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Anderson Cooper Reacts to Dyngus Day

Here, TV’s Anderson Cooper learns about the “traditions” of Dyngus Day, which Buffalo is very proud to host every year. Cooper’s reaction is quite appropriate, all things considered. It’s an odd celebration, because for all intents and purposes Buffalo’s East Side Polonia has been reduced to almost nothing in the past few decades. Once a year – around Eastertime – Buffalo’s Polish diaspora converges on its old neighborhood to celebrate a community that’s left, and a heritage that has been diluted. It’s always that way with immigrant communities – time brings assimilation and old traditions become excuses to binge drink in abandoned buildings.

Consider why Buffalo hosts its Italian festival on Hertel Avenue, and not on Grant Street, where the Italian immigrants largely lived during the first half of the last century. 

The Dyngus Day festivities and their ancillary events take place in what is now a very poor neighborhood with little hope and less opportunity.  There are myriad non-profits, volunteers, and caring people who work tirelessly and with little or no remuneration to try to make life better for those neighborhoods and their residents.  I don’t know how you turn blight around when there are no jobs to be had, but it seems to me that the annual drink-fest taking place in a neighborhood that Buffalo’s Polish community has abandoned seems disturbingly superficial and crass, given the human suffering that happens there during the remaining 364 days of the year. 

So, instead of drinking mass quantaties of Tyskie, join or contribute to Buffalo ReUse, follow community news at Broadway Fillmore Alive, or volunteer to help preserve the Central Terminal.   


  • Max Planck

    Also superficial and patronizing is the annual repetitive and droning media coverage about suburbanites returning to the ‘old neighborhood’ to buy butter lambs and peeps at The Broadway Market. Thomas Wolfe was right: “You can’t go home again.”

    • Alan Bedenko

      The guilt of geographic abandonment, drowned in Tyskie.

  • Eva S

    It wasn’t clear why Anderson Cooper couldn’t stop laughing… Was it because he said the word “pussy” and he’s gay ? This segment was pre-recorded and it just didn’t seem genuine.

  • Sorry, I think everyone looks bad here. Cooper seems mean spirited, and giggles in a really weird and creepy way. But Buffalo fares no better – seems like a classic “Emperor has no clothes on” moment for many of our self-promotion efforts, festivals, and positive self talk. Cuz, well, he’s right.

  • Adam Conrad

    I think having a nationwide celebration for dudes banging other dudes is quite stupid too.

  • Buffalo, NY. Unable to take a joke since, well, the entire time I’ve been alive. 

  • Dan_Blather

    The Dyngus Day celebrations at Central Terminal and the old churches are just a few among many throughout the region. 

    Cite: http://www.dyngusdaybuffalo.com/dyngusday2012schedule.html

  • joeschmidbauer

    Alan
     Your right, a stupid party on the corpse of the past.

  • Sean Crowley

    AC came off like a snotty little Vanderbilt, a lot like Romney has been embarrassing himself  these past 500 months. If you care what  some celebutard says about Buffalo it’s a shame. I don’t and I really haven’t called to make therapy appointments for this or the kid from the hockey tournament or that idiot who made Rte 66. If it really matters move. If it doesn’t, next subject please. Let’s talk about Byron Brown getting down to the polka band at Broadway Market Saturday morning. Now there’s an inside B-Lo joke everyone can appreciate.  And frankly I laughed my ass off alongside two Buffalo cops who also got the joke.  #City of Few Illusions.

  • Bob

    Gimme a break. Cooper’s giggling aside, what’s with the author’s self-righteous fun-policing? Yeah it’s silly and goofy, but so are almost all non depressing holidays. Does he not realize that these events at the Terminal help provide funds for its restoration? Or that many of the people enjoying themselves probably do more to help their community than he does?  Does he plan to save Buffalo’s east side with sanctimonious party pooping and linking to a few civic organizations?

    Yeah, and two of those links he posted mention Dyngus Day in a positive light. Go figure.

    • Yes, I’m sure the very poor, non-Polish residents of a devastated community love the influx of drunken white people celebrating, among other things, the ashes of a neighborhood they & their ancestors abandoned a couple of generations ago. 

      If Polonia was so great, why’d they move? 

      • Dan_Blather

         They didn’t move so much as they died off through the 1980s and 1990s.

        Most of the housing in Polonia is comprised of telescoping worker’s cottages.  Huge space heater/furnace in the living room, curtains for doors, bedrooms and bathrooms immediately off the living room and kitchen, lack of closets, crawl spaces – they had every shortcoming that made them functionally obsolete for housing by today’s standards.  Whatever charm they once had was wiped out by aluminum and vinyl siding, picture window units, and decorative metal railings.  Off-street parking was nonexistent. 

        If the descendants of a babcha cold easily afford to live in much nicer, albeit still modest housing in Cheektowaga or Depew, what was there to keep them in Polonia aside from a sense of duty to stay in the old neighborhood?  They weren’t urbanists that relished streetlife, authenticity and grit; they were mostly blue-collar workers that wanted a place to raise a family without having to make their through the living room in a towel after taking a shower, and have a place to park their car.

        Poor blacks didn’t push Poles out of Polonia.  They just took the homes the Poles didn’t want anymore, because however awkward and antiquated they were, they were probably better than what they had before.  Urban Studies 101:  housing filtration.

