Buffalo, New York
Downtown Buffalo is where the great men’s clothing stores once were, especially Kleinhans, housed behind the handsome facade of the Brisbane building that curved around Lafayette Square. While being fitted for a suit at Kleinhans, one could look out the window to see the library where Mark Twain’s manuscripts and John James Audubon’s bird portraits were housed amid banks, courts, and offices full of men who wore suits and ties. Blocked hats, shoeshine boys, cigar stores, and barbershops with straight razors and strops—all were downtown. Three decades ago, when Main Street was ravaged by a streetcar and subway project, the great men’s stores moved to the suburbs. Actually, everything moved to the suburbs when they dug up the streets. And men like my grandfather who wore suits downtown gradually died off.