Dec 30, 2014

Neighborhood Activists Believe Demolition Work Imminent at Thornton Hall

I was just tipped off by Kathy Mecca of the Columbus Parkway Association regarding what appears to be staging for an imminent demolition beginning at Thonrton Hall in the shadow of the Peace Bridge. The Episcopal Church Home property is threatened with wholesale demolition for the expansion of the plaza and a larger Duty Free Store to benefit private interests at the costs of the health and viability of the adjacent neighborhood. Plans for the Hutchinson Chapel previously called for its relocation, but ESDC has been silent on the issue as of late and has not produced any plans for its fate. Here's what Kathy had to say, spread the word.

Image courtesy of Kathy Mecca, taken this afternoon
Construction trailers are parked outside of Thornton Hall at the Episcopal Church Home. ESDC announced in November that Total Wrecking Company would begin asbestos removal. It figures they would start with the most historic building first which may jeopardize the stability of the adjacent historic Chapel.

As you know, Thornton Hall is a land marked icon inside of historic Prospect Hill-Columbus Park.  I am appealing to Preservation groups not to miss the opportunity to lodge a formal complaint against state and city officials who have decided to operate above the laws protecting historic buildings. It's a disgrace that government officials can blatantly dismiss the significance of land marking status and violate the City's Preservation Board's decision to deny a demolition permit for Thornton Hall.

Despite intervention from the National Trust, Preservation League of NYS, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, Campaign for Greater Buffalo and the City's Preservation Board, demolition of historic properties inside of Prospect Hill-Columbus Park has continued at an alarming rate - greater than any other district in the city.  We are the only major historic district in the City of Buffalo whose historic legacy is destroyed to appease the self-perpetuation of a public corporation (Public Bridge Authority) and the skewed political will of elected officials.

The Columbus Park neighborhood has done everything in its power including funding several lawsuits to stop the further destruction of our historic community.

Most recently in October we filed suit against ESDC and the City of Buffalo to prevent the demolition of ECH and to stop the Gateway Ramp project from moving forward. NYS State Supreme Court Justice O'Donnell rescinded the TRO allowing ESDC to move forward on demolition, but has not made a decision on the environmental impact portion of the lawsuit which if favorable, would halt both projects.

However, the court's ruling may come too late to save historic Thornton Hall. ESDC has the authority to start asbestos removal of the remaining campus of non-historic buildings first and leave Thornton Hall alone until Justice O'Donnell issues his ruling.

Your collective voices could convince ESDC officials to leave Thornton Hall intact until at least the court issues a decision.  The state has no plans to build on the sight so why should they rush to compromise the structural integrity of an iconic structure first? 

I truly hope you will give serious consideration to my appeal. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Kathy Mecca, President
Columbus Parkway Association

Heavy Winds Do Damage at Duffy Silk in Midst of Developer Discussions for Possible Rehabilitation

The heavy winds on Christmas Eve claimed their victim at the Duffy Silk Mill building at 1270 Broadway. As the storm picked up a heavy gust battered the interior wall on the east wing launching bricks into the adjacent alleyway and collapsing a significant portion of the wall. Demolition crews were on site Christmas Day to claim their reward and got to work tearing down much of the eastern portion.


This collapse could not have come at a worst time for the building as the owner was in talks with various developers who had expressed significant interest in the sprawling 100,000 square foot factory. Adjacent to the Belt Line, which has been a hot topic for redevelopment, the building had endless potential to be converted to apartments in similar fashion to so many other buildings like it.

How the building appeared prior to demolition began
It was built primarily in two periods between 1905 and 1912 with the demolished eastern wing built in 1905 followed by the western portion in 1912. The building was expanded multiple times towards the rear of the site from 1913 to 1950. It was designed by prominent architects Esenwein & Johnson and was potentially eligible for historic tax credits to help offset heavy rehab costs. 


Duffy Silk built a total of three factories in Buffalo, one of which was also designed by Esenwein & Johnson and still extant at 207 Guildford Street. The company produced a variety of silk goods and later moved into producing nylon products as silk became difficult and costly to acquire.


