- South Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
(lat,lon)South Buffalo is a predominantly
Irish Americanneighborhood, which makes up the southern third of Buffalo, New York. It has one of the largest concentrations of Irish Americans west of the Hudson Riveroutside of Chicago, many of whom settled in Buffalo after the completion of the Erie Canal, as well as the coming of the railroadsand the industrial revolutionlater in the nineteenth century. In fact, unlike many other American cities with large Irish-American populations, Buffalo, New York's southside Irish came to the USA relatively late. Indeed, most were post-famine arrivals who were recruited to work the burgeoning steel mills, petroleum refineries, foundries, flour mills, automobile factories, and machine shops sprouting up in this highly industrialized city. Many more of South Buffalo's Irish would wind up working in the ranks of the protective services for the Buffalo Police Departmentand Buffalo Fire Department. Others found jobs in the various unionized Building Trades, such as Union Locals of the Carpenters, Bricklayers, Iron Workers, and Operating Engineers. The area is based around the 5 main roads in it that run nearly parallel to each other. They are, from east to west, Seneca Street, Potters Road, Abbott Road, McKinley Parkway, and South Park Avenue. It is unofficially bordered by West Seneca, Lackawanna, Lake Erie, and the Buffalo River. Though unofficial, these borders are the most widely used.
Neighborhoods & schools
The neighborhoods within South Buffalo are identified by the parishes of the Catholic Churches in the area. The parishes, St. Ambrose, Holy Family, St. Agatha, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Martin, St. Teresa and St. John the Evangelist stretch from the lake front to the West Seneca border south of the Buffalo River to the north and Bailey Ave. to the west. Recently, St. Martin, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Bonaventure parochial elementary schools merged to form Notre Dame Academy at the site of the former St. Martin of Tours school. Likewise, Holy Family, St. Teresa (South Buffalo's oldest parish) and St. Agatha parochial elementary schools merged to form Trinity Catholic Academy at the site of the former St. Teresa school on Hayden at Seneca. St.
Bishop Timon- St. Jude HS, Mount Mercy Academy, and South Park High School are also in South Buffalo. [ [http://www.wnycatholicschools.org/ Western New York Catholic schools] and [http://www.schoolsk-12.com/New-York/Buffalo/index.html Buffalo schools k-12] also see Buffalo Public Schools]
Another social affiliation is the bar to which residents go in search of socializing or just a drink. These include the Potter's Field, Doc Sullivans, Charlie O'Brien's, Nine-Eleven Tavern, Stankey's Cafe, Avenue Pub, Hop Inn, McCarthy's, Hopper's Rush Inn, The Blackthorn, Daly's, Molly Maguire's, The Irish Center, and Talty's Tavern. Meeting up with family, friends and co-workers means a lot to the area, especially during
Lentfor a fish fry and a beer.
Youth hockey is huge in South Buffalo. The Cazenovia Chiefs hockey program provides recreation for hundreds of children in the neighborhood. This program has produced such hockey talents as
Patrick Kane, Tim Kennedy, Peter Ratchuk, and Mike Ratchuk.
The neighborhood plays host to the Goin' South Irish Feis every year, an event that is extremely popular among young people. It features food, fireworks, and live music, including Jackdaw, a neighborhood favorite act.
With its Irish roots there are also a few traditional Irish Dance Academies in the neighborhood area of South Buffalo, such as O'Sullivan Academy, Rince Na Tiarna, Woodgate-Shamrock, and Clann Na Cara.
Also within the area are two parks designed by
Frederick Law Olmsted[ [http://buffaloolmstedparks.org/ Olmstead parks in Buffalo] ] . These parks, Cazenovia and South Park, are connected by wide elm-lined streets. McKinley Parkway and Red Jacket Parkway are two of the remaining parkways that created a greenway throughout the city in the early 1900s.
Cazenovia Park is the larger of the two parks. It contains two baseball and two softball diamonds. The baseball diamonds and one softball diamond reside in an area aptly referred to as the "Bowl". The second softball diamond is situated a little further away and called the "Hidden Diamond". The park also contains a nine hole golf course, a wading pool, playground, basketball & tennis courts, three soccer fields, as well as a casino, typical of the era when the park was designed. The road running through the park was named after South Park High School Alumni
Warren Spahnin 2004.
South Park is located along the border of Lackawanna. It also contains a nine hole golf course, as well as two softball diamonds. The
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardensis also in the park. It is a favorite summer time habitat for Canadian geese.
Hillery Playground in St. Teresa's Parish is a main recreational area for the residents of the Seneca Street area of South Buffalo.
The South Buffalo area is seviced by the
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authoritybuses on Seneca St. (No. 15), Abbott Rd. (No. 14), McKinley Pkwy. (No. 19) and South Park Ave. (No. 16).
