Friday, April 18, 2014

Broadway market

Yesterday we decided to take a day off and make the  1 1/2 hour drive into downtown Buffalo to do some traditional Easter shopping at the historic Broadway Market.  It started 123 years ago as the only market place for the eastern European residents of the east side of a bustling city and continues today populated by mostly family owned and family operated butchers, bakeries, fresh vegetable vendors.     The surrounding neighborhoods have undergone some serious decline in the recent years, not a place that you would wander into except to go to and from the Broadway Market.  I find it very sad to drive around and see the large empty blocks where neat family homes once were, to see the burned out houses, garbage lined fences and boarded up storefronts huddled around huge brick catholic churches and their attendant schools that once were the lifeblood of the neighborhood.   This area was heavily Polish/Catholic but most people have moved on out of the blighted streets leaving these cathedrals boarded up and hopelessly for sale.

sign on one of the only open churches in the area.
can you read what it says?
Dave's grandparents used to operate a large vegetable farm in the countryside northeast of the city and, on Saturdays, would load their truck with the produce from the farm and take it into Broadway Market to sell  to the city dwellers.   He spent many Saturday's there so our Easter trips in are a bittersweet trip down memory lane for him.

We filled up on many traditional Polish holiday treats, our poor jeep was groaning with the load!
Fresh horseradish, almond rings, Placek (sour cream coffee cake loaf with "crumbly bumblies" on top), sweet smelling hyacinths, fresh and smoked Polish sausage, Pierogi's, chocolate covered sponge candy and assorted Easter chocolates, rye breads, butter lamb, mmmmmmm.

Dave buys already ground horseradish

incendiary  horseradish roots

don't ask me to wear one of those!!!!!

only in Buffalo -
a strolling accordionist


Czarnina is a duck blood soup, popular with some people, but I can't imagine actually eating it....shudder, ewwwww.

our house smells divine now that we have
2 large pots of these beautiful hyacinths

waiting for an unsuspecting child to wander in.....

Pysanky - traditional Ukranian Easter eggs.
the design is drawn in wax then the egg is dipped in color.
this process is repeated over and over until it becomes a
thing of beauty

some designs are carved instead
We even ran into Dave's nephew Mike and his family buying Easter provisions.  They make the pilgrimage into Buffalo each year for the same things we do.   We haven't seen them in a number of years and it was nice getting caught up if only for a few minutes.

I think these Butter Lambs are particularly ugly, but
they were the only ones I could get a picture of,
there were lots of people standing in line in front of the beautiful ones!

hollow sugar eggs with spring scenes
seen inside

Buffalo really embraces Dyngus Day.    It is celebrated with gusto on Easter Monday and most businesses close for the day!  There is a huge parade and Polish bands and everyone gets into the "spirit" of the day.    It is a folk celebration during which boys gently "whip" the girls legs with pussy willow switches (sold at the Market) and pour water over their heads in order to get their attention......the next day, Tuesday, the girls get their revenge by reciprocating in kind and also throwing dishes and pottery at the boys......  Any excuse for a celebration I guess but I can think of better ways to attract attention to oneself.

After loading our goodies in the jeep and driving around the area for old times sake, we headed to our good friend Judi's house for one last nostalgic moment - dinner of Bocce Club Pizza.   Burp.
It was a really really full day.


  1. That is a very unusual market for me...totally different from markets I have visited. The eggs are beautiful...I especially liked the hollow sugar eggs with spring scenes. It is sad how neighborhoods and even towns decline.

    Happy Easter Sue and Dave!

  2. I loved hearing about the history of this market for the two of you and Dave's memories of his family selling vegetables here. Vic would be in heaven with the homemade polish sausage and also the strolling accordion music. Butter lambs are something in my memory from the Chicago area but I never could find any on the West Coast. I did, however, find a lamb cake mold to make my favorite Easter pound cake.

    Happy Easter to you both. Looks like you will be celebrating with some favorite dishes.

  3. What an interesting market! Thanks for taking me somewhere I probably never will see. Those handmade Polish sausages made me hungry!

  4. What a great market! I haven't seen sugar eggs with a scene inside in many, many years. How cool! A great walk down memory lane for you two. It sure takes one back in time. Hyacinths are my favorite. It is amazing how much fragrance just one plant gives. Have a nice Easter:)

  5. What an interesting market, especially those Butter Lambs! This is the first time I heard butter to be a symbol of Easter. Very interesting.

  6. I love Farmer's markets. It's a great way to see what unique in that area of the country.