The owner inherited the building from her father upon his passing, who operated a variety of endeavors for decades. The owner explained, “Among other things, he ran a sewing shop for making the canvas and coat pads for M. Wile and other men's clothing manufacturing. This was a business started by his father years before and I believe he bought the building partly to have a place for that business venture. But the building was so big that he had to fill it up with other things. He also manufactured corduroy jackets and I think for a while, women's low cost dresses." 

Historic Interior (1905-26)
The same view as above, nearly 100 years apart
"One brave venture was to start one of the first discount stores selling a variety of goods, especially pharmaceuticals, which he got into trouble for discounting prices. Another was selling groceries, clothing, fabrics, and other items that he bought at auctions from insurance companies that were selling off distressed merchandise after fires or other acts of nature. He bought and sold all kinds of things in that way, including a stock of records that I believe was the way Record Theater got started. The same was true of FWS furniture.  What he bought at auction dictated the beginning of various business, he was a successful entrepreneur who wasn't afraid to take chances.”


According to the owner, the city did not notify her of the demolition and just began tearing it down likely because it was classified as an emergency demolition. Her attorney is handling all communications and attempting to sort everything out. In the mean time, the owner believes the city only plans to demolish the affected portion of the complex. It’s unclear if that includes the remaining other half of the east wing, which in total compromises much of the square footage. The remaining west wing and central connector are in relatively good shape and still could be reused should the entire complex not be demolished. The building has been available for several years with an asking price of only $57,000, which had dropped to $32,000.

This still could be the view from a rooftop patio
For additional photos of the interior and the building before and after demolition, check out my Ipernity album here.
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Dec 5, 2014

E.M. Tea Coffee Cup Cafe - The Neighborhood Spot of Hamlin Park

If you’ve been following my posts lately, you know that Hamlin Park is the neighborhood I’m making my home and staying active in. Every good neighborhood has at least one place that’s “the spot” where a variety of folks in the community gather to relax, grab some coffee/food, socialize, and have a good time. That spot in Hamlin Park is unquestionably the E.M. Tea Coffee Cup in Hamlin Park on the corner of Oakgrove and Hughes Avenue.

The family owned and operated business has been serving up great coffee and delicious food in Hamlin Park for nearly 15 years and provides a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere. It’s the kind of place where if you go enough, the regulars and the employees know you by name.

Proprietors, Wil and Kat Tyler along with Kat’s son Sterling, run the day-to-day operations and have recently remodeled for an even cozier venue. In addition to their fantastic offerings, the café hosts live music as often as possible. The next event is a poetry slam, taking place on January 3rd, starting at 8:30pm.

All the food is made fresh to order and the café offers great baked goods made in house daily. The breakfast sandwiches are a great start to the day and served on flaky croissants. Lunch offerings are expansive and I’ve been making my way through the menu from the fish fry to the hoagies and everything in between. If you’re thinking about a special occasion you may also want to consider their homemade chocolate covered strawberries, which you have to order at least a day in advance. I’ve yet to have them, but I hear great things.

Next time you’re in the neighborhood or if you already live here, be sure to give it a try and support this great, local, east side business.

Hours of Operation:

Monday to Wednesday, Saturday: 7am to 4pm

Thursday & Friday: 7am to 7pm

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Aug 19, 2014

Buffalo's Homestead Dollar House Program Gets National Attention

The dollar house program (original post here) in Buffalo is getting some national attention this week as the LA Times launched a piece over the weekend, which you can read here. Additionally, National Public Radio interviewed me this morning and you can listen to the recording by following this link.
This would have been a great save and a cheaper rehab, but the wrecking ball got to it first

