3/31/2014

Photo of the Day: 22


Jefferson Avenue and Northampton (google map). 

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Storefront churches are common in the City's East Side neighborhoods. They're often located near more mainline houses of worship, a pattern that's repeated in many Rust Belt cities. Chilean photographer and sociologist Camilo Vergara's work How the Other Half Worships (2005) is helpful in understanding this phenomenon.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/30/2014

Photo of the Day" 21

Goemble Avenue and Hazel Place (google map).

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Mid-block demolitions are decimating large parts of the City.  This Walden and Bailey neighborhood is continuing to experience the bulldozer's bureaucratic and physical impact on a regular basis. Gradually and then seemingly overnight, the familiar streetscape of a dense compact neighborhood becomes feral.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/29/2014

222 Howard Street: Opportunity or Landfill?

This single-family home at 222 Howard Street (google map) has a date with the wrecking ball.  It appears solid, has a number of new improvements - roof, siding and chimneys.  Commissioner Comerford has recently agreed to a temporary stay. It's been languishing in zombie-property land for the last five years.

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222 Howard has been in the same family since 1958, it's been well cared for and maintained.  I tracked down a surviving family member in Texas and the house is available for $1. The rub is that the City liabilities - taxes, water, etc... - are close to $6000.  While those have to be paid, there's probably an opportunity for the right buyer to negotiate a payment plan with the City.  Council Member David Franczyck has agreed to assist.

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When you're visiting the neighborhood you'll quickly notice the density of new-builds and the impressive period homes nearby.  222 Howard is steps from transit and is located a few blocks from Common Roots Urban Farm.  The two adjacent vacant parcels pictured above are City-owned and would certainly add to project's strength.

If you're interested in pursuing this as a residence or investment property, please contact me. Take a moment and spread the word through your social networks.
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Photo of the Day: 20

Northland and Dutton Avenue (google map). 

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Once a vital part of Buffalo's industrial colossus, Northland Avenue was home to one of the nation's largest employers, Curtiss-Wright.  Today the factories more closely resemble bombing targets and are owned by the City's politically connected developers. The employee parking lots are empty. 

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/28/2014

Photo of the Day: 19

Masten and Eaton Street (google map).

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This is one of two remaining corner buildings that point to Masten Avenue's vibrant past.  It's traded hands five times in the last fifteen years.  Losing corner buildings represents two demolitions for the neighborhood. Today, the future of this mixed-use corner building is uncertain.  It's a five minute walk to Artspace and City Honors.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/27/2014

Photo of the Day: 18

Northampton and Masten Avenue (google map). 

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Corner and mid-block retail stores were the standard on Masten Avenue, two blocks from Main Street. Today the urban prairie continues to expand and is adjacent to the recent $100 million investment in City Honors and Performing Arts schools.  Today only a barber shop, bar, corner store and auto repair shop remain.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/26/2014

Photo of the Day: 17

Sycamore and Gittere Street (google map).

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On this mile stretch of Sycamore Street, between Fillmore and Walden Avenue, a funeral chapel, bar and a hand full of corner stores remain open. Imagine Elmwood Avenue, from Bidwell to Bryant, with six businesses. This is Buffalo's urban prairie, the visible part you see while driving East to the Galleria. Gasland closed in 2001.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/25/2014

Photo of the Day: 16

Broadway and Rother Street (google map).

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Entire blocks of Broadway Avenue's commercial and retail fabric have been demolished during the past decade. Buildings disappear one at at time.  1172 Broadway is next and was recently known as Mazin Deli.  The pattern is the same. The bulldozer razes the street's vernacular architecture and the significant structures of Buffalo's historic Polonia neighborhood disappear into the landfill.  There is no plan.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/24/2014

Photo of the Day: 15

Sycamore and Johnson Street (google map).

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I first noticed this parked trailer during Mayor Masiello's second term in the late 90's. Today rural signifiers such as this are more common on the ever expanding urban prairie on the City's East Side.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/23/2014

Fire Damaged Italianate: Landfill Bound?

On November 17, 2013 a fire damaged the first floor of this stunning two-family Italianate at 216 Peckham (google map).  The first floor is charred (see photo) yet the second floor remained untouched by the blaze. 

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Two weeks ago the place was wide open. The roof appears to be in good condition and the house seems to be structurally sound.  According to County records the property is assessed for $18k and was purchased in 2008 for $23, 000. Prior to that it had been in the same family for 60 years.  It's currently privately owned. Earlier this week it still hadn't been sealed.

216 Peckham is a few short blocks away from one of the City's new urban farms, Common Roots Urban Farm.  If the current owners don't have plans, this would make an incredible opportunity for the right person interested in the City's emerging East Side.   
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Photo of the Day: 14

East Ferry at Fillmore Avenue (google map).

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This one of the last remaining and unused news stands on the City's East Side.  I don't know when they were last used or who owns them.  There's another one located near the intersection of East Utica and Jefferson, across the street from the recently renovated and vacant Beverly A. Gray Business Services Incubator, aka the former North Jefferson Library.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/22/2014

Photo of the Day: 13

Walden at Ruhland Avenue (google map).

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This corner store (Walden and Ruhland) was owned by the same family for 60 years. In the past 20 it's traded owners 4x. In September 2011 a fire ripped through the interior. It's been vacant since. There's one remaining corner store on Walden between Fillmore and Bailey, where neighborhood residents used to shop. Today, the #22 bus stops at Walmart.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/21/2014

Photo of the Day: 12

Walden at Wasmuth Avenue (google map).

