Comment 90325

By ChrisBieda (registered) | Posted July 21, 2013 at 00:05:28 in reply to Comment 90264

Yup, we got architecture up the wazoo. I was a student at university and when I found that "Buffalo" was a chapter in almost everything written about the great (planned) cities of the U.S., I was agog.

The downtown musts are, of course, the Guaranty Building, the Ellicott Square Building and City Hall, but if you thought New York's Twin Towers had a strange beauty, you will get a shiver down your spine when you see One M&T Plaza. You should also hit the Erie Community College City Campus (an adaptive reuse of an old, grand central post office). The location of the central library for the county library system is worth noting: Not many libraries get that kind of spot in any city. (The building itself? Meh.) If you seek adaptive residential reuse, call me out and I will compose a list: An old trucking terminal began the trend, and not many months go by without another project being announced (and these are usually big money guys, locals, who do not announce "vaporware").

One thing worth checking out is the park system. While Olmsted and Vaux designed, it's not as impressive (to me) as some of their work in other cities, yet I regard Cazenovia Park as beautiful as Central Park (though much smaller), and the Victorian botanical conservatory in South Park will make you smile (yes, it's basically a model for the one in New York--a recurring theme, no?), especially for 'Tonians used to the RBG (which I think is one of North America's underappreciated jewels).

The years, active (as opposed to passive) recreation and the burgeoning automobile culture have rendered the Olmsted plan a shadow of what it once was, but there are remnants of the vision even 125+ years later (the southern "half" of Delaware Park, coupled with the parkways surrounding, Lincoln, Chapin and Bidwell).

My favorite Buffalo Olmsted park is Days Park, [a] 'cause I used to live a block away in my salad years, and [b] I get to see it every day during the school year because my daughter's school is across the street from it--yeah she takes recess in a 125-year-old FLO park that is as close to his original as any of which I am aware, anywhere (if only the American elm were still here to decorate it--sigh). That's Buffalo's heritage.

One striking facet of the "new Buffalo" is the willingness, nay, eagerness to establish greenspace wherever possible along the water: I call to your attention Seneca Bluffs, Red Jacket Riverfront Park, the Katherine Street peninsula, Mutual Riverfront Park, Riverfest (Peg's) Park, all within the city limits, all along a single kayakable waterway and none older than a decade. On the Outer Harbor, the venerable Tifft Farm Nature Preserve has been complemented by Union Ship Canal Commons, Tifft (Street) Pier, Gallagher Beach & Pier, Wilkeson Pointe and the (spiffed-up) Times Beach Nature Preserve, none of which are more than five years old!

My personal favorite is the off-the-beaten-path Squaw Island Park, again, less than a decade old, and right on the Niagara River. Mad volleyball action there.

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