Going, Going...
I first started writing about 2 Girard - google map over here in March, and later in May. The place always catches my eye while driving along the "scar" that never heals. It's right across "Humboldt Parkway" from Deaconess Hospital.
2 Girard A Neighbor's View
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Look how close to perfect the neighbor's place is. I'm sure they are just as interested as dozens of my blog readers have become in the future of 2 Girard. I'll make sure to let the neighbors know the owner of 2 Girard has a court date with Judge Nowak.
  • Buffalo Housing Court Case #868/2005 on August 2 at 930am.
When I stopped by to take pictures today I noticed that the back door was wide open. I knocked and since no one was home, I decided to venture inside. This is what I saw...

2 Girard 2 Girard 6 pictures for you 6 pictures for you
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If there ever was a candidtate for "Reclamation and Re-Use" this is the property. Most of the interior moldings are gone. I suspect the curved window moldings on the first and second floor to disappear soon, too. I've written about "Reclamation and Re-Use." It's called Deconstructing Buffalo. It's also part of the Judge Nowak's Neigborhood Preservation Collaborative.

And if you are interested in getting this place properly secured and some justice for the owner, please contact Masten District Housing Liaiason Mark Boyd. He is heading up Antoine Thompson's office.

Mark Boyd's email. His office number is 851-5145. Please call, we need all the help you can spare.
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Am I expecting too much?
Remember this post with these photographs. The accident here was 4 weeks ago.
New Urbanism? DSCN1647
Yesterday afternoon I snapped a new pic of the "bench" along Jefferson Avenue. Getting a bench repaired or properly located in the first place is just way too difficult it seems for us here on the city's east-side. I imagine Tops Market does more buisness than every other business on Jefferson Avenue put together on a daily basis. So it's not really representative of what's happening over here yet the indifference here is glaring.

How 'bout getting a house boarded up, into housing court or a city owned house that has been abandonded, boarded, derelict and vacant. I mean we can't even get a bench fixed. Phone calls, stopping in and talking with the manager on duty. Any other suggestions? Please let me know.
Four Weeks Later...Still Nothing!
4 pictures for you
Here's the other "Tops" bench. Again, was anyone thinking. The pic below on the left is at Jefferson and Best. Looks like another accident waiting to happen with that too close to the street placement. So why put a bench here in the middle of a sidewalk? No bus stop on that corner. Why not in the grassy area underneath a tree. Oh, that's right the city own's that.
4 pictures for you 4 pictures for you
Heading over to Cafe Aroma later in the afternoon to meet up for coffee I saw this bench on West Ferry properly located, away from the street. I often see people sitting on it...imagine what a good location will do.

I re-read Craig Reynold's piece "How Buffalo Get A Warhol" this evening. Post-modern reflections on life here in Buffalo. I'd suggest it for anyone thinking about the future of this place. I mean I feel like Sisyphus everyday. Do you think Sisyphus was happy? Maybe I'm mistaken. Tops might be waiting for big trash day.

I'll call Joe Golombek in the morning...
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About Hamlin Park...
Figmo via Buffalo Rising just put up The Other, Other Side of Main Street. A most excellent post about his attitudes and reflections about a place he calls home. A great slide show about the neighborhood, too. The cool thing about this post is that all the pics were taken by Figmo's dad.

For those of you who don't know where Hamlin Park is located, here's the map. Think pretty much between the Kessler Center on Main Street going east to Humboldt Parkway. That map is a google satellite map focused on School 74. Look at the density of housing...wow, just like the west side! Yet if you scroll down, crossing East Ferry Street...look again at the density of housing...it's called the "urban prairie."

Buffalo's very own Mark Goldman wrote the history of Hamlin Park for Spree Magazine back in the summer of 2000. The full text of Mark's article is still available.

