The road was originally called Bowery Street, named after the trees that once bowered overhead. The residents became uncomfortable with the name Bowery. At this time, Manhattan’s Bowery section was becoming an area of brothels, low-brow theaters and slums. The residents of Bowery Street in Buffalo didn’t want to be associated with such things. So, in 1874, Bowery Street became Irving Place – named for author Washington Irving. Residents of the street voted to choose the name of the street, so perhaps they were fans of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman? Interestingly, during the revitalization of The Bowery in Manhattan, there was a movement to change the name of the street there as well. The name stuck in Manhattan, but went away in Buffalo.
Fun fact about Irving Place: F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, lived at 29 Irving Place as a boy. His father was an employee at Proctor & Gamble.
“Business Changes Along the Bowery: Attractive Retail Shops have Taken the Place of Old Time Saloons”, New York Times, December 21, 1921.
Allentown Association. http://www.allentown.org/Streets/Irving/