Author: Tom Tarapacki

Tom Tarapacki

Tom Tarapacki is employed as the Director of Telecommunications, Utilities and Franchises for the City of Buffalo. His book, Chasing the American Dream, was published by Hippocrene Books, and his articles have appeared in a variety of local and national publications. He has written extensively about the history of pro sports in Western New York, particularly the Buffalo Bills, as well as local Polish American history. In addition, his areas of interest include recreation, fitness, and humor.

Crystal Beach Out of the Park by Gary Pooler I’ve long been intrigued with the amazing hold that Crystal Beach Park has on the psyche of so many Western New Yorkers. So many Buffalonians seem to have a very strong attachment to “Buffalo’s Coney Island,” and can’t believe that the amusement park ever closed. As with so many of the long-gone local institutions that are remembered so fondly, it makes me wonder: If it was so great, why isn’t it around anymore? In case you didn’t know, for over a hundred years Crystal Beach Park was an amusement park a…

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For a period from about 1880 to 1910 bicycling enjoyed its greatest popularity in this country. While it was popular throughout the US, the city of Buffalo was a hotbed for bicycling, and was referred to as “The Wheelman’s Paradise.” Early bicycles were expensive and hard to ride —- you’ve seen the “ordinary” bicycle with a huge front wheel, right? Well, in the 1880s the “safety” bicycle came along, and it was much easier to use and much less expensive. Similar to most modern bicycles, the safety bicycle had a diamond-shaped frame, pedals below the saddle that power the back…

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In the late 19th and early 20th centuries bicycling was so popular in Buffalo that the city was frequently referred to as “The Wheelman’s Paradise.” It was also a hotbed for bicycles races of all distances, indoors and outdoors, and one of the star racers of that era turned out to be the great-grandfather of an NFL All Pro. Bicycle races were one of America’s most popular spectator sports in the early 1900’s, from the grueling indoor six-day bicycle races to sprints to long road races. Local venues like the Broadway Auditorium and the Connecticut Street Armory hosted many such…

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After months of negotiations between state and county government officials and the Buffalo Bills, The Buffalo News reports that the parties have agreed on a 10 year lease that will keep the team in Western New York. According to the News report, the deal calls for $130 million to be spent on renovations at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Notably, the Bills will spend $35 million – previous stadium upgrade deals didn’t require the Bills to spend any of their own money. Meanwhile, taxpayers will fund the remaining $95 million. Given the $95 million in public expense, taxpayers are essentially paying $9.5 million…

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You don’t have to be a Buffalo Bills fan to know about “Monday Morning Quarterbacks.” That’s one of the many sports idioms that have come into common usage in American society. Basically, it refers to a person who criticizes a team or player after a performance, having had the benefit of hindsight. The Mitt Romney campaign has certainly had a multitude of Monday Morning Quarterbacks, many of whom were among the campaign’s biggest strategists and cheerleaders just before election day.In sports, the Monday Morning Quarterbacks tend to have a much easier job because the situation is usually much clearer. If…

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When is an injury not an injury in the NFL? Apparently, sometimes an injury is not an injury when it isn’t put on the NFL injury report. Much of the focus on the Bills during the bye week related to defensive end Mario Williams and his left wrist. Williams’ performance has been disappointing thus far, and he partly attributed it to a wrist injury. The manner in which Williams’ injury was reported (or not reported) has raised questions, especially since Williams is the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL (He signed a 6-year, $300 million contract in March). Williams had never…

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With the colder weather returning to Buffalo, the once seemingly ubiquitous 5K races are not as common as they were during the summer. With the end of Daylight Savings Time, most of those races are held on weekends. One of the most interesting of the winter races is the Reindeer Run, which is being held on Saturday, December 3rd.The popular annual 5K race has a great course that takes you through the streets of north Buffalo and Forest Lawn Cemetery. At the end there’ll be a post-race part on the Medaille College Buffalo campus, with refreshments and free massages for…

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Here’s your warning: Now is the time to register for the 2011 Turkey Trot. At some point before the start of this Buffalo tradition registration will likely be shut down, so it’s a good idea to do it now.As you may know, the Turkey Trot has gotten so popular that last year race organizers decided to limit participation to 12,500 registrants. The race had grown so large that, for the safety of all involved, it was decided to cap the number of runners. That same limit is in place this year as well.The 116th annual YMCA Turkey Trot will be…

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Friday Dec 17 & Saturday Dec 18. In the spirit of community and conspicuous consumerism, a great way to buy thoughtful obligatory gifts and support your own community is by shopping locally and buying locally made items. This is nothing new, but always worth remembering when the thought of your shopping dollars going out of town could in fact stay here and support local artisans. Of the many holiday shopping opportunities this year, the “Last Minute Panic Holiday Marketplace” at the WNY Book Arts Center stands out as an edgy arts and crafts event with over 20 vendors who make,…

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