Rediscovered: Irv Weinstein on PM Magazine… 1979, WIVB-TV

By Steve Cichon

BUFFALO, NY –There’s a lot going on in the 12 minute video I posted on YouTube today.

Oddly, iconic WKBW-TV news anchor Irv Weinstein was featured on the premiere of PM Magazine on WIVB-TV in 1979. Hosted by Debbie Stamp and Don Moffit, the show featured an in depth interview with Weinstein and his family, including son Marc Weinstein of Amoeba Records fame, with the rest of his “progressive rock group.”

Also featured are promos for Skybird 4, WIVB’s news helicopter, and a spectacularly ’70s promo for News 4 anchor John Beard, now with cross-town rival WGRZ-TV. How ‘70s is it? Suffice it to say, a fetching young woman mentions how much she likes John’s mustache.

At the end of the tape, another Buffalo pop culture treat– Glendora– known in here as a 1970s late-nite TV salesperson, but known around the country for her community access TV show “A Chat with Glendora” and activism in many arenas.

The stop and go of the tape capture two extra images as well—Danny Neaverth for Bells, and a Van Miller still. Arguably Buffalo’s three greatest radio and TV personalities all in one 1979 tape.

It’s classic Buffalo TV at its finest!

This tape was from Irv’s private collection. I dubbed it for him with a number of other tapes—including video from his wedding—about 15 years ago when I was working at the Empire Sports Network.

Still images from this video

Predating YouTube, I first posted a tiny, very low resolution version of this video on in 2006.

Reformatted & Updated pages from finding a new home at
Reformatted & Updated pages from finding a new home at


Looking back at Buffalo through matchbooks

Today, marketing is a highly skilled and nuanced mix of artistry and science. It wasn’t so long ago that the most thought that most businessmen would give marketing is making sure people leave their business with a pack of matches with the business name on them.
Everybody smoked. Every business sold cigarettes. Everybody had a pack of matches in their pocket, and if they didn’t– they needed one. Everyone handing out matches was a win-win.

Matchbooks eventually became more that just a means for lighting a butt.

People might hold on to colorful, fun, or borderline pornographic (from a 1950s sensibility) matchbooks. Some became souvenirs of visiting a restaurant or a city.

Matchbook collecting became a serious hobby for many through the second half of the twentieth century.

eBay seller uniqueanteek has recently posted over 12,000 matchbook covers for auction, several dozen of which are from Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and the immediate area.

Especially for some of the smallest businesses, like neighborhood grocery stores, corner taverns, and storefront restaurants, these matchbooks are the sole surviving proof that these businesses ever existed.

Most of these matchbook covers date from the 40s and 50s, with a few as late as the 70s or early 80s.

Enjoy this unique, broad look at Buffalo’s pop culture history through the matchbook covers of uniqueanteek, and if the spirit moves you, head over to any of uniqueanteek’s auctions, and pick up one of these or any of the thousands of cool covers listed for sale.


If you have anything to share about any of these places, drop me an email:


Marker’s Gay Way was at 1321 Broadway.
Link’s Tavern 2715 Seneca St stood where I-90 crosses over Seneca near Harlem.
The Hotel Graystone on South Johnson Park was recently renovated into luxury apartments.
Jew Murphy’s Steel bar at 369 Pearl St stood in a spot now occupied by The Key Towers.

Teddy’s Beauty Shoppe, 3173 Main St. Today the spot is Slice of Italy pizza, next door to The Lake Effect Diner.
Salemi’s Club Rainbow was on Court St. behind Buffalo City Hall. The burlesque style entertainment was accompanied by 25¢ spaghetti plates.
Laube’s Cafeterias were all over Buffalo and “famous for food,” but the name “Laube’s” lives on in reference to “Laube’s Old Spain,” which outlasted the cafeterias for decades.
Curt’s Stop Inn , 1341 Kensington Ave. It’s still a bar, and still has a stop sign on the front– No word on Curt.
Pop & Freddie’s Call’s Grill, 140 Forest Ave. between West and Grant on the West Side.


