Summer time is in full swing and if you didn’t have the chance to get to Poland or the means to afford such a trip, one still has the opportunity to experience the vitality of a Polish existence. One of my favorite retreats to immerse myself in the language, culture and tastes of Poland is the New York City enclave of Greenpoint-Brooklyn.
Once a post-industrial and residential neighborhood with its main claim to fame being a thriving Polish community, Greenpoint now epitomizes the Brooklyn renaissance. There are more Polish opportunities than ever before but not everyone who lives there is Polish. Still among the mixed blocks of Poles, Italians and Hispanic families and the much-loved Monsignor McGolrick Park, there is the distinct mark of Polonia.
Check out the Janusz Skowron’s Polish Art Gallery in Starbucks, the bookstores, bakeries, Steve’s deli (where they offer you kielbasa samples off a knife’s point), restaurants such Karczma, Królewskie Jadło, and Golden Café, Peter Pan Bakery for pączki doughnuts… and yes, there are liquors store with everything imaginable - for your Krupnik or Żubrówka fix. Come to Greenpoint - you will even more Polish, and won’t leave empty handed!
Staś is Culture Editor – The Polish American Journal so this is his beat, but the large mainstream media has discovered Greenpoint, too. Check out the recent Chicago Tribune story here Share your Polish summer fun story… Send it here
Traveling thru Your Family Tree
Another way to get in touch with Poland is by exploring your family tree. I hope Mahoning Valley readers took the time to read Vindicator Editor Todd Franko’s Sunday front page story about his recent trip to Ireland to trace his roots and meet his cousins. It is a great example of the enlightenment that can come from such exploration. I just returned from spending all last week at the Polonica Americana Research Institute at the Polish Mission in Orchard Lake, MI doing that kind of research all week. Ceil Jensen, Hal Learman and their skilled staff worked with me to organize my random notes and rumors into a legitimate family tree. We found a glitch that basically left out a whole branch of my Michigan cousins, found out the names of my great grandfathers that had been a mystery and connected me an active genealogist cousin in Australia who traces the family roots back to the 1600s! But simple stuff was the most moving: seeing your deceased parents referenced as children in the Census or seeing your grandfather’s signature on the marriage license was surprisingly emotional for me. As Franko pointed out in his article, even hardened cynics can’t help but feel overwhelmed. PolishYoungstown is planning on taking a group up to PARI for a weekend in October, so let us know if you are interested. Also, there is an Intro to Genealogy Workshop planned for the Cultural Garden at Polish Day. Check it out!
We are thrilled to announce that our own Agata Lyda Khoury has been selected to fill one of only 30 slots in a prestigious Polonia training program. School for Leaders for the Polish Community from North America will be held August 27 – September 7, 2012 in Warsaw. Created by the Polish Senate, this all-expense paid program is aimed at individuals aged 20-40 and is meant to support the development of leadership skills among participants to make their work for the Polish community abroad more effective. The School also will focus on the strengthening of participants’ ties with Poland by getting them acquainted with contemporary Poland. PYTown Founder and Art Director as well as Co-Director of the Krakowiaki Polish Folk Circle, Agi was born in Poland and moved to Ohio when she was two years old. She has been back to visit family only six times. Have fun Agi and bring us back some great intel!
It’s not an Olympic sport but golf is the most rapidly growing sport activity in Poland. Come learn more about this and Polish-American golfer Bob Toski, a member of the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame, at the most appropriate of places. Polish Happy Hour will be Thursday, August 9, 2012 from 5- 9 PM at the Mill Creek Park Golf Course event tent, which is located next to the club house on West Golf Drive between Route 224 and Shields Road (location) Come join us for Polish beer as well as select wines by the glass. A limited menu will be offered from Hole 37 by Barry Dyngles.
We didn’t just move the location of Polish Day this year... we made it bigger than ever! Start your weekend with a delicious Polish Lunch delivered to your desk on Friday! On Saturday evening, join us at Austintown Plaza for Zabawa, a funky evening with 4 LIVE BANDS playing polka, rock, jazz and fusion to create a great party evening like you were in in a nightclub on the rynek in Krakow. To make it more fun, we’ve added an All-You-Can-Eat Pierogi Buffet that will only be available that night. It will include your standard favorites as well as those sweet cabbage, sweet cheese and fruit you can never get your hands upon. We also have moved our hilarious 3rd Annual Pierogi Eating Contest to Saturday night so sign up to secure your spot in the contest today. And then the big event is Sunday! We’ve added more vendors, more folk dancers and more bars and food stations. Stay tuned for updates on the Polish Day website and plan to be there for all the fun by marking your calendar now!
You think you’ve had a good time at Polish Day by being a guest, you should see it from our prospective. Then it gets really fun and crazy! If you enjoy great Polish food, basket raffles, great fun and really great Polish music, then you need to be a volunteer! We need everything from drivers and delivery folks on Friday, 50/50 sellers and judges on Saturday night to all types of folks to make it happen on Sunday. Is your thing to help with mass? We need that! Is your skill more in arranging basket donations? We need that too! Too tired to do any of it? We would welcome your basket or other financial donation to make it all happen. This festival is representative of the Polish spirit in the Mahoning Valley and can l only happen if you can share some of your time, talents and treasure. PYTown’s Volunteer Coordinator Carol Baranski Papalas is waiting for your call. ACT NOW! The first 50 people get a FREE TSHIRT in addition to their FREE ADMISSION TICKET. Call (330) 652-7106 or sign up online here
News from Poland
Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney visited Poland as part of his European trip this week. While there he got endorsed by Lech Wałęsa and criticized by Solidarity movement. He hailed Poland's economy Tuesday as something akin to a Republican dream: a place of small government, individual empowerment and free enterprise. This has caused business publications around the world to focus a keen eye on Poland’s economy to see if what Romney is saying is true: Forbes, CBS and The Atlantic all took the opportunity to attack the candidate at Poland’s expense. But working from the standpoint that all publicity is good publicity, there were no major gaffes to offend citizenry and reporters are used to being told 'Kiss My...'. so we can hope that thru it all some good visuals and positive images of a modern, strong European country came through. Learn more about his trip and other news in Poland at our Polish Media Watch
August 2-5 Bavarian Funfest, Sharon... through Sunday, Aug. 5 "A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People" Maltz Museum, Cleveland... August 2-5 44th Annual IPA Polka Festival and Convention, Cleveland... August 7 81st Annual Polish Day at Kennywood Park... August 9 Polish Happy Hour at Millcreek Metro Park Golf Course... August 24 Polish Business Lunches... August 25 Zabawa with all-you-can-eat pierogi and music by Polka Pirates and Chardon Polka Band... August 26 Polish Day 2012
Aundréa and Your PolishYoungstown Team
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