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The concrete remains of the former Sealtest dairy complex on Walden Avenue at Wasmuth. The site was later used by the Bandag Tire Company and most recently by Empowerment Temple Ministries. A multiple-alarm fire damaged a portion of the complex in 2005. It was declared a Superfund site in 2007 and demolished in 2012.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/20/2014

Photo of the Day: 11

High near Earl Street (google map).

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A former soul food restaurant on High Street, near Earl. It was demolished last year and was the last business on High Street between Jefferson and Genesee Street. Commercial and retail business has been disappearing along High Street for decades, a process that started with the construction and opening of the Kensington Expressway in the '60s.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/19/2014

Photo of the Day: 10

Jefferson near Broadway Avenue (google map).

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Between Broadway and Sycamore this car wash is the only business still open on Jefferson Avenue.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/18/2014

Photo of the Day: 9

Jefferson near Best Street (google map).

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Remains of the former Dairy League Cooperative complex on Jefferson near Best Street.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/17/2014

Photo of the Day: 8

Bailey and East Delavan (google map).

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Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/16/2014

Photo of the Day: 7

Republic at Vandalia Street (google map).

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from the Old First Ward - across the tracks and down Vandalia from Republic Street.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/15/2014

Photo of the Day: 6

Seneca at Spring Street (google map).

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rip 474 Seneca Street. This building was demolished in late 2012 and had been privately owned for years. It was last used as a social club.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/14/2014

Photo of the Day: 5

Genesee near Doat Street (google map).

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The urban prairie as seen from Genesee Street, near Doat Street,

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/13/2014

Photo of the day: 4

1704 Bailey Avenue (google map).

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Seen on Bailey Avenue, off Gatchell. The interior is setup for what appears to have been a lunch counter or diner before the view changed. 1704 Bailey was owned by the same family for 60 years and has been City-owned for the last two years.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/12/2014

SweetPea Market: Bittersweet

Buffalo's next ├╝ber cool infill development, slated for a key corner in the Fruit Belt, was approved by the City Planning Board on Tuesday. SweetPea Market may soon be under construction at High and Maple streets, steps from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Check out the following site plans filed with the City Planning Board.

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The project is being undertaken by the St. John Fruit Belt Community Development Corp., and is designed by eco_logic STUDIO. The renderings, which reveal a green roof, solar panel array, and spacious patio, would likely rival any grocery in Seattle or Austin. If built, the project could raise the bar on East Side infill projects, which rarely add value to surrounding neighborhoods. But there's a downside. 

204 High Street
photo courtesy of Joe Cascio

The project includes demolition of the historic 204 High St., built in 1871, which I have written about here, here, here, and here. Buffalo Spree and WBFO have covered an ongoing preservation conversation about the house. A hearing before the Preservation Board has not yet been scheduled, but it surely will be.

The proposed demolition is callous and unnecessary. The Fruit Belt lost 85% of its population from 1950 to 2010, according to the U.S. Census, and probably as much of its historic building stock. A good project can incorporate both the past and future of the Fruit Belt. This is feasible. A project by Help USA slated for Broadway and Hickory streets, only a few blocks away, will incorporate the facade of 362 Broadway (google map).

Stay tuned. Readers of fixBuffalo will be among the first to know when they can address the Preservation Board about the future of 204 High Street.
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Photo of the day: 3

Spring and Cherry Street (google map).

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A winter's day on Spring Street, near Cherry.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/11/2014

Photo of the day: 2

Howard and Watson Street (google map).

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Seen at the corner of Howard and Watson. 113 Howard was first developed by the WNY Veterans Housing Coalition (1989). It's been owned by a private investor from the UK since 2006. The back door is open. A neighbor told me that the property has been empty for years and has been heavily vandalized.

Photos from this series are cross-posted on fixBuffalo's facebook page and archived here - Photo of the Day
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3/10/2014

Photo of the day: 1

Alabama and Stannard Alley (google map).

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from November 2013 - corner of Alabama & Stannard Alley. Went by the other day, the building's boiler was still cooking. — at City of Buffalo Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.

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

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3/08/2014

Erasing Genesee Street

Crews from Niagara Falls, NY based Regional Environmental Demolition began demo prep on 626 and 630 Genesee Street this week (google map). According to Erie County records 626 has been privately owned since 2000 and 630 Genesee was acquired by the City of Buffalo last December.   Demolition begins on Monday and is expected to last two weeks. 
  
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630 Genesee Street was home to Sol Lenzer one of the City's most successful regional softdrink bottlers.  It was established in 1922 and introduced Queen-O soda in the 1930's and the popular loganberry drink.  Three years ago the facade at 626 was painted yellow and a car wash opened.  That business closed last summer.  While photographing Genesee Street I frequently spotted Will, 630 Genesee Streets only known resident.  He posed for this shot on Galveston Place, behind the building. His expanding collection of found objects is still on display.

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Once an iconic presence on Genesee Street, 630 Genesee slowly became a minor stop on the urban exploration trail. Over the next two weeks it will join 669 Genesee, 630 High Street, 1655 Genesee340 Genesee, 85-91 Genesee and 311 Genesee.

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click image to enlarge

Along with these major structures, there have been dozens of additional demolitions on Genesee Street. Last summer, two blocks on the North side of Genesee Street - between Zenner and Leslie Streets - were quietly trucked off to a landfill.  Adrian's was one of the last remaining vestiges of a former German neighborhood.

The taxpayer demolition cost is not known.  There are no plans for the site.  

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