When Greenpointers received a tip last week that someone was allegedly passing out flyers identifying hate symbols following the discovery of hate stickers on McGuiness Blvd, we posted an image of the flyer to Instagram and began to receive many messages from local Polish residents that the Kotwica symbol should not be placed in the same category as the Swastika and other hate symbols. We also received messages insisting that the far right in Poland has recently used patriotic symbology during rallies, including the Kotwica. The local debate even received the attention of staff at the Polish Consulate in New York and the Greenpoint-based Polish and English radio station and news site, Radio Rampa, posted on the matter.
It’s a fact that the Kotwica is a symbol of the underground Polish resistance fighters who fought against Nazi occupation in the 1940s. The symbol to commemorate the resistance fighters is also found in Greenpoint on a flag during summer months at the Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union on McGuiness Boulevard and on a mural on Eckford Street around the corner from the Warsaw music venue.
This Sunday Nov. 11, marks the centennial of Polish independence, and a series of cultural events in NYC will mark the occasion over the next two weeks. “Sto lat” translates to “100 years” in Polish and is the common phrase to wish someone happy birthday.
The U.S. helped secure Poland’s independence at the end of World War I when President Woodrow Wilson expressed America’s support for a Polish state in his Fourteen Points peace plan. Today, Polish and American relations are generally considered strong: President Andrzej Duda recently offered $2 billion toward constructing an American military base to be named “Fort Trump” in Poland.
“Sto lat” means 100 years in Polish and many Polish people will be celebrating the anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I this weekend.
Sunday (11/11) marks the 100th anniversary of WWI , and with a special resonance for Polish people. One of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, self-determination for small nations, meant Poland would re-emerge again as an independent nation after 123 years of being swallowed up by Prussia, Austro-Hungary and Russia.
100 years ago, Greenpoint had a huge Polish community, which sent many of its young men to fight in the Great War. Many of those local Polish lads did not come home. One of the fallen has always intrigued me. Frank Baliszewski, who lived in my house at 2 Clifford Place, died on October 4, 1918 from wounds he suffered in battle in France. I know little else about him, but I have often wondered about Baliszewski. His name still stands on a monument outside his parish church, St. Stanislaw Kostka (607 Humboldt St.).
Green Farms Supermarket (918 Manhattan Ave.) was one of the local stores my Polish-born wife and I regularly shopped to get authentic Polish food, but the store’s last evening of business was just two weeks ago. Though it had an American name, we never called it Green Farms. For us the market was “U Chlopakow” and it was a vibrant piece of Polish Greenpoint.
The shelves were almost empty because the prices had been slashed and sadly only a few cans of Polish food, some mineral water and Polish beer remained. The owners, though, had not liquidated the store for lack of business, but because as owners of the building, the temptation to sell out and retire comfortably proved too great to resist. Continue reading →
The PSFCU owes it community-oriented nature to the way it’s structured. Unlike banks, credit unions are member owned, which means a credit union is “an integral part of the community it serves; profits earned by a credit union serve all its members and the local community they represent, including various community organizations (schools, churches, scouting and student organizations, etc.).” This year’s donations included Greenpoint organizations like the Slavic Arts Ensemble, and The Polonia NY Soccer Club
The PSFCU has been serving Greenpoint since 1976, aiding immigrants new to the neighborhood who were turned away from traditional banks when they applied for home loans. What we know today as PSFCU was established as the “Industrial and Commercial Federal Credit Union” by the founders of Greenpoint’s Polish and Slavic Center (177 Kent St. and 176 Java Street). Continue reading →