Painting for Preservation: Trico Art-In is Tomorrow Morning. Come one, come all!

Bring out the brushes, the easels, your cameras or your sketch book. Tomorrow is the day we document Trico via an Art-In! Even if you don’t feel like painting or sketching.. come and hang. It’s always fun and we have a lot of great conversations. I may bring snacks too!

Saturday, 6/1/2013 – 9:30am – 1pm. 

Here is the event link. SAVE TRICO.

Join us for on-site art-making at the historic Trico Plant #1. Artists of all skill level and media are welcome as are any interested observers and community members. To read more about this location, check out this article from Buffalo Spree, or join the Save Trico FB group

This site is rich with Buffalo history and is a designated landmark on the National Register, however local preservationists are working hard to secure local landmark status to help ensure that it stays a part of our city’s urban fabric. Our industrial history is a key component to our regrowth, and it is vital to the visual language and character of our city.

The oldest building within the complex, originally the Christian Weyland Brewery cold storage building, was built in 1890. The facade of this building is still visible from the Ellicott St. side and is situated within the larger additions from the 1920s (and onward) afterit was acquired by Trico to manufacture windshield wipers. The complex grew to include excellent examples of the Daylight Factory style. 

For those looking to portray Trico within the city, there are interesting views of downtown from this location as well.



This is what the dollar houses look like in Buffalo, NY.

I walk through buildings every day for Buffalo Energy, Buffalove Development and just sometimes for fun.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to walk through a West Side house on the City demolition list that is homestead eligible. This is a four unit apartment building that is available for purchase for one dollar. I am not spilling the beans on location/details yet… but I wanted to share the photos with you in hopes that you can see the reality of what dollar houses come with. This one is in good shape and even had some historic elements still in place!

More to come… This is just a teaser! 🙂

photo 1 (2) photo 3 (1) photo 3 (2) photo 4 (1) photo 4 (2)photo 5 (1)

What Happened To Smart Growth in Buffalo? ECC & Poloncarz Support North Campus Expansion.

With the most recent ECC Amherst Expansion decisions, it is pretty clear that our County Government continues to support sprawl despite having the “Anti Sprawl” Smart Growth law titled the State Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy.

§ 6-0105. State smart growth public infrastructure policy. It is the purpose of this article to augment the state’s environmental policy by declaring a fiscally prudent state policy of maximizing the social, economic and environmental benefits from public infrastructure development through minimizing unnecessary costs of sprawl development including environmental degradation, disinvestment in urban and suburban communities and loss of open space induced by sprawl facilitated by the funding or development of new or expanded transportation, sewer and waste water treatment, water, education, housing and other publicly supported infrastructure inconsistent with smart growth public infrastructure criteria.

For more information on the law, click here.  If you want to check out the Buffalo regions SPRAWL BOMB, check this article out. You can read the law documents  here:  NY Smartgrowth Checklist &  Anti Sprawl Smart Growth Policy Act ENV Section 6 edited

I don’t have time to comment about this issue in full just yet… I have yet to read the ECC Study which I will be reviewing tomorrow. If you want to know more about the ECC Expansion situation, you can go to for the last two years of key information and details. Until I have the ability to really comment, I leave you with a song called SPRAWL II by the Arcade Fire. Easily one of the best records ever for any urban planner/city lover. The video/song and lyrics are below.


“Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”

They heard me singing and they told me to stop
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock
These days my life, I feel it has no purpose
But late at night the feelings swim to the surface

‘Cause on the surface the city lights shine
They’re calling at me, come and find your kind
Sometimes I wonder if the World’s so small
That we can never get away from the sprawl
Living in the sprawl
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there’s no end in sight
I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights

We rode our bikes to the nearest park
Sat under the swings and kissed in the dark
We shield our eyes from the police lights
We run away, but we don’t know why
Black river, your city lights shine
They’re screaming at us, we don’t need your kind
Sometimes I wonder if the world’s so small
That we can never get away from the sprawl
Living in the sprawl
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there’s no end in sight
I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights

They heard me singing and they told me to stop
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock
Sometimes I wonder if the world’s so small
Can we ever get away from the sprawl?
Living in the sprawl
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there’s no end in sight
I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights
I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights

Flower Boxes: A Simple Way to Enhance Street Life

Flower boxes… I’ve never admired them so much before. Look at these beauties in Nantucket.

