Public Art in Buffalo - Table of Contents .................. Hertel Avenue - Table of Contents
“Hertel Postcard” mural
By Vinny Alejandro
1787 Hertel Avenue (corner Voorhees), Buffalo, New York
North Buff on the Rise
By Holly Metz Doyle
Buffalo Rising, June 3, 2016
If you are of a certain age, you may have a few fond memories of late nights spent at Mulligan’s Café and Nightclub on Hertel Avenue. If you were one of the lucky ones, your VIP membership gained you and your friends entrance to the VIP room adjacent to the main space. Located on Hertel Avenue in North Buffalo, Mulligan’s was a hotspot during the disco era of the 1970s and 1980s, with the likes of OJ Simpson and Rick James in frequent attendance. On any given Saturday night, James would be donning an elaborate full-length fur coat flanked by an entourage of beautiful women, and would whisk away a fortunate few from the pub in the front, to the VIP room in the back, treating them to a night of dancing, drinks, and whatever else might have happened during that era of excess.
Left vacant for years now, the once vibrant building will soon breathe new life, thanks to local attorney and Hertel reformer Tom Eoannou. Eoannou has invested heavily in the North Buffalo Community and says, “There has been more money spent in the development on Hertel Avenue within the last year than has probably been spent in the past 20 years.” He continues, “What was once a sleepy part of the street is now the most vibrant.” The part of the street he is referring to is the block encompassing the southwest corner of Hertel and Starin Avenues.
A Gord Downie sighting on Hertel
Buffalo Rising, September 28, 2017
A third Hertel Avenue mural is set to be unveiled today. This particular work is on the side of the Hertel Liquor Library, 1669 Hertel Avenue. In a bit of a twist, the mural depicts a musician who might not be readily associated with Buffalo, but who has a huge fanbase in this city. The musician? The Tragically Hip’s singer Gord Downie. In the mural is a line from Downie that mural enthusiasts felt embodied the music legend… “No Dress Rehearsal. This Is Our Life.”
The mural is part of the Hertel Walls series, which is being driven by a number of people, including Delaware District Councilmember Joel Feroleto.
“This is a mural celebrating life, while adding color to the already vibrant streetscape of Hertel Avenue,” said Feroleto. “I couldn’t be more excited about all of the good things going on in the Delaware District, especially on Hertel. This is becoming a premier section of the city.”
The wall on which the mural is being applied is owned by building owner, attorney, and Hertel backer Thomas Eoannou. “It’s not only a great tribute to a beloved musician, it also reflects the new attitude on Hertel,” noted Eoannou. “This is her time.”
The artwork supplied for the wall came from Rory Allen of Zoom Copy, who happens to be a big fan of Downie. ““I wanted to create a tribute to Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip considering Buffalo’s special affection for him, his unfortunate health diagnosis, and the beautiful artist that he is.” said Allen.
RIP Gord Downie, A Canadian Rock Legend
By Dan Bender
Street Smart Sports, October 19, 2017
Gordon Edgar Downie: February 6th, 1964 – October 17th, 2017
This past Tuesday, we received the unfortunate but expected news of the passing of rock legend, Gord Downie at the age of 53. For those of you who don’t know, Gord was the lead singer of the famous Kingston, Ontario based band, The Tragically Hip. He was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer during December 2016 and made the official announcement to fans in May of the following year. Given the band’s ties with hockey and several American border towns, including Buffalo, I figured it was appropriate to pay tribute to Gord whose determination to live life to the fullest should serve as an inspiration for us all. Perhaps the Hip’s biggest allure to fans was their connections with hockey, a sport that rarely gets significant recognition in the United States. Gord himself grew up playing goalie for the Amherstview, Ontario hockey team. He had connections to the game at its highest level with his godfather, Harry Sinden. Sinden became head coach and general manager of the Boston Bruins and won the Stanley Cup in 1970. With a background like that, it is no surprise hockey is mentioned throughout Gord’s poetic lyrics.
Gord and the band had a place in the hearts of many Buffalonians due to the their love for hockey and the city’s proximity to the Canadian border. The Hip were frequent visitors to Western New York, most recently performing on April 18th, 2015 in what is now Keybank Center. That show featured the 1992 album, “Fully Completely” and would unfortunately be the group’s last visit to our great city. Gord recognized Buffalo’s appreciation for the Hip’s music.
Further exemplifying this bond is the mural located at 1673 Hertel Avenue which depicts Gord performing on the “Man Machine Poem” tour. The quote inscribed on the wall is, “No dress rehearsal, this is our life,” a line from the 1996 hit song, “Ahead by a Century.” Artist Rory Allen said he chose that line as it fully embodies Gord’s desire to live life to the fullest, even after his terminal diagnosis.
Gord Downie was a man who recognized the good parts of life. He preached about the ups and downs we all experience, but saw that “It’s a Good Life if you Don’t Weaken,” and weaken he certainly did not during his final months. In this short period, The Hip released their 13th album, “Man Machine Poem,” and Gord himself was set to release a sixth solo album, “Introduce Yourself,” on October 27th. Clearly, he was not going to let cancer stop him from doing what he loved. Indeed, his “music is at work” as he tells us to embrace each day we are blessed with. His lyrics will live on in the hearts of all his fans for a long time to come, and to this I say, rest in peace. You will be missed, Gord.