While we ponder what our own elected and annointed approve and build for us today...there seems to be a lesson in Mark's writing about developments around Hamlin Park.
Deeply etched in the historical consciousness of Hamlin Park is the tragedy of Humboldt Parkway, destroyed by state and city planning officials during this period of misguided "urban renewal". No one who remembers or who has even heard about the serene beauty of Humboldt Parkway can understand how public officials charged with protecting the public trust could have conceived and then executed a plan that was so devastating in impact and scale.
1888fair 1888bicfair
Check it out and you will quickly see what it was before it became known as Hamlin Park. Various links about the history of Hamlin Park and its designation as an historic district are available to cruise thru.

On a personal note, I grew in Hamlin Park, too. My best days as a kid were spent in the village park way out there just south of the Roycroft in East Aurora. I never knew there was another Hamlin Park right here in Buffalo until I moved next door nine years ago. And I'm reminded again looking thru the history of the place the ties between them. East Aurora was full of horse racing, covered-tracks the Jewett Farm...ok another blog, I know.
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A Tale of Two Cities...Chapter 2 - Follow up...
We all know about the burned out house located at 60 Brantford in the heart of the Elmwood Village. I wrote about it, A Tale of Two Cities...Chapter 2 , last month. It's in Joe Golombek's North District and he's all over it. Concerned neighbors on Brantford tell me that Joe Golobek showed up in housing court! This is excellent stuff...
60 Brantford Place 60 Brantford Place
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This is a letter he sent out to residents living near the burn-out.
Please be advised that I am actively working on a problem property located at 60 Brantford. I appreciate the phone calls and email messages that residents have sent to me. It is my understanding that this case will be before Judge Nowak on July 25, 2005.

Please fill out the enclosed form and send it to the GNPA, P.O. Box 382, Buffalo, NY 14207.Please send this in as soon as possible. This form has proven to be a very effective tool in the Black Rock/Riverside area of the district. All forms will then be forwarded to judge nowak for further action by volunteer court liasions.

I thank you for your attention to this matter. If you have any further questions or comments,please feel free to contact my office at 851-5116.


Joseph Golombek, Jr.
North District Councilmember
The fire at 60 Brantford was Friday May 13th. A friend of mine, now living in the neighborhood again, told me recently that she used to live in the third floor apartment where the fire started. Everday she still smells the fire. It permeates the air.

I tried unsuccessfully for weeks calling Carol Holcberg from Holcberg Realty to see the place and to find out what the status was. Never did get a call back from Carol after 5 messages. Seems like the owner of 60 Brantford, Jeffrey Sawyer of 79 Amherstdale, Snyder 14226 has a few more pressing problems than just a burn-out on his hands.
He's got several pissed off neighbors. Over at his vacant rental property at 24 Cottage Street neighbors are furious about exterior repairs that are being done in the Allen Town Historic District with out the required building permits or Preservation Board approval.
24 Cottage Street 24 Cottage Street 24 Cottage Street 24 Cottage Street 24 Cottage Street
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Well Jeffrey Sawyer has two dates with Judge Nowak scheduled for August.
    • Housing Court Case #817/2005 is scheduled for August 1 at 930am
    • Housing Court Case #319/2005 is scheduled for August 9 at 200pm
    Meanwhile... over in Masten District ...three years later...still nothing at 198 Glenwood. Like 60 Brantford, 198 Glenwood is just a block away from a city school, the future home of Performing Arts Academy. Check out this map!
    198 Glenwood Avenue
    I've made a ton of phone calls...anybody else wanna take a wack at it...anybody wanna venture a guess why 60 Brantford gets all the attention and 198 Glenwood, well...sits and rots?

    If you live here in the city please call Masten District Councilman Antoine Thompson and express your concerns about the condition of 198 Glenwood Avenue. It should have been taken care of years ago.
    Antoine Thompson: 851-5145 or at home 881-0945.

