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Where They Once Lived

“Where They Once Lived”

In the late 1800s and early 1900s my great-great-grandparents immigrated to the United States from Poland and settled in Buffalo, New York’s Polonia neighborhood. At the time, the neighborhood was a rich and bustling immigrant community. Today, the neighborhood looks different – more than half of the lots are empty and of the houses that still stand, many are boarded up and abandoned. It looks like a ghost town.

I grew up miles away, in the suburbs, detached and disconnected from this old neighborhood. We were removed from our Polish history and heritage. For example, my grandmother refused to teach my mother how to speak or understand Polish, fearing she would have an accent. We never visited the old neighborhood and never took part in Polish traditions.

It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I stepped foot in Polonia for the first time and looked for connections to my ancestors between the abandoned lots and decaying houses. “Where They Once Lived” features a photographic compilation of houses (and two abandoned lots) where my family once resided in the old Polish neighborhood in Buffalo.


See "Where They Once Lived" on display at the Brookline Arts Center's National Juried Exhibit, "Up/Rooted" March 17th-April 21st, 2017.