The waterfront Marriott, all shiny and aromatic like a new car, has opened its new lobby bar and mini-eatery. You could almost call it a lunch counter, if you will forgive our old Woolworths terminology.
Oatmeal is $3.95 and salads with chicken and salmon and quinoa and whatnot run about $10. A placard said happy hour was 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. although there were no visible specials. Glasses of wine were in the $7 to $8 range. You are in a hotel after all.
The menu board shows calorie count, something new and exotic to us outside of certain fast food places.
Here is Shelton Square, which we gossiped about before.
And a nice little patio, here shot from inside.
A window looks out on the Metro Rail.
A cute reading library by the business center ...
... has books on Frank Lloyd Wright and Forest Lawn Cemetery. Best of all is The Buffalo News' "Headlines and History," which we noted with approval was prominently displayed.
How welcome, to see this new amenity downtown.
A happy hour, indeed!
The Buffalo Mass Mob, which has become famous nationally and is being copied in other cities, branched out this morning with a Rosary Mob. The Rosary Mob mobbed St. Ann's Church, at the corner of Broadway and Emslie on Buffalo's East Side.
The Mobsters met on the street corner because the church is shuttered. Earlier this year, the Vatican, in answer to a petition from St. Ann's parishioners, ruled that the 19th century building could not be demolished and must remain open as a Catholic church. But the wheels turn slowly and they are still waiting for the Buffalo diocese to allow them access to the building so they can begin making repairs.
The recent saga surrounding St. Ann's, closed in 2012 by Bishop Kmiec, has all the ingredients of a fine historical drama. As The News reported in February, the diocese has estimated repairs at $12 million while the parishioners, citing an estimate from International Chimney Corporation, say that fixing the church would cost only between $500,000 and $1 million.
What's next? Buzz is hoping for bake sales, like the one we went to yesterday.
The St. Ann's folks, who happily share our enthusiasm for that idea, hope that Bishop Malone will give them his blessing to begin repairing the church.
As one of them said: "He would be a hero."
The other day, Buzz figured we had solved the mystery of what bus it was that Johnny Rzeznik took in Buffalo growing up.
And sure enough!
Now, historian Martin Biniasz has come forward with a picture proving our discovery. Clearly visible near the bottom of the vintage sign is Rzeznik's old route, the now extinct No. 17 Broadway.
Biniasz is part of the team called Forgotten Bus Route. Oops, we mean Forgotten Buffalo. He helpfully provided this closeup of the sign.
The wheels on this bus go round and round!
Where will it take us next?
Today's Buzz column intrepidly probes the mystery of what bus, exactly, Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls used to ride when he lived here in Buffalo. In Jeff Miers' interview Rzeznik is quoted as saying it was the No. 7 bus. However the No. 7 is the noble Richmond/Baynes route, not the bus Rzeznik rode, which he said went along Broadway.
Luckily our friend Joan Blum, nee Jaworski, who knows her East Side Metro Bus history, wrote in. She believes Rzeznik may have been misunderstood, that he was actually saying No. 17.
"Johnny lived off of Memorial Drive near the Central Terminal," she writes. "He would have taken the number 17 Central Terminal Bus to get downtown. That bus ran down Broadway, turned on Memorial Drive, traveled down Memorial to Paderewski, then turned from Paderewski onto Fillmore and then made a left onto Broadway. How do I know ... I used to take the same bus!!!! That was the inbound route that Johnny would have taken to get to City Hall. Johnny's sister was in my class at McKinley High School and Johnny was two years behind me. So I took that bus many times both in the morning and after school. I would get off before it turned onto Fillmore on the outbound route."
She adds: "The number 17 doesn't run anymore."
Good to have that straightened out!
Meanwhile, that classic vintage bus pic at the top of the page comes to us courtesy of General Motors, via this cool page on Buffalo-area transit history.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz will be pardoning a butter lamb today at 2:30 p.m. at the Broadway Market. The gesture does not melt the heart of one Polish Catholic gentleman.
The ceremony appears to be a kind of mash-up of Easter with Thanksgiving, when a turkey is pardoned by the White House. The butter lamb, though, represents a more complicated situation. According to Polish tradition it is supposed to represent Christ, the Lamb of God. And in the Bible, when the mob was calling for Christ's crucifixion, it was Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, who could have said no but instead reluctantly agreed.
