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Calling the Cheektowaga Police into the Walden Galleria to calm the crowds of 1,300 people clamoring for Build-A-Bear was reminiscent of another nationwide meltdown over a toy-- 35 years ago this Christmas.
With his familiar shout, “Who needs a beer?” Conehead — known as Tom Girot when deconed — has been wandering the stands of Buffalo sporting events with ice cold beer since he poured his first beer at a Sabres game at the Aud back in 1972.
A great scene of typical life in Buffalo from 70 years ago shows how entirely different life was in Buffalo such a short time ago. Streetcars, men wearing wide-brimmed hats, billboards in Polish, all in a Buffalo/Cheektowaga city line neighborhood where they’d all be unrecognizable today.
Among the things that make Buffalo… Buffalo is Bob Wells.
Bob Wells was the host of one of Buffalo’s most popular radio shows of the post-war era– the Hi Teen show ran on WEBR for 17 years, hosting as many of 2000 kids in the Dellwood Ballroom at Main and Utica every Saturday.
Nine out of ten Grandmas recommend Malecki's Polka Brand Wieners! There's no monkeying around when she chomps into a wiener. Only the full, tangy, meaty flavor that's made hot dogs an all-time favorite will satisfy.
For decades, Buffalo's Finest Hotel was the Hotel Statler on Niagara Square, which was the largest hotel in the country when it was built in 1923.
To make sure his hotel was a success, Ellsworth Statler bought Buffalo's previous most popular hotel-- the Iroquois-- and turned it into an office building. The Iroquois replaced the Hotel Richond and St James Hall, which was where President Lincoln's body laid in state while making its way back to Illinois from Washington DC after he was assassinated in 1865.
To stand in the spot where of all that Buffalo history, just head down to one of the M&T lunch time concerts. Those free concerts have been going on for 49 years now-- but had you been standing on the northernmost part of M&T Plaza-- closest to the old AM&As-- you'd have been in the Iroqouis' lobby.
It was torn down in 1940, and the small building that replaced it was the home of the BOND Men's store--- where you always got two pairs of trousers with your suits.
The reaction to the piece I wrote the other day about my personal struggles with depression and anxiety has been overwhelming.
One aspect I didn't entirely think through-- was that when people would share their stories with me, I'd really like to be able to offer some kind of next step to help them, some kind of way forward with some resources to get get on the road to better mental health.
So I turned to the experts.
"I think what's important to remember is that everyone's definition of crisis is different," says Jessica Pirro with Crisis Services. She says it's important to know that whatever kind of crisis you feel, at whatever intensity, at whatever moment, Crisis Services wants to help.
"Our hotline is available 24 hours a day for anyone that's in need," says Pirro. "You don't have to be in extreme crisis. You could just need some information and referrals to resources. Maybe you're interested in getting linked in with treatment or counseling. We can walk you through what that might look like."
Not just for when "it's really hitting the fan," Crisis Services also is for support to help prevent some future crisis.
They want to help getting you to the next step after the phone call, in whatever way makes you comfortable to get to that next step.
"People can call our hotline anonymously. A lot of people call us every day, just to talk about what's going on. Really our goal is to provide empathy. We're not here to judge anybody. We just want to provide some resources to help you through the situation you're faced with," says Pirro.
Anyone of any age who is experiencing a personal, emotional or mental health crisis can call 24 hours a day and find someone who just wants to help you make your way towards your next step to feeling better.
If you were to write a song about the early morning fire on Bailey Avenue back on September 25, 1979, you might call it "The Day the Roast Beef Died."
Flames and smoke poured out of the three-story structure at 1298 Bailey Ave., the longtime home of Bailo's House of Beef. The fire caused $150,000 in damage and ultimately lead the Buffalo landmark to close.
Read more about Bailo's, and the rumors which have plagued the place for 50 years or more:
Most of us hear about the lurid details of a suicide and can’t even fathom hanging ourselves by a belt from a door knob like Robin Williams did. Seems impossible that he would, either. He was always the life of the party, always smiling and trying making people laugh.
