12. Maspeth is home to a small Polish community
Though just a few blocks, Maspeth, like Greenpoint on the other side of Newtown Creek, has a notable Polish community. The first Polish settlers arrived in the late 1880s, though there was a small community in the area even before who attended Saint Mary’s Church. Holy Cross Parish, the second Polish church in Maspeth, opened in 1912, and many Poles moved to Hull Avenue, Clermont Avenue, Clinton Avenue, and Perry Avenue. Many Polish immigrants, primarily single workers, moved in with families in two- or three-family apartments. Early on, many immigrants opened small shops to make a stable income.
The parish was the center of Polish life in Maspeth, and a school was established at the parish, followed by an athletic club and choral society. Polish National Hall on 56th Road hosted monthly meetings of organizations including the Polish National Alliance. Many immigrants worked on the remaining farms in the area, while others worked at cemeteries and factories, including Downey Iron Works and the Hughes Pottery Company. Others opened up funeral homes, grocery stores, clothing shops, and music stores. Today, just a few Polish shops and businesses remain, including Grosik restaurant, Krakus Polish Deli, and San Cafe.