Peter Polonski was born on October 21, 1921 at 112 North 7th Street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. “Peter the Park,” as he is sometimes called, is the son of Metro and Eva Polonski, now deceased, who were Eastern European immigrants. He has two sisters Mary and Julie, and three brothers, John, Mike, and Nick. His brother Nick is a prominent political and community activist, in what is referred to as the Northside People's Firehouse. Pete was baptized at Transfiguration Russian Orthodox Church on N. 12th Street. He attended P.S. 17 on n 5th Street, in Brooklyn, continued his formal education at Textile High School on 18th Street in Manhattan, and attended Queens College. He married his devoted wife Mary in 1947 at Holy Ghost Roman Catholic Church. They have two children, Gary and Rita, and four grand children. Rita lives in Middle Village, while Gary resides in New Jersey.
Pete served with the US Army, Battalion #389, from 1941-1945 and attained the rank of sergeant. In fact, all four Polonski brothers were engaged in military service at the same time. During his years of service, he belonged to the swimming team and the basketball team and enjoyed the challenges of team sports. Upon his return from the Army, he went to work, as a driver, for the National Container Company in Long Island City and worked continuously for that company until his retirement in 1987.
Shortly after moving to Middle Village, some forty years ago, Pete became actively involved with the Juniper Park Civic Association and fondly remembers the names of some of the community leaders who helped maintain the viability of the Association for over fifty years. He proudly displays numerous awards and certificates of appreciation received as a member of the New York City Partnership for Parks and Recreation, and his most recent Community Service Award from JPCA. He has held the title of “Park Warden” for the last three years. He belongs to VFW, #551, and is also an active parishioner at Resurrection-Ascension Roman Catholic Church.
Pete enjoys cultivating the flowers and plants at Juniper Park, and he attends lectures at Queens Botanical Gardens to keep up-to-date on the latest.
He also plays tennis in the park every Monday. When asked why he is so dedicated to his volunteer work in maintaining the beauty of the environment, Pete responds simply, “When my kids were small, we got a lot of benefits from the park, and I in return want to help keep the park in good shape for others, as well as for myself.” He continues,
“This country has been good to me, and I want to give something back.”