This morning David Torke of fixBuffalo hosted his first Tour de Neglect since 2010 to highlight the current state of the east side. About two-dozen people converged at the Hotel Lafayette for a two-hour bike tour for some noteworthy buildings in need.
The first stop was St. Ann’s Church at Broadway and Emslie Street. Readers will recall the fate of this amazing church is still very much in the balance. Next up was Sacred Heart Church down the street, another former catholic church that has fallen on hard times.
Revered Kirk abandoned Sacred Heart Church after the emergency demolition bill arrived for the former school that collapsed in heavy winds a few years ago. Although a warrant for his arrest has been out for years and his housing court file is one of the largest around, he remains a free man. In fact, he now operates at an equally impressive church at Hertel Avenue and East Street. It’s apparently unpopular to arrest a man of the cloth so Buffalo’s housing court has practically given up.
|David forgave our trespasses on the steps of Sacred Heart|
Soon we were headed to the revitalized Larkin District to discuss the potentially threatened Larkin Powerhouse. Originally planned for a residential conversion, it’s future remains uncertain at this time and many fear demolition is coming. Torke was quick to point out the amazing smokestack that can be seen all around Buffalo and was once even taller before being truncated after a lighting strike.
|In the shadow of the Larkin Powerhouse, Torke explained the potential demolition threat|
Things were looking hopeful when we arrived at the Central Terminal and were granted access to the impressive concourse. Executive director, Marilyn Rodgers discussed the on going efforts to revive the art deco landmark like bringing in tenants for the first time in years. Our tour ended on a great success story with the Wilson Street farm. The urban farm occupies twenty-five contiguous city lots and the land agreement between the family and the city was in large part due to Torke’s efforts.
If you missed out on this amazing event, don’t fret because it will be happening again as part of the Congress for New Urbanism conference next month. Be sure to clear your calendar for June 7th at 12:30 and meet at the Hotel Lafayette. Check out the whole album of today's tour on my Ipernity page here.