Buffalo in the ’80s: Cars into buildings, the prequel

By Steve Cichon

Over the last several years, cars crashing into buildings — particularly restaurants like Schwabl’s in 2014 and Kosta’s in 2015 — have led some to begin to think of Buffalo as the “cars crashing into buildings” capital of the world. Recent accidents have even been plotted into maps.

Western New York’s attention became focused on vehicles crashing into buildings in 2011, when a car driven through the window at Cheeburger Cheeburger on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst resulted in two deaths of patrons inside the restaurant.

At the scene of a car crashing into a bank several years ago, one police captain told me he doesn’t think these crashes happen more than they used to — it’s just that several high-profile cases have called our attention to these types of incidents and the fact that everyone is now carrying a phone in their pocket makes it easier to report on every case.

Buffalo News archives

A woman was seriously injured when a conversion van slammed into the side of the McDonald’s on the corner of Union and Main in Williamsville in 1989.

In fact, as long as there have been cars, they have been hitting buildings. Here’s another example from 1959.

For more on the trend, and whether Buffalo is actually unique in our number of vehicle/structure crashes, read Ben Tsujimoto’s analysis from last May.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.