Most of us can’t rectify being so despondent that, like Kate Spade, you can coherently write a note to your 13 year old daughter and explain why you’re about to end your own life. Beyond that, it seems incongruous with the bright, sunny fashionable mark she made in the world.
And now Anthony Bourdain has taken his own life in a hotel room in arguably the most beautiful city in the world. This was a man who could seemingly find common ground and connect with anyone, in any place, and be comfortable any place in the world.
We talk about and make social media posts about the tragedy and the incongruity of it all, with the lamentation, “had they only gotten help.”
Not me. I painfully understand the struggle to overcome depression and anxiety.
It's impossible to remember Downtown Buffalo in its prime without remembering the sparkling incandescent lights and glowing neon which brought the night time to life.
In the 40s and 50s, Main Street near Chippewa was aglow with what was described as "Buffalo's great white way," and the greatest display of dazzling and flashing marquees and signs between New York and Chicago.
Marquees for the Town Casino, Shea's Buffalo, Paramount, and Cinema theatres; the big neon signs for Swiss Chalet, Laube's Old Spain, and the Hippodrome. Many of those signs made by Flexlume, which is still in business a bit further up Main Street.
There were Huge billboards for Chevrolet and Coca Cola with lights and motion, just like in Times Square, but comparisons to Time Square really started rolling in when the news started rolling in-- or scrolling in-- on the Western Savings Bank building.
It was 50 years ago today, only weeks after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy died of gunshot wounds suffered moments after a victory speech celebrating a win in the California Primary.
Hear the story, and read more about how as New York Senator, Bobby Kennedy spent plenty of time in Buffalo.
This morning, we're looking at one man's quest to make sure the memories of the 532 WNYers killed in Vietnam live on.
Promises of peace came and went several times during the decades that American soldiers were in Vietnam.
Peace was fleeting, too, for many if not most of the men and women who retunred home from Southeast Asia. A huge project and labor of love started with a simple thought in the mind of Historian and Vietnam Veteran Pat Kavanagh.
Many of us are making plans for a three-day weekend, but in this run up to the Memorial Day weekend-- we're remembering the sacrifices made in Buffalo and by Buffalonians.
First, it's the story of Buffalo's own Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. 300 US Army volunteers, buried in a mass unmarked grave in the middle of what is now the Delaware Park Golf Course.
About 300 soldiers, who came to Buffalo to protect our national border during the War of 1812 and died of hunger and disease as they spent the winter of 1814 in tents in middle of what is now Delaware Park-- but what was then America's frontier.
Long before he was President Eisenhower, he was Cadet Eisenhower at West Point... and he didn't have a ticket to Kansas to get home for Christmas. So he hitched a ride to Buffalo with a buddy to spend the holiday here.
Disc Jockeys are known for telling a lot of stories and taking credit for things, but in the case of WECK's Harv Moore, he doesn't have to take credit for a hit song we all know because the band is the ready to give him all the credit in the world.
Darien Lake opens this weekend with a new roller coaster coming soon, but I know I'm not alone knowing my coaster days are in the past-- and thinking the greatest coaster thrill came from feeling like you just might fly off the rails into Lake Erie.
If you're over 40 and grew up in Buffalo, chances are pretty good you remember those summer time trips across the Peace Bridge to Crystal Beach.
Chances are also pretty good that you didn’t need an ad in the newspaper to entice you to beg mom and dad for that trip, yet from Memorial Day to Labor Day, from the 1940s to the 1980s, those ads were there, almost every day.
Here’s a look back at a few of those ads showing off all that Crystal Beach had to offer:
Through the 1970s and 1980s, The Ground Round was a popular casual dining spot with locations at Seneca and Thruway Malls and on Niagara Falls Boulevard. Created by Howard Johnson’s, it may have been the first place you threw peanut shells on the floor and kids ate for a penny a pound on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
It was 25 years ago today-- perhaps the greatest sports play-by-play call in the history of Buffalo Sports.
It was the opening round of the NHL playoffs, and the Sabres and Bruins were playing for the right to represent the Prince of Wales Conference.
