Author: Bradley Bethel

Bradley Bethel

Bradley J. Bethel Jr. was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. He received his Bachelor’s in Environmental Design from the University at Buffalo, and a Master’s in Visual Communications from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Deeply involved with community development, Bradley has worked in numerous non-profit programs, including Locust Street Arts, Clean Air Coalition, and the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. He has also provided visual branding for the Restore Our Community Coalition and Preservation Buffalo Niagara. His freelance graphic design services has won awards and accolades for his clients. Bradley has been writing articles for Buffalo Rising since 2013, using his extensive research on Buffalo’s rich heritage. Visit his website at: http://www.bjbmultimedia.com

“If one cannot do great things, do small things in a great way. ” As we celebrate the ninety-first birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968),  we look back this time of year to reflect upon the vast legacy that he left behind. His civil rights advocacy culminated in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which by outlawing public discrimination based on race, color, sex, nationality, and religion effectively banned seventy years of legislation inspired by Plessy v. Ferguson. The federal holiday has been observed every third Monday in January since 1986. Numerous libraries, parks, roads,…

Read More

Imagine a time when Lemon, Orange, Peach, and Grape Streets ended at Cherry Street. When Cherry Street itself was a natural part of the neighborhood fabric. When Virginia Street once completed its long journey from Niagara Street to Jefferson Avenue. Archived photos of the Fruit Belt provide a glimpse at what the neighborhood once was before the Route 33 expressway was built. Having recently conquered a threat on its very identity, the Fruit Belt is reutilizing its grand history to re-establish itself in the 21st Century. Seeds of Prosperity The legacy of the Fruit Belt predates that of modern food…

Read More

The impact of downtown retail has changed, but due to recent economics, the future for suburban retail is also beginning to change. The rising popularity of online shopping has led to an unusual number of beloved retailers (Sears, Kmart, Toys-R-Us, Radio Shack, Macy’s) declaring bankruptcy and closing doors the past few years. While the Walden Galleria continues to reinvent itself each year, the loss of food courts and anchor tenants have hurt the Boulevard, Eastern Hills, and McKinley Malls. Therein lies a ray of hope for local retailers. The idea of shopping closer to home has appeal among the cash-strapped…

Read More

I have vague childhood memories of my father taking my late brother and me to go shopping at Woolworth, or to see Santa Claus at AM&A’s during the holidays. I am of the millennial generation who never experienced Buffalo in its glory years. Illuminated more clearly through historic books, photos, and oral history, I only saw that prosperity draw its final breath when AM&A’s and Woolworth both closed during the 1990’s. My parents and grandparents are of the generations where there was still major retail in the central part of the city. Each Buffalo neighborhood had endless streams of mom-and-pop…

Read More

There used to be a time in Buffalo’s history when you did not have to go far to do your shopping. Your local grocery store, movie theatre, or haberdasher were mere blocks from where you lived! It was during the Christmas holiday when the city’s business districts were at their busiest. My mother was raised in the former Willert Park projects on Jefferson Avenue. She has often described the many shops that once existed in the nearby Broadway-Fillmore District, which was designated as a Local Historic District this past May. The cornerstone of what some still recognize as Little Polonia…

Read More