Cheektowaga is a town (also a census-designated place, see below) in Erie County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 88,226. The name comes from the Iroquoian word Ji-ik-do-wa-gah, meaning the place of the crab apple tree.
The Town of Cheektowaga is in the north-central part of the county. It is the second largest suburb of Buffalo, New York next to Amherst. The town contains a census-designated place also named Cheektowaga. Cheektowaga CDP and Cheektowaga Town contain the site of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, the principal airport of Erie County.
"Land of the Crabapples" ( JI-IK-DO-WAH-GAH ), named by the Seneca Native Americans referring to the apple-like fruit of the Hawthorn trees abundantly growing in the area. Cheektowaga was formed from Amherst on March 20, 1829, and on the formation of West Seneca on October 16, 1851, was reduced to its present limits—about . Throughout the 19th century, it went by its original name: "Chictawauga".
Originally a rural farming area, the town was extensively developed during the post-World War II subdivision boom of the 1950s. Factories, such as the Westinghouse Electric Corporation plant on Genesee Street (since demolished) generated employment to the area for many decades. The town continues to maintain a strong blue collar presence. Cheektowaga has a large Polish-American community, much of which relocated from Buffalo's East Side, and about 39.9% of population is of Polish heritage.
In the town, there is a complex called the Garden Village Plaza. At one time this was a thriving complex full of retailers but by 2006 this had dwindled down to a few outlets including the Village Flea Market, a Dollar General and T-Birds nightclub. At this time, the plaza was acquired by Benderson Development Co for about $2 million from New York City investor Howard Drucker, who had originally asked for $5 million. This deal gained media attention   and Benderson vowed to give the location a revamp. However, since that time even more of the businesses have closed and most of the buildings are now derelict. Further talks to develop the site took place in 2010 and 2011.  
Other small plazas and malls like Como Mall and Thruway Mall were closed and turned into smaller business plazas with the growing popularity of large shopping malls. The Walden Galleria opened in 1989 in Cheektowaga, the largest mall in the Buffalo Niagara region.
On July 30, 1987, an F1 tornado touched down in the Union Road and George Urban Boulevard area. It grew to an F2 before dissipating. Homes and business suffered serious damage, but there were no fatalities or severe injuries. This tornado is locally memorable as the one which ripped the roof off the Holiday Showcase Restaurant.
Another F1 tornado touched down not far from the site of the 1987 tornado on June 30, 2006. Again, homes and businesses - including the Holiday Showcase, which was remodeled soon after - were damaged, and a tractor trailer was knocked over on the NY State Thruway, but no one was killed.