Buffalo in the 90s: Searching for the fragments of Buffalo’s polka culture

By Steve Cichon

For decades, Buffalo’s East Side was the cradle of the city’s Polonia culture. As people and institutions of Polish descent left the East Side, Buffalo’s unique blend of Polish and American traditions became spread out and not as easy to identify.

Twenty-five years ago, The News was asking whether Buffalo’s polka music culture was dead.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.