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Not Your Parents Essay

1337 words - 5 pages

It's way past midnight and the weekend crowds of well-dressed patrons are three deep at bars serving $3 Okocim beers. Work-weary young men hunker down on bar stools, content to simply watch groups of leather-clad young women gyrate to blasting music by Darude. There's an upbeat din of foreign chatter. Welcome to clubbing in New Britain - Polish style. At one end of the city, smack in the middle of the oldest Polish neighborhood, is Strokrotka, featuring intimate tables and tea light illumination around an expansive, tiered dance floor. Across town, the club Zodiak boasts syncopating beams of colored light that catch the mirrored reflections of dozens of decked-out dancers on an equally crowded floor. "We come here at least a couple of times a month," said a slightly flushed Marta Drozdic as she finished a dance at Zodiak, a former steakhouse on West Main Street. "We like to dance and it's our kind here," said the 22-year-old immigrant as she readjusted her black leather miniskirt and beaded jacket. "It's a club about us." The clubs provide modern American music, wardrobe and attitude with the solace of familiar language and camaraderie of the old country. Most patrons, who travel from as far away as Rhode Island and New York, are 20-something college students who came to the United States as youngsters, or anxious, success-driven immigrants trying to bridge cultures. Polish is still their first language, although they are quick to note that they would never go back to Poland to live. During the days, their focus is on assimilating into the American culture, but on weekend nights, those who find their way to the clubs are visibly proud, almost smug, about the fact that as young Poles, they have their "own" place. "I don't know what it is, it can't be explained," said Agnes Targonski, who owns the 2-year-old Zodiak. "The Polish like to be with each other and seem to find each other no matter what," said Targonski, whose newest club is actually a bigger and better version of one she ran on Allen Street for five years. "We've tried advertising on radio and in English newspapers as well as the Polish papers, but it still seems to be a place that attracts just the Polish. "I guess it may be that the Polish community is so tightknit that they know they can come here and see others they know. Or maybe it is that they know they can come here and speak their own language. I don't know what it is. ... I just know it is working." Disc jockeys at both clubs speak Polish, which is one reason some say Polish patrons come to the clubs and others stay away. Although most of the music at Zodiak is "soft," top 40-type American stuff by artists such as Ricky Martin, Cher, Boyz II Men and Madonna, both clubs offer a smattering of music by famous Polish pop artists, including Urszula, Zero and Kayah. Both places have dress codes, and while most men show up in simple slacks and sweaters, the women are dressed up. Many people, even longtime city residents, don't know...

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