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A BR Look Back: 2009 in Review

There were several Buffalo Rising stories that piqued reader interest in 2009, garnering new readers and sending stalwart commenters back time and time again to have their say over the issues that arose.

Though we consider BRO to be less political and more about development, food and local business, nothing gathered as much attention as Newell’s (queenseyes) story “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely” about the Silent Exchange concert gone bust due to huge misunderstandings in City permitting.  Know that the story isn’t over yet, as the founder of the concert, Meghan Mann, plans to pursue legal matters in order to recoup some of her losses.  We’ll keep you posted, but if there’s a lawyer out there who’s willing to consult with Mann, raise your hand now – she’s obviously down on funds these days.
Next in order of reader interest was “The 31 Club” also by Newell.  Later reviewed by Christa Glennie Seychew, this inaugural post of Newell’s heralded the opening of the long-awaited restaurant in its first week, and reader interest was high.  I’ve been there a few times since, and I have to say, it may have been a long time coming, but this is a club/restaurant with staying power.  
There’s nothing like national star appeal, and my post about Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Buffalo, thanks to local musician Nelson Starr, came in at number 3 for 2009.  Bourdain was just as fun and witty as his television personna, and Buffalo was thrilled to host him, later getting together in big cluster groups to watch the screening of the Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Buffalo style.
The fourth most popular post for 2009 was the one about restaurant week that I tossed under the byline of Buffalo Rising, something I do if it’s more of an alert to our readers based on a press release, rather than a full “story”.  The rest of the story is coming – oddly enough, Fiamma just happened to be the lead image I chose, but I visited the restaurant last week – had the best time and meal I’ve had in a while – and I have a story coming about Fiamma’s new year’s resolution.  Food fans are going to love it!
I should also mention that, while they weren’t top hitters in terms of visited pages, our Chao Li made it a point to visit as many restaurants as she could that week, writing some pretty tasty reviews.  Be sure to check them when you’re looking for a great dinner out.
As mentioned in the top story, we’re pretty serious about our concerts here in Buffalo, and the unveiling of Buffalo Place’s Thursday at the Square schedule for the coming season is always a top-hitter here on BR, this came in at number 5 from Rimas Musteikis.  Also anticipated is the argument about band choices that ensues every time we post the list, and the comments here are worth reading for information and comic relief.
Number 6 was bluedevil’s effort to squash a rumor about the owner of the Buffalo Bill’s: “Ralph Wilson: 90 Years Old and Alive,” read the headline.  With the help of some regional news sources, bluedevil even managed to report that he was alive and laughing.  Why was this so intriguing to readers?  Well, there’s that other rumor about the Bills moving to Toronto once Wilson does leave this earth.  May he live to be 190.
Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  When I was contacted by Guy Fieri’s people to ask about likely places for the Food Network’s star to visit in Buffalo, I offered to put it online for reader comment.  This 7th most popular post on Buffalo Rising not only had sway power due to the comments, but the FN production department proved they were smart to come to BR readers for answers to their questions.  He came, he saw, he sat in my Buick, and even though he comes from Humboldt County, anyone would think Fieri was a Buffalo boy.
Number 8 was one of those happy accidents, where our food writer and lover of food, Chao Li, happened to be having brunch at Lake Effect Diner with her boyfriend Keith.  And the next thing she knew, there was Fieri!  She got this great story, “Fieri Dives into Lake Effect Diner,” and she was interviewed for and appeared on the show.  Kismet, we say.
WCP’s post, “Betting Big at Elmwood and Forest” was the 9th most popular post, and why not?  This corner has been in question for so long, and you know what we say about development here on BR (minus the truck plaza): Build it, build it big, build it now.  Chris will keep us updated…
The 10th most popular post of the year encompasses so many things: national media attention, green demolition (the way Buffalo ReUse taught it to us), development, community, and so much more.  But this story I wrote, “Every Picture Tells a Story,” with photographs from Joe Cascio really captured our minds.  The show that resulted from this Makeover is going to air on January 24th as a 2-hour special.  We were wondering, if we threw a huge BR bash – would you come and watch it with us?
In retrospect, it was odd that this election year, with it’s quiet mayoral race didn’t net more news in the way of politics, but we wonder what next year will bring.  We’ll have loose ends to tie up, more development news, and I can’t wait to see what sort of media attention we get.  You know what we believe in here at Buffalo Rising, and we feel like the rest of the nation is starting to get it too.  We have so much good news; here’s to bringing it to you in 2010.
Top image: Joe Cascio
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