Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Slovaks in New York City

Slovaks first arrived in New York around 1848 and settled primarily in the East Village in Manhattan around 14th Street and Second Avenue, according to the Encyclopedia of New York City. By the 1880s, they had followed the Central European migration from downtown to Yorkville, in the East 70s and 80s between York and Third Avenues, as well as other neighorhoods such as Long Island City, Astoria and Sunnyside in Queens, and in Greenpoint in Brooklyn.

By 1910, there were over 10,000 Slovaks in the five boroughs, and even more came after the formation of Czechoslovakia in 1918. There were about 85,000 in the late 1970s, accounting for more than one percent of the total population.

In 1883, the community founded its first organization, Živena, which merged shortly thereafter into the St. John the Baptist Society. By the early 1890s, a number of organizations serving the Slovak community had formed. Robust community activity continues into the present day, thanks in no small part to the Slovak American Cultural Center, founded in 1968.

Also in 1883, the community founded its first parish, St. Elian Greek Cathlic Church (including - if not primarily - Carpatho-Rusyns from eastern Slovakia). Slovak Roman Catholic parishes followed in quick succession: St. Elizabeth of Hungary in 1891 in Yorkville, St. John Nepomucene in 1895 on the Upper East Side and the Church of the Holy Family in 1895 in East Midtown. All three also include Czechs in their congregations, among other ethnic groups. Protestant Slovaks formed Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in lower Manhattan in 1902.

During the late 1890s, the golden age of Slovak life in New York, the community was also served by several newspapers, including Slovak v Amerike (since 1889), Newyorský denník (New York Daily, 1895-1974), and Slobodný orol (The Free Eagle, 1900-4).

Today, Slovak life is most vibrant in its churches, and helped along by the
Slovak American Cultural Center. On the internet, they also make use of Slovak Info for local events listings. There is also at least one Slovak restaurant in the City, Milan's in Sunset Park.

3 comments:

J Froebel-Parker said...

Helpful overview. Would like to correspond with anyone related or knowing of JAN GREGA who lived in New York (native of EPERJES/EPERIES/PRESOV) from 1880s to 1954. Worked with fundraising for Czechoslovak Republic and Tomas Masaryk. Lived on E 71st where he had a watch sales and repair shop.

Anonymous said...

new email for correspondence is
johannalbny@aol.com

Evie Polesny said...


CALLING ALL CZECHS and SLOVAKS!
CALLING ALL SINGERS!
CZECH and SLOVAK CAROLING NIGHT!

CZECH/SLOVAK CHRISTMAS CAROL SING-A-LONG

at Doma Na Rohu
















Sunday December 15, 7 PM

CZECH HOT DRINKS TO KEEP YOU WARM AS YOU SING!
Song sheets to keep you singing!
Convene at Doma to gather sheets and fortify with a drink.
Sing our way up Bedford, Barrow, Commerce, Morton.
Re-warm our bones with Czech drink fortification après.
Drinks just $4, little bowl of GULASH WITH KNEDLICKY, just $6 for carolers.


Drinks you might find on CZECH and SLOVAK CAROLING NIGHT -- Mulled wine, "Svařák", Grog, "Horký čaj s rumem", "Vaječný likér s rumem" or without rum for kids - "Vaječný likér bez rumu". And of course, PIVO.


Morton Street and Seventh Avenue South