6/24/2014

Photo of the Day: 107

Genesee Street and Rohr Street (google map).

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The former Zoar Reformed Church, one the city's oldest wood-frame churches, was built (1906) when Genesee Street had few residents and a mostly rural character. 

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/23/2014

Photo of the Day: 106

Suffolk Street and Roosevelt Avenue (google map).

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The city mowed this lawn because the owner didn't.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/22/2014

Photo of the Day: 105

Kensington Avenue and Orleans Street (google map).

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This is where the other half worships.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/21/2014

Photo of the Day: 104

Kensington Avenue and Orleans Street (google map).

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The near 20 year collapse of Kensingston Avenue's commercial activity between Bailey Avenue and the city line is almost complete.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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My weekly fix - week 4

Another dose of urbanity...

According to a front page Wall Street Journal article yesterday, Buffalo finally made it to the coveted list of tourist destinations that include Turkmenistan, Siberia and the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang. The article about a recent $300 ruin porn tour of the Queen City - Visitors to Buffalo, NY find beauty in decay spread like wildfire through local social-media outlets and was finally picked up by the Buffalo News, here, by lunch time. The comments on both articles are worth a few moments.

Speaking of Wall Street and blight, hedge fund operator Mark Spitznagel brought his goats to town (Detroit) recently to help residents maintain the city's urban prairie. The New York Times ran with the story, Fund Manager Sets Goats Grazing in Blighted Detroit. NPR followed up with our Nubian friends the other day with Goats in the City? Making a Case for Detroit's Munching Mowers. Genius.

LensCulture is one of my favorite photoblogs and a daily read. A recent post - Megacities: the future of our planet has some stunning photographs and text by Marcus Lyon. There are more people on the planet today living in cities than ever before and the migration to the city from rural hinterlands is apparently unstoppable. Marcus Lyon has visited the BRICs - Brazil, Russia, India and China and reveals what he sees.

The Burchfield Penny Art Center celebrated Bloomsday on Friday afternoon with Harvard University lecturer Kevin Birmingham, here. Birmingham's recently released book, The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses is a self described biography of the text. In addition, Buffalo State College's Laurence Shine coordinated a series of dramatic readings.

Finally, if you haven't seen Richard Linklater's Slacker (1991) it's available for free online, here. The film follows the lives of some twenty-somethings for one day in Austin, TX. Slacker is a classic from the 90's independent film movement. Add it to your list of films to see this summer.

Related:  Week #1, Week #2 & Week 3
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6/20/2014

City of Buffalo: For Sale week #4

The City of Buffalo has owned this abandoned and vacant former movie theater since 1993. It's located at 1269 Genesee Street (google map) and is structurally sound and stable. The building is currently NOT listed for sale by the City of Buffalo Division of Real Estate.

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This modest one story brick building was built as the Casino Theater in 1909. Theater and movie goers walked through the lobby on the right to an auditorium that seated 400+ patrons. There was a saloon on the left. The stage, projection booth and tin ceilings are still in place. Currently there are no plans for the building.

If you are interested in taking a closer look at 1269 Genesee Street please contact the City of Buffalo Division of Real Estate.

Related posts:
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Photo of the Day: 103

Fillmore Avenue and Northampton Street (google map).

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Sidewalk and street improvements are mostly complete on this stretch of Fillmore Avenue.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/19/2014

Photo of the Day: 102

Genesee Street and Zenner Street (google map).

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This is Genesee Street's new green space.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/18/2014

Photo of the Day: 101

Kensington Avenue and Orleans Street (google map).

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A former salon on Kensington Avenue is closed.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/17/2014

Photo of the Day: 100

Fillmore Avenue and Glenny Drive (google map).

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Demolition activity has stalled, again.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/16/2014

Photo of the Day: 99

Kensington Avenue and Midvale Avenue (google map).

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The collapse of Kensington Avenue's retail activity is almost complete.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/15/2014

Photo of the Day: 98

Fillmore Avenue and Urban Street (google map).

