16. Little Poland in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Bomelstein sidewalk clock on Manhattan Avenue

Look past the emerging counterculture and you’ll find New York City’s Little Poland in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Though Greenpoint is rapidly developing, its rich Polish culture and history have yet to be completely expunged. Large numbers of Polish immigrants came in the late 1800s during the later period of Greenpoint’s industrialization. Many Poles came to escape religious and political persecution, including Jews leaving pogroms, as well as those looking to earn higher wages. This North Brooklyn neighborhood is home to the second largest concentration of Polish immigrants in the United States, behind Chicago.

When walking through the neighborhood, its ethnic character is evident in the myriad Polish bakeries, meat markets, and restaurants that dot Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint’s main thoroughfare. Polish specialty shops and restaurants include Old Poland Bakery and Jaslowiczanka Bakery, both of which offer a wide selection of homemade polish pastries including babkas and apple tarts. Notable restaurants include Pierozek, Pyza, and Karczma which is known for its grilled plate with kielbasa, blood sausage, and pork shoulder. Other establishments include the Polish National Catholic Church of the Resurrection Parish on Leonard Street and the Polish National Home on Driggs Avenue, which is home to the Warsaw box office and bar and lounge. Don’t be surprised at the profusion of Polish-language newsstands and magazines that can be found in just about any deli within the neighborhood.