This is great news all around since there are still many good rehab candidates out there in need of loving and capable new owners. Every house that’s taken off the homestead list is also taken off the demolition list and put back on the tax rolls. While bringing back neighborhoods in the city isn’t just about getting vacant properties functioning again, it’s a step in the right direction.
This beauty has been officially saved and is undergoing rehab
Stay tuned for a post later this week that outlines how the acquisition process works once you’ve decided to buy a dollar house and some helpful tips. A new Dollar House of the Day post will be forthcoming as well. Finally, don’t forget about this handy map that shows the remaining dollar homes. I’ll continue to update it as properties are sold or demolished.
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Jul 21, 2014

Two More Homesteaders Begin Rehabbing Their House in Hamlin Park

There’s more good news from the east side, specifically my Hamlin Park neighborhood. Another vacant, city-owned home has been successfully purchased through the Homestead program also known as the dollar house program.

My new neighbors and fellow homesteaders, Tom and Zoe agreed to let me interview them both about their purchase and their future plans for the little cottage they will soon call home. The pair is in their mid-twenties and will be a fine addition to the street. Check out what they have to say below.

Mike: What was the deciding factor to buy this house, in this neighborhood?

Tom: I first read about the homestead program sitting at my café of employment out west. I was pretty sick of work and ready to move so home we went.  After reading about the homestead program, I scoured the City’s properties for months.  We were just looking for a good middle ground between the neighborhood quality and the home’s structural quality.  I was interested in Hamlin Park because it was the nicest neighborhood I looked in.  The tax credits were a bonus.  We also wanted something small so we jumped all over our little cottage.  We kind of dove into it pretty quickly and totally lucked out.  We moved back to Buffalo in October and closed on a house in June. Oh, also the train is nearby.  That was a big factor since I hate driving.

Zoe: When we first heard of the homestead program, we actually left it as only a joke for the longest time. In times of frustration, we would often refrain: "Let's just quit our jobs and buy a house for a dollar back home." But the more we learned of this bizarre system of financing your life away with homes, cars, school, etc., it really began to change my perspective of what a modern day miracle of a program homesteading is. As intimidating as the great amount of work there is to be done on the house is, this was a much more realistic option and fate I was interested in. We went through a lot of heartbreak learning of other houses we were interested were actually already taken, but in the end it was a true blessing because we were considering some ginormous houses that would have been way too much too chew for two folks on our salary. When we found Florida Street I couldn't believe our luck in finding the only cottage size home among full two story homes.

Check out the newly planted hostas, courtesy of the great guys next door
MikeWhat are your immediate plans for the house?

Tom: Gut it! Then run electric and plumbing.  I think we’re going to set up a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen area so we can move in and finish the rest.  It really changes the picture of how the house was built, which has led to little being decided.

Zoe: Definitely gutting it and figuring out how to work with the old bones of the structure. I'd also love to get a nice coat of fresh paint on the outside for cosmetics and liven up our parcel. Replace the front porch roof so we know our friends and family will enter safely.

Mike: How many surprises have you found so far and what were they?

Tom: Oooooh a number of them. And they just keep coming!  I was surprised whoever stole my tub got it out of there.  The amount of motivation the break-in and scrap guys have is just amazing. I still don’t know if our water line is severed or just shut off at the main. It’s like gambling with money you don’t have. There’s been a bunch of stuff we’ve found during demolition that I won’t mention here, but you can hear about it on my upcoming album, “Dead Things I’ve Found”.

Zoe: It's going to be a really good album. My imagination could run wild wondering what has taken place in this home and it certainly did on our first tour of the grounds. I found it fun to piece together oddities of the home like a window within the house and the narrow, winding stairs within a closet that we couldn't find for quite some time and mail with Eisenhower stamps. Walking through a home built in 1890 can fuel your curiosity on all the changes that have taken place with the past owners.

MikeHow have you felt in your short time during Hamlin Park?

Tom: I dig it.  It’s a nice little community we’ve all seemed to stumble upon here.  There are lots of families and homesteaders on the block. Sometimes I feel I do more beer drinking than housework, but that’s important too. There’s even a little seriousness to that statement.  It’s great we have a network of people just to keep an eye out on our places, and it’s proved to make the whole project more fun.  Last night it took me four hours to mow the lawn because I was just hanging out with the neighbors.  Mike, you were there.

