Polish

Thursday Spotlight: Meet Paul Kielmanowicz, a Polish Poet and Native Greenpointer

Native Brooklynite Paul Kielmanowicz with his book of poems

It’s high time we celebrate the hometown hero: Paul Kielmanowicz is a Greenpoint poet, born and raised, with the purest and most New York of stories: he writes on the subway and distributes his art communally. His book of poems, A Carefully Curated Chemistry, isn’t quite for sale — but he’ll tell you more about that. His poems simultaneously possess the largeness of mythology with the smallness of our fragile lives on this planet; indeed, his poems often discuss the earth and its natural splendor. Patient and probing, Kielmanowicz — who writes under the name P. E. Warren — captures in his work a delicate spirit rarely found in the competitive grit of New York. Get to know the local artist in our interview below:

Greenpointers: You grew up in Greenpoint, yes? What has it been like to see the neighborhood evolve? 

P. E. Warren: I sure did. Grew up on Russell Street, between Nassau and Norman Avenue, until the age 17. My parents purchased a single-family dwelling in Glendale, Queens, while I was entering my senior year of high school. My mother and father arrived in the New York as immigrants; they’re now citizens. My brother and I were born New Yorkers. I’m of Polish decent — 100% — but I tend to label myself as “Brooklyn,” when asked of my ethnicity. That might be perceived as foolishly amusing to some, but is fully sufficient for me. As a first-generation New Yorker, and Greenpointer, the city and neighborhood’s changed. It’s tough for me to use “evolution” to describe the happenings. Modification. I think modification’s fitting. Well. It has been an adjustment. Money is a dominance. It’ll be until it no longer is. It’s disappointing, to me at least, how intense of a power to influence or direct people’s behaviors it encompasses. But nonetheless, truthfully, the neighborhood’s safer from the days of the 90s, making it all right. Folks seem to be encountering less of the roughness. My motion, whether it be solely derived from a common aspect of adolescence most experience I cannot be sure, however, I find that I’m rarely walking out from our three-story low-rise rowhouse’s entrance vestibule onto the stoop and peering up and down the block before taking that last step down to hit the sidewalk and go about my day. The beauty of the neighborhood: we, the locals, are the living landmarks. I’ll forever put Greenpoint before myself, before my own name.      Continue reading

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Polish Film “The Conductor” Screening TONIGHT (1/24) at Film Noir Cinema + Q&A

Krystyna Janda in The Conductor, aka Dyrygent — © New Yorker Films/Collector
Krystyna Janda in The Conductor, aka Dyrygent — © New Yorker Films/Collector

WHAT: Dyrygent / The Conductor (1979) + Q&A with actor Andrzej Seweryn
WHERE: Film Noir Cinema, 122 Meserole Ave
WHEN: Wednesday, January 24, 630pm-9pm
RSVP on Facebook, $20 tickets here or at the door

Kinomaniacy! Polish Filmmakers NYC is presenting a screening of the 1979 film The Conductor (Polish title: Dyrygent) tonight at Film Noir Cinema (122 Meserole Ave), about an orchestral love triangle and love affair of music. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with lead actor Andrzej Seweryn. Here’s a summary of the film via IMDB/Polish Cinema Database: Continue reading

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Acclaimed 80s Polish TV Drama “The Decalogue” Showing at Film Noir — All 10 Epic Episodes

The Decalogue

Unless you’re Polish or a cinephile (or both), you may not have heard of the late 80s Polish TV drama miniseries The Decalogue. The critically acclaimed and 97% Rotten Tomatoes-rated Decalogue is made up of ten one-hour films, inspired by the Ten Commandments. Each episode explores characters living in a hard-knock housing project in 1980s Poland as they face moral dilemmas related to the commandments. Each episode follows different characters, though some of them are connected to each other in some way.

The Decalogue was never formally released in US theaters, but was finally released on DVD and video in 2000. Film Noir Cinema (122 Meserole Ave) will be showing the film series in its entirety starting on January 22nd, running through January 31st at varying times. You can buy tickets to all ten screenings here, and tickets to individual episode screenings via their site. Continue reading

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Polish/American Halloween Karaoke TONIGHT (10/26) at Warsaw!

WHAT: Polish/American Karaoke!
WHERE: Warsaw/Polish National Home | 261 Driggs Ave
WHEN: Thurs, Oct 26 @ 8pm
Tix $10, RSVP here

Wydaje Ci się że umiesz śpiewać? Sprawdźmy to!! Zapraszamy na Polskie Karaoke! Chcemy Cię usłyszeć i milo spędzić wspólnie czas! W tym tygodniu mamy dla Was przygotowany konkurs na najlepszy Halloweenowy kostium! Do wygrania darmowa wejsciówka na nastepną imprezę + ulubiony drink w barze!

It’s time to sing your heart out and rock the night away! Join us for Polish Karaoke night!
This week we have a surprise for you! We will be hosting a Best Halloween Costume Contest! Winner gets a FREE DRINK of their choosing as well as FREE ENTRY to our next Karaoke event! Good Luck!

