'Remembering Western New York' premieres tonight

Jun 6, 2016

Buffalo is a city enjoying new economic prosperity, but is also a passion for its past. That is reflected in some of the city's landmarks, some of which still stand while others have disappeared. Tonight at 9 p.m. on WNED-TV, some of those landmarks will be celebrated in a program called Remembering Western New York.

Remembering Western New York is a WNED-TV original production that explores eight iconic structures and examines their connection to the people who live in the region. It is a celebration of these places, told through the memories of those who remember and love the unique treasures of the region.

“We have a tremendous sense of community in Buffalo that you don’t get in other places,” said Tom Girot, known as Conehead, the long-time beer vendor at many past and present Buffalo sports venues.

Stories in the program include Memorial Auditorium, Sattler’s Department Store, War Memorial Stadium, the Central Terminal, the Colored Musicians Club, holiday shopping on Main Street, The William Simon Brewery and the Herschell Carrousel Factory.

Two stories examine the powerful connection that Western New Yorkers have with their sports teams. “The Bills and the Sabres are very, very important to the collective psyche of the region,” says long-time resident and sports fan Mark Scott. 

Remembering Western New York recalls the glory days of The Aud and The Rockpile. Former players and fans recall memories of playing and watching games at these two now departed venues.

The venues, said former Bills player Ed Rutkowski, reflected Western New York. “We’re hardworking people. We’re a shot-and-a-beer team,” Rutkowski said. “We weren’t fancy and that represented, I think, the spirit of Buffalo.”

The program is a nostalgic look at the region’s past and the things that made it great. “There is just a fondness for the good old days,” says Dan Starr, former Canisius College Athletic Director. “Buffalo people like nostalgia.”