Yesterday we told you about New York Times Bureau Chief for City Blog Sewell Chan’s visit to Buffalo, alerting you to stories he wrote about Buffalo’s Lower West Side and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site.
Today we see that he posted another story, this one about the Olmsted Parks in Buffalo. Giving the article the New York City nod up front, Chan makes reference to users of Central Park in Manhattan, yet another Olmsted-designed park.
Chan said his objective in coming to town was to drive around and explore, but he may have enjoyed a special feeling of discovery that reporters experience, when he found a native Tongan enjoying a daily walk in the freshly snow-covered Delaware Park. That certainly adds some dimension to a story.
Chan draws the picture of the extreme difference between Tonga and Buffalo, and reports what his interviewee, Sione Akauola, has to say about the park, Buffalo, and why he’s here. (Of course, we would have asked where his kids went to school in Buffalo.)
One big curiosity for us is that this daily user of the park didn’t have a focus on the Olmsted Parks, their venerable history, or their current issues. Chan states in his article that many New York City residents aren’t aware of the Olmsted role, but that probably isn’t true here in Buffalo. Most Buffalonians these days are probably acutely aware and for reasons other than design.
We have a call in to Chan, and we wonder: Did he speak with anyone who knows about the Olmsted Conservancy, the parks changing hands from Erie County to the City of Buffalo, or was it a purposeful omission in order to point out the more historical aspects and the NYC connection? There’s certainly nothing wrong with that from a NYC perspective, even if we see it as our due here, in our own backyard.
Chan said he follows Buffalo Rising, so one Google search involving our name and Olmsted would produce a lot of reading material. Still, we can almost be certain that wasn’t the discovery Chan was looking for; let’s remember who his audience is.
As for Mr. Akauola, we hope he keeps enjoying the park, and maybe this small meeting with Chan will prompt him to do his own exploration of Olmsted. As one of our most precious resources, that’s valuable knowledge.
Image: Buffalo Media Works print of Delaware Park, available at the Buffalo Rising store.