Zoe: Is this a trap, Mike? Just another area that we completely lucked out on. I hope the homesteading program continues to draw in buyers and they are all fortunate enough to create these beautiful, collaborative relationships with their neighbors.

Here's a shot before any work has begun for comparison with everything is done
Mike: What do you envision for improvements on the street?

Tom: More trees would always be nice. Just fixing the sidewalk where it’s busted and picking up the trash. It’s the little things that make a difference, like broken windows theory. A lot of the places on our block look great. There’s a few not so great, but I think the neighborhood will fill in…Maybe someone will even start a garden on those lots next to my house… As for right now, I’m happy to have a home, a nearby the subway, and some eateries/stores nearby. I do envision some investment on Jefferson and Delavan. I think we all agree it’d be awesome to have some restaurants and shops nearby, so here’s hoping.

Zoe: It is just the little stuff. I find myself wanting to work on my house and everyone else's all at the same time. I grew up in a neighborhood where there was a collection of helpful neighbors all assisting with each other, so I would like to continue that and I am very excited to be connected with a neighborhood and tax-payer association that is so involved in caring for this area. I think trees and gardens make a huge difference in environment and of course a variety of healthy and positive restaurants and shops would be a tremendous perk.

Mike: Are we ditching the siding for that wonderful clapboard below? What about that porch too?

Tom: Ha, ha, ha.  Actually Mike, I will give you some credit.  It’s gone from a hell no to a maybe. I’m not a huge fan of the siding, but it will have to do for now. It is a good insulator after all.  As for the porch, well, it obviously needs a lot of work.  We’re probably going to just start over. Zoe just suggested we do a wraparound country porch all the way around the side. That would be awesome, but far into the future.

Zoe: I'd love to see an old photo! I'm a little afraid to see what is under that siding and also afraid to remove it, but I'm open to ideas and am excited to play around with the porch and railings. I love a good porch.

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Jul 18, 2014

Building with Endless Possibilities Hits the Market in Hamlin Park

Here's an exciting opportunity in Hamlin Park. A former factory building at 170 Florida Street (google map) is on the market and its location within the historic district entitles the rehabilitation of the building to be eligible for historic tax credits. It’s centrally located within the city and the proximity to Main Street, Canisius College, Metro Rail, and the Expressway are huge selling points.
The listing says the building clocks in over 46,000 square feet and with its open floor plans it could be converted for a variety of different uses including residential mixed use like many others have been converted in recent years.
The sale includes the various out buildings and the frontage extends all the way to Jefferson Avenue providing ample parking and opportunity for creative infill development. A linear park owned by the City of Buffalo behind the building could be a great amenity as well with some work. The owner is asking $750,000, but it seems like there is room for negotiation. Here’s a link to the listing.
The former George A. Otis Bed Manufacturing building was built in several phases, the oldest being the two and a half story concrete portion dating to c.1911. The two-story brick and tile buildings were built between 1923 and 1925. There were several other additions and outbuildings created over the following decades.
Originally the company was incorporated as the N.P. Chaney Company founded in the 1880s. As a Buffalo Courier article of 1912 explains the company, “has now been incorporated for the purpose of handling the constantly increasing business, growing from a small mattress factory to one of the largest plants in New York State.”
The factory was later used to produce plastic products during WWII by Bernard Oshei, the brother of John Oshei, the founder of Trico. It was used by several different manufacturers after Bernard’s death in 1948 including DuBois Plastics and Fibron Products before the last company went bankrupt and the building was sold.

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Jul 1, 2014

Views of Buffalo Goes to the Congress for the New Urbanism

Well the Congress for the New Urbanism rolled into town nearly a month ago and I’ve finally gotten around to doing a quick post about it. There have been flurries of different reviews both good and bad, but even some of the bad points have merit. Buffalo put its best foot forward mostly showing off the west side and downtown while experts weighed in on the good, bad, and the ugly. Downtown had its fair (and deserved) share of criticism. While it has been improving in recent years it has a long way to go and most signs point to it getting done properly.


