Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of New York History
The Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of New York has a long history that stretches back to the 1930’s. The fist Icarian clubhouse was located at 305 East 34th Street in New York City. It was housed in a three story building that was owned by John A. Vassilaros, one of the founders of the organization. Located on the street level was the Vassilaros Coffee Company. The second floor was occupied by Pandiki Chapter No. 5. No one knows the exact date that Pandiki moved into the building, but the elders remember that meetings took place in the mid 1930’s.
During the next 15 years, there was a steady increase in Pandiki membership. By the beginning of the 1950’s, it became necessary to find larger quarters to accommodate the growing membership. A committee was formed that was charged with the task of finding a suitable building. Since the vast majority of the New York Icarians lived in the Borough of Queens, the search was concentrated in the areas of Astoria, Woodside, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona and Flushing.
In 1951, Pandiki hosted a successful convention that left them with sufficient resources at their disposal. This enabled them to become more aggressive in their search for a building. The following year the committee found a building in Elmhurst, Queens that they considered appropriate for their needs. On July 12, 1952, Pandiki celebrated the official opening of their new home. During that same time period, the organization’s name and purposes changed. The name was changed from Pandiki to the Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of New York. The Brotherhood evolved from a fraternal organization to a nonprofit organization established to educate the community and administer our philanthropic endeavors.
James Raptis was the first President of the Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of New York. At the time, and since then, the building has become the center of Icarian and community activities in New York. Many important events have taken place there over the past 64 years, including visitations from numerous political dignitaries from the United States and Greece and Archbishop Spyridon of North and South America.
Many of the founding fathers and benefactors of the Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of America and Pan-Icarian Foundation were members of the Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of New York. From its inception, the Brotherhood has distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical aid, scholarships, disaster relief and other charitable causes in North America and Greece. The Brotherhood has also been instrumental in launching many Icarian and Hellenic partisans throughout its existence.