Before there was Lombardo’s, there was Tommy’s Tavern– Tom Lombardo, proprietor– Michigan Avenue at East Utica.
Arkansas Bar & Lounge, 12 Grant Street. Stood where Rite Aid now stands near the corner of Hampshire.
The Friendly Inn, 844 Washington, looks like it would have been the corner of Washington and Virginia, one block west of Ulbrich’s.
Style Beauty Salon, 108 York St, at the corner of 17th on the West Side, about a block from Kleinhans
Casa Di Amici, 1066 Abbott Rd, South Buffalo. Now a doctor’s office at the corner of Carlyle.
Carrot Top Inn, 222 Katherine St, Old First Ward. at Hamburg St, today it’s Cook’s Bar & Grill
Little Harlem Hotel, Michigan Ave. One of Buffalo’s most famous/infamous jazz nightspots.
Tudor Arms Hotel, 354 Franklin St. Now apartments, half a block south of Edward.
Ryan’s Hotel Niagara, on Niagara St. near Niagara Square, was known in the 1950s as one of the first places in Buffalo known as a “gay bar.”
Ricardo’s Steak House & Lounge, 252 Delaware Ave. Was located in the recently demolished Delaware Court building at Delaware and Chippewa.
Western Auto, 1393 Seneca St., was located about where I-190 crosses over Seneca near Bailey.
Bison brand sausage. Also the makers of Buffalo’s classic Bison Dip.
The Park Lane at Gates Circle. One of Buffalo’s most elegant dining experiences for generations.
Mure’s Campus Restaurant, 1110 Elmwood Ave., home for decades to Mister Goodbar.
Merry time Restaurant & Lounge, 305 Oak St. Located about where Oak, Huron, Sycamore meet, one block east of the Electric building.
Leonardo’s Tasty Italian America food,                   386 Pearl St., just south of Chippewa. The site is now a parking ramp.






Jay’s Catering, 1257 Genesee St. Two blocks north of MLK Park. Now a vacant lot.
Maroon Grill, 382 Pearl St., same block as Jew Murphy’s and Leonardo’s, just south of Chippewa.
The longtime home of Theo Phillies’ Chippewa Liquor Store, 86 West Chippewa St. is now the home of the Emerson School of Hospitality (and one of the best lunch deals in Buffalo.)
Sterns Electric Equipment, 66 Broadway, near Broadway and Oak.
Kam Wing Law Chinese Restaurant, 433 Michigan Avenue. Michigan near William
Kenney’s Hotel and Grill, 605 Michigan Avenue. Michigan Ave at Sycamore
Stage Door 416 Pearl Street
EW Edwards Smoke Shop
Sears, Roebuck & Co, Main & Jefferson
Hertel Stamp & Coin 1283 Hertel near Colvin
Miniature Falls Restaurant 27th & Ferry Ave, Niagara Falls NY
Miniature Falls Restaurant 27th & Ferry Ave, Niagara Falls NY
Blasdell Hotel, 149 Lake Ave, Blasdell, NY
Angola Hotel, Angola, NY
Statler Hilton, Buffalo
The Bowlers Lunch, 39 Buffalo St, Hamburg
Goodyear Wende Oil Corp., Buffalo
WRCA Radio, 660 AM New York City










Chez Ami, 311 Delaware Ave, Home of the Revolving Bar
Chez Ami, 311 Delaware Ave, Home of the Revolving Bar
South St. Auto Wreckers, 88 South St, Lackawanna
Wa-Ha-Kie Hotel, River Rd at Tonawanda City Line
Ilio DiPoalo’s Ringside Lounge
The Hayloft Restaurant, Chickenon-the-Rough, Jamestown
South St. Auto Wreckers, 88 South St, Lackawanna
The Bowlers Lunch, 39 Buffalo St, Hamburg
Annex Grill 2847 South Park Ave Lackawanna
Evans Restaurant Southwestern Blvd & Abbott Rd, Orchard Park
Hotel Gowanda, 26 S. Water Street, Gowanda
Helen’s Grill, 2232 Hamburg Turnpike, Lackawanna
Paradise Motel, Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY
Lancaster Roofing Co, 5154 Broadway, Lancaster
May’s Grill, 11 Ridge Rd, Lackwanna, NY
Triangle Motel, 627 E Main, Batavia, NY
Bradshaw’s / Schneider’s Lewiston
Steve’s Grill, 2748 Bailey Ave
ABC Motel, Niagara Falls Blvd
Wanakah Grill Pleasant Ave Hamburg
Otto Hollnberger, 13 West Main Street, Lnacaster
Randazzo Tavern, 40 Main Street, Akron, NY
Sunrise Motel, 6225 Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY
La Salle Sportsmen’s Club, Tuscarora & Porter Rds, Niagara Falls, NY
Urkainian Club, 75 17th Ave, North Tonawanda, NY
Stanley’s Restaurant, 239 24th St, Niagara Falls
Water Wells– Joe Sheldon, 177 Sheldon Rd, Orchard Park
Busy Bee Grill, 315 Erie Ave, Niagara Falls
Club Ray-Ott, Falls Street, Niagara Falls
Feldman Bros. Furs 1812 Main St, Niagara Falls, NY
Busy Bee Grill, 315 Erie Ave, Niagara Falls
Orchard Park Hotel, 51 N. Buffalo Rd, Orchard Park, NY
Lucille Beauty Shoppe, 822 E. Delavan Ave, Buffalo

