American hero: Good Samaritan steps in to save beloved Greenpoint deli

Staying local: Park Deli owner Krystyna Godawa is looking for a new neighborhood home for her Greenpoint delicatessen with help from a loyal patron who co-owns a production company with facilities in the area.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

She wants to solve this deli-emma!

The owner of a beloved Polish deli in Greenpoint may be forced to close the eatery this summer because her landlord upped the rent. But a fan of Park Deli’s fresh soups, pierogies, blintzes, and other fare is stepping in to save the old-fashioned delicatessen by helping to find it a new space in the neighborhood it has called home for nearly 90 years, she said.

“I believe mom-and-pop business are so important to our community,” said good Samaritan Gina Argento. “They are what makes it unique.”

Argento, who owns of film- and television-production company Broadway Stages, which has facilities in Greenpoint, described her affinity for the store at 209 Nassau Ave. — and its 68-year-old proprietor Krystyna Godawa, who 11 years ago started running the deli that has changed ownership several times since it opened in the 1930s — as love at first bite.

“Her food is delicious,” she said. “You can’t argue with that.”

And when Godawa’s landlord, who declined a request for comment, allegedly increased the shop’s rent from $2,250 to $5,000 last April, Argento said she offered to help pay the difference to keep its doors open, but claimed the landlord rejected the cost-sharing scheme so she could boot the businesswoman out.

Still, Godawa managed to keep the delicatessen in its long-time home by paying a month-to-month lease since the rent hike, but that arrangement could end any day now, according to Argento, who said she started scouting the area for a new space where Godawa can set up her kitchen, so she can keep dishing up the mouth-watering Eastern European grub her loyal customers can’t live without.

“We offered to split the difference so Krystyna could pay what she was able to, but the landlord rejected that,” Argento said. “We’re working to find a new spot in Greenpoint, because we want her to remain a staple in the community.”

And Argento’s support means the world, Godawa said, because she puts her soul into cooking for patrons, whom she sees as her own extended family.

“It means the world that the clients are the ones who are fighting for us to stay alive.” Godawa said through a translator. “This store has been here for so long that the first shoppers now come with their grandchildren.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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