It was back in June of '11 that the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (AKAG) announced that it would be repairing its back staircase overlooking Gala Water.
Since the Gallery's 1905 Albright building was completed more than 100 years ago, its grand staircase has deteriorated and sustained damage to the stair treads, cheek walls and underlying foundation. Water infiltration is a cause of ongoing corrosion, which further accelerates the rate of deterioration and exacerbates the damage over time, making the conservation work that will be done this summer, essential and urgent.
Earlier today the gallery announced, along with news on its 150th birthday, that the project has been completed - a project that had a some setbacks along the way, but is now open for public use in its entirety.
When I stopped by to take a photo a short while ago, I stood next to an ambulance that was parked by the fountain at the bottom of the steps (as it always is), and it reminded me of a comment that I read under a thread from the posting in June (see link above). Comment by irishmedic716:
They [ambulances] are simply posted there, (to idle diesel fumes), because the private for profit agency which covers the City of Buffalo does not have enough ambulances to cover calls in area. It is called SSM, or System Status Management. It's a horrendous system that makes for extra wear and tear, increased fuel consumption, frequent idling of diesel engines (state law MANDATES no more than 3 minutes while sitting). They park there because some genius in an office believes that preposting ambulances at designated intersections rather than fixed EMS stations you can get to the call quicker (a false pretense, just listen to Buffalo Fire and hear how many times you'll hear NO AMBULANCE AVAILABLE). Buffalo needs to reexamine it's EMS Provider seriously.
So if you ever wondered why there's an ambulance parked in front of the (newly restored) back steps, there you have it.
Also at today's announcement, Buffalo Mayor Bryon Brown declared December 6, 2012 - Louis Grachos Day. After ten years as director of the AKAG, Grachos is stepping down to take a job as executive director of AMOA-Arthouse in Austin, Texas.
*For more news on a recent Plensa sculpture acquisition and the Karma 2010 bronze sculpture seen on the back steps, click here.