RU  UK  EN
Articles  >  Imagine  >  WORLD GHETTOS: POLISH QUARTER IN NEW YORK

WORLD GHETTOS: POLISH QUARTER IN NEW YORK

Author: 01.10.2016 | USA, Poland, world ghettos
New York is rightfully considered one of the most interesting cities in the world. The reasons for this are many, including its unique ethnic composition of more than twenty large communities. New Yorkers joke that they do not need to travel, as it is just enough to take a ride through national enclaves and learn new cultures.

Today we will be residents of the Big Apple for a while, and have a ride to Brooklyn's northernmost tip, Greenpoint, a cosy neighbourhood, popularly nicknamed "Little Poland". Visually, it is very different even from adjacent areas, such as hipster-like Williamsburg, since little streets of this strongly Polish area are reminiscent of Europe, despite the fact that between the houses and above one can see the famous skyscrapers of New York. Yet, looking at the signs, Catholic churches, red-white flags and smelling famous Polish sausages, you feel as if you were not in America, but somewhere in Krakow.

Polish diaspora, Polonia, is huge having population of about 25 million people. This is even more than half of the population of Poland. Over the last two centuries, its natives have been very actively settled outside their home country, fleeing due to pogroms, imperial ambitions of other nations, communism and low standard of living. Even basic sociology shows that each wave of immigrants is clearly associated with a specific cause. Away from home, the Polish natives tried to settle together and do not forget about their homeland, honouring their traditions, culture and identity. Though among the Slavs they are considered the best migrants, having confidently populated New York, London, Toronto and other large cities around the world, all the same everywhere and always they create their own native and much loved Poland.

Polish immigrant community living in the territory of the Big Apple, is striking by its size boasting population of about 220 thousand Poles. Approximately one third of them inhabits Greenpoint, which opened its doors to European migrants in the mid-19th century. Initially, these lands were mastered by all visitors, but soon the Poles, owing to their number and habits, equipped everything in a business-like way, somewhere peacefully, but somewhere through blood battels in the style of "Gangs of New York", they evicted all the neighbours, declaring quarter as their territory. City officials initially opposed to this, but after seeing that as soon as Greenpoint population became more homogeneous this area began to live a quiet life, authorities let the ghetto exist.

The Slavs were actively involved in the industrialization of New York and selflessly worked at the local oil refineries and glass-blowing factories. The quarter was known as a working suburb of Brooklyn until 1950, when the most of the industrial zone was moved out of the city. It was in those years when Greenpoint gained its present appearance with a respectable number of shops, cafes, bars and offices in the former working buildings. This "loft" altered the area's gritty industrial allure into a rather fashionable place, full of young people, since it is a vibrant and affordable place to raise a family, the city centre is half an hour by subway, which for such a metropolis is quite a bit.

In addition to the shops with already famous sausage, Greenpoint is solidly trendy and remarkable for its spirit: you can hear the Polish language, and on its main street, Manhattan Avenue is full of shops selling hand-made and designer showrooms resembling European boutiques. As the name suggests, parts are indeed green with two fairly good parks, a few Catholic churches with rare stained glass windows and mosaics, as well as a huge number of various art spaces, galleries and public spaces, most of which are located in the territory of former factories.

Out-of-towners and locals alike visit Greenpoint for a walk and relax, because it is there that you can try relatively cheap and interesting cuisine and alcohol. Polish national pies, dumplings and Żubrowka are, perhaps, the most popular order in the local mouth-watering bakeries, butcher shops and family cafés. Noisy and cheerful Poles always welcome visitors in their area, and security here is at the highest level, so you can linger in bars late. Another interesting fact is that the Polish immigrant enclave is one of the most cinematic locations in New York. Because the closer to the centre, the more expensive and problematic it is for filmmakers, so it is north of Brooklyn what we often see in American movies, when it comes to streets and districts of the Big Apple. Old stone house, built in the 19th century and the local backyards are perfect for retro-projects like The Knick TV Series and for modern stories.

Greenpoint certainly deserves attention because it perfectly illustrates that New York is not just Manhattan. Hurry to have a walk there as soon as possible, because every year, according to the Poles, it becomes less Polish, as many locals go back home. Poland, though slowly but surely is becoming stronger and more successful. Though a piece of this interesting nation will always remain here, do not hesitate to visit this must-stop destination which still maintains its traditional charm.

