To celebrate another year full of fun, fascinating reads, we're sharing our favorite stories of the year—chosen by those who helped us tell them (our regular contributors, that is).
Writer Matthew Biddle says: "I've been a history buff for as long as I can remember, so for me, it was a thrill to have a one-on-one tour of the Buffalo History Museum's new 'Icons: The Makers and Moments of Buffalo Sports' exhibit with Anthony Greco, director of exhibits and interpretive planning. It was fascinating to hear the stories of the top athletes, arenas, broadcasters and milestones from Buffalo sports history, and get the inside scoop from Greco on how the museum acquired many of the one-of-a-kind relics that make up the exhibit. Icons will be up for a few more years, with a rotating section to highlight more recent players and moments—so I'd encourage readers to check it out and explore the rest of the museum as well."
Dave Jarosz, photographer, says: "I really enjoyed photographing Jason Pominville for the 'Being a Father' story. This story helped me appreciate a professional athlete's struggles of being away from his family for an extended period of time.
While photographing Jason and his wife Kim, for the cover, we briefly discussed the many challenges that a professional hockey player and his family choose to endure. Whether its being on the road playing, or moving your family due to the precarious nature of the profession, it's collaboration and working as a unit that keeps their family running smoothly. Jason and his family have my utmost respect and admiration. They are a testament to couples who work as a team to achieve a well rounded balance of family life and profession. I walked away with a new perspective of the sacrifices they make."
Writer Kellie Mazur says: "As a longtime fan of Archie Comics and someone who rarely misses a Marvel blockbuster, it was so fun to pick the brains of these shop owners. I learned they all have their own unique philosophies when it comes to comic books. Each purveyor was so well read in the genre that I made sure to buy one of their recommendations at every stop. It introduced me to some titles that I wouldn’t have picked on my own like Image Comics’ Rat Queens and DC Comics’ Batwoman, which in turn introduced me to new universes. Comic books will likely continue to diversify and it was great to see that Buffalo is well taken care of in that department."
Writer Devon Dams-O'Connor says: "Not only was it enlightening to have an honest, immersive conversation with such a passionate, kick-ass woman with a great story to tell, but the piece also elicited an unexpected letter from another of the same—my most influential high school writing teacher, who shared encouraging feedback on the article just as she had on my earliest writing more than 20 years ago!"
Writer Peter Martin says: "Greg was a really interesting guy to talk to who was super passionate about his work—and the work of other artists and artisans. And he makes some beautiful pottery as well. I love telling the stories of the small business people and creative makers who are bringing vibrancy back to the city."
Writer Nanette D. Massey says: "I grew up thinking there's a finite list of occupations that you have to pick something from. Teacher, firefighter, steel worker. I'm always intrigued by stories of people who decide to make something up on their own, outside of what's expected, and present it to us like 'this is what I am, you do whatever you have to do to fit it into your world view.'"
Writer Jessica Kelly says: "I love to travel and I LOVE food, so when I'm in a new place I often seek out interesting food halls and markets to try a few unique local dishes. It's fun to inspire readers to do the same!"
Buffalo Magazine staffer Tracey Duffy says: "Aside from the obvious research perks, I really loved hearing about how older people were so happy to find the candy of their youth. My mother worked in a candy store every summer for many years, so it also brought back great memories of her and my own childhood."
Resident wine columnist Warren T. Colville, publisher and president of The Buffalo News, says: "I really like this column because it covers three important elements—great food, great wine and most importantly, great friends."
This was my favorite story to write this year because...food and family! Nothing is more special. I loved this opportunity to share a three-generation tradition for the Noel family that's still going strong: canning fresh peaches each August. Tasting the scrumptious results (in the form of peach cobbler) sure didn't hurt either.
What about our fearless editor, Jennifer Lata-Rung? Her favorite piece of the year:
"I tend to love anything Devon Dams O’Connor writes—she brings an intelligence to her research and reporting that shines through every piece—but my favorite this year had to be her July 2018 story on yoga and goats. The picture she paints is spot-on—and made me laugh out loud: 'As people do yoga, the goats, usually baby ones or small pigmy varieties, wander amongst the posing yogis and do goat things like munching on grass, jumping around—and completely ignoring everyone’s personal space as they closely inspect earrings, walk underneath people bridged in downward-facing dog, “baaa” and head-butt each other without regard, lay down on mats, and yes, sometimes raise a tail to drop a turd or two nearby.'"
And her favorite story to write?
"Mainly because writing it gave me the chance to re-live this incredible weekend getaway."
**Related read: A year in Buffalo Magazine covers
Story topics: BufFYI