My biggest criticism was that the east side and other neighborhoods that could have benefited from the visiting experts were left out of the mix. While I understand that the way these go is for people to get as much of the “good stuff” as they can, there were plenty of neighborhoods in Buffalo that could have been great testing grounds for new ideas. It would have been great to see Jeff Speck and Andres Duany in Broadway-Fillmore talking about where and how to begin breathing new life into the distressed neighborhood. It was a huge missed opportunity to start a broader dialogue in neighborhoods that have practically been forgotten by our city leaders.


Due to my hectic work schedule I was only able to attend one of the official CNU events, Towards a Walkable Buffalo by Jeff Speck. You can check out his presentation in full here. Speck’s talk was loaded with interesting facts and statistics, but he didn’t hold back about downtown’s failures. It’s definitely worth the watch. You can check out eight other presentations by visiting the CNU’s Youtube channel here.


Thankfully, I was able to attend many of the CNU NextGen events, which were probably better than many of the official presentations. It was a great opportunity to talk to many of the presenters one-on-one and show the good and bad of Buffalo. The bar crawl with pedestrian superhero Peatonito, the gathering at the grain elevators, and the tactical urbanism event at the Hotel Lafayette stood out as my favorites.


I even gave a tour of Hamlin Park for about 50 people, half of whom were visitors to Buffalo having never set foot on the east side. Robert T. Coles stole the show when we visited his home on Humboldt Parkway. He discussed his attempts to stop the destruction of Humboldt Parkway and how his experiences trying to stop some of the worst urban renewal mistakes Buffalo made.


At the end of the week I was lucky to celebrate with the key players in the NextGen events after a job very well done by them all. For additional photos of my CNU coverage check out my Ipernity album here.


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Jun 9, 2014

Views of Buffalo is Now Using Instagram and the Twitter Machine

In an effort to reach an even wider audience, Views of Buffalo is now utilizing both Instagram and Twitter. Of course the blog will still remain the primary source, be sure to us both apps for additional photos around Buffalo, updates of the dollar house, links to current posts, and teasers to new posts. To follow on Twitter click here and for Instagram click here. I can promise everyone now there will be no crappy filters applied. Enjoy.

P.S. There will be one or two CNU 22 follow up posts coming soon

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Jun 6, 2014

Don't Miss the Hamlin Park Historic District Walking Tour Tomorrow for CNU NextGen

This Saturday June 7th I’ll be giving a walking tour of the Hamlin Park Historic District as a part of the Congress for New Urbanism Next Generation events, which is free and open to the public. The tour goes from 3pm to 5pm and begins at the Hotel Lafayette downtown. From there we will jump on the Metro Rail at 3:12pm and get off at the Humboldt station at the corner of Main and Humboldt Parkway around 3:25pm. If you can't make it downtown, feel free to hang around the station at the arrival time to join up.

Northland Avenue

Here’s the official description from the CNU NextGen page: The Hamlin Park Historic District: What’s Next? Hamlin Park is the East Side’s only historic district, an African American middle class enclave built around Frederick Law Olmsted’s Humboldt Parkway, the Elm tree-framed boulevard destroyed in the 1960s by the sunken pit of the Kensington Expressway. Learn what residents are doing today to reclaim their neighborhood against an onslaught of forces, including the highway scar, population flight, and the bulldozers on its periphery. Meet people who have purchased abandoned homes for a dollar and rehabbed them under a unique program offered by the City. And help answer the question, what’s next for the Kensington Expressway?


The first stop on the tour will be the Robert T. Coles home and studio on Humboldt Parkway. An urban activist and architect in the era of urban renewal, Robert fought heavily against the destruction of the parkway. He designed his own home and studio before the expressway was rammed through the neighborhood and has lived there with his wife since its completion in 1961. The Coles’ home is the only built work designed specifically in reaction to Buffalo’s greatest self-inflicted tragedy.


