The farewell dinner Honor of the Consul General of Finland was held on June 16, 2022, at the official Swedish Residence located at the corner of 64th Street and Park Avenue in New York City.
This magnificent single-family home is comparable to the mansions of the rich and famous in NYC. It was purchased by the Swedish government after WW2 in 1946 to serve as the home of the Swedish Consuls General, and to host official functions. The Consul General of Sweden in New York, Camilla Mellander, hosted the farewell dinner for her colleague and friend, Mika Koskinen, the Consul General of Finland in New York, who will shortly be returning to Finland. His replacement is due to come to New York in September.
The Consul General of Norway in New York, Heidi Olufsen, was present, as well as Susana Berenguer Visbal, the Consul General of Columbia in New York, and Marita Landaveri P., the Consul General of Peru in New York. Mika Koskinen was the Ambassador of Finland to Peru, Lima for four years prior to coming to New York.
Elsa Brule, the Founder of the Elsa Miller Foundation, was present as well as Heli Servioe, the Finnish Swedish teacher at Columbia University in NYC. Else Brule, on behalf of the Foundation, supports many literacy projects in Africa, Asia and the USA. Her donation to Columbia University to fund the Finnish Swedish language program in the Germanic Department was critical to its survival.
I had the opportunity at the dinner to not only talk about Finntown in Sunset Park Brooklyn, and the plaques on almost 30 co-op buildings surrounding the park, but to expand the topic to cover the Norwegians and Swedes who together dominated that area in Brooklyn until well into the 1980s.
The Norwegian Day Independence Day Parade on the Sunday closest to May 17th still draws a crowd every year.
Robert Alan Saasto, Esq. President Finnish American Lawyers Association