Photos of Polonia’s Wreckage: The Chopin Singing Society Building, 18-24 Kosciuszko Street
(click on images for full view)
A few months back, I wrote about the former Chopin Singing Society building on Kosciuszko Street. At that time, the building looked in sorry shape. While cruising around the neighborhood yesterday, I decided to stop at the building again. The front door was wide open and I ventured inside.
The building was in a lot worse shape on the inside than the outside…water damage everywhere, fallen ceilings, buckled beams, trash, a foot or more water in the basement and the sad background sound of water dripping.
To be honest, I did not expect to see what I saw. I thought there would be some damage, but not the kind of damage before me yesterday. I intended to go through the whole building, but it didn’t feel safe to do so. The experience and seeing what I was seeing literally made my stomach flip over. Why? Because I know this building doesn’t stand a chance now. It will soon be added to the long list of Polish heritage sites in East Buffalo’s Historic Polonia that have disappeared forever.
And the question that keeps coming back to me since yesterday is how did we let the neighborhood get this way? It is easy to blame the city or politicians, but isn’t there any accountability on us? We also let this happen.
This is such an iconic neighborhood building. It is where modern Dyngus Day in Buffalo got its start. Why was nothing in place to ensure it never reached the stage you see in the photos above? Why is nothing in place for other neighborhood treasures? Does saving buildings like this even matter to anyone?
Without a change, Polonia’s wreckage will only grow.