We’ll depart from the Coles' home and make our way to Hamlin Park’s oldest structure, the Old Stone Farmhouse at 60 Hedley Place (c.1840-1860). Stephanie Barber-Geter, the president of the community association will greet us at the farmhouse and discuss the ongoing efforts to ensure the beauty and stability of the neighborhood. She will also talk about her involvement with a project that seeks to remedy some of the damage the expressway caused and long path of rehabilitation for the farmhouse.


Finally we’ll make our way down to several homestead homes where people, including myself have purchased homes from the City of Buffalo for just a dollar. While it may sound like a bargain, these places require full rehabilitation, but with some vision, sweat equity, and proper spending they are being reborn rather than sent to the landfill. 

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Jun 4, 2014

Inside the Dollar House of the Day: 257 Florida Street

I recently had an opportunity to join a potential buyer on a tour of a homestead eligible home I've profiled which is available for just a dollar (more here). Unfortunately, he is not moving forward with the purchase, but now I have a lot more information about the state of the house and updated photos.


The house is still a solid rehab candidate, but it appears there are some structural issues that need to be addressed. Both the east and west walls towards the back quarter of the house appear to be sagging. Upon closer inspection the lack of gutters and a rotted soffit on the east side is directing rainwater between the exterior and interior walls, which is likely the culprit.

Determining a more in-depth cause for this problem was not possible due to the vinyl siding, but the east wall on the interior was noticeably wet. If we can assume a worst-case scenario, the affected portions of the wall likely need to be rebuilt. Not a small cost for sure, but not the end of the world for those who plan to save on costs elsewhere on the rehab with their own sweat equity. I’ve personally found now that I own a project house my friends have been falling over themselves to lend a hand. Beer and pizza certainly helps.


Another potential negative is the amount of stuff still left in the house, much of which is concentrated in the basement. Hosting a clean up party on a weekend with some friends, willing neighbors, and a dumpster or two should solve the problem of the previous tenant leftovers pretty quickly.

On the plus side the house is still all there and much of the original woodwork remains intact and unpainted. The leaded glass windows and French doors are long gone, but many of the original wood windows remain in the home and in good repairable shape.

To summarize the house is very much a project, but with such a meager cost of acquisition it allows for an opportunity for greater reinvestment. Don’t forget that half of this place is going to make you money as a rentable, large three-bedroom apartment and the added benefit of the historic tax credits. If you have an interest in the property, contact me via 

For an overview of the homestead program click here and for additional photos of this property, click here for my album on Ipernity.
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May 20, 2014

Congress for the New Urbanism Next Generation Events Open to the Public During the Official Congress

Almost everyone knows by now that the Congress for the New Urbanism will be hosting their annual Congress in Buffalo next month from June 4th through June 7th. I was lucky enough to snag a press pass so expect to get some updates and thoughts about the sessions I plan to attend. Unfortunately, not everyone can be so lucky to attend the urban planning conference for the ages, but you can still be involved for free!

The CNU Next Generation of New Urbanists is a fellowship within CNU and each evening of the Congress, NextGen will be hosting social, networking and participatory events to maximize the experience of attendees and highlight Buffalo. Check out the amazing offerings that run parallel with the Congress, which are free and open to the public. Some of the NextGen events even feature CNU speakers that are more accessible at these events than the Congress itself. Be sure to stay up to date with NextGen by liking their Facebook page here.


Brewery Tour & Tasting
Tuesday, June 3, 3:00 pm
Pearl Street Grill & Brewery
76 Pearl St
Break the ice with cold brewskis with the next generation of New Urbanists at the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery. The brewery will reveal a special brew made specially for the 22nd Congress for the New Urbanism.