It’s interesting how much a few flowers can do to upgrade or enhance a window or house… or better yet, the entire street. They speak loudly without saying a word. The vibrant colors, exploding flowers.. Their presence tells the world “hey, we care about this place!”

I will make a more conscious effort when I am back in Buffalo to add planters and flowers where I can. Hopefully others who read this will too!




Bicycle Sharing in Boston: Hubways, Bike Lanes and Sharrows, Oh My!

Bicycle Sharing is really taking off across the country – with NYC’s Citi bike coming online this month and Buffalo Bike Share on its way, I have been eager to use a bicycle sharing system and write about it.

I was just recently in Boston and had the opportunity to use their new regional “Hubway” bicycle sharing system. With Buffalo in the beginning stages of getting a Bicycle sharing program (Buffalo Bike Share!), I thought it would be good to discuss my bicycle sharing experience in Boston with all my fellow Buffalonians!

I am not going to lie, I was very hesitant to use a bicycle in Boston. I was worried about the offensive drivers, riding in a much bigger city and the organic, (often wacky, if you ask me) and seemingly directionless street grid. Lucky for me, my wonderful friend Helen is a year around bicycle commuter in Boston and she threw a helmet in my lap and made me try the bicycle share.

In Boston, it seems as if everyone rides a bicycle. There are bicycle lanes, locking racks and Hubway stations everywhere. Even where bicycle lanes did not fit, there were “sharrows” that indicated to the driver to share the road with bicyclists. There is even a well lit cycle track integrated within the MIT campus. Considering how cold Boston can be (similar to Buffalo!), I was surprised to see bicycles and bicycle infrastructure everywhere!

About Hubway:

For $12 bucks, you can have a three day pass to the Hubway bicycle sharing program. As a tourist or visitor, this is a great alternative to renting a bicycle, driving and parking, subway rides at 2+ dollars each and/or walking everywhere. The hubway stations are easy to understand and very accessible. The bicycles are comfortable to ride, pretty light weight and well taken care of.

There are “hubway” hubs every few blocks because they are designed for short trips – a 30 minute ride or less is covered under the $12 dollar charge. Anything over 30 minutes incurs additional fees that rapidly go up with every minute. Wondering why? The goal of any bicycle sharing program is short, quick trips – getting the bicycles and the people from one station to another. Considering the the majority of bicycle trips are under 2 – 3 miles, this 30 minute goal can be easily achieved!

Boston is a wonderful city to use a bicycle in. I am still surprised as to how fun and fairly stress free it was to ride a bicycle in such a big city… maybe it was my tour guide (thanks Helen!) but there’s no doubt that the bicycle infrastructure helped. For me,  using the Hubway allowed me to see so many areas of the city very quickly but also in great detail. It was fun to ride over bridges, along the water and see the downtown area. I felt like I took a city tour except I wasn’t in a bus – I  was on a bike. It was a fun experience!! One can only hope that Buffalo continues to get more bicycle infrastructure added to our streets so we can grow our bicycle culture. I am really looking forward to seeing how the Buffalo BikeShare program works out!

This article from came online today really sums up the details and facts surrounding the bike share craze. Check it out!

Boston”s Hubway Bicycle Sharing Program has bicycle hubs throughout the City.
A view of Boston taken while bicycling down a riverview route that I cannot remember. Love the sailboats!
Here I am, happy as a clam in Boston because I am riding a Boston Hubway Bicycle.

Painting For Preservation:The June Schedule Is Out!