Hence our friend's righteous objection to today's ceremony starring Poloncarz.
He says: "I didn't know he had the powers of Pilate."
Two journalists working for the BBC were at the Statler last night, seeking information about Bashar Issa, who memorably owned the Statler for a spell a few years ago.
Buzz happened upon the journalists interviewing Howard, the guy we married. Howard was also involved in the Statler saga. Buzz made the case that maybe the filmmakers should interview us on the grounds that we somehow inherited Bashar Issa's jacket, which he left behind at the Statler, and now we wear it to the gym. The journalists laughed politely but declined to film us.
The filmmakers, Ben Lewis and Sarah Robinson, will be in Buffalo for the next few days as they look into Issa's couple of years here. Issa's adventures continued after he left. We liked this colorful rundown of them in the British paper the Guardian.
Makes us think, in a way Issa did wind up being good for Buffalo. It appears he is good for our tourism.
How about a Bashar Issa Museum?
Scoot over, Luna. Joggers over the weekend were stopping to gawk at something much less often seen.
A genuine Plymouth Horizon!
We think it calls for a Latin identification tag.
Along with one of those old triangular signs reading "Vanishing Animal."
February 19, 2014 - 12:41 PM
By Mary Kunz Goldman
Grover Cleveland, pictured above, is everywhere!
After researching Cleveland and exploring the Western New York sites that figured in the lives of Cleveland and Millard Fillmore, Buzz was thrilled to learn about Grover's, the bar on Transit Road situated in the president's old hunting lodge.
Now we are delighted to report that Cleveland's restless spirit has reappeared, this time in a nondescript building at the corner of Linden Avenue and Summer Street.
A gentleman writes:
Grover Cleveland lived in the orange-brick house on the corner of Linwood and Summer -- it's a subsidized, low-profile multi-residential property now; I don't believe there's even a plaque on the outside (but surely there is something within the property to mention its former owner when he was mayor of Buffalo).
Anyway, when I used to live in the neighborhood I saw a soldier cutting the grass and keeping the shrubs trimmed, and because I was walking around the area taking pictures (it was one of those rare spring days of flat-out sunshine) the guy stopped me and told me to be sure to take a picture of the still stately-in-a-low-key-way house. He told me he was from the Army Corps of Engineers, and among the oddball things the outfit does is maintain Grover Cleveland's former home in Buffalo.
How interesting! That Cleveland lived in that house, and that the Army Corps of Engineers maintains the place. These are certainly things to chew on.
Along with, of course, our Groverburger.
February 18, 2014 - 12:27 PM
By Mary Kunz Goldman
Your heart starts beating faster when you are on the 190 right around the Peace Bridge, and you see this dramatic flag. An American flag, on a flagpole, blowing in the wind, so magnificently tattered that it looks triumphant.
You couldn't take a picture this morning, what with the traffic and the poor visibility -- so just take Buzz's word for it, it looks just like the picture above.
All we could think of was Renee Fleming's dramatic singing of the lines from "The Star-Spangled Banner" about giving proof through the night that our flag was still there.
It starts the workday off on a high note!
February 17, 2014 - 2:48 PM
By Mary Kunz Goldman
Buzz had fun putting together the story in today's paper about the former stomping grounds of Buffalo's illustrious presidents, Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland.
But it could be that we omitted something! We hear that Grover Cleveland's hunting lodge is right there on Transit Road. At 9160 Transit Road to be exact.
It is called Grover's. The News praised it in Cheap Eats a year ago. Buzz has been there! We have even partaken of the Groverburger, a patty that would do the president proud. And yet when we were on deadline the memory somehow escaped us.
We called Grover's and spoke with the owner, Georgina Hartman, and she said yes, the building was the actual building that was Cleveland's hunting lodge. "People had it as a gin mill for years and years," Georgina told us. The booming business on Transit Road helped keep the place from being torn down, she said. "Location, location."
Buzz, thinking of how Cleveland loved hunting and fishing, had to ask: Did she ever sense Cleveland's spirit around the place?
"I've had some odd incidents here, over 24 years," Georgina laughed.
Above is a photo from a year ago, taken by The News, of patrons soaking up the spirit of Grover Cleveland at his old hunting lodge.
And here is a patron enjoying the Groverburger.