By: Markos Papadatos
Recently, I had the privilege to interview the beloved meteorologist and prominent Greek-American individual, Mr. Nick Gregory of Fox 5 News, New York.
According to Nick Gregory, “The Greek-American community is vibrant. Looking at our expansion in the food industry,
you see how Greek cuisine is now becoming very common across the United States, more than it ever has in the past. Many Greek-
Americans have become successful leaders in the community in the fields of banking, business, education, and politics. The footprint is definitely there, and it’s only going to get bigger and deeper.”
“Both of my parents were born here in the United States, but my grandparents on both sides of the family came from Asia Minor. They moved here prior to the 1921 catastrophe there, and established their roots in the United States,” remarks Gregory about his Greek heritage.
On the assets of Greek culture, Gregory states, “I love the music, the architecture, cuisine, as well as the dancing. I’m a big proponent of folk dancing. It was a path I thought I would never go down. When I was living in Atlanta, Georgia, my first job in television was working for CNN for six years. I ended up becoming involved in the church there, so this woman comes up to me and says ‘I saw you on stage, and I am the Director of the Folk Dance group at the church,’ and she asked me to play ‘Zorba the Greek’ in a skit for the church, since the original Zorba actor left the community. I showed up for dance practice about a month before the festival, just to learn what I had to do. While I was at practice, I was exposed to all these dances and music that I have never seen before, and I was taken in by it. After the festival that year, I ended up staying in the dance group and I learned all of the dances. A year later, I was one of the lead male dancers in the group, and a year after that, I became the Assistant Director of the group. When I left Atlanta, and I ended up coming to New York, where I joined the Greek-American Folklore Society. I was with that dance group for many years. I’m trying to get my kids to dance. I certainly still enjoy dancing myself.”
There have been many loves in Nick Gregory’s life since he was a child, such as the weather and airplanes.
“I was always fascinated by the weather as a little boy. Some of my early childhood memories were of big storms that I was just fascinated by. When I was trying to choose a career path, I wanted to do something that I really love, so I studied meteorology, since I enjoyed watching the weather broadcast on television growing up. That’s what lead me down the path. I ended up just following that love as a little boy,” he says.
“When I was eight or nine years old, I was tracking hurricanes via my weather radio. My parents would come in to see if I’m still awake, and they’d be like ‘what are you doing?’ and my response would be ‘I’m tracking the hurricane,’ and they would just shake their heads,” Gregory reveals.
“I’m very thrilled that I’ve been able to work for all these years, and doing the weather forecasts in New York City. It’s a challenge to get here, and a challenge to stay here. I’ve been very fortunate to work with some great people at Fox, and I continue to work with great people. I’m very thrilled that in about five months, I’ll be celebrating my 25th year anniversary at Channel 5!” exclaims Gregory.
Along with Alexis Christoforous and Ernie Anastos, Gregory served as a panelist for the 2011 Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund (HTSF) Journalism Workshop.
“That was an exciting, new avenue that the HTSF took on this year. That was new territory for everybody. I thought it was great! It was a lot of fun. We had great attendance, and it was great to hear things from Ernie and from Alexis that I didn’t even know, and I’ve known them for a long time. I enjoyed it, and I hope it was well-received by the members that participated in the event,” he says.
This year, Gregory was an honored guest at the 2011 HTSF GALA Dinner-Dance event. “I actually was honored with the Hellenic Times Humanitarian Award for Broadcasting in 2006, so I’m thrilled that they recognized me for that,” he acknowledges. Nick Gregory wears many hats: father, husband, chief meteorologist and flight instructor.
“Being married with three daughters, we try to spend as much family time together as possible. We enjoy our time on the weekends as much as we can. We maximize the free time that we have together. I’m also a pilot and flight instructor at Westchester County Airport,” he says.
“I’ve been a pilot for about thirty years, and I’ve been teaching for seventeen years,” he adds.
For Greek-American hopefuls who wish to become meteorologists, Gregory recommends, “They study hard! It’s a tough subject to learn, since it is made up of a lot of math and science, such as calculus and physics. You have to be pretty good in these subjects to get into meteorology. There’s going to be many opportunities for meteorologists, not just in broadcasting, but there’s also private forecasting and world’s climate is becoming a major story. There will be many opportunities for meteorologists in the future to do research and work on problems that occur with weather around the globe.”
For Nick Gregory, success means, “When you realize at the end of the day that you’ve done the best job you could possibly do, and have achieved an inner peace, and look forward to the next day, not just professionally, but also personally, with your friends and family. When you put your head on your pillow at night and you close your eyes and say ‘that was a good day!’”