Monday, December 29, 2008

Three Tours on Tuesday!

. . . and two tours on Wednesday! Visit for information about each.

In other news, Heart of the City Neighborhoods is looking for volunteers to help with neighborhood renewal projects, office work, journalism . . . you name it! "Whether you have a just a bit of time to devote, or the inclination to become involved on an on-going basis, there may be a task on the list that suits your interest and availability," said coordinator Susan Peters. "If you are presently a student, there are also some ‘biggies’ that could become independent study projects." Go to for forms and information.

Also, the Buffalo International Film Festival (BIFF) will begin to hold bi-monthly meetings. If you'd like to participate, E-mail BIFF to RSVP.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Erie Canal Reconstruction

Shelley S. of Marine Drive has been taking pictures of the reconstruction of the Erie Canal Terminus. She was nice enough to send us some of her photos from the past couple of years.

You can see these photos and more at our Facebook page.

Buffalo First

Buffalo Tours shares office space with Buffalo First, who recently unveiled their 2009 coupon book. Unlike other coupon books, Buffalo First's consists of thousands of dollars in savings solely from locally-owned businesses.

Here are some pictures and video from their press conference with Brian Reilly, Buffalo's Commissioner of Economic Development. The coupon books, as well as our Tour Bucks gift certificates, are available in our office at 617 Main Street.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lincoln Parkway - a delight even in the rain

Gideon, Branden and Bernie enjoyed a lovely walk of Lincoln Parkway this a.m. Favorite spot Don't miss tomorrow's tour from 10 - 11:15 a.m. Meet at the Lincoln Statue by the Rose Garden in Delaware Park.

Monday, December 22, 2008

NYS Rehabilitation Tax Credit Strategy Summit

Sponsored by the New York State Urban Council, Preservation League of New York State, Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York, Inc., National Grid, and Cannon Heyman & Weiss, LLP

Please join developers, architects, economic development officials, tax credit professionals and others from throughout New York State for presentations and strategy discussions focusing on the 2009 campaign to secure an expanded NYS Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program. Working together, our goal is to provide an effective incentive for economic redevelopment and community revitalization in commercial districts and residential neighborhoods across New York.

Save the Date:

Friday, January 16, 2009
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM (lunch provided)
National Grid Auditorium
300 Erie Boulevard West
Syracuse, New York 13202

For more information, contact Ben Walsh at

(Thanks to Daniel Mackay, Director of Public Policy at the Preservation League of New York State, for passing this information along)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Changing City

The need for thoughtful,long-term urban development has not fallen away since this film was made in 1963. View this video from the Prelinger Archives.

Rail Barons Model Train Display

More than 200 feet of HO gauge track, 100 buildings and a scale Erie Canal lock. The trains are included in regular museum admission.

Saturday, Dec. 20
Sunday, Dec. 21
Friday, Dec. 26
Saturday, Dec. 27
Sunday, Dec. 28
Friday, Jan. 2
Saturday, Jan. 3
Sunday, Jan. 4

1 - 4 p.m.

Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society
25 Nottingham Court
Buffalo, New York 14216

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Views of City Hall

Buffalo Tours offers free tours of Buffalo City Hall every weekday at Noon, except holidays. That included today, during the biggest snowstorm of the year. And tourists showed up!

On a clear day, you can see Niagara Falls from the Observation Deck. Not so today.

Visitors always marvel at the glass sunburst on the ceiling of the Council Chambers, but have you ever wondered what it looked like on the other side? A few days ago I found out.

Look closely and you'll see how the glass is protected and suspended under other glass panes.

From the roof on the 15th floor wing, it looks like a small greenhouse.

Being on the roof also gave me the chance to check out the Art Deco carvings and terra cotta work from a closer vantage point.

Click to enlarge. It's surprising just how much detail is on the exterior of the building, 300 feet up into the air.

