Photos of Polonia’s Wreckage: The Chopin Singing Society Building, 18-24 Kosciuszko Street

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.

Sad.

 

6 Comments

  1. bigsocobob@yahoo.com

    When Business’ and institutions pick up and go elsewhere, who is REALY to blame? The people no longer able to make it profitable? The patronage that wanders away for the “Bigger Better Deal”?
    I encounter customers all the time that proclaim “I LOOKED EVEYWHERE (else) for this” They only come back to the old spots AFTER doing all they can to avoid making that trip.

    Reply
  2. Max

    A shame and a crime that a cultural icon of old Polonia deteriorated to such a state that redemption is out of the question. Like others before it, this building fell prey to the forces of decay and cannibalization which have changed the East Side and not for the better. Sadly, Buffalo did not enjoy a wave of immigrants who built that neighborhood over 100 years ago who might have rejuvenated the neighborhood. That didn’t occur as the jobs which brought that immigration here are instead fleeing.

    Reply
  3. Lisa

    I remember with great fondness many Dyngus Day celebrations with family and friends in that building. It is so sad to see the degree of decay and neglect. Unfortunately now it looks like all that can be done is to bring in a wrecking ball.

    Reply
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  5. chris witkowski

    I remember the day’ s that I went to Chopin’s Dyngus Day . What has happened? These picture’s break our heart’s. It is a shame. What can be done to bring this all back?All the memories this building has inside all the great dance’s all the great polka band’s all the Dyngus Day’s all this gone.

    Reply
  6. Mary Ann

    I was at the first Dyngus Day at Chopin’s. I also attended the “Hands Across Broadway” Celebration. I was a member of the Chopin Singing Society in the early 1960s. I feel much heartfelt sadness at what has happened to the East Side. We had so much pride in our community and we took care of it. We never dreamed that when we moved away others would destroy it. No one helped us to maintain it, we did it out of self respect and pride in our heritage and humanity.

    Reply

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