Canals & Cocktails
Tuesday, June 3, 5:00-9:00 pm
Canal District Ruins (near the Whipple Truss Bridge)
Commercial Slip
Pre-game the congress at a happy hour and networking event at the “ruins” of the Canal District, a once Venetian-like waterfront neighborhood wiped away during urban renewal, and now being resurrected. Discover the restored and re-watered terminus of the Erie Canal, long buried under a parking lot. Meet local activists and special guest Ray Oldenberg, sociologist and writer of The Great Good Place, which revealed how bars, coffee shops, general stores, and other “third places” are central to local democracy and community vitality. At 7:30 pm, a free R-rated tour of the historic Canal District will be offered. The event is co-sponsored by Friends of the Buffalo Story.


Opening Night Mixer & Infamous Pub Crawl
Wednesday, June 4, 7:00 pm+
Pan American Grill & Brewery
Lafayette Hotel
391 Washington St

Join CNU NextGen at the congress kick-off mixer at the Pan-American Grill & Brewery, located in the Lafayette Hotel. Peatónito, Mexico City’s masked pedestrian revolutionary, will offer up a presentation and short film at 7 pm. At 8 pm, join Peatónito and local Buffalovers as they depart on NextGen's annual pub crawl, which will hit up some of the Rust Belt's coolest watering holes. On tap will be Tappo, Brady’s, Dinosaur BBQ, Founding Fathers... and who knows what next! The event is co-sponsored by Buffalo’s Young Preservationists.

Ineffably Urban
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center
341 Delaware Ave
Wednesday, June 4, 7:30 pm
Take in contemporary art and a reading from Ineffably Urban, a new book by Miriam Paeslack that explores Buffalo’s transition from an economy based on heavy industry to a future economy now being defined. Hallwalls itself, a contemporary art center in a repurposed, narrowly saved church, is a must-see!


StrongTowns Roundtable Podcast
Thursday, June 5, Noon
Pan American Grill & Brewery
Lafayette Hotel
391 Washington St
Sit down with Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns at the Lafayette Hotel for a casual discussion of today’s hot topics.

Silos, Brews, & Bonfires
Thursday, June 5, 6:30-11:00 pm
Silo City
Ohio and Childs Sts.
Buffalo’s Silo City is a landscape unlike any other on the planet. Grain elevators—the largest collection of such structures anywhere—tower over the Buffalo River, once the world’s largest grain port. Buffalo’s role as grain capital virtually ended when the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, but these industrial giants remain, awaiting adaptive reuse. Explore these ruins with local activists. Food trucks, kegs of local beer, and the “Burning Stan”—a bonfire setting Buffalo’s archetypical working man alight—will be highlights. Andrés Duany and Sjoerd Soeters will give a special presentation at 8 pm. Need a ride? At 5:30 pm at the Convention Center, hop on the Open Air Autobus for a $35, 90-minute waterfront tour that will conclude at Silo City (and bring you back!).

"Sugar Body Surge"
Thursday, June 5, 6:00-9:00 pm
Board of Trade & Commerce Gallery/Resurgence Brewing Co.
1250 Niagara St.
Join in on this West Side art event that brings together two arts entities—Sugar City and BT&C Gallery—which are driving forces in the resurrection of one of Buffalo's forgotten industrial landscapes. Installations and urban interventions by local artists will show creative placemaking at work. The event will include a sneak peek into the city's latest craft brewery, Resurgence Brewing Co.!


First “Street Design Book” Run
Friday, June 6, 7:45 am
Departs from Lafayette Hotel
391 Washington St
Experience Buffalo at street level. Join Victor Dover and John Simmerman on a morning run around Buffalo!

Buffalo Park-In
Friday, June 6, 5:00 pm
Lafayette Hotel
391 Washington St
CNU NextGen is partnering with the American Society of Landscape Architects, Upstate Chapter, to turn several on-street parking spaces at the Lafayette Hotel into pop-up parks. Construction will start at noon, with unveiling at 5 pm. Expect free tango lessons, too!

