4/25/2010

Central Park Plaza - Part I

I read Buffalo Rising's piece about the Central Park Plaza the other day. I haven't been there for 15 years. I went there yesterday. I took some pics. I was devastated.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer
Wide open and shattered store front windows were everywhere to be found. The landscape here is beyond bleak, almost apocalyptic.
Here's the same pics in a short Central Park Plaza slide show and a bing map for wayfinding.
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16 comments:

被リンクサービス said...

That's not a good place of the city.

Dan said...

No snotty comment from "Steel" in Chicago? I posted something on BR about how I was shocked by the emptiness of Downtown on a weekday afternoon, and he responded with snarky cr*p (which is usual for him) .

You can be told many times that someone is very, very sick - but visiting and SEEING how sick is still a shock.

Becky said...

Erie County had an electronics recycling event there a few years ago, and while the stores didn't look lively they at least appeared open for business; definitely the bigger store/box was.

Korrupt said...

Where is this place? Fix, you often link to a map.

Anonymous said...

and why....do you think that most of these stores closed up??? ...and sit vacant..couldnt have anything to do with the quality of inhabitants..in the immediate neighborhood..do you?

very little income..saddled with high property taxes, fees etc...little is left to maintain thye property..and so goes life in Buffalo..just a mirrored image as the cancer that exists on the East side spreads towards N Buffalo.

J said...

If I remember correctly, wasn't there live jazz/blues music there on Friday nights last summer?

It's a shame what has happened there...I remember going there in my college days...only @ 15 years ago, and the plaza was full!

Mike R said...

Disappointed to read on BRO that the plaza needs a developer with a serious proposal to step up.

Is there any way to reuse these kinds of places without big money coming in? Raise it and plant a forest.

1

Dan said...

Sad. I grew up not too far from there, and remember when it was a thriving little plaza. Twin Fair, Kresge's, G.C. Murphy's, Bells, Tops, Super Duper, Western Auto, Central Park Locksmith, Fotomat ... I'm showing my age here. My first job ever was at the Super Duper in CPP.

Its location, tucked away from arterial streets with the passing "eyeballs" retailers now demand, on the "wrong" side of Main Street in a neighborhood whose better days are 30 to 40 years past, make its rebirth as a shopping center unlikely. Residential redevelopment? The site sits on the filled Bennett Quarry, and not much is known about what lies underneath.

Recycle the landscaping-free asphalt parking lot, disassemble the buildings, and landbank the site. With no room to grow on their campuses, maybe Canisius College or Medaille College would be interested.

olcott_beach said...

I was on this site approximately 18-months ago as the Catholic Health System had planned on moving their Sisters of Charity Hospital Health Clinic from Sisters Hospital to this site where a chapel had once been located.

Next door, which I recall had been a Murphy’s, was to become a target practice arena for the City of Buffalo Police Department.

There was an on-site custodian with whom I spoke with and, several of the stores were still occupied. Though, the majority had already been vacated. However, the store fronts had not been damaged as indicated in these recent photos.

CHS pulled-out upon learning that Kaledia Health planned on building a health care facility within the vicinity but not within Central Park.

I was disappointed since I thought this was an ideal location for the facility and was actually welcomed into the hood while surveying the property.

Inner city culture is quite paradoxical to state the least.

What a shame for the people of this community.

Dan said...

(FWIW, I'm not the same Dan that posted the snarky message at the top of this thread.)

anonymous> and why....do you think that most of these stores closed up??? ...and sit vacant..couldnt have anything to do with the quality of inhabitants..in the immediate neighborhood..do you?

Many of the stores closed because either the chains went bust (Kresge, G.C. Murphy, Twin Fair, etc), or because they outgrew their space (the supermarkets). The plaza lost critical mass with the departure of major tenants through the years. Its off-the-beaten-path location made it undesirable for prospective national chain stores; they want so many vehicle trips by a store site, and CPP straddles low-traffic side streets. The traffic on Holden and Hill is just a tiny fraction of what's on Main, Hertel, Bailey and even Amherst.