    Ok...I'll call Joe Golombek in the morning...
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    Driving Perrysburg Crazy...
    If you ever see a brand new silver-grey Ford Thunderbird in Perrysburg, NY...find a spot, sit back and laugh. Last Friday morning two of the city's best and brightest attorneys (think slick and slicker...) drove to Perrysburg, NY for the first time ever. Top down thru the country. I think it's probably the last, too.
    Let's call them "Tim and Pete." They were sent to investigate and gather potential witness information for a law suit that Tom Trathen, Trathen Land Company, LLC is bringing against the City of Buffalo. Frequent readers of this blog fully understand the lunacy behind this lawsuit. I've been writing about "the deal" for the past seven months and you can get up speed with all sorts of background information.

    The lawsuit comes about as a result of our elected and annointed officials not minding priorities and attempting to save a few trees down in Perrysburg as the forest here in Buffalo (Broadway Fillmore District) is engulfed in a raging fire storm.

    I heard thru the very reliable "grape-vine" that "Tim and Pete" experienced the sort of culture shock that turned John Boorman's Deliverance into a cultural icon. Word is they turned pale despite the heat as a local guy they were interviewing offered his pool so they could cool off. "You can just borrow those bathing suits over there on the shelf." Turns out the pool water next to the trailer wasn't cool, I guess.. All this happened mind you while the guy they thought they were going to depose just really wanted to make a beer run back to town.

    Safe and back in the T-Bird...they sped back to Buffalo to catch the first round at happy-hour on Chippewa. Another source, hearing their happy-hour field report, told me that they quietly hope the city is going to lose the case. This according to the cocktail waitress friend of mine who told me all about their lack of respect for people who live 40 miles away. She knew about the case and has taken an interest in it as her mom used to work at JN Adam Developmental Hospital and still lives in Gowanda.

    But wait...you gotta see this...

    I first got a glimpse of it last week. Two signatures on the petition. The next court date is August 18, 2005 down in Little Valley. Cattaragus County Supreme Court Judge Larry Himelein will hear Scott Cannon, attorney for Tom Trathen ask the court for judicial relief against "us" and the "city slickers." Once the case is wrapped up, Tom get's clear title to the property and he'll start paying property taxes to the Town of Perrysburg and assist them in getting their new water district up and running. Tom Trathen is the good guy in this drama. Four people in Common Council President David Franzcyk's office...self proclaimed "citizens of the world"...think otherwise. They've told me.

    This is what we know of Judge Himelein. Courtesy of Linda D. via SpeakupWNY.
    Finally, I have to laugh that this case is being heard by Larry Himelein. I went to school with him at Gowanda Central back in the 1960s (he's older!). Larry's family has been in Gowanda for several generations and his parents (maybe even his grandparents) owned Himelein's Department Store which was a fixture in downtown Gowanda. Since Gowanda is the biggest village in the area and includes parts of the towns of Collins (Erie County), Perrysburg, and Persia (Catt County), Larry knows knows very well what JN Adam meant to the communities in northern Cattaraugus County. He also knows that the "Perrysburg Forest" is just a figment of a handful of city slickers' vivid (and ignorant) imaginations. It will be interesting to see how the City's lawyers make their case for "saving historical JN Adam" to somebody who knows far more about it than they do. In fact, I might take the day off from work and check it out, especially if it's during fair week.
    So, stay here. Bookmark the archive city hall denizens...this is going to a wild ride. Oh, by the way who is paying the legal fees? And so it goes...
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    More Bandaids or Surgery?
    Join the rapidly developing conversation about race, neighborhoods, property values and the Calcutta like chaos of some east-side neighborhoods. The Buffalo News, (main stream media) gets it all messed up...again about the recent violence in Lovejoy.
    What is to be done? Check out the following posts on the local Buffalo blogosphere.

