“Queen City” note card set
LOVED FOR: Many of the nicknames for the City of Buffalo are featured on this set: Queen City, Nickel City, City of Good Neighbors, City of No Illusions, and Home of the Chicken Wing. Blank on the inside so you can write your own message of Buffalove!
GOOD TO KNOW: Set of 5 note cards are 5.5 x 4.25 inches folded, includes 5 blank white envelopes. Packaged with care in an “eco-friendly” plastic sleeve that is made from plants and is compostable.
BUFFALOVE: Ever wonder where all those nicknames came from? Each relates to a time period in Buffalo’s history.
Originally printed as “Queen City of the Lakes” and now shortened to “Queen City,” you can find a reference in the Buffalo City Directory, published by Horatio N. Walker in 1842. He called his directory “an indispensable index to the rise and progress of our QUEEN CITY OF THE LAKES.”
“Nickel City” refers to the Indian-head nickel, initially minted in 1913 and discontinued in 1938, which featured a bison on the reverse and was also called “the buffalo nickel.”
Buffalo became the “City of Good Neighbors” on January 23, 1940, when Mayor Thomas L. Holling introduced a resolution making the phrase the official municipal slogan and ordered it should be “imprinted, if practicable, on all city stationery hereafter to be printed.” The resolution passed and Holling gave the council’s Republican majority “a box of cigars as a token of good will,” according to a Buffalo Evening News article at the time.
Michael Morgulis, originator of the phrase, says “City of No Illusions” was coined at a 1977 meeting at his studio, located at the Pierce Arrow building on Elmwood Avenue. He and a group of students and professors from UB’s Department of American Studies were brainstorming a logo for the department. Morgulis says, “We knew we needed something catchy. Somebody said, I just read this great novel by Ursula K. LeGuin – City of Illusions – and it could be Buffalo, City of Illusions and I said, No way! It’s got to be City of NO Illusions!”
And finally, even though it’s not actually a nickname, Buffalo is renowned as the home of chicken wings! And don't ever call them "buffalo wings, just plain wings! The 1964 origin story says spicy chicken wings were first created by Teresa Bellissimo, who owned the Anchor Bar with her husband Frank. According to her son Dominic, upon his unannounced, late-night arrival with several of his friends from college, Teresa needed a fast and easy snack to feed them. It was then that she came up with the idea of deep frying chicken wings (normally thrown away or reserved for stock) and tossing them in cayenne hot sauce. Dominic Bellissimo told The New Yorker reporter Calvin Trillin in 1980, “It was Friday night in the bar and since people were buying a lot of drinks he wanted to do something nice for them at midnight when the mostly Catholic patrons would be able to eat meat again.” That’s when his mother came up with the recipe for chicken wings.
A competing claim is that John Young, and African American who moved to Buffalo from Alabama in 1948, began serving uncut chicken wings that were breaded, deep fried and served in his own special tomato-based “Mambo sauce” at his Buffalo restaurant, beginning in 1961. Before he opened his restaurant he had had a conversation with a boxer and in a later interview Young recalled: “He told me that there was a restaurant in Washington, D.C. that was doing a good business with wings and I decided to specialize.” He registered the name of his restaurant, John Young’s Wings ‘n Things, at the Erie County courthouse before leaving the Buffalo area in 1970. In 2013, at the National Buffalo Wing Festival, held in Buffalo, John Young’s contributions were acknowledged when he was inducted into the festival’s National Buffalo Wing Hall of Flame.