The 1930s South Buffalo vehicular tragedies in my family tree

By Steve Cichon | | @stevebuffalo

I don’t think we always realize how much better we live these days.

Both Grandpa and Grandma Cichon had little siblings killed when they were hit by cars on the streets of South Buffalo.

The Buffalo Evening News’ morbid coverage of Grandma Cichon’s little sister’s death is incredible. Mary Lou Scurr was about a year-and-a-half old when she was run over while playing in a toy car in the street.


marylou2This photo was on the front page, above the fold, May, 1935. Grandma’s little brother Gordon—who was only hours before a witness to the accident which caused the death of his little sister– posed next to the wreckage of the accident. Judging by the description of the scene, it’s fair to assume this mangled car had blood and possibly other remains of his baby sister in it.

Sadly, Gordon Scurr’s next appearance in the news was 11 years later, while in high school, he died of a rare glandular disorder.


Two years later, Grandpa Cichon’s little brother was killed in a similar fashion.

Roman (also called roman3Raymond) Cichon was five years old and fascinated with trucks. He liked to go to the junk yard at the corner of Fulton and Smith Streets in The Valley to see the trucks in action.

His big brother, my grandfather, used to take him there. The way he told it, while Gramps was stealing an apple off a neighbor’s tree, Raymond was “mangled” by a truck. That word “mangled” was one Gramps often used with us in the hundreds of times we crossed Seneca Street to go from his house to Cazenovia Park.

In his 88 year life, the death of Raymond may have been what caused him the most sadness; even worse in some ways than the unbearable loss of 4 of his own children. As he talked about it, I could feel his guilt in not being right there to save his little brother. His use of the word mangle is the only hint of what the scene looked like—but frankly it’s enough.

roman1 roman2


In the end, it certainly wasn’t Gramps’ fault– and the truck driver lost his license. Raymond was killed when that truck bolted onto the sidewalk ran him over.

He was buried at St. Stanislaus cemetery near where another baby Cichon, Czeslaw (aka Chester ) was buried after he died from cancer as a baby.

Where did the wonderful 33 daffodils come from?

By Steve Cichon | | @stevebuffalo

Daffodils along the Kensington Expressway and Youngmann Highway are one of those things that make our City of Buffalo great.

I scared my wife pulling over abruptly on the 33 to get these photos on a beautiful spring day. April 18, 2015.

Of course, as Buffalonians, our usually dark and cold winters trigger a primal yearning and desire for warmth and springtime. Winter can leave our souls and psyches wounded to the point where we really aren’t even able to fully grasp what May will do to our dulled senses.

The drawn-out beginning of spring helps us slowly power up our appreciation for things outside the man-made walls of home, work, and car.

No matter how many times we’ve experienced Buffalo springs after Buffalo winters, we still count dozens of childlike moments– overcome with sudden joy– when, seemingly out of no where, the glow of the sun warms our face or the smell of a spring rain fills our nostrils.

Where there were just black and gray piles of salt-caked snow and ice– suddenly dots of yellow first appear along the 33 and 290, first few and far between.

Within a week, we’re again overcome by the vibrant and varied yellows of the flower that’s even more special to me as it was my Grandma Coyle’s favorite.

The beautiful, fleeting, first sign of spring brings smiles to hundreds of thousands of motorists every year, but where did they come from? Didn’t they just seem to appear and spread over the last decade or so?