Buffalo New Urbanism Film Screening
Friday, June 6, 5:00-11:00 pm
Pan American Grill & Brewery
Lafayette Hotel
391 Washington St
The inaugural New Urbanism Film Festival in Los Angeles in 2013 was a huge success. Audiences were provoked, inspired, and challenged to build better places for themselves and their communities. Now the festival producers are taking the show on the road with a special screening of the award winning videos of NUFF2013. The world premier of “Olmsted’s Enduring Legacy,” a WNED documentary on Buffalo’s park and parkway system, will be featured at 5 pm.

Pecha Kucha & Debate Night
Friday, June 6, 6:00-10:00 pm
Pan American Grill & Brewery
Lafayette Hotel
391 Washington St
NextGen takes over the back room of the Pan-American Grill & Brewery for all-night pecha kucha (starts at 6 pm) and debate and discussion (starts at 8 pm). Have an idea you’d like to present? The floor is yours!

Late Show
Friday, June 6, 10:00 pm
Pan American Grill & Brewery
Lafayette Hotel
391 Washington St
Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns will record his Late Show and talk up the big topics at CNU 22.


Second “Street Design Book” Run
Thursday, June 6, 7:45 am
Departs from Lafayette Hotel
391 Washington St
Experience Buffalo at street level. Join Victor Dover and John Simmerman on a morning run around Buffalo!

Five Points +
Saturday, June 7, 11:00 am-3:00 pm
Five Points
Rhode Island and West Utica Sts.
"Five Points +" neighborhood stakeholders, business owners, and concerned citizens will leverage tactical urbanism to traffic calm a dangerous, problematic intersection. Expect a street party, art, chalk, and greenery, to boot! Peatónito, Mexico City’s masked pedestrian revolutionary, will be a participant!

Tour de Neglect
Saturday, June 7, 12:30-2:15 pm
Departs from Lafayette Hotel
391 Washington St
Activist, blogger, and photographer David Torke will give the Tour de Neglect, which will guide cyclists across the oceanic devastation of Buffalo's East Side. Starting and ending at bookends of hope, with chapters on change in between, the Tour de Neglect will include all the scandal of the Tour de France without its spandex and champagne. This tour should come with a warning label: “May inspire feelings of civic duty and moral outrage.” The Tour de Neglect will include stops at St. Anne's Church, Wilson Street Farm, Buffalo Central Terminal, William Simon brewery, Sacred Heart Church, and Larkin Power House. Two dozen bicycles will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. An optional lunch will follow at a to-be-disclosed location. The tour is free.

Lunch at the Roycroft
Saturday, June 7, 12:15-3:15 pm
Departs from Convention Center
Elbert Hubbard, the marketing genius of the Larkin Co., took early retirement and founded Roycroft, an Arts and Crafts-inspired colony of artists and artisans in East Aurora, south of Buffalo, in 1895. Eventually numbering over 500, his followers built a number of Roycroft buildings, including an inn, powerhouse, and several workshops. This tour takes us directly to the Roycroft Inn, magnificently restored and filled with Arts and Crafts furniture, decorative fixtures, and murals. A reasonably-priced lunch will be available (tour and transportation cost does not include meal). Cost is $40. The tour is sponsored by the Campaign for Greater Buffalo.

Kickball Tournament
Saturday, June 7, 2:30 pm
Central Wharf
Foot of Main St
Join NextGen for the First Annual CNU NextGen Kickball Tournament. Sign up here:

Hamlin Park Historic District: What's Next?
Saturday, June 7, 3:00-5:00 pm
Departs from Lafayette Hotel
391 Washington St

Hamlin Park is the East Side's only historic district, an African American middle class enclave built around Frederick Law Olmsted's Humboldt Parkway, the Elm tree-framed boulevard destroyed in the 1960s by the sunken pit of the Kensington Expressway. Learn what residents are doing today to reclaim their neighborhood against an onslaught of forces, including the highway scar, population flight, and the bulldozers on its periphery. Meet people who have purchased abandoned homes for a dollar and rehabbed them under a unique program offered by the City. And help answer the question, what's next for the Kensington Expressway? The walk is hosted by Mike Puma, a preservation professional, activist, and Hamlin Park resident.
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