When I was working at CPP in 1983, the neighborhood to the south was mostly African-American. Kensington, across what were then the Conrail tracks to the east, was predominantly lower-middle class white, but beginning to experience socioeconomic transition. Parkside and Central Park, across Main Street, were about the same as today; middle to upper income, and integrated but still predominantly white. CPP shoppers ranged from wealthy Central park residents to UB students to poor East Siders. The plaza looked rough even then, but it was almost fully occupied, except for the vacant Twin Fair store.

In the 1980s, the only supermarkets to be found in Buffalo's African-American community were Figmo's on Jefferson, and Tops, Bells and Super Duper in CPP. CPP was easy to get to from much of the East Side; just a quick drive, cab ride or 23 bus up Fillmore.

fix buffalo said...

Korrupt -

sorry, just added a bing map. my bad.

Dawnette said...

Unfortunately Central Park Plaza is in the condition that it is in. The Help Revitalize Central Park Plaza Commitee was formed by members of the Masten District and 5 Points Block Club and members of other districts as well. This group is fighting to get this property condemned it is a disgust an a slap in the face to the community. Sad that some would believe that the demise of this property is due to the residents that live in the community, when in actuality it is due to loss of business and close of chains etc. That is not the only reason it is because of the slumlord from Brooklyn who owns the property as well, refusing to make repairs will not keep a tenant, expecting the city and state to provide you funds to make repairs to your property is not at all the right way to go. This owner needs to let the property go. If you believe that this can be turned around please come out Saturday, May 8 at 10:00a.m. and rally with us because this isn't just a district, or neighborhood issue, it's a city issue. Everyone used to flock to the Central Park Plaza as it was once vibrant and had everything a community needed. Hope to see you Saturday!

Cliff said...

Oh, my! Memories going back some 55 years.

I grew up there. My house on Rodney (near Hill) abutted the Central Park Plaza. When I was 6 years old (1956), it was partly a quarry (stones for foundations of Buffalo houses) and partly forested area (I remember picnics under oak trees).

Paradise got paved in 1957; the grand opening party featured DJ's from the new WKBW radio (dubbed "FutureSonic!") who stood atop the Kresge store and threw 45 rpm records to the crowd.

Stores included A&P Supermarket, Acme Supermarket, G.C.Murphy, S.S.Kresges, Thom McCan Shoes, Schiff Shoes, Rech Photo, Liberty Bank, Western Auto, a drug store, a record/phono shop, and even a bridal shop.

The parking lot was many times too big - it was never filled. In the winter the empty parking lot made for great sledding; over the summer we kids would bicycle down the slope.

Around 1968, IGA built a cinder-block building in the middle of the unused parking lot; it was successful for a couple years, then closed up, leaving its concrete wart. A fotomat came and went, as did numerous fashion stores.

The Central Park Plaza was hit hard by the flight to the suburbs and unemployment following the closure of the steel plants & Buffalo industry.

In the first of your photos, there's a green house just to the right of center. Just to the right of that house is a space - once occupied by my family's home. It's now gone, leaving an empty place in the neighborhood and in my heart.

Anonymous said...

To people who think this is a city mistake is wrong, the person who owns the land in the plaza lives in...they are liting it gut rot away.

Lmar said...

I lived a block from those pix...used to ride bikes on Sat. morn. with the guys...loved it, sunny skies, green lawns, the sound of the Bell ringing at noon from Blessed Trinity...and stopping in at Guys on Leroy for an orange crush...Could smell the odor of the peanut/popcorn vendor pushing his cart down the street...Remember that...1960's...I visited my old street this past summer with my son...He needed to see what I came from...Although, much much different now, I did feel a sense of warmth...The residents starred at my son and I, but we just waved, and sat in front of my old house...Worried?..Naw...that was my old nieghborhood...It was very cool...It looked like the people there just lost hope...We think of Central Park often....Hey it could be worse....and my house looked pretty good...I'll be Bock!!!

Anonymous said...

I remember 1959 and my grandmother from PA buying me a wonderful outfit there. Yes the Brooklyn owner destroyed what could have been done years ago. Not just the flight to the burbs but NYS taxes have greatly diminished prosperity and it hurts the lower class the most - industry leaves etc - dependency on government and policies leading to the male leaving the family. County laws should prescribe penalties etc fir near abandoned properties. By the way, global trade ripped jobs out of the US and hurt steel industries ( Japan selling below back in the 1980's to start). All touch down at beloved CPP.