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A Night of Experimental Jazz & Lydia Lunch at the Park Church Co-Op

Lydia Lunch performs, speaking about misogyny and today’s pessimistic world. Photo: Angelica Hill

Last Thursday, artist Martynka Wawrzyniak hosted “A Night of Experimental Jazz & Lydia Lunch” at the Park Church Co-Op (129 Russell Street) to support her McGolrick Park community art installation, Ziemia.  Ziemia, when finished, will consist of a large ceramic orb made from soil from across the globe and placed in a carefully cultivated meadow in McGolrick Park, adjacent to Russell Street between Nassau Ave and Driggs Ave.

The Park Church Co-Op was dimly lit, the stage awash with red and blue light. Meditative electronic new-age music played as the image of Jesus on the crucifix centered on the back wall looked over the scene. It may not seem like the most likely venue for a night of experimental jazz, but Pastor Amy Kienzle remarked that this event was part of the church’s larger event series that supports community art. And with Wawrzyniak being such an enthusiastic member of the church she felt it was important to support. She added that the church “believes in art and it being spiritually beneficial.” Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: Two Polish Artists Separated by Decades, Bound by Creativity

Ziemia rendering
Ziemia rendering

Martynka Wawrzyniak, a Polish-born local artist driven by a creative vision, recently learned that local history eerily repeats itself. Researching Greenpoint history for her local site-specific artwork, she learned she was following in the footsteps of another Greenpoint Polish woman whose quest to create a local monument decades ago amazingly mirrored her own efforts.

Martynka is currently working on a community-engaged public art project, celebrating the disparate cultures comprising North Brooklyn. Her work titled Ziemia (which means earth in Polish), created in collaboration with local residents, invites locals to contribute soil from personally meaningful locations that symbolize their identity. Ziemia will take the form of a three-foot diameter ceramic orb sitting atop of a native plant meadow in McGolrick Park. Grenpoint clay will serve as the materials for the orb and the mix of soil contributed by residents will be used for the glaze. The piece will function as a collective community portrait, embodying the many Greenpoint homeland and migration stories. You can follow along with the sculpture’s progress on Instagram. Continue reading

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Enjoy a Beautiful Polish Tradition Easter Saturday

A traditional Polish Easter basket (via Wikipedia)
A traditional Polish Święconka basket (via Wikipedia)

I was raised Catholic, so before I lived in Greenpoint I knew nothing about the beautiful Polish Easter custom of Święconka (pronunciation: shi’ven-tson-kah), meaning “the blessing of the Easter baskets.” On Saturday thousands of well-dressed Polish families will walk to either St. Stanislaw Kostka church on Driggs Avenue or Sts. Cyril and Methodius on Dupont Street with baskets in hand for one of the most colorful Polish traditions.

The holiday probably predates Christianity in Poland. Its original form began in the seventh century and today’s form dates from the twelfth. The food in each family’s basket is full of symbolic meaning. Poles carry eggs, which symbolize both Jesus and life. They also carry horseradish, which reminds them of the bitter suffering of Jesus on the cross. In addition, they carry bread, which is also a symbol of Jesus. The basket also contains salt, representing purity, as well as ham or kielbasa, which is symbolic of bounty and good times.

Poles will arrive at the church and say prayers of thanksgiving. The highlight of the prayer service is when the priest sprinkles holy water on the baskets. There’s a festive and joyful attitude amongst Poles on Saturday and Święconka remains one of the most colorful and authentic celebrations that defines the Polish community in Greenpoint.

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A History of Greenpoint in 25 Buildings: St. Stanislaus Kostka Church

Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church - Illustration by Sara Harvey
Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church – Illustration by Sara Harvey

Perhaps no local building defines Polish Greenpoint than St. Stanislaus Kostka Church at 607 Humboldt Street. St Stanislaus Kostka is home to the largest Polish Catholic congregation in Brooklyn. Each weekend nine masses are celebrated, five in Polish and four in English. This parish also has an elementary school with 300 students and another 300 who attend Sunday school. Each Sunday thousands of the faithful attend mass there. It is where many locals were christened, received their first communion and were married. When Pope John Paul II, the Polish Pope, visited New York he had to visit his people’s church. John Paul II, still as Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, prayed in the parish during his 1969 visit when he spoke from the marble pulpit, prayed near the altar and received the heartfelt wishes of hundreds of local Catholics. There is a statue of John Paul II outside the church, which implores the faithful, “Nie Boj sie,” Don’t be afraid. Continue reading

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Polish Sci-Fi Films This Friday At The Park Church Co-Op!

Polish films at Park Church Co-OpCheck out some 80’s sci-fi films presented by Polish Filmmakers NYC this Friday night at the Park Church Co-Op (129 Russell St.), at 8pm—there will be Polish food and vodka! The films will be presented in Polish with English subtitles. Bring your own pillow and blanket and get cozy. Facebook invite here. Tickets are $15. Continue reading

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