I would like to thank the Pulaski Day Parade Committee of Staten Island for recognizing me as the 2008 Staten Island Marshal. I am very honored and proud to lead the Staten Island contingent up Fifth Avenue in the parade this October.
As New York City’s fastest growing borough, Staten Island has been my home for the past two decades. Over the years, as I watched the borough’s population grow, I heard more Polish being spoken around me. Today, Staten Island has a large Polish population, and a thriving Polish culture. There are at least six grocery stores scattered around the north shore of Staten Island, and a large close-knit Polish community centered around the St. Stanislaw Kostka Church, where I have been a parishioner for the past two decades. There are Polish concerts at the St. George Theater, and Polish events at the Staten Island Yankee Stadium, and this year at Shea Stadium. There are even rumors of a Staten Island Polish Parade on Forest Avenue!
When I first came to America twenty-seven years ago, I never thought any of this was possible. Like most other immigrants, I came to America looking for freedom, and a better life. However, I found much more than that; I found a home away from home here in New York City where Polish culture thrives, and freedom reigns. Even though I live in America, I like to say that I am more Polish than ever now because I am able to teach others about my culture, a feat that is almost impossible to accomplish in Poland. I love sharing traditional Polish dishes of kielbasa and pierogi with my co-workers, telling people stories about my homeland, and being a member of the Pulaski Day Parade Committee of Staten Island. The Pulaski Day Parade Committee of Staten Island is a wonderful group of hard-working people, and I am proud to work with them to help spread Polish culture across the island.
It is undeniable that State Island has a strong Polish culture. Therefore, I encourage and expect all of you to come out to the Pulaski Day Parade this October to show the New York metropolitan area exactly how much pride Staten Islanders have in their Polish heritage!