New York Today: Easter Monday in Little Poland

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Kielbasas at Sikorski Meat Market in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Good morning on this cloudy-to-clear Monday. It’s Easter Monday, and residents of Little Poland in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are celebrating Smigus-dyngus (pronounced SHMEE-goose DING-goose), also known as Wet Monday. The spring celebration, held the day after Easter, includes a tradition of young men dousing water on women as part of a courting ritual, said Marek Skulimowski, president of the Kosciuszko Foundation, the American center for Polish culture based on the Upper East Side. Today, the ritual has evolved to include squirt-gun battles and water fights among friends and family in Little Poland. (Women, these days, fling water as well.) By the late 19th century, Greenpoint, a neighborhood of private farms, had been transformed by shipbuilding and other waterfront industries. Polish immigrants flocked to the area, bringing food, culture and language that can still be found at shops and churches scattered throughout the rapidly evolving community. Today, New York hosts the largest population of people of Polish ancestry in the United States. At Polonia Bookstore, shoppers can find Polish newspapers and books, along with plastic, egg-shaped squirt guns for today’s water fight. The walls are covered with photographs of Pope John Paul II, who was Polish and who visited the nearby St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in 1979. Read More, and See Today’s Weather and Commute »

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Metropolitan Diary

Dear Diary: A heap of discarded scratch-off lottery tickets filled an entire seat on the subway car. I reached over to inspect them. “Are you serious?” my college boyfriend asked, shooting me a look. He was a Brooklyn native, and I, a newly naturalized United States citizen and first-time visitor to New York City, thought better of challenging him. At some point during the long ride, though, I found myself glancing again at the scratched-off tickets. “What do you know?” I thought, focusing on one of them. “The cherries all line up. Bingo!” I pulled a partly hidden ticket out of the pile to see if there was a prize. There was. Cherries: $1. I grabbed a handful of tickets and quickly began to sort through them. Read More, and See Today’s Weather and Commute »

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