On a personal level, this blog has compressed time and space and acted as an introduction to people that I've met in a few weeks and months rather than years. Some of my favorite posts still include:
Lots of new blogs on the scene here in Buffalo in 2005. Craig and Jennifer do a much better job of keeping people up to date on these things than I ever could. A super snarky suburban blogger has now banned my comments, so high-school - I know. Yet, the blogosphere is a better place with dramatic changes and integration taking place. Some of these developments are collected under the expanding rubric called Web 2.0 applications. This next generation of web activity can best be viewed using the Firefox 1.5 browser which is totally compatible with the wysiwyg editor from Performancing, the coolest extension to the world's best browser. Bloggers, check that out!
Flickr remains the photo archiving and sharing site of choice. Some of the coolest pics of Buffalo can be found here while searching the tags for Buffalo. Riot Sauce and Cacemphaton are some of the most prolific posters. We're having a Flickr meet-up in January, let me know if you want to attend. Check this out, to learn more about what you can do with Flickr.
I made the decision back in September 2004 to start blogging about my neighborhood here in this little corner of Masten on the City's East Side. A totally abandoned City owned local-landmark still sits a block away. Not much has changed with that. Yet, there is now a new youth center across the street and the high school diagonally across from the Woodlawn Row Houses will be home soon to Performing Arts Hight School. So the Woodlawn Row Houses, I guess are officially on the local radar!
100's of posts and thousands of visitors later this blog has grown into a unique slice of documenting Buffalo's historic past, recent decline and pending reemergence as center of vitality. Consider a resolution for 2006! Focus on your neighborhood, something down the block, an aspect of Buffalo's local history that inspires you. Put it in writing or start taking pictures...and start blogging about Buffalo today!
Don't know who's behind Buffalo's latest blog, yet it confirms in my mind that there's a renewed optimism here in Buffalo for openly being critical of our sacred cows.
I first started covering the Joy Drati case rather late in the game this past March. He bounced from
Here's a list of current Drati property in the City of
There is another Fugitive from Judge Nowak's Housing Court living in Redwood City, CA where Drati was living. Here's the story. Last time I checked, Hamilton and Lydia Woods are still fugitives and haven't paid a penny yet for the demolition of their house at 242 Koons Avenue. Perphaps a friendly reminder here on the Redwood City, CA portion of Craigslist is in order.
Here's the Lexis Nexis search that takes us back through the Buffalo News stories about Joy Drati's drama in Housing Court. Here. It unfolds on September 9, 2004 with the condemnation of four Drati buildings on the City's west side.
Armed with a battering ram, a strong police presence and a court order, Buffalo housing inspection officials took on an accused slumlord Wednesday by forcing tenants from four of his West Side properties.
The presence of West Nile virus in stagnant basement water, an infestation of cockroaches and rats, rotting floors and broken plumbing prompted City Housing Court Judge Henry Nowak to order the immediate removal of residents from apartments in the buildings at West Avenue and Maryland Street.
More than a dozen tenants found themselves out on the street and temporarily homeless on a gray, rainy Wednesday as police went from door to door enforcing Nowak's "order to vacate" the 21/2-story, brick and wood structures that are carved into 32 tiny dwellings owned by J.D. Max Homes of San Pablo, Calif. "To put us out like this is not fair. We didn't get a warning. I've got two children. I think it's crazy," said Desiree Ford, who pays $250 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. "It's not up to par here, but it is livable."
Assistant Corporation Counsel Peter J. Savage III disagreed.
In October, expressing his relentless optimism for getting things done, west side "actionist" Harvey Garrett told a Buffalo News reporter:
"I just want the properties fixed," said Harvey Garrett, the West Side Community Collaborative's co-coordinator on crime and safety.
Mike Calanan, Marilyn Rogers, Dick Kern and the tireless Michele Johnson provided additional background on this post. Their commitment to making this City a better place to live is wildly inspirational. Thanks.
Artspace Archive • Annals of Neglect • BAVPA • Where is Perrysburg? • Broken Promises...
Writing the City • Woodlawn Row Houses • Tour dé Neglect - 2006 • faq • my flickr
Bishop Henry Mansell sold the Transfiguration Church for $7000.00 in 1995. Properties on the City's East Side are often sold or "flipped" to unsuspecting buyers at substantially discounted prices. Why? It's obvious. No one wants to get stuck holding the "hot potato." The church made a business decsion and passed the looming deferred maintenance and crumbling structure to some one else. It's happening again, this time abit closer to the heart-beat of New Buffalo. The Immaculate Conception was shuttered last July on Elmwood and Edward with Bishop Kmiec declaring that it was structurally unsound and in urgent need of $800K of repairs.
that property record and a google map to help you locate both properties. According to über-West Village Activist Marilyn Rogers, 247 Georgia is in immaculate condition. Pictures soon.
In almost two years on the bench, Housing Court Judge Henry Nowak has not seen the Transfiguration Church file #869/97 in his court room. Why?
When I stopped down to City Hall last week to investigate I had the opportunity to chat with Tracy Krug, the same Buffalo Building Inspector who wrote the property for Housing Court seven years ago. He's inspected the property continously, 26 times since March of 1997, and told me about a new series of complaints, including mine, that will take him back to Transfiguration Church this week. Remember, Tracy is the same Building Inspector supporting Michele Johnson's work in the same Broadway Fillmore neighborhood, the same one where we think Common Council President David Franczyk still lives. Here's a post about their work from last April. Tracy Krug has the security fence installed around front of the property to protect pedestrians from falling debris. Who paid the bill?