        There’s still some Poles hanging on in Polonia.  They include the hardcore who want to be there our of a sense of obligation or nostalgia, and the extremely elderly who, like their children and grandchildren, would probably rather be elsewhere.

  • Yep, I’ll file this one under pompous ass opinions.

  • AM65

    Alan Bedenko needs to lighten up…
    What is wrong with people celebrating and having fun on the east side. The streets were packed with people, the venues were packed and everyone had a great time…with no problems, no arrests.
    Do you think the Central Terminal doesn’t benefit greatly from this event?…along with many other taverns and organizations ?
    What a totally ignorant post…it is much more than a so called “drink-fest.”
    There were lots of family friendly activities, not to mention , plenty of venues in Cheektowaga, Williamsville and Black Rock.
    So sick of people constantly dumping on a positive for the city.
    As for the Anderson Cooper incident…it all turned into nothing but positive press for Buffalo with the follow up on tonight’s show.

  • Not that it matters but the Italians lived mostly in the Canal District in the first half of the 1900’s, moving up around St. Anthony’s Church before Mayor Sedita tore down the neighborhood (where Shoreline Apartments & the 190 exit are now); the rejuvenated St. Anthony’s Festival was on Connecticut Street (not Grant) before moving to Hertel and being renamed.

    • Yes, but Grant Street was the commercial thoroughfare for that neighborhood, and that’s why I used it as the example. I wasn’t talking about the parade or festival being on Grant. 

    • Dan_Blather

       The Italian Heritage Festival is actually the renamed Hertel Happening, the longtime of the annual summertime neighborhood festival in North Buffalo.  When the Italian Village Festival left the West Side, it took over Hertel Happening.

  • NancyMccarthy

    Dyngus Day, the most random excuse for drinking? My oh my,
    how high and mighty are thee? (This coming from the same paper who hosts a
    Mardi Gras event). Random excuse for drinking? Sure is.

     

    Dyngus Day the most random excuse for drinking? My oh my how
    high and mighty are thee? (This, coming from the same paper whom hosted AV’s
    Street Festival). Random excuse for drinking? Yeah, pretty much.

     

    Dyngus Day the most random excuse for drinking? My oh my how
    high and mighty are thee? (This, coming from the same paper that several weeks’
    back had an issue dedicated to the fine and cultured art of DRINKING)! Several
    examples of random reasons your writers had to drink are;

    1). Drinking Games, “Places where drinking is just part
    of the fun”

    (Quarters, beer pong, flip cup—boring. Winter is coming to
    an end and it’s time to get out of the house, but how can you leave the comfort
    of your couch, have some fun, and still get sloshed? There are plenty of options
    for those who want to be active and drunk.” ). Cory Perla

    2). Belonging to a Rock Band“It doesn’t seem like it was
    very long ago that my old band Semi-Tough played a show at the long-defunct
    Backstage Pub supporting indie darlings the Walkmen for a guarantee of nothing
    more than a case of

    Heineken beer. That is just one story among so many in a
    city where rock bands seemingly exist solely to booze themselves into
    oblivion”. Donny Kutzbach

     

    I get it, supporting random reasons for drinking is only
    acceptable when it is your paper that is the beneficiary.

     

    What I don’t get is this: Why slam the efforts of a group of
    people who are trying to shed light on an area that was once thriving and has
    promise and potential to reinvent itself? They are not trying to resurrect what
    once was, but rather bring attention to what could be. It is in your opinion;
    there is nothing factual about your piece. You are greatly mistaken in your
    assumption that these event organizers set up shop for one day and leave a path
    of empty beer bottles and broken promises in their wake only to show up again
    next year to do the same. Moreover, are you suggesting that festivals should
    only happen in areas of wealth, comfort and luxury? Or, that low-income
    neighborhoods don’t deserve to have the pomp and circumstance, the colorful
    visuals, and the distinctive sounds of a parade procession ceremoniously
    marching down its pothole lined streets?

     

    The parade is merely one aspect of the efforts that go on
    day-in-and-day out in the Historic Polonia district. The organizers also bring
    busloads of people through out the entire year, supporting small business
    owners who wouldn’t survive otherwise. They have teamed up with Architectural
    Departments of major universities allowing usage of said “abandoned buildings” (they’ve acquired) as a part of
    their curriculum to encourage education and urban renewal. A walking tour
    conducted by a co-founder of Dyngus Day resulted in using this neighborhood as
    the template for an urban renewal curriculum for graduate students at MIT. They
    have purchased properties in the Broadway Fillmore neighborhood in the hopes of future development of new businesses and in
    an attempt to prevent further decay. These organizers continuously court
    developers, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, politicians, artists, and religious
    on the beauty and benefits of living working and conducting business in this
    area and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps,had you interviewed someone from Dyngus Day Buffalo you
    would have discovered this.

     

    No wonder it’s so difficult to accomplish anything in this
    city with ego’s, such as yours, who hid behind their computer screens
    carelessly writing one-sided opinion pieces with no regard for fact or truth,
    refusing to tell the whole story because it goes against your own agenda and
    allegiances. I find it sad and frustrating you find it necessary to be so negative toward a group of people who work year round, to
    create positive awareness in an under-developed area.

     

    Dyngus Day, a random excuse to drink? That didn’t seem to be
    the opinion echoed at AV when organizers at Dyngus Day Buffalo placed two
    consecutive back page ads in your periodical.

     

    So tired of the hypocrisy and double standards. Now I need a
    drink! No random excuse either.