    Lift Up Rug...Sweep Race Under via Craig at North Coast Online
    It's just blindness to deny that that a destructive black underclass exists in Buffalo. And while we can debate the reasons for it, we have to admit that it exists. The residents of Lovejoy have had front-row seats to the decline and fall of Broadway, Genesee, William, and Kensington. It's facile to say that they're simply reacting against "blacks." If a solid middle-class, property-maintaining, gainfully-employed black family were attacked in Lovejoy then the News story might make sense.
    Race and Class in Buffalo via Alan at Buffalo Pundit
    ...What I’m always struck by is the complete lack of parental supervision. Even with little things, such as naked toddlers bathing in the Gates Circle fountain. No parent around....So what do we do? We can tout “New Buffalo” all we want, but there are a lot of people in Buffalo who have bigger problems than what to do this weekend...And I’m no sociologist, so I’m at a loss as to what we can do as a wider community.
    Related website: Booker Rising
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    New Blog in Town...
    Make sure to check out BuffaloFlickr when you have a chance. Lots of Buffalo area stuff. I saw this pic and just googled the saying and found this from Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. The United Nations thought it was good enough to be designated a World History Site. If it's good enough for the UN...
    The image “http://www.head-smashed-in.com/images/animbuf2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
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    Writing the City...
    I first started collecting this writing over the Winter and placed it over on the left hand side of my blog for reference. I had occassion this weekend to sit and chat with Megan Weaver from Revitalize Buffalo a few times and thought it might be helpful to republish this post from last February...

    I'll archive writing about Buffalo and keep track of it here. I'd like to feature local, regional and national writers presenting creative, critical and thoughtful insight into the problems that we face as a city and region. Feel free to comment and suggest articles, books and essays that hit close to home, stuff you think other people should be reading.
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    Get Ready to "Duke" it out...
    Monday thru Friday 1200 people arrive in this little corner of Masten District. They park their cars and go to work on the city's east side at Blue Cross Blue Shield. Soon, they will be able to park their cars in a brand new parking ramp, walk thru a tunnel to their brand new "cubbie" and eat lunch in a brand new cafeteria. Later they will leave the building thru the same tunnel, exit the new parking ramp and drive on a new highway entrance and go home.

    Get it...1200 people will be working downtown and never touch a city sidewalk.

    While many in Buffalo are rejoicing and thinking we have turned the corner and finally building "density" and the sort of downtown we want, others are beginning to question...what's really happening.

    Take a close look at the area...there is no place to walk.
    Downtown Buffalo
    click to enlarge

    I've just acquired these documents that show the more precise location of the new construction.
    What is Duke Realty?
    click to enlarge
    See the "light blue" line on the left. That's Court Street. Duke Realty gets that 6.5 acre parcel (known as 43 Carolina Street) of land just to the north of new building. A major criticism of this new development includes a proposed cul-de-sac and surface parking lot that will in effect truncate Court Street, forever. The area outlined in "yellow" shows the full 6.5 acre site that will be handed over to Duke Realty. Here's another view of 43 Carolina via the google satellite.

    What's the big deal? Well the plan, remember the Queen City Hub Plan? The radial street plan that Joseph Ellicott designed was supposed to be re-developed and extended over it's original path, not developed into a surface parking lot.
    So what does Duke Realty do...

    Duke Realty Corporation was founded in 1972 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The first property developed was Building One at Park 100 Industrial Park on the Northwest side of Indianapolis. More than thirty years later, Park 100 is now one of the largest industrial parks in the United States.

    Today, Duke is the largest, publicly-traded, office and industrial property owner in the country with a dominating presence throughout the Midwest and Southeast, with total property ownership of more than 115 million square feet.

    So here we are...while fully discussing the "Bass Pro" deal, there has been no public input regarding design and how this new "office park" will supposedly fit into the urban fabric of downtown. Please don't get me wrong. I'm a huge private property rights advocate and love private sector investment. Yet let's remember that no new jobs are being created - a break down of city vs. suburban employees would be helpful...Dennis Gorski, Vice President of Government Affairs for HealthNow. 17 million in incentives are being given away along with 6.5 acres of prime undeveloped real estate.

    Ponder this at the water cooler this week:
    • NO new jobs...
    • Isolated "suburban style" office park...for downtown
    • Duke Realty gets a huge favor- 43 Carolina, 6.5 acres is assessed at 2.2 million
    • Prestigious award winning "Queen City Hub" urban plan for Down Town gets scrubbed...
    • Former Erie County Executive Dennis Gorski cashes in old favors to keep the plan a $ecret...
    And when is the first public meeting Tony? Come on folks, are we supposed to be taking this laying down. It's kind of like having sympathy for the abused spouse who thinks her husband is a good guy because she hasn't been hit today...