Brad May's overtime goal in Game 4 against the Boston Bruins gave the Sabres the sweep against the Adams Division rivals, and Rick Jeanneret's inspired call of the goal was reflective of the mood of Sabres fans everywhere.
You can hear this iconic call from Rick Jeanneret-- and many others as well-- at Buffalo Stories.com here.
Today is Amherst's 200th Birthday! It's official because it says so on Wikipedia:
The town of Amherst was created by the State of New York on April 10, 1818; named after Lord Jeffrey Amherst. Amherst was formed from part of the town of Buffalo (later the city of Buffalo), which had previously been created from the town of Clarence. Timothy S. Hopkins was elected the first supervisor of the town of Amherst in 1819. Part of Amherst was later used to form the town of Cheektowaga in 1839.
Here are a few of our looks back at the Town of Amherst over the years:
They've been collecting tolls to cross the Grand Island Bridges since 1935 when the current north bound bridges opened. The south bound bridges opened under the auspices of the New York State Thruway in 1965, when the current toll booths went up on the southbound side heading down from the Falls.
The tolls aren't going away, but the familiar blue toll houses which have welcomed drivers to Grand Island for 60 years are going away this Thursday, May 29, 2018.
The toll booths were part of the excitement surrounding the opening of the Thruway in the 1950s, and we've collecetd some great photos of toll booths in the glory years with some great old cars passing through.
Before moving to New York City and becoming Howdy Doody's sidekick, Buffalo Bob Smith was one of Buffalo's most talented and beloved radio personalities through the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, and was childhood best friends and frequent on air partner with Clint Buehlman.
My grandfather spoke quite often of his family's trips to the Market... and the fact that his mother often tied him to a horse hitch while she shopped! Gramps talks about the Broadway Market, Sattlers, and duck blood soup---czarnina. He grew up in Buffalo's Valley neighborhood in the 1920s and 30s.. a few blocks away from what is now "The Larkin District."
We were talking about classic Buffalo radio jingles this morning on the WECK Coffee Club, and Gail Ann had never heard the Kaufman's Rye Bread commercial-- so Tom and I sang it live for her.
Now Tom is an accomplished vocalist, but I fear my tone deaf singing may have brought him down.
Either way, the orginal is still the best-- and I dug it up in the Buffalo Stories archive to give it a listen:
You can read the story I wrote about Kaufman's Bakery here, and search for other Buffalo memories at BuffaloStories.com.
What Buffalo jingle would you love to hear again? Let me know, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and if we have it in the Buffalo Stories achive, maybe we'll play it on an upcoming edition of the WECK Coffee Club.
It's exciting to be bringing you the news all day on WECK-- but I'm also excited to be writing about and talking about many of the things that make Buffalo the great place that it is...
I hope you'll check out some of Buffalo's pop culture history that I've collected on my own website, http://www.buffalostories.com, and see the kinds of things you can expect in the coming days and weeks on WECK...
If there's a memory you'd like to share, or a question you have-- I'd love to hear from you.. my email address is email@example.com
I can't wait to join in sharing some of Buffalo's great stories with Buffalo's greatest radio listeners!
I'm honored to be working with such an amazing array of talent, especially Tom and Gail on the WECK Coffee Club.
This year marks my 25th year in radio news-- but tomorrow's big snow storm marks the first time I'm going to be able to be a part of a team putting together the kind of news, information, and entertainment package that best gets us through events like a morning drive snow storm.
I'll put together the latest, complete up-to-the moment information about the storm, any traffic situations, any problems with power, and anything else that pops up-- get that information on the air for you immediately as we get it, and then-- instead of dwelling on it, we play a great song.
We don't need 12 minutes worth of interviews to say that there was a foot of snow and traffic is slow on the 33.
We'd rather spent 20 seconds giving you the basic information without embellishment or dramatics, and then we play a timeless favorite.
Being stuck on the 33 isn't half as bad when you're able to find out why you're stuck-- but then sing along with some of the greatest music of all time.
That's how we're proud to do it on Timeless Favorites, Buffalo's Very Own, WECK.
Be thankful you can't hear me singing along... I was jamming with Starbuck this morning.