Making it in Greenpoint: American Dream of retired Polish immigrants.  

Greenpoint, in Brooklyn, New York is changing in front of our eyes. Its Polish character is not as distinct as it was even in the 1990s or 2000s. Different reasons stand behind these changes: processes taking place in Poland (e.g. collapse of Communism, opening European Union’s labor markets for Polish citizens), in the U.S. (changing immigration policy regulations regarding Polish citizens) and specifically in New York (Brooklyn gentrification). Among various populations of Polish immigrants still living in Greenpoint are retired individuals. They hold the longest memory of socio-economical transformations taking place in this Brooklyn neighborhood. This presentation aims at reconstructing history of Polish Greenpoint through their biographies. It answers how did they adapt to living in Greenpoint? How did they reconstruct their familial, social and economic everyday lives in Greenpoint? What were their American Dreams and whether/how they fulfilled? This presentation is based on preliminary research results drawn from biographical interviews with Polish immigrants. The sample includes xxx retired participants who immigrated to the United States between the 1980s and early 1990s and have lived in Greenpoint for extended period of time or still reside there. The interviews have been collected between June 2015 and July 2016; video recorded and transcribed verbatim by four trained researchers. Transcripts were coded and computer assisted analyzed based on grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2014). The interviews are part of the American Dream in Greenpoint - Oral History Project (Amerykański Sen na Greenpoincie - Historia Mówiona). They were conducted under auspices of Culture Shock Foundation and co-financed from the funds granted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland. Preliminary results of the study identifies four adaptive strategies used by the retired immigrants throughout their lives …