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This is where the other half worships.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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@CNU22 - pics

Last week I received a press pass and attended CNU22 and had access to all the sessions. I met some of the most sophisticated people who'd travelled globally to participate in a dialog about city life. The NextGen events that often ran in parallel to the main conference were free, open to the public and were wildly successful. The NextGen events bypassed the local CNU organizing committee and were included in the full conference schedule.

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During the first day I regret not recording Urbanism 101, AndrĂ©s Duany's primer on New Urbanism's past, present and future. I was told by many that this was his best performance, ever. That dialog extended to McCarthey's over a few rounds at the end of the second day, here. The NextGen event sponsored by the Campaign for Greater Buffalo at Silo City that night was shared by 1000+ people.

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Additional pics of various CNU22 and NextGen events are available here as a slide show via my photo site and they're ready for sharing and tagging on the fixBuffalo Facebook page, here.

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6/14/2014

Photo of the Day: 97

Jefferson Avenue and Davis Street (google map).

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This house sold for $115k in 2001 and is currently assessed at $80,000.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/13/2014

Photo of the Day: 96

Fillmore Avenue and Peckham Street (google map).

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This image is the second of two photographs from my "Live on Fillmore" set that was included in a recent auction at Babeville to benefit Phil Durgan's children. Please contact me if you'd like to purchase this print. All proceeds go to the Phil Durgan Memorial Fund.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/12/2014

Photo of the Day: 95

Fillmore Avenue and Broadway Avenue (google map).

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This image is the first of two photographs from my "Live on Fillmore" set that was included in a recent auction at Babeville to benefit Phil Durgan's children. Please contact me if you'd like to purchase this print. All proceeds go to the Phil Durgan Memorial Fund.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/11/2014

#CNU22 NextGen - Tour de Neglect: Postscript

On Saturday afternoon 75 cyclists and a car full of Canisius College students, driven by their philosophy professor, looped through parts of Buffalo's East Side on the latest stage of the Tour de Neglect. The tour, part of the week long CNU22 conference held in Buffalo, was one of a series of events promoted by CNU's NextGen crew, here.
The most important event during this year's Congress for the New Urbanism wasn't in a convention center. It was a guided bike tour through Buffalo's East Side. - CityLab

The planned stops included: St Anne's on Broadway, the former and now abandoned Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Emslie, Larkin Square, the Larkin Power House, Central Terminal and the Wilson Street Urban Farm. At each stop we were met by key community stakeholders. We had the unique opportunity to see the interior of Sacred Heart and witness the devastating and dis-heartening results of years of institutional neglect. The Central Terminal remains one of the city's best loved buildings and is home to a wildly successful ethnic festival, Dyngus Day and a long list of civic celebrations and events.

The Wilson Street Urban Farm is an island in the emerging archipelago of change on the city's East Side. In the past five years the Stevens family has transformed a forgotten street and has literally changed a neighborhood and re-built a community.

Buffalo Bicycle Share was a NextGen sponsor and generously provided bicycles for the tour. At the last minute a dozen local residents gave up their bikes for out of town folks who wanted to ride and see what some have simply described as oceanic devastation.

This tour was designed to spark a broader conversation among urbanists about their potential role in bringing back distressed neighborhoods. The intent of the tour was not to expose deficiencies in the new urbanism, but to highlight a vast part of the city which is still neglected and desperate for attention, and is very much like so many historic, culturally-rich places in our legacy cities. Low-income neighborhoods can benefit greatly from the better neighborhoods that good urban principles can help create. We didn't bring people through the East Side to identify solutions, but to raise awareness and create a dialog.


The Tour de Neglect was one of three tours that included Buffalo's East Side,—two others hit up the Belt Line, which partially included the East Side, and the Hamlin Park Historic District, a middle class enclave which hugs Main St. These three tours, including mine, were all organized by people involved in CNU NextGen, a group of young professionals that typically hold unsanctioned, off-the-schedule events each year of the congress. This year, CNU generously added NextGen's set of events to its printed program—basically allowing the group to bypass the local host committee's process. Otherwise, the East Side—the elephant in the room here in Buffalo—would have been swept under the rug.