It will be interesting:
WORLD GHETTOS. BEDFORD: ENGLISH OUTBACK WITH ITALIAN FLAVOUR
Today our story is about one of the most amazing combinations one can imagine, that is Italians and Englishmen, so we expand number of our articles dedicated to the ethnic ghettos of the world. Get ready to follow us to the cold and rainy Bedford, where we will plunge into the warm Mediterranean atmosphere.
Interesting not Only in City Centers. Residential Districts of the World
There are hardly many travelers who would go somewhere further than city centre where their hotel is situated when on a short-term journey. And if location is a metropolis on top of everything else, such “outside” trips are sure to be put on hold till better occasions. And vainly so because it is in residential districts where one can have a look at a foreign country with the eyes of its citizens which is far more educative than hurry-scurry tours around castles and squares.
LOMBARD STREET: STREET SWALLOWED BY A BOA CONSTRICTOR
Remember how the little prince taught to see not a hat, but a boa constrictor digesting an elephant? So, in San Francisco you have the opportunity to see the street part of which is swallowed by a boa. A serpent Lombard Street crawled into almost all the Frisco city guides.
PHOTOPROJECT: Beyond Warsaw
We would catch the last warm autumn sun rays at almost empty Warsaw Sunday streets. When the sun had hidden behind the skyscraper - we got high on the tallest among them to enjoy the sunset.
We Were There: New York, Washington and Miami
For certain reasons there are two capitals in America – official and actual. Context manager from Kyiv Bohdan Yanchev visited them both and told us about spirits of these cities, about their landmarks and about what they represent in reality. If you think that New York is imbued with expensive perfumes and there is nothing else to do in Washington but to lie on a lawn by the White House – you are wrong!
Taxi in New York Style
Next ‘character’ of our cycle about symbolic means of public transport is yellow cab of New York. It is impossible to imagine the Big Apple and especially its centre, Manhattan, without those bright and incredibly handy cars. Seemingly, there are more “checkers” than people.
We Were There: America through the Eyes of a Ukrainian
Context manager Bohdan Yanchev undertook a long-term journey to the United States. He spend six months there and not just visited large cities like Miami, New York and Washington but also worked in different positions, made numerous acquaintances with locals and visited places that ordinary tourists know nothing about. Upon his return he told us about his brightest impressions.
Ghetto of the World: Ukrainian Neighborhood in Chicago
Experience has proven that ethnic enclaves by and large are autonomous and closed-loop systems because living there one can stay non-assimilated and non-integrated into another culture at all. But that cannot be said about Ukrainian Village – Ukrainian district of Chicago, already famous around entire United States.
Photoproject: Cosy Wroclaw
Wroclaw is 5 rivers, 12 Islands and 112 bridges, so it is often called "Polish Venice". One-third of the city's parks and squares.It is the warmest city in Poland! It is impossible not to fall in love. Here there is an interweaving of many cultures brought by people from different countries of the world. Photographer and journalist OUTLOOK visited this cosy city and shares with our readers his memories, recorded through the lens.
TRUTH IN GRAIN OR POLISH STYLE COFFEE
France, Italy and Venice - these names were chosen by foreigners for their restaurants, which gave a grounding for coffee biography of Poland. Residents of the country became one of the first in Eastern Europe gourmets who appreciated taste and flavor of the unusual drink. Only a few were aware of the fact that a new source of pleasure was produced from fruit of the tree once grown in Ethiopia in the wild.
We were there: GDAŃSK
From the window of an old house with high ceilings one can see a part of Ogarna Street. Ornate signs, cute, diverse facades of buildings, flowers, cobbled roadway... The restoration of the historic part of Gdańsk began from this street back in 1949.
The new ambassador of the USA Mary Yovanovich entered office
The new Ambassador of the USA to Ukraine Mary Yovanovich has officially started implementing her diplomatic duties. Earlier she was an Ambassador in Republic Armenia (2008-2011) and Kyrgyz Republic (2005-2008).
Summer at a Real Ranch!
Upon watching movies about Wild West in America, more than one generation of children dragged their parents towards horses nearby a circus to try on well-loved characters and feel that very atmosphere for a minute. However that minute has always seemed way to short for me. Therefore, when I grew up, I headed to Colorado State to work on a real-life horse guest ranch called Sundance.
POLAND ATTRACTIONS: KINGS ARE ALMIGHTY!
Royal court intrigues, arranged marriages and stunning interiors. These are associations which arise when mentioning life of monarchs. Yet, Poland is a royal country. Here, in a few minutes and just at a few zlotys one can immerse into this atmosphere which is magical for mere mortals.
WORLD GHETTOS. ASTORIA: GREEK OUTPOST IN NEW YORK CITY
Today, going on with series of articles dedicated to national enclaves living outside their homelands, we would like to tell about one of the most vibrant and tasteful neighbourhoods of New York City, culturally rich and diverse Astoria, usually nicknamed as the Little Greece.
Alpine Village Nearby Seattle
There are many things that we can learn from citizens of the United States but what deserves special respect is love to their land. Patriotism of Americans manifests itself in everything, even in internal tourism - without having properly explored own country, an American would hardly travel anywhere outside its territory. Today we tell about one of the most popular internal tourism towns - about Leavenworth.
KRAKOW TOUR. MAKE IT IN 48 HOUR'S TIME
For Krakow we have only 48 hours, so we must hurry! Grab your breakfast that is local traditional fast food in the form of bread and lard, and run for getting acquainted with hundreds of works of art and dozens of legends teeming the city on the Vistula River banks.
USA: USEFUL TIPS
Approximately 70 million people a year - so many tourists from around the world visit the United States each year. Since the US is a special country, the same as any other country, most visitors face various problems: from cross-cultural difficulties to legal ones. We want to help you not get into a silly situation, so have prepared a selection of tips, useful during holiday in America.
WORLD GHETTOS: BALAT - JEWISH SIDE OF ISTANBUL
Majestic Istanbul sweeps visitors off their feet at first sight, impressing tourists with its luxury, history and variety of its vibrant sides... But just a few guests wander into one of city oldest quarters, Balat, where the eastern fairy-tale puts a new face on.
LAS VEGAS. THERE IS MORE THAN CASINO
And you, by chance, are not going to Las Vegas to take a gamble on your hard-earned money? Or you are lured to those lands searching for atmosphere of nuclear tests or meeting with UFO? Don’t you believe me? Then read the most non-commonplace facts about this crazy city in Nevada specifically from The Outlook.
Close
Outlook facebook page