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McGolrick Park Will Once Again Have Polish Signage After Backlash Over Exclusion

New signs at McGolrick Park in English, Spanish and Yiddish. The city’s decision to omit Polish from the signs sparked backlash. (Photo: Laura Hanrahan)

Jan. 4, 2018 By Laura Hanrahan

A set of recently installed signs at McGolrick Park that did away with Polish, one of the most spoken languages in Greenpoint, will soon have the language reinstated in upgraded signs after much backlash over the omission from the community.

The eight new signs recently posted through the park, bordered by Nassau and Driggs Avenues and Russell and Monitor Streets, lists the park rules in English, Spanish and Yiddish—a change from the previous English, Spanish and Polish signs. Only one of the former signs, however, remained in the park.

The decision for what languages to include on in a given park’s signage, according to the city, is made based on the three most commonly spoken languages throughout the Community Board where the park is located.

One of the old signs in English, Spanish and Polish left up at McGolrick Park. (Photo: Laura Hanrahan)

In Community Board 1, which encompasses both Greenpoint and Williamsburg, English, Spanish and Yiddish are the three most common languages among residents, according to NYC Parks.

But with Greenpoint historically having a large Polish population, the omission of the language on the new signs caused outcry from residents and politicians alike earlier this week.

Assemblymember Joseph Lentol expressed his disappointment with the Parks Department’s decision yesterday, and took steps to have the signage fixed.

“The Parks Department must change the signs to add Polish,” Lentol said. “This park is in a predominantly Polish community and the signs should be readable for the community.”

He added that he was in conversations with the Brooklyn Parks Commissioner, and that NYC Parks was already working on addressing the issue.

Earlier today, Lentol announced that Polish would once again be included in the Greenpoint park’s signage.

“Following a conversation with Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Martin Maher regarding the removal of signage in Polish from McGolrick Park, I have been informed that these signs will be re-installed,” Lentol tweeted.

The Parks Department told the Greenpoint Post that it will be adding Polish to exterior park signage, and replacing Yiddish with Polish in the park’s interior signage.

The move, according to NYC Parks, came after the agency took a narrower look at the data, focusing on zip code, for example, which showed a significant population of residents of Polish origin in the area.

NYC Parks hopes to have the new signs installed in the next few weeks.

“Our interest is always to make sure that parks are broadly accessible, and we recognize that signage is a big part of that,” a Parks Department spokesperson said.

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