Polish Briefs: Poles Grow on Staten Island, Paper Wins Award
The Polish-American daily Nowy Dziennik reports on the opening of a Polish-Slavic Federal Credit Union branch on Staten Island, pointing to the community’s growth in the borough and on a businessman who’s behind the city’s first Polish night club. The paper also touted that it won an important recognition in Poland. The stories are excerpted and translated from Polish.
The Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union will opens its 16th U.S. location on Staten Island in November. This will be the first branch in the borough where according to the latest American Community Survey almost 20,000 residents of Polish descent live.
According to the survey, some 2,000, or 10 percent of Staten Island Poles, are members of the Union, PSFCU said. The branch will look different than all the other ones — it will be smaller, but be equipped with the most modern technology.
Businessman Launched Polish Club
Polish businessman Zbigniew Chalecki came to the United States in June 1989 primarily to visit his mother who had been here since 1986. He was “instantly impressed” with Manhattan and fell in love with “the city, its glamour, high rises, fabulous architecture, famous museums, and man-made Central Park.”
“I felt none of the monotony that surrounded me back at home,” Chalecki said. After he moved to New York, one of the first things he did was sign-up for intense English classes at a school in Greenpoint. He went on to receive an associate degree from LaGuardia College and a bachelor’s from Baruch College.
Together with Ryszard Rzeznik, whom he met at the language school, Chalecki founded the first Polish night club in the New York area – Europa Club, located at Meserole Ave. in Greenpoint and helped introduce New York to Polish music.
“It was my ambitious plan to create a spot for the young Polonia, where they could come and listen to Polish bands,” said Chalecki. The club has hosted concerts of Polish bands like Bajm, Republik, Lombard, De Mono, Wilki and many more. Later it also became a place for Art Nights, which drew art and music lovers.
Chalecki was also the first to introduce Polish music to the famous Roseland Ballroom on Broadway, where such celebrities as Rudolph Valentino, Rolling Stones and ACDC gave concerts.
In December of last year, Chalecki sold his stake in Europa Club to his partner of five years and he is focusing on real estate. He now works for Prudential.
Nowy Dziennik Recognized in Poland
Voices of NY is pleased to hear that Nowy Dziennik, whose articles are frequently featured here, has received an award in Poland for Best Polish Media Abroad. The Maciej Płażyński Prize recognizes journalists who work for media outlets abroad that support the Polish diaspora. The award is named for a politician who died in the Smolensk plane crash two years ago that also took the life of the Polish president.
“Nowy Dziennik won the top prize because it is the best, and uses various channels of communication: television, website and paper. It is — in our opinion — very modern. The great asset of Nowy Dziennik is that it combines news from Poland with issues pertaining to the Polish-American community, and news and matters from the U.S., the country in which the community lives. It covers all these areas but is not focused on one of them. All the news and information is relayed in an interesting and professional manner,” said Jarosław Włodarczyk from the Press Club Polska, which administers the award.“The Maciej Płażyński Prize is given to journalists working for the media which serve the Polonia. It was established to honor the life of the anti-communism opposition activist, the first non-communist voivode in Gdańsk, the Sejm Marshall [...] a man of wide horizons and farsighted approach to Poland and the world,” said Wlodarczyk.