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Polish Culture An Important Influence On Utica’s History

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Having spent several of my “wonder years ” growing up in West Utica I was well aware of its Polish influences. I played Little League baseball in the PLAV (Polish Legion of American Veterans), lived two doors down from the Pulaski Meat Market , grocery shopped at Tolpa’s Dairy and had a paper route rife with customers of Polish extraction. Polish food and culture were apparent everywhere. With Culture Fest-A Festival of Nations-right around the corner let’s take a look at the area’s Polish influences.

Still today Polish culture is a significant part of Utica and the surrounding area’s ethnic fabric. Here are some examples.

–Utica’s North-South Arterial is officially “The Casimir Pulaski Highway“.

Hapanowitz Brothers Meat Market in New York Mills and the aforementioned Pulaski Meat Market in West Utica still feature such Polish favorites as kielbasa, pierogi and golobki

–Polka bands, such as Tony’s Polka Band are a regular feature at summer concert venues in village parks

“Polanaisewith Julian Noga, America’s longest running Polish language and music program is heard every Sunday morning on WIBX.

–The Polish Community Club in Utica is still active with numerous events and observations.

There is more to be learned about Polish culture and heritage through a wonderful book by Utica author Malio Cardarelli entitled “West Utica”.

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