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So It’s Been Ten Years
Ten years ago Dimitri Rhompotis, Kyprianos Bazenikas and I met in Greenpoint, Brooklyn at a printing shop to see if we could get a magazine started. The history of the magazine business is fraught with peril and the history of successful Greek magazines is a veritable Scylla and Charybdis—so what were we doing? Well, we wanted a magazine in English that would connect the new generation of Greeks with the older generations that had made our Greek American community: a magazine to bridge the gap.
Easier said than done.
That day in Greenpoint we had a very nice discussion, among us with the printer, until it escalated with the printer into a very Greek discussion, with lots of voices raised. But in the end we did get a magazine off the ground (minus that printer) and somehow every month we got it published and distributed and read and mentioned and our coverage was very soon even coveted (everybody wanted the cover of NEO!).
And we had a number of notable covers—from George Stephanopoulos to Anthony Quinn to a princess and various captains of industry, authors, political leaders, comedians, broadcasters, singers, actors, and even Alexander the Great—regrettably only his bust. In those early days it was Dimitri, Kyprianos and I having our production and editorial meetings in the cafes of Astoria and aspiring to find the Greek (with deep pockets) who shared our vision and enthusiasm. I drove one time all the way to Baltimore from Brooklyn at three in the morning to have breakfast with one of those potential angels. We had a nice breakfast and everyone was cordial but the angel blew me off. “You can never get this off the ground,” he said to me, crunching his toasted bagel—a Baltimore bagel, no less.
Well, we did and ten years later we’re still here. And NEO Magazine has become a part of the Greek landscape. We are distributed everywhere in the US and even to the ever-changing landscape of the Greek Parliament itself. We are online, we did a radio show, we are a forum for the worthies of our community, and we are proud that members of various generations do read us and do bridge the gap through our pages.
Our thanks to you who have kept the faith over these ten years. You kept us going then and keep us going now. A personal thanks to my partners in our venture: Kyprianos and Dimitri. Kyprianos had the passion and the killer smile of a born salesman (and the best hair among us) and not only logged many miles in his car delivering copies but also hosted many sunlit production meetings in his backyard. Dimitri was—and is—the stout warrior in the trenches, our Ajax with the big shield, who does battle every day to keep us going and has worn out many pairs of shoes and sandals and wide-brimmed hats and drunk many cups of Greek coffee (sometimes laced) at the Lefkos Pyrgos and other outposts in Astoria to brainstorm how to keep us solvent and relevant and keep us publishing. This milestone is very much indebted to his sustained efforts.
Hopefully we’ll see you in another ten years to reminisce and catch up some more?
See you then and thank you.