Buffalo’s coolest people

Buffalo, New York has many cool people, and some of them have been around so long that you already know they’re cool, like Jim Kelly. However, Buffalo has a lot of other less famous but equally compelling cool people who are unabashedly working to make the city and its metropolitan region a better place to live, work, play and stay. Here’s the first edition posting of Beautiful Buffalo’s list of cool Buffalo people; if you know of someone you think should be on this list, leave a comment with their name and what they’ve done/do to improve the City, and we’ll consider them.

Seamus on the mic at Larkin Square
Seamus on the mic at Larkin Square
Photo credit: Thom Davis

Seamus Gallivan
You’ve probably read his music reviews of concerts in the Buffalo News in the past. This thirtysomething guy is everywhere around Buffalo these days, doing positive things to help others as well as programming Larkin Square’s musical entertainment line-up. In his spare time, he promotes Buffalo with his website, The Good Neighborhood, showing us all what’s good locally.

Nick Battistella
Nick Battistella

Nick Battistella
Walk into a Wegmans some Friday night, or perhaps at an Italian food stand at the Erie County Fair, and you’re likely to hear a voice in the air that sounds so perfect you’ll assume it’s the radio. Wrong– it’s Sinatra & More crooner Nick Battistella. Dressed up in a sharp black tux, he commands an audience’s attention with his rich vocals on classics from Sinatra, Dean Martin, Louis Prima, Bobby Darin and more. He’s Buffalo’s best wedding singer– the kind of guy you want at your reception, singing classic love songs.

Anita Williams
Anita Williams

Anita Williams
If Mother Teresa was still living, she’d probably like to meet her Buffalo counterpart: Anita Williams. A Christian evangelist with the power to pray for you as if Jesus was physically present in the room with you, Anita has faithfully preached the Gospel on Buffalo’s East Side through her “God’s Ministry of Deliverance.” She’s well-known for her encouraging words on local radio like WUFO, as well as the annual event at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park each August called “Taking It To The Streets.” Because of Anita’s hard work and dedication to helping people in need, thousands of Buffalonians have received school supplies, canned goods, clothing, health care, and more through her efforts and the many wonderful volunteers she gathers to go out and do good things for the community.

Steve Cichon and his wife Monica
Steve Cichon and his wife Monica

Steve Cichon
Known for wearing a bow tie around town, Steve Cichon used to deliver local news on WBEN radio. He served as a producer, reporter, and news director in local media, until he ventured on his own with his latest creation, Buffalo Stories. With a humorous approach to life, as well as an insatiable heart for Buffalo and its history, Steve knows more about Buffalo trivia than you or I. He can tell you pop culture facts about Buffalo, and share numerous stories of the many characters who lived–and live–in our one-of-a-kind city. As the author of three books, including one about the venerable WKBW anchor, Irv Weinstein, Steve is an in-demand guest speaker to liven up otherwise dull events. Steve and his wife Monica live in a 1909 E.B. Green-designed home they’ve been renovating since 2000.

Newell Nussbaumer
Newell Nussbaumer

Newell Nussbaumer
Many people have said Newell Nussbaumer should run for Mayor of Buffalo. He has done more for the City than most people, politicians included. Through his popular website, BuffaloRising.com, Newell shines a light on many great things happening in the area, with an emphasis on the City, and its events, people, places and developments. His list of accomplishments is quite long– where do we even begin? He’s the co-founder of the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts; Powder Keg Festival that built the world’s largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records); instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina; co-creator of the Flurrious! winter festival; co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer; instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside; founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market; instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside; catalyst behind the Pierce-Arrow Film Arts Center; and he also offers package tours of Buffalo for groups or individuals.  Maybe he should be Mayor?!

Dana Saylor
Dana Saylor

Dana Saylor
As a professional historical researcher, Dana Saylor likes discovering things about people and places. With an artistic bent, she’s also someone who enjoys sketching local buildings, and she has created sets of greeting cards for sale featuring watercolor paintings of Buffalo buildings, such as ones along Amherst Street on the West Side. On top of that, she is one of the organizers of City of Night, an artistic event held at Silo City (Buffalo’s old grain elevators), where a once-a-year, one-of-a-kind nighttime party takes place each summer.

Joe & Jeanenne Petri
Joe & Jeanenne Petri

Joe & Jeanenne Petri
Barnes & Noble is the Wal-Mart of books, but that doesn’t mean a small, locally-owned book store can’t thrive in today’s digital age. Husband and wife team Joe & Jeanenne Petri opened the cleverly named Westside Stories used book store on Grant Street, across the street from Prish Moran’s Sweetness7 Cafe, helping make that area of Buffalo’s West Side a destination for people who appreciate the written word, a good coffee shop, and the spirit of a lively neighborhood that’s very walkable and filled with people from all over the world. As a bonus, they sell records– remember those? You know, vinyl music discs from the 1960s/70s/80s and such? This cool couple with kids could have stayed in Brooklyn, but they chose to move to Buffalo and start something every cool city needs–a great used book store.

Nate Salter
Nate Salter

Nate Salter
Kids today need someone to look up to, and Nate Salter is one of Buffalo’s outstanding guys who cares about the City’s kids and people in general. A music minister at Greater Refuge Temple on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, Nate also owns and runs Salter’s Christian Music, which not only teaches kids from all over Western New York how to play instruments like piano, drums and guitar, but also hosts an annual Summer Youth Music Camp in East Aurora. Nate is the author of the book 7 Things Singles Should Accomplish Before Marriage as well as a prolific, internationally-touring recording artist. His latest CD, No One Above You, reaches a diverse audience with rock elements, a little opera singing, and even some dance tracks. He’s passionate about seeing Buffalo thrive, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more optimistic guy in the City.

