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