The Staten Island Ferry is celebrating 100 years of service with a number of events this weekend as part of the annual Ferry Fest.
Of interest to Slavic New Yorkers are the performances on the ferrys and in the terminals this weekend, since Russians will be among the performers. Performances will be held between noon and 9:00 p.m. on Saturday and between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Sunday.
In recent years, Staten Island has seen such a large influx of Russians that it raised a bit of xenophobia. The construction industry in particular resented the newcomers, since many of the Russians worked in that field. The Russian American Council of Staten Island was formed in 2003 in large part to help combat xenophobia and prejudice against Russians in the area. There are around 50,000 Russian-speaking immigrants in Staten Island today (Staten Island speaks Russian, from Voices that Must Be Heard).
Russians have their own community website, Russian Staten Island, and a publication called Our Home - Staten Island, published in Russian. There are also several restaurants, including Cafe Shinok (2230 Hylan Boulevard) and Atlantis (2066 Hylan Boulevard).
The Polish community is also well represented. The first-ever Polish Festival in Staten Island (from Nowy Dziennik) was held in 2002 and has since become an annual event.
Among the prominent Polish landmarks in Staten Island is the Church of St. Stanislaw Kostka (109 York Avenue), which since 1994 has maintained the Polish School of John Paul II. There is also at least one restaurant, The Polish Place (19 Corson Avenue, check out the Village Voice review).
Finally, Ukrainians have at least one church, Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church (288 Vanderbilt Avenue). The parish begain 1949, but the current building was built between 1957 and 1966.
(Photo: Whitehall Terminal with Ferryboat and skyline March 2005. Photo by Henryk J. Behnke. Staten Island Museum.)