Friday, October 10, 2008

Great Peter Piccolo's ghost

Ay yi yi, what a night lastnight! No wonder I am writing so late.

We went to a party at Susan Peters' house. Some of you might know Susan Peters, the chanteuse. She sings at Nietzsche's. Anyway, Sue has the greatest apartment, in Allentown on College Street, overlooking Arlington Park. I could not believe the view. I went out on the porch and just stood there and stared. The park looked so beautiful, lined with lanterns and Victorian houses with the moon and the stars overhead. Across the park was the steeple of First Church. And if you looked at the houses next door it was like going back in time. Incredible.

Susan has this beautiful baby grand piano -- Aeolian, was the brand name -- and all kinds of people were taking turns playing. Lounge sensation Guy Boleri played "The Heather on the Hill." That was my request, is why I mention it. Jazz sensation Howard Goldman also played, to great acclaim. The living room full of people went wild.

Then this one woman whose name I never did catch sat down and played Billy Joel songs. At that point I was sitting on the couch next to a guy named Jerry. I do not know Jerry's last name but I do know that he works at Hodge Liquors. Jerry was always keeping a proprietory eye on the wine supply. "I'll go get us more," he kept saying. "Spirits is still open."

Spirits is Spirits of Allentown but it sure goes with the spooky story theme this blog has adopted for the month of October.

I loved what Jerry said when this woman sat down and began playing Billy Joel.

"This is great," he said. "There is a time for Rachmaninoff and there is a time for this."

In other words, as Howard laughed later, a time for Rachmaninoff, a time for rock.

Leonard Pennario would not have agreed with that!

The gingerbread house where Susan lives is home to about seven other apartments. The door downstairs is locked so when you ring the doorbell, what happens is Susan comes out on her pretty little upstairs porch and she hands you down a key on a long rope. Isn't that like something out of the Brothers Grimm? I loved it.

This is also neat: The house was originally built, Susan says, as a dorm for the UB Medical School. That is why the street is called College Street.

Lastnight got me thinking about other Allentown experiences I have had. Note to out-of-towners: Allentown is Buffalo's oldest residential neighborhood, sort of like New Orleans' French Quarter.

Once I worked in a haunted building in Allentown. That was when I worked for Interval International, a vacation time-share exchange service, in the building on Elmwood Avenue near Allen Street where Peter Piccolo used to have his hair-cutting school.

The building was haunted by the ghost of Peter Piccolo. There were sightings, and funny feelings. Peter Piccolo had met some kind of violent end. Now I cannot remember what it was. I tried Googling him just now but all I got was: "Maxwell Davies, Sir Peter. Piccolo concerto study guide.." Not what I was looking for!

We are all getting so dependent on Google. If I can't find something by Googling it I do not know what to do. Does anyone out there know what happened to Peter Piccolo? How did he die? I can't remember.

But I do know this: I would rather hear it from someone out there than from Peter Piccolo himself.

6 comments:

Michael said...

Mary, I can fill you in on Peter Piccolo. He was murdered in his office. I covered it for The News. It was before all the clampdowns on the press by various police administrations, and as the police reporter, I was allowed behind the tape, and saw his body, lying there. The crime was never solved.
Mike Beebe

Anonymous said...

Mary,
I too searched for info. on Peter just this month! Nothing is available. I became intrigued when I recently took the Mason Winfield "Ghostwalk" in the Allentown area, which stops at the current charter school on Elmwood. According to the story told by the guide, Peter had angered some mob members who slit his throat in a most gruesome way typical of these type of killings (called a "----necktie", the slang term now escapes me). He then died a slow and tedious death as he attempted to get help---and died in this building! (Thus the ghost sightings.)This ghostwalk was great; did the Williamsville one---but not nearly as interesting (or spooky) as Allentown. Perhaps this tour guide could provide the missing info. for you. (www.masonwinfield.com)
Jennifer

Morgen said...

I took the ghost walk last night. The guide said that peter piccolo "corrupted" the eldest daughter of a high ranking mafia memeber, and one night when he returned to his apartment (where the current principal of the school has his office). The gentlemen were waiting for him. They proceeded to give Peter a "columbian necktie" - slit his throat, pull the tongue out and leave it dangling and leave the person to suffocate/bleed to death" Which is why there's always a large blood pool and sounds of shuffling in the bldg. Apparently peter tried to pull himself to help, but passed out and died in the office. I was hoping to find more information on him today which is how I came to this entry.

Anonymous said...

I am Peter Piccolo's neice who moved away from Buffalo before my uncle was killed in 1979. His death is still to this day very painful. Do any of you know where I can find newspaper articles or any information on him. He left 3 great kids who were very young at the time who would give anything to know more about what happened.
PLEASE feel free to email me.

Thank you! Lori Dunn
ldunn522@comcast.net
My mother is Janie Piccolo, Peter's sister.

Maryann said...

are you still blogging?? it is a year later and i was talking with my son who is a cosmetologist and i told him about the late, great peter piccolo. I am from "the day" but had moved to houston, tx in "78. i heard about peter,s unfortunate loss of life and everybody in the know said cocaine was involved- whether that,s true of not i don't know- but he was so cool and handsome and smart and such a good businessman and everybody like that was snorting coke big time and with all the people peter knew and how he did things big and flashy he would have probably been big time with the coco powder too so it was very believable to me to hear his murder was related to a dope deal gone bad. i used to drive to buffalo as many of the coolest batavians did to have him do our hair he was the best-a jay sebring for sure -jay started the cool sexy male hairstylist thing back in the sixties and was killed by the manson followers with sharon tate in "69-another tragedy firebird50rising@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

I was supposed to interview with Peter Piccolo in 1979. He didn't show up for the interview, so Lou Fummerelle interviewed me. I got and started the job. On the first day, Clip Smith, the reporter, came, and they shut down the salon. All of the employees had to leave. When we returned to work, customers were asking questions. It was horrible. What a way to start a job! I only worked there for 6 weeks. The atmosphere was very uncomfortable. How unfortunate for Peter.