    Ah, so much for accountability and transparency. Are we expecting too much?

    And so it goes...

    Related Post: 1300 Health Care Workers via BuffaloRising. Duke Realty (NYSE- DRE) shares closed up slightly on Friday at $33.13 Look at all the beautiful "suburban style" office parks Duke Realty has built.

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    Buffalo's Blog Fiend...
    Let's welcome "The Beast" to the Buffalo Blogosphere. Irreverent, critical and another "eye" watching "old" Buffalo lose its grip on reality.
    I got the heads up this morning from Dick Kern when he sent me this Beastly post about Ray McGurn and our favorite Mayoral candidate Byron Brown.

    Wonder if Beast editor, Paul Fallon will be sending "evil ed" down to Perrysburg, anytime soon.
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    Wireless Buffalo...
    Over at Buffalo Rising, Figmo is keeping hope alive here in Buffalo that the existing and very limited "wi-fi" hot spots should expand. Seems like the "creative class" in Austin, TX and Champaign-Urbana are on to something and fueling creativity and efficiency with free-wireless.
    Both places have glommed on to the "Do It Yourself" model of municipal wirelss and embracing free "open source software" available on the Linux model. This is one of the models that is being used to connect people for free.

    CUWiN is a cutting edge research and development initiative. CUWiN has pioneered the first open source implementation of Hazy Sighted Link State routing protocol (first developed by BBN Technologies); thus CUWiN's software creates a highly robust, scalable ad-hoc wireless networks. CUWiN's route prioritization metric is based on research conducted at MIT and will automatically adapt to any network topology and local geography.

    CUWiN's software is, and always will be, available for free. CUWiN is a non-profit organization supported by grants and donations. CUWiN's software provides one of the world's most advanced networking solutions available today; and we are now making our software available to the general public to use, test, and help develop. We know that there are features and improvements that people will want to see in future releases -- as an open source project, we are counting on the feedback and input from people around the globe.

    I've been touting "wi-fi" for awhile and created this Buffalo wi-fi Map. Seems like if we want to firmly establish the creative class in "New" Buffalo...we got to connect first! Check out what's happening here...and ask yourself why we can't have it in "New" Buffalo.

    Related Posts: Buffalo Wi-Fi and Do It Yourself Wi-Fi.
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    40 Miles from Elmwood...
    I had an opportunity to speak with attorney Scott Cannon last week. He represents Trathen Land Company, LLC in its law suit against us, the "City of Buffalo." Frequent readers of my blog know that I've been tracking the Perrysburg Deal since it first appeared as a speck on the local radar screen in December 2004.

    It's pretty much the talk of the town, 40 miles away in Perrysburg, NY the site of the former tuberculosis hospital and developmental center known as JN Adam, by the locals.

    In spring of 1993, New York State closed the facility and the city of Buffalo had a ten year window under New York State law to do something with the place. Buffalo didn't do anything until this past Spring, when Common Council President David Franczyk and a gang of Merry Pranksters decided to "save the Perrysburg Forest."

    The problem is the "City of Buffalo" has no legal standing in the matter any longer. Our elected and annointed have failed us again and continue to hold the people of Perrysburg, NY hostage. Kind of reminds me of some rural Vermont wisdom about trying to close the barn door after the cows got away. They had 3650 days to close the barn door. And I believe that David Franczyk was in office for most of that time...
    The crux of the matter revolves around what is called a "reverter clause" see paragraph #5 of the motion paper. "Our" position, so says City's Hall's Law Department, is that the "reverter clause" has not been triggered.

