And here's what BHL had to say about Buffalo, NY....
That a city could die: for a European, that is unthinkable. And yet … Buffalo, a city that was once the glory of America, its showcase, where two presidents once lived (and where one was shot and another inaugurated), a city that on this late-July afternoon — the anniversary, by the way, of Tocqueville's visit, in 1831 — offers a landscape of desolation: long avenues without cars, stretching out to infinity; not one good restaurant to dine in; few hotels; fake gardens in place of buildings; deserted lots in place of gardens; trees that are dead or diseased; boarded-up office buildings, disintegrating or about to be torn down. Yes, a city where you can still find some of the finest specimens of urban architecture in America and some of the earliest skyscrapers, is now reduced to destroying them, because an unoccupied building is a building that is breaking apart and, one day or another, will fall on your head. The library is on the verge of financial collapse. There are streets that seem not to have any running water or mail delivery. Even the main train station, which during the era of the steelworks was a major hub, is now only a shell, an enormous abandoned sugarloaf, with rusted metal signs, wind howling, crows flying around it, and, in big letters, THE NEW YORK CENTRAL, RAILROAD, already half effaced.
“The trip was under three shadows,” BHL explains. “The shadow of the war in Iraq, the shadow of an election, and the shadow of Katrina,” although the hurricane hadn’t struck at the time he wrote the book. “The anti-ci-pated shadow of Katrina, as you see. I was in New Orleans four or five months before Katrina, and I more or less foresee what is going to happen.”
Love the French. I still do.
Here's Part-II "More Moi" ---- with podcasts and additional reviews...
Here's Part III. It relates directly to housing, planning and investment opportunities in the area surrounding Artspace. I met über urban planner Stevan Stipanovich in the computer lab at BSC today. He passed along a few files including this poster outlining what's coming down...(it's not even back from the printer yet!)
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The plan has defined broad goals for the neighborhood to be pursued by public and private partners:
I'll be adding hyperlinks and pictures to this report. It's long, well written and provides the high level of detail that may trigger the addtional private sector investment needed in Midtown, Buffalo's newest destination on the near East Side.1. reinforce tightly-knit, urban streetscapes
2. provide gap financing for new home construction and rehabilitation
3. create new small business opportunities along walkable retail corridors
4. preserve and reuse resources important to the history and character of the neighborhood
5. enhance neighborhood densities through quality infill development
6. identify neighborhood regreening strategies and public space opportunities
7. add new and distinctive streetscape amenities
8. provide a staging ground for arts-related neighborhood improvements
9. encourage bicycle and transit use
10. solidify the unique image and sense of place inherent to the Midtown district
Most readers of this Masten neighborhood blog already know about my fascination with Coe Place. Chris Hawley has just completed the research on one of Buffalo's emerging historical land marks, the 'Hamilton Ward House' formerly known as 19 Coe Place.
- New York State Attorney General from 1928 to 1930, only Republican elected statewide same year that Franklin D. Roosevelt elected Governor
- Founder of
, longtime chairman of Allegany State Park Commission and considered one of Allegany State Park 's leading nature conservationist New York
- Founder of Erie County Parks Commission, key leader in forming first four county parks after 1924:
, Ellicott Creek, Emery, Chestnut Ridge Como Lake
- Largely designed Chestnut Ridge in
and bequeathed several hundred acre portion of his property to county for Chestnut Ridge in his living will and testament Orchard Park, NY
- Was formidable candidate for governor in 1930, backed out early at urging of party
- Founder and first National Commander of Spanish War Veterans, war hero Captain in Spanish-American War, single handedly oversaw construction of a 30 mile rail line in
Havana at a young age Cuba
- Made the address at Millard Fillmore's
memorial service in 1902 Buffalo
- His father, Hamilton Ward also a prominent lawyer, wrote the letters of impeachment against President Andrew Johnson as congressman
There's a chair in our state which is only yours still,
There's a spot in our mem'ry forever your own,
For dearer and dearer you daily have grown.
Sure, we love the dear bright light that shines in your eyes,
And the clever good nature we've all learned to prize;
We hope all the blessings sent down by the Lord
Will come to you and help you, our Hamilton Ward.
When he's not singing this tune - he actually called me last week and sang it over the phone. Chris drafted a comprehensive report detailing the housing opportunities and planning that he's proposed for the City's near East Side. He writes:
Coe Place is the most historically and urbanistically significant street in the Midtown neighborhood. At one time a brick pedestrian pathway, converted to a residential street by a quixotic nineteenth-century skating rink operator, Coe Place is a charming, very narrow street, originally no more than fifteen feet wide, lined with a collection of close-knit Queen Anne-style houses whose singular attributes are unmatched anywhere else in Buffalo.
We wanted to make it available now as a major preservation struggle involving the "Hamilton Ward House" is ready to unfold.
39 Coe Place will be sold at public auction. JER Revenue Services will be conducting the auction on Thursday February 23 at 11am. Here's the City of Buffalo official property description for 39 Coe Place.and the Google Map shot.
