By Mike Rizzo:
Some things are better left unsaid, but then you wouldn’t know about them, right? For the past five years I have been releasing a new local history book every other year. First there was “Through the Mayors’ Eyes,” then “Nine Nine Eight: The Glory Days of Buffalo Shopping,” and last fall I released “They Call Me Korney: The True Story of Buffalo’s Korney Gang.” Each book is unique in content and originality: Buffalo mayoral history, retailing, and Polish gangsters.
During the middle of that my wife and I started The Mob Tours, which provides bus tours of mafia sites in Niagara Falls. We keep getting asked when we’re coming to Buffalo, so we have developed two new tours that we are announcing today and I figured the readers at BRO would want the inside scoop.
The Mafia’s control of Buffalo dates back to the early 1900s, and this is just a little piece of that history. Our first new tour is the Allentown Mafia Tour, which is a tour of sites up and down Allen Street where criminals and hangouts once were. The tour goes from Main Street to Days Park and back. It’s close to 90 minutes and is a nice little trip up and down the street to get close to mob history. Step in their footsteps and see several mobster homes, a murder location, an FBI sting operation and a gambling joint, along with other sites and mob stories.
The second walking tour we are debuting this summer is the Glory Days of Shopping Tour, based on my book “Nine Nine Eight: The Glory Days of Buffalo Shopping.” This tour starts at the Liberty building on Main Street and goes up and down Main Street to revisit the glory days and see all the old store buildings up close. This book still sells well three years after being released, so we think this will be a fun tour that brings back memories for some, and creates memories for others. This tour is also about 90 minutes. You’ll visit what was once the ultimate shopping district in Buffalo. Hear the histories of the stores and see them up close. If you haven’t read the book you may be surprised by some of the stories. See JN Adam, Martin Jacobi, AM&A’s, Hengerers and much more.
The tours debut this weekend – Saturday at 10am is the Glory Days tour which starts on Main Street in front of the Liberty Building and Sunday at 10am is the Allentown Mafia tour which starts at Franklin and Allen in front of Fiddleheads. Both walking tours are rain or shine (although we doubt much will happen if it’s raining) and we recommend comfortable walking shoes and water if it is warm. The tours are $10 per person and $5 for children 7-11.
We have several other tours in the works, including additional mafia tours, and a Polish Gangster tour based on my book “They Call Me Korney.” All the tours are exclusive to our company and based on hundreds of hours of research so you know you’re getting the real deal!
All the details of upcoming tours can be found at BestBuffaloTours.com. You can also call 299-TOUR (8687) if you want to book a group.
Photo: Stefano Magaddino from 1959 Crime Hearings