Well, yes. In 1999, Erie County Legislator Judy Fisher gave money to The Green Fund,  through which City Director of Support Services Jim Pavel bought 50,000 bulbs and organized a mass planting by volunteers young and old. The number of bulbs bought and planted doubled the next year, and had totaled 1 million by 2004.

From 2000 to 2004, Lamar Advertising was also in the bulb-planting game. The folks who own many of Buffalo’s billboards and most of the billboards along the Kensington– spent $600,000 planting 2.7 million daffodil bulbs.

Sixteen years later, those roughly 4 million bulbs have split and spread. Now countless millions of yellow blooms remind us, as we drudge along the expressway, that spring is here– and that maybe it’s a good time to roll down the window and enjoy the fresh air.

If the wind is blowing just right as you cruise along the 33 close to downtown, maybe you’ll catch a whiff of Cheerios as you enjoy the sun-kissed daffodils. Welcome to Buffalo.


1960s Buffalo in Glorious Color

By Steve Cichon | | @stevebuffalo

eBay user soon2bexpat has a treasure trove of more than 300 vintage color slides posted for sale today, and many of them are from Buffalo and Western New York.

Glorious, full-color glimpses of the way life used to be around here, mostly from the late 1950s through the early 70s.

Many are labelled as from Buffalo, but many more are apparently snapshots of day-to-day life on the Niagara Frontier in a bygone era.

All of the “certain” and a good number of the “safe to assume” Buffalo images follow. As of print time, many of these remain for sale from soon2bexpat  if you are interested.

If you can help better identify any of the people or places in any of these images, please drop me an email:

IMG_2626One of several shots taken in various Buffalo basement bars… Genesee and Iroquois lights hang on the wall on this one, pointing to a pretty clear Buffalo connection.

IMG_2624A similar-but-different bar features cans of Buffalo-brewed Stein’s beer stacked.

IMG_2616Beers in the basement.

IMG_2609Church hall? VFW? One thing is sure, that’s Buffalo’s own Simon Pure beer in the can to the left.

IMG_2606The only thing more Buffalo than sitting in the garage drinking a beer, is sitting in the garage drinking a beer while your friend plays the accordion. Extra points for white belt and argyle socks with shorts.

IMG_2627This could be a Polish-American wedding anywhere given the accordion player, but since the slides were mostly from Buffalo, I’ll guess that we can claim this one, too.

IMG_2604This one looks like a more honest-to-goodness gin mill, with at least four Iroquois signs on the wall.

IMG_2620I don’t know if her name is Mabel, but she quite clearly likes her Black Label.


IMG_2625There were several Purina mills and elevators in Western New Yoek, including one in The Valley. Can’t say for sure if this is one of them or not.

IMG_2611Again, it’s likely a Buffalo image, but I can’t say for sure. I can say it’s a Lehigh Valley snow plow…
IMG_2623UB playing at Rotary Field on Bailey Avenue. That’s the VA Hospital in the background.



IMG_2612The Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks at Memorial Auditorium. Number 3 for the Sabres is Mike Robitaille.



IMG_2613This Sabres line is the French Connection– Rick Martin, Gil Perreault, and Rick Martin. The defenseman, number 2, is Tim Horton.


IMG_2614It’s a New York plate, so Buffalo is a good guess. It’s a great car either way.


IMG_2615A different New York plate– a different great car. This could be any one of a dozen neighborhoods in Cheektowaga.


IMG_2617The Daughters of Charity were responsible for the operation of Sisters’ Hospital. It appears that they are in a ballroom at the Statler Hilton.


IMG_2618The Isle View has been a Tonawanda landmark since Prohibition, and still is to this day– Doesn’t look too much different, either.

IMG_2610Wanda & Stephanie– Buffalo’s famous Mother/Daughter polka duo, were known as “America’s Polka Sweethearts.”

IMG_2608Random scene: Could be WNY or not…

IMG_2602Location not clear, but could be a lake boat…

IMG_2607Burger Basket, Sweeney & Payne in North Tonawanda. Home of the 39¢ Mr. Big.

IMG_2599Buffalo trucking concern.

