“In a moment of pure frustration today, I came to the conclusion that there is no angry way to say ‘bubbles’…” – Anon
It’s a sad day for Allentown, and for all of Buffalo for that matter. Charles “Chuck” – The Bubble Man – Incorvaia has passed away at the age of 75.
To think, that for two decades (he started in 2002), Chuck brought so much happiness to so many people by simply (and magically) waving his bubble wand, day in and day out. For hours at a time, the man would sit at his window, high atop Jim’s Steakout at the corner of Elmwood and Allen, releasing thousands of soapy bubbles that would drift downwards and outwards, to the delight of passersby.
Knowing that his bubble making was such a hit with people in the neighborhood, Chuck concocted a better way to produce the bubbles. Instead of blowing them himself, he set up an electric fan, which made it easier for him to perform. He would dutifully dip the wand into the solution, then place it in front of the fan, over and over, hour after hour… day after day, and year after year.
“The Allen & Elmwood intersection was a happy place when Bubble Man was doing his thing. I loved witnessing all of the smiles, especially on the faces of those new to Buffalo,” said Jim Kupczyk, who enjoyed taking photos of the mystical Buffalo icon. “He would be doing his thing and it felt as if you were entering another dimension, the seventh dimension – heaven on earth. No matter how my day was going, I would stop and think to myself, life is good.”
The only time that the bubbles appeared to stop would be when Chuck would take a break to head over to his favorite café – Taza, which is now called The Intersection. He was a staple there. So much so, that there was a tip jar on the counter where people could drop in a dollar or two, with the funds going directly to Chuck and his bubble making enterprise.
According to Jim’s Steakout, the Library of Congress has Chuck and his bubble making hobby listed in its archives. How cool is that? The guy was beyond prolific. He was a huge part of Buffalo. That is why I am hoping that his legacy lives on, not simply via memories, but in tangible action.
Maybe there should be a Bubble Man celebration every year. Or maybe an artist can come up with a fun way to hook up a permanent bubble machine atop the Jim’s Steakout building. Or maybe both. How much fun would that be?
Allentown will never be the same without Chuck and his bubbles.
Update: The Intersection Café is looking to set up a bubble machine this weekend. If anyone wants to donate some bubble solution, feel free to drop it off at the café – 100 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14201. Just say that ‘Sparky’ sent you.
Lead image by Jim Kupczyk