    Yet my own research suggests that former NYS Comptroller H. Carl McCall (yes, the same one who is on "our" very own "control board") recognized in 1999 that JN Adam actually closed in 1994. This link will take you to his Comptroller's Report which audited "surplus mental health facilities" across NYS. It's called, "Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities: Developmental Center Closure Plan Progress, Report 98-s-47." Scroll down to page 7 and see that the place closed in 1994. I first started linking to that report back in February when I explained the "transparent process" NYS uses to sell surplus property.

    See the relevant motion paper here asking for summary judgement and a quick resolution to this debacle. Cattaragus County Supreme Court Judge Himelein will hear this matter on August 18, 2005 in Little Valley, NY. "Our" own lawyers, led by Michael Risman have already tried unsuccessfully to have the venue moved to Erie County. "Our" motion was denied last month very quickly and the matter will be heard in Cattaragus County. I'll be there...

    Unless our very own David Franczyk desires to squander additional resources from our Law Department and continue to hold the people of Perrysburg hostage by filing an appeal, you can most probably expect the legal equivalent of "Fuck You" in the judge's decision next month. This will be good news for the people of Perrysburg and allow us to re-focus on that thing over on Forest Avenue...a few architectural and historic treasures on the city's east-side...rather than the trees down in Perrysburg.

    I'd like to file a "friend of the court letter" in this matter, in support of the sale to Trathen. If you would like to see that language and sign with me, let me know. No e-mails please, if I don't know you.

    Meanwhile please let Common Council President David Franzcyk know your position. He can be reached at:

    1315 City Hall 14201 tel. 851-4138
    858 Fillmore Avenue 14212 tel. 847-6109
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    Housing Court Cases...
    Wanna know what's going on with a certain case? Ever wonder which City Inspector is writing more cases for Housing Court than any other? It's easy.

    Here's the link: Search Buffalo's Housing Court
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    Beth Jacob Cemetery...Follow up
    I first stumbled upon Beth Jacob Cemetery in May and shared these thoughts and pics. Well, I visited the place again just recently and found that someone had mowed the grass a few weeks earlier. That was about it. Make sure to check out some to the comments from that earlier post.
    3 pictures for you 3 pictures for you
    click to enlarge
    After sitting down with the folks from the Jewish Federation last month, I started to take more than just a passing interest in this place. This time I made a point to count the graves as best I could. There were a 276 that I was able to count. 74 seemed to be in pretty good shape. The rest...were just...well look at the pics.
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    Inspecting "City of Buffalo" Property...

    Frequent readers of my blog, know and understand and most often usually appreciate that I have brought to light a number of abandonded, boarded, derelict and vacant "City of Buffalo" owned properties on the east-side.

    The two most egregious examples of "municipal malfaesance" are the Woodlawn Avenue Row Houses and the Wollenberg Grain Elevator. Both of these buildings have architectural and historic value and were designated with "local-landmark" status and "National Registry" status respectively.

    I've gotten into some hot water with John Hannon, Director of the City's Real Estate Dept. in the past few months. It began when I first pointed out that a former light industrial complex at 669 Genesee Street that the city actually purchased 10 years ago and proceeded to rent for 5 years was wide open and needed his Dept's immediate attention. John Hannon apparently didn't like what I wrote over here either, about some other property the city owned. Yes, we are landlords, too.

    I've looked at these properties periodically and just revisted this property at 669 Genesee Street. The building was wide open again. My "urbex" partner and I checked to see if the water had finally been turned off. You might remember, this last March an ice sculpture the size of a large U-Haul had formed in the basement. Well...four months later the water is still running...gushing in the basement.
    3 pictures for you 3 pictures for you
    3 pictures for you
    We made it to the roof and took these shots. Someone has removed the capstones from the perimeter of the building. The place has been empty for 5 years and in all my "urbex" ventures I've never seen such wanton destruction. It's intentional. Vandals would have tossed the capstones over the side. With out this protection the structure is seriously compromised.