IMG_2598Fire at Ann’s Restaurant. Almost certainly in Western New York with the Rich’s Ice Cream sign… There was an Ann’s Restaurant at the corner of Main and Virginia– it’s now a parking lot. Could be this place…

IMG_2605A possible Western New York storefront…

IMG_2597A ship docking in Toronto…

IMG_2594Buffalo Airport

IMG_2596Parade on Niagara Square


IMG_2621Firemen’s parade, downtown Buffalo



A cardinal sits among bishops in a City of Buffalo (CHESTER KOWAL, MAYOR) parade shelter

IMG_2600A Buffalo Police captain, as priests look on…

IMG_2601A parade in front of Lakeshore Tire…

IMG_2585St. Patrick’s Day on Main Street in Buffalo in the late 1950s or early 1960s.


IMG_2587 IMG_2588 IMG_2589 IMG_2590

If you can provide any more information on any of these photos, feel free to email me:



Before it was the old AM&A’s building…

By Steve Cichon

There is buzz and tempered excitement over the purchase the old AM&A’s department store building on Main Street.

The building was last occupied in 1998 by Taylor’s, a short-lived high-end department store better remembered for its dress code (no sneakers!) than its offerings.

In 1995, Bon-Ton closed what was the flagship store of the Adam, Meldrum, and Anderson Department Store chain. Bon-Ton bought AM&A’s in 1994.

The building is now best known as the AM&A’s building, as it was from 1960-94.

For the 90 years previous, AM&A’s was directly across Main Street from that location, in a series of storefronts which were torn down to make way for the Main Place Mall.

For most of the 20th century, the building we call AM&A’s was the JN Adam Department store. Adam was a mayor of Buffalo and the brother of AM&A’s co-founder Robert Adam. In 1960, JN’s closed, and AM&A’s took over the building.


This photo, probably from the very late 1950s, shows Woolworth’s (which remained in that location until the chain dissolved in 1997), JN Adam, Bonds Men’s store (famous for two trouser suits), Tom McAn Shoes, the Palace Burlesk at its original Shelton Square location, then the Ellicott Square Building.

All of the storefronts between JN Adam and the Ellicott Square building were torn down for the M&T headquarters building and some green space.

Buffalo’s Summer Fun spots of the 1970s

By Steve Cichon

In 1971, Big E Savings Bank offered members of its “Money Managers Club” a bundle of coupons to some of Western New York’s great summertime locations.

30 bucks of savings
“The Big E,” once Erie County Savings Bank, became expanded and became Empire of America in the 1980s. The Buffalo-based bank was one of dozens around the country which was liquidated amid the Savings & Loan (S&L) scandal.

carrollsCarroll’s Drive-Ins are no longer serving hamburgers to Western New Yorkers, but the Syracuse-based company is now the world’s largest Burger King franchisee.

fantasty islandFun? Wow! Now known as Martin’s Fantasy Island, the Grand Island amusement park still welcomes thrill seekers every summer, although the once iconic main gate pictured above is no longer as majestic.

fun and games parkFun ‘N Games Park in Tonawanda just off the 290 was a smaller amusement park in the area generally occupied by Gander Mountain. As much as the rides, kids loved driving by–if not through– the whale car wash next door.

patsIn the 1970s, a person wanting a hot dog on Sheridan Drive had a footlong’s worth of options. Ted’s first store away from the Peace Bridge was opened on Sheridan in the 1940s when the road was still mainly rural. Pat’s Charcoal Hots (and Whopper Ice Cream) was a big hang out for a couple generations’ worth of Tonawanda kids, although some switched allegiances and switched over to Scime’s across the street when Pat’s was sold.  Long gone now, Pat’s was located where Walgreens now stands at Sheridan and Parker.

Big E

Fill ‘er up, Buffalo– 1960’s style

By Steve Cichon

Six or seven years ago, The Buffalo Broadcasters threw out a bunch of 16mm newsfilm that had begun to degrade and could no longer be played. I garbage picked it, and pulled apart the reels to look for the good frames here and there.

I scanned a few of them in… Here are a couple of late 1960s Buffalo area gas stations from a reel labelled simply “GAS.”

Buffalo Gas Stations (1)

Buffalo Gas Stations (2)


There was no brick oven pizza, flat screen TVs, or lattes at these gas stations. You got gasoline, maybe some oil, from a guy with a workingman’s filth under his nails. You paid at the pump when you gave him five bucks and told him to fill’er up and keep the change.

