Pour Concrete, Add Art. Buffalo’s Marine A Grain Elevator in the 21st Century!

Buffalo's Iconic Grain Elevators

When national bloggers come to Buffalo to learn about our grain elevators – it’s a big deal.

Chris Hawley and Chuck Banas took Max from the Urbanologist blog around last weekend to see the potential, the excitement and the DIY grain elevator art movement that is transforming how we view the grain elevators in the Queen City. This is a BIG DEAL. Buffalo has a lot of grain elevators and we have started to really embrace them. And it’s not just the younger generation that cares, people of all ages come to the grain elevators in Buffalo to experience these sleepy gentle giants.

You can read the article here.

A huge thank you goes to Chris Hawley and Chuck Banas who spent the day with this guy talking up Buffalo. Keep it up, guys!!

Silo City - Buffalo, NY
Buffalo’s Grain Elevators

Exploring Buffalo 10/6/2012

We spent some time showing a portlander around Buffalo today. It was fun! We now have one more buffalo lover in the world!







Photo Of The Day: WORK

This has been my work environment for the past hour.
I’m happiest and most productive when I am not in a lifeless office space in the burbs.. Of course!
Who doesn’t like seeing an being around people, sipping coffee and listening to music while whipping up proposals??!!
Hope everyone of my readers is having a great day. Lots of new initiatives and projects are about to come online.. Stay tuned!


Toronto’s Underpass Park Should Inspire Buffalo: Let’s Light Up the Skyway.

Disclaimer – I cannot tear the skyway down so take your anger out on the DOT, not me… Thank you!

Here is an idea…

Buffalo has a skyway. Let’s light it up!!

Ok, here me out here. It’s not very pretty, no one likes it and it does a great job at disconnecting our Canalside district from Downtown. Considering the City of Buffalo just invested in the skyways infrastructure.. we pretty much have to deal with it. The Peace Bridge has seen new life through the use of lighting… the skyway should be next in line.

So where does this inspiration come from!!??? Toronto,of course!

When visiting Toronto this weekend, I saw this underpass shining brightly with LEDs! What a simple way to light up a usually vacant, lifeless space. Of course, the lights in Toronto reminded me of the Buffalo skyway, so I decided to do some research.

I found out that the lights are a permanent Toronto art project called “water table” to represent the waters of Lake Ontario. Click here for more information and see the video embeded below. The art project was a simple idea which required a fairly simple install. Most importantly, the lights helps to connect a walk way between the river and downtown, providing a safe and seamless transfer from one area to the next. Neat!

Well, when doing some more digging, I realized that just this week, Toronto celebrated the opening of The Underpass Park that is equipped with a skate park and playground. The area is nicely lit and open for all ages to enjoy. What a great use of space! You can find some incredible images of the new park here.

So, that brings us back to Buffalo… A few months back, Buffalorising posted this article about an LED pilot project that lit the skyway up at night. The question is, where is the follow up? Will it ever be permanent? We haven’t heard anything more since the pilot. Lighting would be a great addition to all of the wonderful things happening in the Canalside district.

Lets light up the skyway, Buffalo!

Video Credit: Jason Wilson.


I have so much city/urbanism ideas to blog about when I get back to Buffalo about Toronto…

In the mean time here’s a shot from a rooftop!

More to come….


Buffalo Bocce League 2013?

Who wants to join a 2013 Buffalo Bocce League?

Let me tell you about Providence, RI’s Downtown Bocce League… and why Buffalo is the perfect candidate for something like this!

First of all – Go to this link and check out Providence’s Bocce Team Page.. Great website! (Link to Website Here)

Here is why this is awesome.

The Bocce Court  is set on a vacant land parcel in the downtown core of Providence. The vacant lot also has a white screen to show movies when Bocce is not in session! Double use of vacant land!  Buffalo has a bunch of great vacant lots that are sitting there lifeless… why not convert one into a combo Bocce / Movie center? This is a simple, almost temporary use of a vacant lot but beats having a lifeless, half mowed lot and can bring life to an area!

Most importantly, by the reaction and results in Providence, you can tell this is so much fun and soooo hip! The Bocce League has parties, they hang out, they play…  there is a link below about their league. Check it out. Their team names and party fliers scream urban city dwellers that appreciate good fonts.

So why doesn’t Buffalo have one? Lets start thinking about where this could happen and how we can fund the costs for the initial start up. I will start the first team  – Team Buffalove and will contribute $50.00 towards this cause.

Let’s do this, Buffalo! Buffalo Bocce League 2013!

Providence Downtown City Bocce League – Link

Bocce in Downtown Providence – Photo Credit from the link above!


NYC Highline Gets Weird.. In a Good Way!

Jason and I headed to NYC a few weeks ago and I had to show him the Highline.
I was happy to see that the Highline has gotten weird – in a good way!

Here are a couple photos. The Highline zoo is my favorite! On top of that, there are several murals, funny window clings, music/art vendors and even a lady who does a dance for highliners every hour or so from her apartment window.

Check it out next time you’re in NYC!





Understanding the Process of Purchasing a Demo House…

So, over the past week I have been very interested in one property that is on the most recent demo list from the City. It’s a great little house with so much exterior character. What it looks like inside? I don’t know yet. Why don’t I know? Because I need $5,000 dollars and an completed application to see inside of it. Sounds semi reasonable except I just want to see inside before I pull my resources together for the improvement cash. What if there is significant water damage? Or structural issues? Obviously, all things to look at even if it is for a real cheap price.

So I have started asking so many questions, wondering so many things about the process, who to talk and get advice from, how do you stop the demo if you are interested etc.. I have been wondering  the following…

  • Who else has done this that I can talk to about their experiences?
  • Is it hard to get insurance or a loan on a demo house?
  • Why and how do these amazing houses get onto the demo list in the first place?
  • How much are the houses worth when they are not in the homesteading area and can they be put into the homesteading program?

Okay, back to my potential little italianate house.. well, knowing certain people… I was able to get the demolition paused (thankfully!) because I sent an email through the right channels basically begging the powers that be for some time.. I have also been fortunate to email someone who connected me with the city real estate division right away (and they even responded on a weekend!) who quickly responded with the process of buying a demo house.

I have already had progress because I was lucky to know and contact certain people who know this process to guide me..  (which is awesome )… but what about the random person who wants to buy it that doesn’t know anyone who is familiar with the homesteading program? They may not know who to email or call, right?  And if they call city hall, they will get the information on the buying requirements and most likely be scared away by the requirements needed to be met –  just to see what the inside looks like.  An even bigger question is – what if they only have cash and no credit or bank account like some of our refugee families have who want to purchase a house?

So many questions and thoughts…

So before I do anything, my overall idea is to understand both sides of the issue and process first before acting, attacking or feeling alienated. One side of the process is the city – its policies, law requirements and what they are dealing with legally. The other side is the buyer – what he/she has to understand, undertake, learn and deal with – as part of the entire homesteading process. Once we know both of these processes well, perhaps we can make each more efficient? Perhaps we learn what works and doesn’t so we can help the future buyers out?

So, what do I do now? I do some research and understand.  I need to get a feel for what others have done in Buffalo but also what other cities have done. There are a lot of great houses out there that can and should be rehabbed. If the process was easier, the houses could potentially sell quicker… right?

My goal this week is to learn this process. Get a feel for it. Figure out why the city has the policies it has and how can we direct interested parties through the right channels.

More to come on this… If you have any insight, wisdom or websites you can connect me with, that would be amazing.