted the neighborhood’s residents for some time now.

Despina Lalaki in her article suggests that the economic crisis in the Mediterranean countries, and more specifically in Greece, is driving a new surge of immigration to the New York borough of Queens. Journalist Kristina Bogos—herself the descendant of Armenian and Greek immigrants—interviewed young Greeks who recently arrived looking for employment in Astoria, the primary Greek neighborhood in the United States since the Second World War. In addition, Bogos spoke with shopkeepers who on a daily basis receive walk-in requests for work as well as phone queries from jobseekers still in Greece. According to the “urban myth” that the story seems to confirm, the more recent Greek immigrants are of a high educational level, often with some scientific training. However, what ensues from the journalist’s research is that these young people bear the marks of the social regression caused by Greece’s financial crisis. As they are obligated to work as waiters or salespeople, and for the most part outside the realm of their professional training, their arrival to the United States also signifies their transition, temporarily or not, from the middle class to the working class.

The article, which Ethnikos Kirikas (National Herald) – the only daily Greek-language newspaper in the United States – republished in its entirety in both its Greek and English editions, roused much interest. However, a careful reading of an accompanying editorial by Herald’s publisher Antonis Diamataris suggests that the same article was also a source of irritation. Once again it challenged the image of Greece so carefully constructed by the diaspora, while it also exposed the diaspora itself for drawing upon this same image in order to configure its own identity.

The need to restore or at least to conceal this rupture between reality and the diaspora's imaginary, which according to Diamataris “has created a serious problem of identity among the American-born generations”, is reflected in his following comment: “Most Greek-Americans we are happy that there is a new wave of immigration. We enjoy the warmth of the presence of other Greeks in the neighborhoods and cities in which we live.”

You can read the full article at http://chronosmag.eu/index.php/d-lalaki-the-predicament-of-the-greek-diaspora.html