It's very unlikely that Transfiguration Church will be saved. I've had numerous conversations with people in the know, who point to the obvious neglect in the larger neighborhood and more specificaly the lack of any meaningful density that might support a resurected church in the neighborhood. The question quickly becomes, who is going to pay for the demolition?
And the larger question, as that unsettled recognition continues to seep into our thinking about where Buffalo and the City's East Side is headed, just how do we manage the second phase of the Catholic Church's downsizing. How do we prevent Bishop Kmiec (don't kid yourself, the decisions have already been made) from simply walking away from buildings. The familiar question, "What is to be done?" is never asked when it comes to the Church and Church property. Possibilities include:
- Selling 79 Oakland Place, the largest and most expensive residence in the city.
- Taxing church property that sits vacant for more than 6 months, like they do in Mass.
as if we're not concocting something behind their back."
- Bishop Kmiec
Jim Ostrowski pointed out the most recent casulty of Diocesan Downsizing with his analysis of why Villa Maria High School is closing. Anybody want 75,000sf of loft space on Doat Street? Didn't think so...
Next Summer, The Transfiguration Church will be the third stop on a Preservation Coalition bicycle tour I'm leading, on what some have already called the Tour de Neglect. We will begin near Coe Place and peddle down Dodge Street to the German Roman Catholic Orphan Home - lunch in Buffalo's own MLK Park with park news from the Olmsted People and after lunch we'll head down Sycamore where a local artisan and one of Buffalo's Historians will present the early parish history of Transfiguration church.
In the past few days there's been a renewed interest in the H-O Grain Elevator here in Buffalo, NY. I'm a big Flickr fan and just noticed that a few fellow urban sleuths were snapping pics, too.
And believeinbflo has some cool urban shots, too.
I almost forgot these images. A few weeks ago, while doing research about Coe Place at the UB's School of Architecture and Planning, I spotted this model in the hallway.
Here's the analysis from The Daily Record over in Rochester.
The city [Buffalo - David Franczyk]argued that no discovery had taken place and the property continues to be used for the care and treatment of mentally handicapped persons.
The judge found the city's contention that the property continued to be used to care for mentally retarded persons was sufficient to defeat the instant motion because five original buildings on the J.N. Adam campus continued to be used, until 2004, and all of the people who used the buildings were involved in the care and treatment of mentally retarded patients.Thus, the court concluded that the 10-year period, if it began at all, did not begin until 2004.
Local Buffalo blogger, Craig Howard picked up on the story a few months ago.
...imagine that the tables were turned. Imagine that through some accident of history the City of New York held title to the Outer Harbor and refused to relinquish it unless and until it was developed in an environmentally-friendly manner -- oh, let's say a big park. The economic desperation of Buffalo would mean nothing, of course, because NYC rules.
Can you imagine what David Franczyk (and the environmentalists in Buffalo) would have to say about that?Free Perrysburg! from Perrysburg Held Hostage - Day 4496
Make sure to include Jim's blog on your daily read...
Artspace Archive • Annals of Neglect • BAVPA • Where is Perrysburg? • Broken Promises...
Writing the City • Woodlawn Row Houses • Tour dé Neglect - 2006 • faq
Buffalo's other elected local "preservationist", NYS Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, didn't want to commit himself about the merits of Bishop Kmiec "preemptive adaptive re-use" plans or possible sources for additional funding. "It's pre-mature to comment at this point," Sam said. "Let's wait and see what they plan to do with the green-space before we do anything."
And so it goes... see also Buffalo's first McChurch.
Buffalo Photo Pool. Check it out as a slideshow when you have a few minutes. Cool views of Buffalo...and some of them are on this side of Main Street.
NAPA...My nomination for the Preservation community's corporate citizen of the year award!!!
And don't worry about parking issues, you'll probably run into parents whose children attend two of Buffalo's charter schools, next door and across the street from the near east side's newest retail venture.
Pretty cool place when you consider that most retail stores like this are pretty much "cookie-cutter" by design and use that clever concrete block for construction. In this case the NAPA design department decided to adaptively re-use an existing building that could easily have been knocked down. Here's what the Buffalo News had to say yesterday:
stores are pretty much cookie cutter with everything predetermined, but this was the exact opposite. Everything had to be customized to fit into the space and around the pillars. It gives it a lot of character and a nostalgic feel," he said. Napa
Another non-standard touch is the exterior wall mural that rises above the store on the adjoining building.
hired local artist Blair Rusin to come up with a 1930s scene of a bustling downtown Napa to give the site additional flair. Buffalo
Fix Buffalo – This site focuses almost exclusively on structures on the East Side owned by the city, especially the Woodlawn Row Houses in the Masten District, which have fallen into disrepair. The author saves a great deal of his ire for the City of Buffalo, which owns many of the properties he highlights. The city is apparently immune from any sort of action to reverse its demolition by neglect. The site and blog focus on the beautiful vernacular architecture of the East Side and advocates to end the blight that plagues the neighborhood.Thanks Anna. Looking forward to bringing some suburban Buffalo Spree readers along on the Preservation Coalition's Tour de' Neglect in the late Spring and early Summer months.