Painting for Preservation is such a great preservation initiative. For those who don’t know what it is – you paint the building (not the actual building) – you paint it on a canvas using paint, watercolor, pen, chalk.. or whatever your medium is. It is a great way to engage artists, children and the general public. Notice that TRICO is set for Saturday, June 1st , 9:30 am – 12:30 pm – Art-in at Trico Plant #1, 791 Washington St., Buffalo. Awesome!

Check the schedule & details out below!


Painting for Preservation will be capturing the stately beauty of 36-50 East Utica Street on Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.  Artists of all media and skill level, community members, and interested observers are invited to document these beautiful but neglected historic homes through participation in on-site art-making and story sharing.  Dana Saylor-Furman, an organizing member of Painting for Preservation, researched and wrote The Active Path to Rebirth about the 1880s buildings for Buffalo Spree.

The upcoming June Painting for Preservation events are as follows:

·         Saturday, June 1st , 9:30 am – 12:30 pm – Art-in at Trico Plant #1, 791 Washington St., Buffalo

·         Friday, June 7th, 7 pm – Artist Talk at C.G. Jung Center, 408 Franklin Ave., Buffalo

·         Wednesday, June 12th, 5 pm – 7:30 pm – Art-in at Niagara Square, Buffalo (in conjunction with BALLE conference)

·         Saturday, June 22nd,  9:30 am – 12:30 pm – Art-in at St. Ann’s Church, Broadway and Emslie, Buffalo

·         Friday, June 28th,  6 pm – 8 pm – Closing Reception at C.G. Jung Center, 408 Franklin Ave., Buffalo


Artists who participate in these art-in will have the opportunity to exhibit their completed and/or partially completed artwork at the C.G. Jung Center in an on-going exhibit.

Often an inanimate building doesn’t cause us pause, but a group of people staring at a building for 3 hours can, especially if those people are making art.  Recently, artists created work based on 23 North Street, the former home of WEBR, in historic Allentown.  Artists had the opportunity to engage in dialogue with many local residents about the condition of the building, residents’ hopes for it, and to share with them local preservation efforts and initiatives.

Please see for more information and pictures.



Contact: Sara M. Zak, * Many more images can be included if you would like more*



Pen & Ink  by the fabulous Mickey Harmon!

Pen and Ink by Mickey Harmon

Repost! Officially On The Real Estate Market: City Owned Residential and Commercial Properties

Officially On The Real Estate Market: City Owned Residential and Commercial Properties

Things have begun to change for the better in the Dept. of Real Estate in City Hall.

Christie Nelson, the new Director of Real Estate has officially put several City owned residential and commercial properties up for sale to the public.   The houses have for sale signs, they have been appraised and are now publicly listed for all to see. Right now there are 20 residential houses and eight commercial city owned properties on sale.  Considering the very limited resources to maintain the city owned properties, this is a very promising start.

For a list of all the residential properties, click here.

For a list of all commercial buildings for sale, click here.

If you are interested in learning more about the process of buying, check out the Department of Real Estate Website here.  The process of obtaining these is not an easy one however, for $5,000 – $10,000 dollars, you can essentially have your self a house with good bones, some historic character and a blank slate to make it what you want. Below are a couple of photos pulled from the residential listings found online.

This is a great step in the right direction for the Real Estate Department. Every house that is sold is one that is not demolished. The faster we can get these houses out of the hands of the City and into a private, local owner, the better. Let’s hope these opportunities go to local people who are ready, willing and able to rehab these structures and bring them back to life. You can read about a couple who are goingbuying a City Owned Property here. While the process has been long, the end result will be well worth it.

240 TimonBerkshire Front ExteriorBerkshire KitchenBerkshire Living RoomWinslow

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Artvoice Best of Buffalo Nomination!

Artvoice Best of Buffalo Nomination!

The Best of Buffalo nominations are out! I am so happy to be a part of this list.. regardless of who wins, it is such an honor to be on a list with these amazingly inspiring people and groups! Thanks to everyone who voted for me and/or BYP!!