Why I Love Parkside 

By Steve Cichon

Published on

 It’s tough to be a Buffalonian and not love something about Parkside.  

On sunny and beautiful spring and summer days, it feels like every child in Western New York shows up in Parkside at once– excitedly urging mom and dad to walk faster as they move quickly and wide-eyed towards the entrance to the Buffalo Zoo.   

If Parkside means anything to you, it’s the neighborhood where you park to go see the polar bears and giraffes. But Parkside is also a neighborhood of world-class masterpieces.  

The Ring Road in Delaware Park

The zoo is a part of Frederick Law Olmsted’s masterpiece Delaware Park. When Olmsted designed the park, it was a calm and peaceful get-away on the outer edge of the city.  

Now 150 years later, people come from all over to find the same serenity, but now smack in the middle of the city—even if our ideas about serenity have evolved. From yoga while listening to the leaves rustle to some of the city’s hardest-fought basketball games, Delaware Park is alive with every manner of organized and impromptu recreation—both human and canine– imaginable. 

Another masterpiece, only blocks away from the park, is a different flavor of awe inspiring. From all over the world lovers and students of architecture are drawn to the heart of Parkside to experience the Darwin Martin House and the complex that Frank Lloyd Wright considered a complete rendering of his Prairie style.   

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House

With architecture on the brain, walking in any direction from the Martin House you’ll find one of America’s finest varieties of homes designed in the well-regarded styles that were evolving as the neighborhood was built out in the decades around 1900.  

Bungalow, Four Square, Queen Anne, Arts & Crafts, and more are all represented in an Olmsted-designed streetscape museum—which also happens to be a living, breathing, vital city neighborhood.  

Most of the people who live in and maintain these homes understand that museum-like quality of the place—but experiencing Parkside as a resident leaves most us filled with a special sense of neighborliness that makes it unquestionably home for those of us lucky enough to live here.  

The speed of life in Parkside isn’t fast—but it’s not exactly slow, either. From the colleges at the edges of our neighborhood, both professors and students live side-by-side in Parkside’s “just right” environment. An orderly from nearby Sister’s Hospital can live in the flat next door to a doctor with privileges there.  

Clockwise: Fairy Cakes, Alice Ever After Books, JAM Parkside

And as Parkside’s business district grows stronger with each homegrown business that operates there, Parksiders drink together at the Parkside Meadow, our neighborhood bar, wake up for a coffee at JAM the next morning, and stop in for cupcakes at Fairy Cakes.  

We’re the sort of place the supports a neighborhood seamery (Buffalo Seamery) and book shop (Alice, Ever After Books) —but also supports a weekly “Wines on Wednesday” party—where one of our neighbors opens their porch or yard to any other neighbor who wants to show up with a smile and a bottle of wine to share.  

Our spiritual communities are strong and vibrant, too. Both the church and school of St. Mark Roman Catholic Parish and Good Shepherd Episcopal Church take what our community puts into them and radiates back more love and positivity and goodness than we put in.  

The Mighty Oak of Delaware Park

However you define it, no matter who you are, when you spend even just a little time in Parkside, you’re bound to walk away with a sense that some little piece of one of Buffalo’s great neighborhoods feels like home. That’s because it is your home, and we’re happy to have you.  

Looking forward to seeing you around the neighborhood.  

Steve Cichon headshot

Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian, the author of seven books, an English teacher at Bishop Timon - St. Jude High School, and a regular contributor to The Buffalo News.