Back in October, Dasic Fernandez created a mural on St. Marks Place meant to represent the city’s cultural diversity. But what’s that above it? Turns out it’s a work-in-progress that will nod to Polish history and nod to the East Village’s cultural heritage.
The new mural, painted by Polish native and East Village resident Janusz Gilewicz on the side of the Parish of St. Stanislaus The Bishop and Martyr, is meant to honor the 966 baptism of Duke Mieszko and the 150th anniversary of Polish statehood, per an announcement from the Polish Cultural Institute New York. Among the Duke’s accomplishments was an alliance with Bohemia, so it makes sense he’d be honored in the ever-so-bohemian East Village. (Don’t believe the neighborhood is still bohemian? Take it up with this banner!)
In all seriousness, the mural isn’t just a nod to Poland’s long-ago entrance into the Western sphere — it’s also meant to pay tribute to Poles and Polish-Americans like Tadeusz Kantor, the poet, painter and director whose Theatre of Death works were popularized in the U.S. when they were presented at La MaMa during the ’80s; author and screenwriter Janusz Glowacki; and, of course, Ludwika “Lucy” Mickevicius, the beloved proprietress of Lucy’s.
As you can see from the above rendering, the years 966-2016 will join the ichthys (which symbolizes Christianity, natch) by the time the mural is unveiled on April 17 at 1 p.m. Agata Grenda, director of the Polish Cultural Institute New York, said she hopes the number will cause non-Polish people to google around and find out more. (We suggest tucking into Lucy’s, right around the corner, to do so.) “Meanwhile for Poles,” she said, “It will be yet another Polish feature in the East Village, of which there are unfortunately fewer and fewer.”