    The Monroe Street side's third floor is still a law-suit waiting to happen. Dozens of bricks all over the side walk. Go figure...
    2 pictures for you 2 pictures for you
    A little further in to the city's east side...this little place is listed in the city's catalogue of houses for sale. I first started taking pictures of 319 Koons Avenue in April and May. I secretly taped the door to see if any attempt had been made to secure it. The tape is still there. 319 Koons is just around the corner from the new Emerson School on Sycamore Street. This map shows that proximity. 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.
    3 pictures for you
    Please don't think that the east-side of Buffalo is the only place with abandoned, boarded, derelict and vacant property. Check this place out on Niagara Street at the foot of Lafayette.
    Schaeffer Brewery - Niagara Street
    And the owner? You know. The City of Buffalo.

    Seems like the City Hall's Law Department and Michael Risman could be spending more time identifying Buffalo businesses that are property tax delinquents and on the verge of dumping property in the city's lap. This sort of proactive vigilant watch would go along way in preventing "property dumping" like this. The corporation that abandoned this property was Schaeffer Brewing.

    Instead the Law Department under Michael Risman's watch in engaged in helping Common Council President David Franczyk save a forest 40 miles away.

    And so it goes...
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    Valuable Lessons From Detroit...
    What happens when a city built for two million people sees its population sink by more than half? How does a city maintain services when its property taxes drop by 65 percent? Next week Smart City host Carol Coletta will interview Wayne State Professor Robin Boyle. Wondering which of Buffalo's Mayoral candidates is listening in...
    I've been a huge fan of Smart City since I started listening on a regular basis last year. Get the free e-newsletter on a regular basis. Lots of cool urban planning and thinking shows are archived from their website. Podcasting, too!
    Smart City™ is a weekly, hour-long public radio talk show that takes an in-depth look at urban life, the people, places, ideas and trends shaping cities. Host Carol Coletta talks with national and international public policy experts, elected officials, economists, business leaders, artists, developers, planners and others for a penetrating discussion of urban issues.
    Related sites about Detroit: DetroitBlog and Detroit: Ruin of a City. There are a bunch of forums over at The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit that are totally worth checking out with all sorts of pics from Ancient Detroit.
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    109 Days to Go...
    The Buffalo blogosphere has lit up once again and is making its first steps in shaping the outcome of the 2005 Mayoral race. The issue is "old style politics" vs. transparency and accountability. Its really that simple. When asked by Figmo at BuffaloRising the now top mayoral candidates Steve, Judy and Kevin each responded in no uncertain terms, Ray McGurn has got to go!
    local scull gaughn 1 judypresssmall 25776619_cee2c01a2b_o
    Meanwhile Byron Brown appeared content reading, "My Pet Goat" to a group of kids in a summer reading program. He took some time later to respond to Figmo...
    Byron Brown reading from...."My Pet Goat"

    According to Figmo, the conversation about Ray McGurn went like this...
    So here it is. The Byron Brown SAMO Waltz:

    Step 1. Indignantly deny:
    “I have nothing to do with Ray McGurn.”
    Step 2. Immediately appear to back up the claim with emphatic but irrelevant facts:
    “McGurn was appointed by Masiello. He is Masiello’s Commissioner.”
    Step 3. Begin to obfuscate the allegation with a carefully phrased and incomplete truth
    “...who happens to be a member of a large organization in South Buffalo holding a fundraiser for me.”
    Step 4. Finish it off with all the pharisaic spin you can muster:
    “He is not the head of the organization and he is not the chair of the fundraiser.”
    But Byron lost it at Step 3. What could have been a masterful waltz right past a rank and steaming pile turned into a sloppy bellyflop right in the middle of it. In short, to claim that Ray McGurn is just “a member of a large organization in South Buffalo” strains all credibility.
    So, Buffalo Bloggers...lets get some "press passes" and keep striking out at the politics of the status quo...

    Related Posts: They Get Phone Calls via BuffaloPundit and From the Mayor via Revitalize Buffalo
    Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
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    Preserver of the Status Quo...Part II
    Byron Brown just got Figmoed! Read all about it. This guy can't be Mayor.

