GREENPOINT, NY – Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, Polish Daily News and FI2W reporter
A long line of voters crowded around P.S. 34 on Norman Avenue in Greenpoint, a predominantly Polish neighborhood in Brooklyn. The line was at times so long –in the morning at any given moment there were around 300 voters– that some people just gave up, saying they would have to come back later. Others were hoping that their employers would understand and would not punish them for coming late to work.
“I’ve never seen anything like that here,” said Krystyna Holowacz, a Greenpoint activist, while waiting for her turn to vote. “Usually it takes five to ten minutes to cast a vote in Greenpoint. Today it’s more than one hour.”
Some voters were very excited to take part in this historic election, others looked very serious and described their participation as a duty.
Older Polish immigrants stood in line among numerous young Americans who have recently moved to this increasingly trendy neighborhood. And while election fever has strongly held the country in its grip for a long time, among Polish residents of Greenpoint this was a new phenomenon.
In the past, Polish immigrants, while deeply involved in their home country’s politics, were barely interested in the American electoral process. This year, however, despite differences in their opinions on who should be the next president, Poles were showing up at polling sites in much larger numbers than in previous years, with a new feeling of empowerment.
FI2W reporter Aswini Anburajan interviewed Polish voter Darius Gieczeweski in Manhattan. He voted for the first time in a U.S. presidential election this morning.[audio:http://www.jocelyngonzales.net/FI2W/fi2w_DariusG.mp3]