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Polonia Closes After 28 Years; Owner Cites ‘End of the Era of Small Businesses’

Polonia RestaurantAnthony Ptak

After 28 years in the East Village, the owners of Polonia have closed shop after their landlord said she would more than triple their rent.

“I came here from Poland, my husband and I raised our children, and ran this business. We worked hard. I did everything I could,” Renata Jurczyk, who owns Polonia with her husband Jozef, said in Polish. “The landlords are killing small businesses in this neighborhood with the rent.”

The family had a small, informal gathering at Polonia last night with longtime customers. “After all these years, Polonia was important to the East Village,” said Ms. Jurczyk, 51. “When I told customers who have been coming here a long time that we’re closing, they started crying. They were Poles and non-Poles, and it was their second home.”

Ms. Jurczyk and her son Paul, 23, said they closed on Christmas Eve after the landlord, Ludmilla Lozowy, said she would raise their rent from $3,500 to $12,000 per month starting February 2012. “I tried to do something, but the landlord said we pay too little,” said Ms. Jurczyk. Read more…