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‘Occupy’ movement rides rails to Astoria

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Photo gallery

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Participants in the Occupy Astoria/Long Island City meeting use their hands to take a vote. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Astoria resident Sam Evans, 7, takes a minute to play with his video games during the Occupy Astoria/Long Island City meeting. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Jerry Kann and Stacey Mazurek (r.) gather fliers to hand out after the Occupy Astoria/Long Island City meeting at the Greater Astoria Historical Society. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Emily Frail (front r.) writes down locations where members of the group planned to hand out fliers. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Mom Alia Ganaposki brought son Sam Evans, 7, to the meeting. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Emily Frail (r.) leads a group along Broadway in Astoria. Photo by Christina Santucci

The next time you ride an N, a Q or an R train, it might be Occupied.

Occupy Astoria/Long Island City, which formed about five weeks ago in the style of the Occupy Wall Street movement, wants its dozens of diverse members of all ages to spread word of their group through the subway.

“Occupy your subway, certainly, man. On your way to work,” said one of the group’s members as it met Sunday at the Greater Astoria Historical Society headquarters on Steinway Street.

The historical society lends its space to the group but does not endorse or disapprove of the group’s goals.

Stephan Panagiotakis, 25, found out about Occupy Astoria at the Occupy Queens meeting in Jackson Heights.

“These came up [started] in my own backyard and there is no reason why I shouldn’t be joining,” said Panagiotakis, who is studying for his master’s in literary education.

While Occupy Astoria/Long Island City has no distinct leader, its so-called facilitators are three young Astorians who live within three doors of each other but never knew it until they met at Zuccotti Park.

Mark Marone, a 20-year Astoria resident and self-employed musician, said the group’s structure closely resembles that of Occupy Wall Street, for example, by using hand gestures to voice approval of or dissent against whatever is being discussed.

“We get together to reconvene the spirit of Occupy Wall Street in our community because we feel the government doesn’t have the best interests of the people,” said Marone, who helped form the group along with his girlfriend, Stacey Mazurek, and neighbor, Ted Alexandro. “It’s more like a community gathering to talk about grievances and how to make our local community better.”

Alexandro, a stand-up comedian, said the group is still in the formative stage and has not organized any protests.

“The group is devised to give people a voice,” he said. “It’s really an open invitation.”

Occupy Astoria/Long Island City has a Facebook group and meets every Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Greater Astoria Historical Society, at 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor in Long Island City.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz at 718-260-4573 or at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com.

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