Happy Holidays from Mayor Brown's Office

Tour Bucks for holiday and anytime giving

You can buy Tour Bucks ($10 Gift Certificates) for the holidays and year 'round! You may pick them up at our office or order by phone. Because the office isn't always staffed, we can take credit card orders and mail them. Fred will be in the office Christmas week but meetings and errands have him going in and out. He'll be there for all the holiday tours.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mason Winfield's Haunted History Celebration

Wide right, no goal, October storm . . . is Buffalo cursed? Join Mason Winfield's Haunted History Ghost Walks as we will attempt again this year to "lift the curse" on Buffalo. Tours of the Town Ballroom basement (where Al Capone once operated). Bills & Sabres footage on the big screen. Book signings & sales from local Authors. And psychic readings available (for a separate fee). See what 2009 has in store for you. Don't miss it!

"Lift the Curse on Buffalo"

a celebration held at the historic Town Ballroom
681 Main St.
Buffalo, NY
Fri Jan 23
$15 Admission
For more information call (716) 655-6663
or visit

Downtown During the Holidays

Since we showed a picture of the Christmas tree adorning the Genesee Gateway in our last post, we thought we'd post some more holiday pictures of downtown.

The Theater District

The Statler Ballroom

City Hall

One M&T Plaza, the Electric Tower, the old Buffalo Savings Bank

M&T also sponsored some high school music acts this week, as well as a train display.

Genesee Gateway Reborn

New visitors to Buffalo this month will see something that long-time residents have not seen in a generation. The corner of Oak and Genesee is currently undergoing a transformation from a set of long-abandoned building facades into a unified office complex. At a recent press conference, even Mayor Byron Brown expressed his astonishment, saying he had driven past those vacant buildings ever since his college days.

Until a couple years ago, Buffalonians knew this corner by its interesting (depending on who you asked) hand-painted murals:

Catherine Schweitzer of Preservation Buffalo Niagara also spoke at the announcement. Also note the old time camera, symbolic of the photographic studio that occupied the property a century ago. You can still see an advertisement for the studio from the outside. Note how architect Richard Waite adapted his design to allow for maximum sunlight.

CityView Properties' plans for the Genesee Gateway
First photo credit: Catherine Schweitzer
Special Thanks: Douglass Swift

Saturday, December 13, 2008

C4GB Holiday Party

The picture says it all, but you can also visit their blog for details.

Jay DiLorenzo in Buffalo

There's a great little interview of Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League of New York State, now posted to Buffalo Rising. That's good enough reason to put up these photos of the Cooperage press announcement from this summer. (From left to right: David Franczyk, Sam Hoyt, Jay DiLorenzo, Clinton Brown.)

With Preservation League and government assistance, the Clinton Brown Company plans to bring back the old E&B Holmes Machinery building as a waterfront-accessible loft and commercial space.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We're featured in the Buffalo News

Today's editorial page discusses the creation of Preservation Buffalo Niagara and the role Buffalo Tours played in bringing everything together: click here to read it.

Thanks to Catherine Schweitzer for the link.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

E. B. Green Society to meet

Join the discussion group: message board

Edward Brodhead Green headed the most prolific architectural firm in Buffalo's History. From the Market Arcade (our office building) to the UB South Campus to the Memorial Auditorium, E.B. Green did it all. The E.B. Green Society is open to everyone interested in the architectural legacy of E.B. Green and his partners. They also meet in person on the third Monday at Caffe Aroma, Elmwood & Bidwell at 7pm. That means the next meeting is this Monday, December 15th.

Wikipedia stub here (thanks to Betty Barcode for the links)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Animated Buffalo

The Buffalo CVB helped produce this short animated piece that includes some of Buffalo's greatest landmarks.

Monday, December 8, 2008

An Ol' Fashioned Polka Tavern Christmas

Friday, December 19th @ 5:30pm

From Forgotten Buffalo:

"Join Forgotten Buffalo and Grammy Award Nominated Polka Band Jerry Darlak and the Touch as we go "polka caroling" to some of the BEST and most HISTORIC Polish Taverns in Buffalo! This is a ONE TIME ONLY tour. Traditional Polish "kolenda" as well as standard American Christmas carols will be performed, live, at EVERY stop! During the tour, you'll learn about the rich history of Buffalo's "Polonia District" and about centuries old Polish Christmas traditions. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Sister Johnice and her work at St. Adalbert's Response to Love Center. The price for this tour is $30 per person and includes a homemade Polish meal. Space is extremely limited due to musicians. Reserve your seats today! Visit for details or e-mail"

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Docents in the News

A 2006 graduate of the docent training program, Suzanne Prabucki, recently took a new position at the Fraunces Tavern Museum in New York City. Today is also her birthday, giving her two great reasons to have some cake.