Drew Ludwig
Drew Ludwig

Drew Ludwig
He’s originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but Drew Ludwig has become an important part of Buffalo since he took over Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church (at Elmwood Avenue) in Buffalo several years ago as its Pastor. How does Drew describe himself? “Post-Evangelical, progressive, Jesus-loving, Bible quoting member of the PC(USA), with some anabaptist tendencies (and facial hair). Roman Catholic/Evangelical/Presbyterian roots, Lutheran/American Baptist Education. I’m an ecumenical mess.” His church is somewhat unconventional, serving people other churches might be intimidated by. Even more interesting is that Drew is part of ComedySportz, the local improv comedy troupe performing weekly, making stuff up and making audiences laugh.

Howard Goldman
Howard Goldman

Howard Goldman
He lives in the big old house next to Statler City with his wife Mary (a popular writer for The Buffalo News), has an appreciation for fixing up classic cars, and studies with lounge pianist Jackie Jocko to be the best lounge pianist he can be– he’s Howard Goldman, one of Buffalo’s most unique characters. He has his own web TV station! You can also see him in person, tickling the ivories inside Statler City, or (on occasion) playing piano at E.B. Green’s Steakhouse at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo.

Joanna Pasceri
Joanna Pasceri

Joanna Pasceri
As soon as she graduated college, Joanna Pasceri went right into TV news, working at an Elmira station for a couple years before coming home to the Buffalo area and working for WKBW, Channel 7. Working her way up in TV news over the years, she went from being a behind-the-scenes news writer to becoming co-anchor with Keith Radford, a job she faithfully does night after night so we all know what’s going on in Buffalo. Married with two daughters, Joanna’s a fine news reader, but it’s her personal interviews with people that touch people’s hearts in particular. Through Channel 7’s “Women In Leadership” website section, she talks with strong female leaders making a positive impact in Western New York and helps them share their stories– a very cool thing to do. Follow her on Twitter here.

Mari McNeil
Mari McNeil

Mari McNeil
Here’s a woman who did the unthinkable: she gave up her high-paying corporate job in Buffalo to become a…jazz singer. And you know what? Good for her and it worked out! Ever industrious, Mari (pronounced Mah-ree) books her own gigs, gets a band together, and is releasing her first CD this year. She’s doing what she loves– and doing it in Buffalo. Her blog is a fine example of how honest a typical Buffalonian is with the world– you can read about how she was told to get a nose job, but she realized that her nose has character and she’s fine the way she is. By the way, she’s a great entertainer!

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Published by

Mark Weber

Mark Weber publishes the MarkWeberMusicBlog.

20 thoughts on “Buffalo’s coolest people”

  1. Talina Massey – Network Engineer at Apoidea Network Solutions Group, Urban Chamber of Commerce member and community liaison, Buffalo ReuseIT board member and advocator for low-price or free tech equip for Buffalo’s disadvantaged, Co-Founder of Beautyfull We which brings community changes through feminine intellect, activism, and charity, Citizen’s Participation Academy attendee for Mayor Byron Brown, using tools learned to inform and assist residents of WNY, TEAM Program mentor for HS students, and USMC veteran.

  2. Prish Moran, owner of Sweetness 7 Cafe and JP, owner of Sunday Skateboard Shop are very cool people.

  3. Del Reid, co-founder of the BillsMafia and founder of 26shirts.com. Raising money for children and families in need. One of the coolest guys in Buffalo.

  4. Look up Tom Murdock on Lancaster st. He was with Niagara Frontier & Andrew Ruddick until he resigned..he moved back to town after successful career in
    London, NY and Chicago. A big fan of Buffalo.

  5. Liz Kolken of Quaker Bonnet, currently on Allen Street, is such a part of the history of Buffalo. Get to know her and the many chapters of her life in Buffalo.

  6. Hi
    I enjoyed your list of Buffalo’s coolest people. I wasn’t sure if i can nominate myself but i’m a local artist that has been creating drawings & paintings of Buffalo for years. some of them include central terminal, city hall, the buffalo skyline, darwin martin house, prudential guaranty, the Statler, botanical gardens local colleges & several more that can be seen on my website. Past mayor Anthony Masiello presented one of my paintings to Bill Clinton when he was in town & ive also sold work to the FBI, warner bros & the us attorneys office. Also have worked with fundraising and non profits such as the american red cross, Roswell park, gerard place, shea’s theater, sabah & many others. Let me know what you think of my work. Thanks
    Dan Predmore

  7. Jennifer Stergion, attorney, Black Rock. She also ran for office and does a lot to help a city she takes pride in.

  8. Love Drew Ludwig and miss Lafayetter Pres.as we moved away from Buffalo, they are doing some really awesome things there. Also, love Joe & Jeanenne Petri of Westside Stories, great people, great bookstore. You missed Teresa Quinn, she does just about everything, some of you would know her as part of the group named Girls Gone Mild.

  9. Kristen Peterson, the director of the Creative Problem Solving Institute, a conference that was held in Buffalo in the 60’s and 70’s, that she brought back here, the town where the term “brainstorming” was coined, about five years ago. She heads up the yearly event that draws people from all over the world to learn about the Creative Problem Solving process that Buffalonian Alex Osborn developed.

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