    Short story. When I bought my house over in Cold Springs, 9 years ago, I spent part of the first summer painting it. One summer evening Byron Brown was walking the neighborhood and collecting petition signatures. He spotted me on the ladder from the side walk and quickly told me that my house was out of compliance. I scrambled down the ladder and expected him to say, "hey the place looks great...I know it's been empty for the past 15 years..." He didn't. He looked me right in the eye and said, "You are out of compliance because you don't have any house numbers on the place."

    I had just purchased the place two months earlier and settled a housing court case with violations that pre-existed my ownership. I even paid $1500.00 of fines in Judge Manz's Housing Court.

    I glanced at the steps and the new package of brass numbers and told him to get the f--- off my front step. I told him, "I don't know where you come from, but from where I come from people admire hard work." He left.

    As far as I'm concerned he can stay away...9 years later, the house isn't completed. I work on it a couple days a week, my neighbors love the way it looks...now how about that set of row houses just down the street.
    Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
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    Preserver of the Status Quo...
    While the Buffalo blogosphere heated up this week and shed light on the impoverished political practices of certain city hall Mullahs...an on going struggle is coming to a head 40 miles away in Perrysburg, NY.
    I've been writing about "The Deal" down in Perrysburg for the past 7 months. And while vast sections of Buffalo's east-side continue to be neglected and historically important builidings owned by the City of Buffalo continue to be demolished by neglect, Council President David Franczyk seems to have a different set of priorities. He just received the award for Conservationist of the Year by the Niagara chapter of the Adirondak Mountain Club.
    a picture for you
    And this is what David Franczyk had to say recently about the JN Adam site down in Perrysburg, NY....
    Hell will freeze over before I urge my colleagues to vote for anything that doesn't preserve the buildings and respect the integrity of the natural landscape.
    You can read the rest of the story over here, courtesy of the National Trust.

    This morning I had an opportunity to speak with Scott Cannon, Tom Trathen's attorney in this matter. I'll have motion papers and affidavits here on the blog very soon...the next court date is August 18th. If anyone is interested in driving down to Little Valley, NY seat of Cattaragus County Supreme Court, let me know.

    Another opportunity to see city hall Mullahs at work...and so it goes.
    Comparing the text of Elizabeth Benjamin's article in a recent edition of the National Trust's weekly e-alert about the JN Adam Site in Perrysburg and my own research about the early history of the site that I published here in February 2005, I can't help but see a reflection. Yeah, information is free. Yet the manner in which Elizabeth Benjamin presents her own understanding of the early history of the site, in style and substance, closely resembles my own. A little attribution would have been appropriate in this case. Yet, because I'm not a "preservationist" and have consistently advocated a private property solution to this matter, I can see why the editors may have wanted to keep my name and website out of the mix.

    And so it goes...

    Waiting to hear back from Elizabeth Benjamin.

    Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
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    Meeting Harvey Garrett...
    I met Harvey last year to discuss his west-side plans to see what I could steal and bring to the east-side. No, not the architectural detail from his house but some of the strategies that we might be able to use over here in this little 25 block area of Masten...Main to Jefferson -- Ferry to Utica.

    Well it just so happens that some of the collaborative ideas that we talked about are just beginning to work...

    You can read about it here...and from the President of Buffalo's Board of Education, Florence Johnson, too...over here at her way cool blog FixEducation.

    In about an hour I'm meeting with the Masten District Housing Court Liaison in a neighborhood walkabout to prioritize and plan Housing Court strategy for the area immeadiatily surrounding the future home of Performing Arts High School. The meeting was set up long before the Mullahs in City Hall declared that housing activists and people who live in the neigbhorhoods should have limited access to Housing Court.

    Meanwhile...ask yourself which place would you rather live next door to.
    Woodlawn Row Houses - July 2005 0710garrett
    Downtown refuses to properly secure or proactively market one of the City's historical and architectural treasures. Talk about priorities...

    If it takes Harvey another 9 years to complete the work on his house...so what. There's progress. Meanwhile progress in the other direction is accelerating across town on the city's east-side.
    Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
    Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006faqmy flickr