Author: RaChaCha

RaChaCha

RaChaCha is a Garbage Plate™ kid making his way in a Chicken Wing world. Since 2008, he's put over a hundred articles on here, and he asked us to be sure to thank you for reading. So, thank you for reading. You may also have seen his freelance byline in Artvoice, where he writes under the name his daddy gave him [Ed: Send me a check, and I might reveal what that is]. When he's not writing, RaChaCha is an urban planner, a rehabber of houses, and a community builder. He co-founded the Buffalo Mass Mob, and would love to see you at the next one. He represents Buffalo Young Preservationists on the Trico roundtable. If you try to demolish a historic building, he might have something to say about that. He is a proud AmeriCorps alum. Things you may not know about RaChaCha (unless you read this before): "Ra Cha Cha" is a nickname of his hometown. (Didn't you know that? Do you live under a rock?) He's a political junkie (he once worked for the president of the Monroe County Legislature), but we don't really let him write about politics on here. He helped create a major greenway in the Genesee Valley, and worked on early planning for the Canalway Trail. He hopes you enjoy biking and hiking on those because that's what he put in all that work for. He was a ringleader of the legendary "Chill the Fill" campaign to save Rochester's old downtown subway tunnel. In fact, he comes from a long line of troublemakers. An ancestor fought at Bunker Hill, and a relative led the Bear Flag Revolt in California. We advise you to remember this before messing with him in the comments. He worked on planning the Rochester ARTWalk, and thinks Buffalo should have one of those, too (write your congressman). You can also find RaChaCha (all too often, we frequently nag him) on the Twitters at @HeyRaChaCha. Which is what some people here yell when they see him on the street. You know who you are.

Please note: the final lecture in the “Church on Fire” lecture series will be this Tuesday, May 24, at 7:00 PM. This week, one of the death penalty’s most formidable opponents will speak in Buffalo against a backdrop of horror. The heinous act of domestic terrorism has rekindled talk of the death penalty in New York State – at least by some on the right. With a resurgence of right-wing politics not just nationally but even in New York spurring talk of the death penalty, and potentially putting hard-won progressive policies in jeopardy, there is perhaps no better time to…

Read More

In this past week or so of our collective anguish, it was easy to overlook the eighth anniversary of “Hands Across Buffalo.” On that remarkable spring day, people from across the city and region gathered along Ferry Street and created a human chain from one side of our divided city to the other. At the time I was involved in the startup of a Niagara Street revitalization initiative, so I headed to the far west end and stood with Rich Products employees and executives, including Howard Rich. If you took part in that event, you know that the symbolism was…

Read More

The Buffalo Mass Mob turned 40 over the weekend. But, y’know, as they say, 40 (XL in Roman numerals) is just a number, right? And in this case that’s actually true, as this was the 40th mobbing committed by the Buffalo Mass Mob since its uncertain beginning in 2013 at St. Adalbert’s Basilica. Then the concept was so new that the priest called it a “mob Mass” and had been initially concerned that an actual angry mob was going to descend on his service. But although the mob has descended two score times, it has been a joyful, not an…

Read More

One of the most historic buildings in Black Rock, 1 Howell Street has been a literal landmark along Scajaquada Creek for more than a century, but is in jeopardy after suffering a fire last year. According to sources in Black Rock, a developer is proposing to demolish the building and redevelop the site. A meeting is being held tonight, Monday, April 25, at 6:00 PM to discuss the situation, in the church hall at Assumption Church. Assumption Church is the large, twin-spired church in the heart of the Grant-Amherst section of Black Rock, across the street from the current home…

Read More

Why is Buffalo kicking off an entire “Olmsted Week” of events to celebrate the bicentennial of Frederick Law Olmsted’s birth on April 26, 2022? As I suggested in my recent Olmsted Week article, it could be argued that no one who wasn’t from here, and never lived here, had more effect on Buffalo and western New York than Frederick Law Olmsted. How? First and foremost by designing, with his partner, Calvert Vaux, the first citywide park-and-parkway system ever created anywhere, right here in Buffalo. It transformed large swaths of Buffalo, and affected the course and form of development as the city expanded…

Read More

It could be argued that no one who wasn’t from here, and never lived here, had more effect on Buffalo and western New York than Frederick Law Olmsted, born April 26, 1822. How so? Primarily by designing, with his partner, Calvert Vaux, the first citywide park-and-parkway system ever created anywhere, right here in Buffalo. Olmsted skillfully overlaid and integrated that system onto and with the existing radial street grid laid out by Joseph Ellicott, making the park-and-parkway system the second strand of Buffalo’s “planning DNA,” as urban planner Chris Hawley might say. As if that wasn’t enough, Olmsted led an effort to…

Read More

The Parish Pastoral Council of Blessed Sacrament Church-Buffalo regrets to announce that the “Women in a Wounded Church” lecture scheduled for Sunday, March 20, 2022 at 4:30 pm is cancelled. Several minutes into this talk, with the somewhat esoteric theme of “Ignatian Spirituality,” a quote grabbed me by the throat and pulled me in. It was from Pope Francis, a member of the Jesuit religious order founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola: We in the Church are in a critical moment. We are not in an era of change – we are in a change of eras.Pope Francis What the…

Read More

In thinking about church reform – and what Catholic isn’t these days – it’s easy to see it as something “they” should do. “They” being, of course, the church hierarchy, from the Pope to the cardinals to the bishops to the clergy to leaders from the laity. And clearly, “they” do need to reform – desperately. But what about us? “Us” being rank-and-file Catholics, or even people of other faith traditions that may be struggling with similar issues? That was, it seems to me, the unspoken question informing last month’s talk by Franciscan Friar and Priest Father Ross Chamberland, Assistant…

Read More

It was an ill-wind indeed that hit St. Ann’s Church in 1964 – an existential threat. It was a “perfect storm,” at exactly that late-winter time that generates them, but this one was like few alive could remember. It generated hurricane-force winds, making last weekend’s windstorm a piker by comparison. Although no one was killed when the storm blew through Buffalo, eight people were injured, including a boy who was blown into a sewer. Downtown, a store window blew out, sending glass and mannequins into the street. Frail and unsteady pedestrians were blown over, some requiring police help to make…

Read More

Most of us would admit, if administered truth serum or enough beers, that our relationship with Buffalo is love-hate. There are things about this city that are profoundly disturbing and deeply unjust: racism, segregation, dysfunction, and economic injustice, to name a few. While all that would make it easy to leave, and many have, others stay – and even come here – convinced that Buffalo is worth investing in and worth fighting for. Why? In part because, many of us have found, there exists something ineffable about this place. Experiences of places, people, and happenings here can burrow deeply, past…

Read More