Friday, May 5, 2017

Mob tours show underside of W.S. of old

            The West Side in the 20th century had a very active mob scene and many of the Buffalo mob members lived, ran their businesses and engaged in feuds that often lead to deaths on the West Side.
            To get a glimpse of what it was like to live in this area when the mob was active, Explore Buffalo offers a West Side Mob Tour that occurs twice a month from May through October. The tour is inspired by the book “Gangsters and Organized Crime in Buffalo,” by Mike Rizzo.
            During the West Side Mob Tour, around 20-30 people are guided through a walking tour that starts at Providence Social on 490 Rhode Island St. Providence Social was previously called Romanello’s, which was the scene of one of Buffalo’s best-known mob killings.
“While the Buffalo mob was a relatively small group of people, its impact on the local community was significant,” said Brad Hahn, executive director of Explore Buffalo.
            The two-hour tour goes through the West Side stopping at the locations of various homes and businesses where mob members were once found. The mob was particularly active on Connecticut and Rhode Island streets.
 Hahn said these tours are given for people to understand the significance of the mob in Western New York and to get a sense of what life connected to the mob would have been like.
Not only are the tours given to show past mob activity, but to show the various businesses and community gardens flourishing on the West Side. Other tours given on the West Side besides the mob tour are of the Cottage District around Little Summer Street and Columbus Parkway near Columbus and Front parks.  By Jillian LeBlanc and Christina Stuart

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Library on Wheels coming to the West Side

The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library is coming to the West Side. Melissa Blattner, a librarian for Library on Wheels, stands behind the Library on Wheels, a bookmobile that strives to deliver content all over Western New York. Blattner saw this as an opportunity to make content available to people of all ages in areas that may not have a library near them. People are able to check out books, movies and music, rent laptops and utilize free Wi-Fi all from the truck. The bookmobile will be located on the West Side from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on May 17 and June 21 at the Emerald Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on 1175 Delaware Ave. By Dan Carapetyan and Georgina Hallowell

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

West Side bakery Breadhive all the buzz

Valerie Rettberg-Smith, an owner of Breadhive Bakery & Café at 402 Connecticut St., celebrates the expansion and success of the West Side business. By Jessica Freda and Meaghan Michel

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

IN DEPTH: Bars, patrons do battle over fake IDs

In an effort to be able to go out with their older friends, underage college drinkers are attempting to find a way to get into bars without being the legal age. While some bars make it easy for underage drinkers to get in, other bars are not so willing to break the law. Full story by Jessica Freda and Meaghan Michel

Sunday, April 30, 2017

429 Rhode Island to house 3 businesses

Buffalo native Frits Abell stands in front of 429 Rhode Island St., which is the seventh building Abell has renovated since 2011. Some of his other buildings house restaurants, homes and businesses, but this location will host a coffee shop, Pilates studio and art studio. Abell said he decided to restore buildings on the West Side because he loves the cultural diversity and architecture of the area, and he saw opportunity there. Abell wants to make an impact on the community, restoring one building at a time. By Jillian LeBlanc and Christina Stuart

Saturday, April 29, 2017

City gets serious about filling potholes

Construction worker Bryan Kopinski and his crew recently closed two blocks on Forest Avenue to repair a large pothole on Forest Avenue and Dart Street. Kopinski, an employee of E.J. Militello Concrete, says he has repaired numerous streets on the West Side since the beginning of the season, and he is happy about the city’s attention to road damage. “Buffalo fell behind on it for decades but now they are pumping a lot of money into the streets with paving and fixing the potholes, I think in a few years Buffalo’s streets will be a lot better,” Kopinski said. In addition to the city’s commitment to repair road damage, Mayor Byron Brown issued a 48-hour pothole repair guarantee with allows Buffalo residents to call and report any pothole, and one of seven repair crews will fix the damaged street. By Gregory Garrett and Osman Shire

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Green Sun Seed Library and Bank has plans

The Green Sun Seed Library and Bank is a group based on the West Side that shares seeds, plants and gardening tips to promote organic plant culture. The group of over a hundred members held its first seed swap event in early April to exchange seeds and ideas with one another. The Green Sun Seed Library and Bank is working on becoming a non-profit organization and would like to develop a West Side refugee gardening program within the group as well. By Jillian Leblanc and Christina Stewart