In spite of the population loss and huge challenges on Buffalo's East Side—census tracts lost as much as 89% of their population since 1950—the neighborhood has what suburban Orlando does not: a rich history and culture, walkable streets and blocks, access to public transit, narrow lots, and neglected landmarks awaiting restoration. I'd challenge any new urbanist development in Florida to match the terminating vista afforded by Buffalo's vacant Central Terminal. I bet no new urbanist development anywhere has barbecue as good as it is at Sodapops on Herman St.

America can no longer afford to build sprawl with porches. If the revival of distressed cities does not become the mission of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the movement will become irrelevant. The vast empty landscape of Buffalo's East Side is a challenge to new urbanist practitioners to never again do greenfield development within 30 miles of a disinvested historic city or town. To do so has always been hypocrisy, but this hypocrisy is especially egregious now that America has entered, as Andrés Duany put it, "the century of limits."

And now for the reviews...

CityLab - a CNU22 Media Sponsor - covered the tour, Riding through poor neighborhoods with New Urbanists and called it the most important event at CNU22.

James Howard Kunstler wrote about the tour in That was Then, This is Now. I'd invited Jim to ride with us and during the tour he told me that the Tour de Neglect was the most important session he'd attended.

Additional pics of Saturday's Tour de Neglect

Future Tour de Neglect schedule: TBA

Related: Additional #CNU22 pics
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Photo of the Day: 94

Lombard Street and Peckham Street (google map).

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This new community garden is maintained by Grassroots Gardens.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/10/2014

Photo of the Day: 93

Pershing Avenue and Northampton Street (google map).

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This is a zombie property.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/09/2014

Photo of the Day: 92

Jefferson Avenue and Glenwood Avenue (google map).

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Jefferson Avenue is sometimes eerily quiet.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/08/2014

Photo of the Day: 91

Jefferson Avenue and Woodlawn Avenue (google map).

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This is where the other half worships.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/07/2014

Photo of the Day: 90

Fillmore Avenue and C Street (google map).

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This is a mid-block portion of the urban prairie.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/06/2014

Photo of the Day: 89

Peckham Street and Shumway Street (google map).

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This single family house sits wide open and has been owned by the City of Buffalo since 2008.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/05/2014

Photo of the Day: 88

Kensington Avenue and Castle Place (google map).

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This is a distinctly urban message that's rarely played in the suburbs.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/04/2014

Photo of the Day: 87

Smith Street and Peckham Street (google map).

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This city has decided to spend $18,000 to demolish this structurally sound former homestead eligible house. 

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/03/2014

My weekly fix - week #3

And another dose of urbanity...

Are you ready for CNU22: The Resilient Community? This is nothing short of the most amazing global meet-up of urbanists and planners to ever hit the streets of Buffalo, NY. Check out CNU NextGen on Facebook to stay current with the conference's cool side. Come on down to The Hotel @ Lafayette from June 4-8th for random meet-ups and beers with conference participants. Here's the complete CNU22 schedule.

NPR ran a story from Philadelphia over the weekend: In a Nod to History: A crumbling Philly row house gets a funeral. The Dufala Brothers, Steven and Billy are Philadelphia-based artists organized the event on the eve of the 140 year old brick row house's demolition.

Al Jazeera reporter Sarah Kendzoir writes about gentrification in the The Peril of Hipster Economics that uses a public art project - part of the amazingly successful Philadelphia Mural Arts Project - as a point of departure. Kendzoir's article was widely circulated on Facebook and hipster hating blogs and was neatly picked apart by Anthony Dursi at The Huffington Post in A Celebration of Hipster Economics.

Photographer Christoph Gielen work appeared on the PBS Newshour Artbeat this week, here. His aerial land use photographs are called "Ciphers" and are waiting to be deciphered. This is some really gorgeous work.

Finally, plan on attending the New Urbanism Film Festival Friday evening June 6, 7pm at The Hotel @ Lafayette. The festival is also on Facebook.

Related:  Week #1, Week #2
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Photo of the Day: 86

Kensington Avenue and Worcester Place (google map).

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This is an early Spring morning.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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6/02/2014

Photo of the Day: 85

Alwin Place and Timon Street (google map).

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A former through street now belongs to the urban prairie.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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