Check the JER Revenue Services website for additional terms. I've known the property to be vacant for at least 10 years. It's a solid opportunity for someone who is handy and willing to make a serious contribution to this emerging arts neighborhood.
Pictures tomorrow. I'm getting e-mails from all over regarding Buffalo's coolest street. Let me know if you want to meet-up for a weekend neighborhood walk around.
Artspace Archive • Annals of Neglect • BAVPA • Where is Perrysburg? • Broken Promises...
Writing the City • Woodlawn Row Houses • Tour dé Neglect - 2006 • faq
Here a few pics that show some more of the site work and how the grounds surrounding the Jesse Nash House and Buffalo's latest historic district are shaping up. Benches, walk ways, gardens, historic markers, period street lighting and these cool new medallions are part of the sidewalk planter boxes.
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Thursday, January 26, 2006Lecture: J. Edward Nash and the Michigan Avenue Baptist ChurchTime: 6:00 p.m.Location: Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society25 Nottingham Court, BuffaloIn Session VI of What Price Freedom? The Centennial Celebration of the Niagara Movement in Buffalo, New York, Felix Armfield, associate professor, History and Social Studies Education, Buffalo State, and Executive Director of the Nash House and Museum, will discuss Reverend J.E. Nash's prominence during the first half of the twentieth century. Jesse Nash, professor emeritus, Canisius College, will share his experiences growing up in the Nash home.
Here's a snap looking east on Allen towards the subway stop. The Roswell Park campus is in the background. And two close up views.
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Making the connection toboth halves of Buffalo, East and West, is important. Yet the proposals flying around have included taking down these houses to make room for a "straight" road. Please, this is Allen town. If the street isn't straight and curves somewhat, does it really matter?
With the Preservation Coalition recently taking up residence in the Red Jacket Building on the corner of Main and Allen look for more creative designs and urban friendly planning in this East and West Side connector. It's hard to imagine a demolition of 19th century Buffalo residential property right on their door step.
google map showing the proximity of 319 Koons to the Harvey Austin School, one of Buffalo newest public schools.
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It sits directly across the street from 320 Koons Avenue, the scene of a four brutal murders in April. It's still wide open in the back, 100 days after informing John Hannon, Director of Real Estate that the property needed his immediate attention.So, will someone please tell me what's happening here on Koons Avenue? A new City school and at least two examples of abandoned, boarded, derelict and vacant City owned property in the immediate proximity of a center for education and learning. Think about it. If these properties were on Elmwood or in North Buffalo...would it take a year or longer for these properties to be properly boarded and secured? What's it going to take. Four more murders...a child being abducted before the condition of City owned property becomes a priority.
Meanwhile just a block away at 191 Goodyear Avenue, nothing has changed. Picture on the left is from January 2005 and on the right yesterday. See the relationship between 191 Goodyear and the Harvey Austin School, right here.
The Wollenberg Grain Elevator is located just 500 feet away from the recently renovated Harvey Austin School. Frequent readers of this blog may recall that I first met Michele Johnson, Artvoice Hero of The Year right here on Koons Avenue while trying to get the house demolished - a $7,000 demolition that Buffalo residents paid for - that sat just 50 feet away from the main entrance to the Harvey Austin School. Here's that story. The house is down...and the City of Buffalo still hasn't collected a penny from Hamilton and Lydia Woods of Redwood City, CA. Go figure...
Just over the tracks and 500 feet away is the Wollenberg Grain Elevator. It's the fourth stop on a Preservation Coalition sponsored Bicycle Tour - dubbed by some as the Tour de Neglect - that I'll be leading this summer. As you can see, the place is a total mess and under the City of Buffalo's ownership the place has continued to deteriorate. Last year there was only one opening that my urbex partner and I could access, yesterday there were two additional openings, one that you or any school kid mesmerized by this structure could simply walk into.
The City of Buffalo is the legal owner of this place. And according to Stan who spent 5 years in housing court dealing with relatively minor code violations - peeling paint and a roof for his shed - he's lived in his home for 35 years and works part time and like many of us money is really tight (his case was dismissed in a jury trial!!!) he was quick to point out that the city of Buffalo also owns the house adjacent to The Wollenberg Grain Elevator. This house at 122 Koons Avenue.
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Remember? This was last year...same place!
Read all about David Franczyk's dereliction of duty over here...Perrysburg Follies!
Oh yeah...almost forgot. The Wollenberg Grain Elevator is on the National Register of Historic Places.
A few buildings that appeared on the City's poster have really captured the attention of investors and local artists.
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The former Joseph Denzel's Tavern at the corner of Riley and 1325 Michigan, would be a revitalized as a mixed-use project under the City's revitalization program. Google Map - location and City Property Description. This building has been vacant for at least the past 11 years.
The brick former livery stable at 65 Riley is a small building with vast potential as a placeholder for the corner of Holland and Riley. The City hopes to find an active reuse for the unique property, perhaps as a conversion to retail or gallery space. Google Map - location and City Property Description.
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