It’s different now. Not better, not worse– a mix of the two, for sure. It’s more fitting to just say “different.”

There is plenty more of this “garbage film,” and in some a bunch of cases, even a few seconds of good video was pulled from it. In a few cases, the grisly look of the film that was tossed was no indication that it actually played back well.

The more to come sign is up, here.

Hollywood features Buffalo on TV’s Route 66

By Steve Cichon

Flipping through the channels we get over the air without cable, and I saw black & white video that looked like Buffalo’s Central Terminal. Turns out, it was!!

The opening five minutes or so of a 1963 episode of Route 66 was shot inside the New York Central Terminal, with some looks at the surrounding area as well.

Great East Side views!!













The Central Terminal part of this episode was also posted on YouTube some time ago.



Moving pictures that will move Buffalo: Pathe posts entire newsreel collection on-line

By Steve Cichon | | @stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – It’s an amazing treasure trove.

Pathe (pronounced {path-AY’}) News, one of the leading producers of the newsreels shown in movie theatres around the world from the 1920s through the 1960s, has posted it’s entire 85,000 video clip collection on YouTube.

Dateline: Buffalo! The old Pathe newsreel service posted 85,000 news and lifestyles films to YouTube, including ten showcasing some part of life in Buffalo. These newsreels, featured in movie theatres before the feature shows, were the “evening newscasts” of the time. (Buffalo Stories screenshot from “British Pathe” YouTube Channel video)

Think of the ways the world changed in that time, and know that you can easily watch clean, first generation videos of those changes as they happened, online. It’s an incredible digitization effort, and it’s even more incredible that it’s available to the world for free.

While the scope of the project is impressive, my parochial interests took me not in search of the Hindenberg, the liberating of Paris, or the first manned space flight. I, of course, searched “Buffalo.”

Many videos came up in the search, but there were ten relevant items which prove to be flabbergasting glimpses into Western New York’s past.

What follows here are links to those videos, with brief descriptions and screen shots taking a look back.

The Dodgers! A Prohibition Sidelight From Buffalo (1931)

Border police inspecting cars, looking for “the good stuff” at what appears to be the Peace Bridge, but I’m not sold on that– Booze smuggling was a growth industry in our border town while the US was forcibly on the wagon during Prohibition.

Buffalo, US (1939)

Curtiss Aeroplane test pilot Lloyd Child hits 525 miles an hour, faster than man has ever gone before, while testing the French Hawk pursuit plane.

Blizzard In Buffalo (1937)

Three people were killed in what was, at the time, the worst December snow storm in history. Great snow footage and scenes from around Buffalo.


Skiing Behind Plane Buffalo (1938)

The Red Jacket Ski Club does what looks like water skiing… But on snow instead of water, and a plane instead of a boat. Wacky!!

President Johnson’s Quick Tour Of New York & New England (1966)

President Lyndon Johnson visits Buffalo. The first scene is great– people at the Buffalo Airport, then a Niagara Square rally for the President. From there, it’s on to Lake Erie, where LBJ, surrounded by local dignitaries (like Mayor Frank Sedita and Deomcratic Chairman Joe Crangle) is shown a pail of filthy, contaminated water from Lake Erie. It would become the beginning of movement in the efforts to clean up the lakeshore in Buffalo.

Us Women’s Golf Championship (1931)

With The Country Club of Buffalo in Williamsville as the backdrop, beautiful flapper women vie to become the US womens golf champion.

Snow Scenes In States (1962)

A perefct example of the over-the-top writing and delivery that has become associated with newsreels. Snow swept across two-thirds of the country, including many places that usually see little snow. The whole two minute piece is fun to watch, but there are a few quick shots of Buffalo starting at :46.


Striking Schoolteachers U.S.A. (1947)

Buffalo Public School teachers shown on strike at schools across the city… Also featured: The smiling faces of dozens of children, happy to be out of class.

Bell Helicopter (1944)

The brand new Bell helicopter on display inside the Buffalo (Connecticut Street) Armory.

Oh – This Spring Weather (1926)

Cold and snow hits Buffalo during the brutal spring of 1926, when we had a freakish St. Patricks Day storm. This is video from all of the ships paralyzed in Buffalo Harbor.