Paul, a Goo Goo Dolls fan who has seen the band in concert six times, issued a challenge: locate the six buildings pictured in the liner notes of Superstar Car Wash (the Dolls’ fourth album) and see what they look like today.
All of the buildings are located in Buffalo, which is where lead singer John Rzeznik grew up. The original photos were taken at least 20 years ago, and with the exception of one location they’ve all changed quite a bit.
(Photo credit: The “Before” photos were taken by Frank Luterek, which I scanned from the Goo Goo Dolls’ Superstar Car Wash liner notes. The “After” images were taken by me.)
This is the actual Superstar Car Wash (228 William Street). What a cool, funky place!
This is what the car wash looks like now.
I actually have a funny story about the car wash. This location was my first stop, and in order to get a good angle I had to cross the street and stand in the median. As I walked back toward the building, an older gentleman emerged from the structure and asked why I was taking photos. I explained my mission, and although he looked confused, he appeared to believe me.
The (former) car wash’s large door was open and I could see several vehicles inside. To make conversation, I asked if he was using the building to work on cars. He quickly assured me he was not. “This building is being used for storage,” he said.
I thanked him and returned to my car, which was parked on a side street not far away. As I prepared to leave, another man tapped on my driver’s side window. He looked reputable so I lowered the window about a quarter of the way to see what he wanted.
It turns out he works for the water company and he had seen me taking photos of the car wash as well. He asked if I was taking pictures because I was interested in buying the place, and I told him I was not. He told me he’s come by a few times trying to catch the old man actually doing business inside the car wash because the water bill isn’t being paid but someone is using it.
On to the next stop!
In my opinion, this building at 384 Broadway is the best-looking of the bunch. After reading comments on this post from Buffalo Rising, I discovered it used to be the location of the Buffalo Awning and Tent Company.
And today? Thanks to Help USA, it is now home to “25 units of service-enriched housing for formerly homeless adults.” How cool is that?
Stransky’s Hardware (located at 756 Broadway) was up next:
Today, Stransky’s has been painted white and the identifying sign has been removed. The windows in the middle are now clear, there’s no longer a mailbox out front, and only one of the four round decorative doo-dads remain at the top (obviously I don’t know my architectural terms). The hardware store moved across the street in 1995; this building currently sits unused.
This is what the Caribbean Experience restaurant used to look like:
The facade is different, but the restaurant (located at 2897 Bailey Avenue) is still open!
The House O’ Quinn restaurant was located at 51 W Chippewa Street. It has the distinction of being the first place Paul consumed a (legal) alcoholic beverage on his 21st birthday.
This building is still open as well, but it is now City Tavern.
Twenty years ago, this building at 632 Broadway was the Mason Food Market:
Sadly, this was the only building on my tour which no longer exists. I’m not sure when it was torn down, but it’s been long enough that you can’t tell anything was ever there.
What will these locations look like in another 20 years? Hopefully I’ll be around to find out.