Life in early 20th-century Jersey City consisted of a charged mix of politics, immigration, migration, and a labor atmosphere that created niches for European immigrants. A large contingency of Ottoman Greeks from Northeastern Asia Minor, also known as Pontos settled in Jersey City. The majority of them worked in construction and the service industry of their time.

The nature of this service industry is well documented. Like other European immigrants, Ottoman Greeks first worked for florists, restaurant and cafe owners. Some saved enough to purchase their own establishments after 5 - 10 years. Those working in construction were primarily employed in the Hudson Tunnel projects of the 1910s.

These labor sectors were undergirded by a political foundation controlled by political bosses. In Jersey City, its mayor, Frank Hague was the political boss. Hague was re-elected to several consecutive terms between 1910-1950 and although he was paid approximately $8000 annually, he owned a multi-room luxury mansion, a regularly cited sign of his corrupt politics.

The community of Ottoman Greeks in Jersey City consisted of a large contingency from Northeastern Asia Minor. Between 1919 - 1922, members of this community established a Pontian Greek Aid Committee whose goal was to support the partisans fighting against Turkish forces that were loyal to Mustafa Kemal in Northeastern Asia Minor. The president of the committee was Dr. George Kritides, a neurosurgeon who, according to his grand-niece Yvonne Goldman, was tragically killed days after acquiring his license to practice in New York City.

Haridon “Steve” Poulos is the grandchild of four Ottoman Greek grandparents three of whom were from the Pontos and one from Constantinople. Steve discusses his grandfather’s experience working as a dishwasher before owning the restaurant he worked for.

He was fortunate enough to know his grandparents and learn much about their Ottoman Greek backgrounds. All four immigrated to the United States in the first two decades of the 20th century and settled in the Jersey City area. On both his mother and his father’s side they created and ran successful business--which Steve talks about in this interview. Steve became a Wall street CPA and went on to own several businesses. He moved from Jersey City to Ohio many years ago and is currently retired and living in Canton, Ohio. He has three children, all with advanced degrees. One daughter who is a medical doctor.