Past & present
During the 1940s and 1950s swimming was a favorite summer pastime at the two outdoor swimming pools in Cazenovia Park. The two pools have since been removed. Fishing in Cazenovia Creek was an alternative summertime activity. In the winter, a lagoon off of the creek provided ice skating, but this has also been removed.
A game called Chestnuts was a popular activity during this time period in South Buffalo. Horse chestnuts would be suspended from a string, usually a shoelace, run through a hole drilled in the center. Participants would take turns holding their suspended chestnut, while their opponent would snap their chestnut against it. When either chestnut cracked the surviving chestnut would be crowned a kinger. Kingships would accumulate from game to game. Any accumulated kingships of a defeated chestnut would be transferred to the victor.
Community picnics at Cazenovia Park and Crystal Beach amusement park where provided annually by the Tri-Abbot Southpark Businessmen's Association.
Baseball was the dominant sport. There wasn’t an established little league, but games would be played spontaneously almost anywhere, including playground ball fields, vacant lots and even the street. Teams would be formed by alternate selection until everyone present was chosen by one team or the other. The team captain to make the first choice was determined by tossing a bat with the handle up to one captain, who would grab it in one hand. Each captain would alternately place a hand on the top of the others hand until there was no more room on the bat. The last hand determined the first choice.
Two neighborhood movie houses, the Capitol and Seneca shows, provided entertainment at very reasonable prices. Saturday matinees where 14¢ for the Capitol and 20¢ for the Seneca.
Spoonley The Trainman on Choate was a major attraction in South Buffalo. This train shop, owned and operated by Chester Spoonley, drew people from all over western New York to experience the fascinating layouts featuring Lionel and American Flyer trains and accessories.
Although the two steel companies, Bethlehem and Republic, provided employment for many South Buffalo residents during this time, they were also a major source of air pollution. The blast furnaces generated huge quantities of airborne particulates that coated every surface inside and outside of homes and buildings. This fact was not fully appreciated by the residents until the steel plants shut down and suddenly surfaces remained relatively clean.
The South Buffalo area suffered in the late 1960s and early 1970s due to the closing of the majority of steel plants, machine shops, automobile factories, oil refineries and flour milling plants which were either within or bordering the community. In search of jobs many of the residents were forced to look elsewhere for work. The small shops lining Seneca St. and South Park Ave. suffered most from the economic downturn caused by the closings and what was once a thriving community became an area hard pressed for cash inflows. Suffering less were the more
middle-classneighborhoods of South Buffalo which border McKinley Parkway, Abbott Rd., and Potter Road.
The annual South Buffalo
St. Patrick's Day Paradewas revived some 20 years ago and serves as a more traditional celebration over the City of Buffalo's main St. Patrick's DayParade held on Deleware Ave. the following day. The Grand Marshal's of this fun filled event have represented a gammit of prominent members of South Buffalo's Irish-Americanfamilies.
Each year, starting in 2004, the Moe Talty-Franz walk for breast cancer awareness and fund raising [http://moetaltyfranzwalk.org/] is conducted in Cazenovia Park. Hundreds of people come together to support this worthy event.
Another new festival tradition is the South Buffalo Business Expo and Irish Festival, usually held the first weekend of September in Cazenovia Park. A day long event featuring local businesses, services, food, dance and music draws residents from all over.
Famous natives include
Tim Russertfrom NBC's Meet the Press. [Big Russ and Me : Father and Son: Lessons of Life, Timothy J. Russert, pub. Miramax, May 10, 2004, ISBN 978-1401352080] and Dan Neaverth, a Buffalo radio broadcaster in the 1950's, 60's and 70's, who was inducted into Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2000. [ [http://www.buffalobroadcasters.com/hof_2000.asp Buffalo Broadcasters] inducts Dan Neaverth into their Hall of Fame in 2000. He was a notable radio broadcaster on WKBW in Buffalo] Dan attended Timon H.S. in South Buffalo. Another life long South Buffalo resident, Bishop Timon graduate and fellow radio disc jockey is WGRF 97 Rock's Slick Tom Tiberi. Slick Tom's legendary radio program is well known for not only the quality of classic rock-n-rollplayed, but the numerous local Western New Yorkoddballs who telephone in for his on-air rebuffs and insults. Some of Slick Daddy's more memorable call-in misfits and losers are such local characters as Acid Head, Suicide Ron, and Baroom Bob from Black Rock.
* [http://www.southbuffalochamber.org/ Greater South Buffalo Chamber of Commerce]
* [http://www.southbuffaloonline.com/ South Buffalo Online Business & Community Info ]
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