The December issue of The Buffalo Downtowner is out and can be found in locations throughout the city. Page 10's article on One M&T Plaza was written by fellow docent Rebecca Stadler. The new issue is not online but you can read the previous two Buffalo Tours articles from October and November.

Interested in becoming a Buffalo Tours docent? Drop us a line. Training begins in February.

Friday, December 5, 2008

UB 2020 Comments Requested

UB is seeking input about the comprehensive physical plan being developed for the university’s three campus centers.

The plan provides a long-range blueprint for a better and bigger UB. It gives each campus – including a new downtown health sciences campus – a clear purpose and identity. The plan describes ways our campuses can support the way students learn today. It addresses issues of transportation, sustainability, and connections to community. Most of all, it shows how UB campus centers can be more sociable, beautiful, and – yes – lovable.

If you have not yet done so, please review and critique these and other proposals in the draft comprehensive physical plan. While the draft is complete, it is still open to change. We want to hear your opinions: your feedback will make the plan better.

You can review the plan and add your comments to the campus conversation by going to

The Castle by Candlelight

For more information, visit Old Fort Niagara:

For four nights in December, visitors to Old Fort Niagara will experience the holidays as they were celebrated in early America. Historical characters will bring Christmas past alive with 18th and 19th century holiday recipes and portrayals of colonial-era people. The highpoint of the evening will be the traditional “firing of the Christmas guns” every half-hour.

Programs will take place from 7:00 pm through 8:30 pm (Friday and Saturday evenings) on December 12th, 13th, 19th and 20th. The historic French Castle (built in 1726) will be illuminated entirely by candles.

The Castle will be decorated for the holidays by the award-winning Youngstown Garden Club. The Club was named by the National Garden Clubs, Inc. as first place winners in the category of “Decoration of Historic Building” for the club's holiday decorating of the French Castle last year. In addition to this national award, the club also received a first place award in a statewide competition.

Tickets to “A Colonial Christmas by Candlelight” will be $8.00 per person, and will be available at the door. Guests can arrive at the Fort Niagara Visitor Center at any time between 7:00 pm and 8:30 pm and are asked to dress for the weather, wear walking footwear, and bring a flashlight.

Photos with Santa at the Power Vista

Come Deck the Halls and take Photos with Santa
Saturday, December 13, 2008 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Pose with the Jolly Old Elf, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
• Enjoy interactive storytelling
• Learn holiday crafts
• Play some games
• Non-perishable food items will be collected and donated to the Community Missions of Niagara Frontier


Niagara Power Project Power Vista
5777 Lewiston Road (Route 104) Lewiston, NY 14092
For more information call 716-286-6661 or
866-NYPA FUN or visit

Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor

Read the entire article from Buffalo Rising:

"Thursday marked the next step in The Michigan Street African American Heritage Project. A Commission has been put together and held its first meeting to talk about creating the management plan required to become the 20th Heritage Area in New York State."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Upcoming Events at BECHS

From the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society:

Native American Festival
Saturday, December 6 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Enjoy Native American music and storytelling and peruse handmade arts and crafts for sale. (Included in museum admission)

FDR: America’s Wartime President
Sunday, December 7 at 2 p.m.

See Albert McFadyen perform in character as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in recognition of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. After the performance, take a guided tour of our Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies exhibit, led by its curator, Walter Mayer. (Included in museum admission, free for veterans of the Armed Forces)

Rail Barons Model Train Display
Every Saturday and Sunday through March 1, 1 - 4 p.m. plus special holiday hours

Come see our model train display in action, with its 200 feet of HO gauge track, 100 buildings and scale Erie Canal lock. (Included in museum admission)