By Giovanni Centurione:
Is it just me, or is one particular block of Main Street in downtown Buffalo looking more like 1980s NYC? With all the renovations and construction going on, one block seems to be doing something wrong.
The block of Main I’m referring to is between Mohawk St. and Court St./Lafayette Square. No matter what day or hour it is, you will find someone who doesn’t seem quit ‘right in the mind’ begging for money, wanting to sell ‘smoke’, sleeping on the sidewalk, or on a bench, screaming to himself, practically ‘living’ in Lafayette Square or in the so called ‘Mohawk Park’.
As a downtown worker for ten years this month, I don’t ever recall this block looking this bad as it does now. I’ve contacted Buffalo Place and City Hall. The only response I get is, “The city and police are aware.” …So what does this mean?
Police presence is there. We notice a police car or two sitting in front of Lafayette Square, yet still see the ‘crazies’ and homeless beggars up and down Main St. harassing daily workers and visitors. If and when the officers are on foot or bike, the loiterers scatter to another location ’till it’s clear again. Take for example, a Saturday afternoon, which is when I took these photos at around 3pm. One guy is sitting in front of the Parole Office screaming profanities while asking people who walk past for change, and next door at the boarded former Baker’s Shoe Store, another man is sleeping on the sidewalk. Mind you, out of town visitors are walking around, wedding photos are being taken down the street, and THIS is the norm here?
On a side note, has anyone else noticed, that this problem increased as soon as the Parole Office, Drug Addiction Office, Housing Assistance Office, and so on have opened all on this one block? So, my question is. Who at City Hall or if any downtown group approved such offices to move so close to one another on the first floor all on the same block? Especially on Main Street?
If we are ever to turn around this block and downtown as a whole, which many people are trying to do, this block needs to be re-done fast. With the Lafayette renovations taking place, and work on the former National Fuel building starting soon (it will become a Hilton-Garden Inn), we need to clean up this block ASAP). Soon, more out of towners will be staying in that area and will fear to walk around, as some of these homeless people are obviously mentally deranged. Who would want to walk around at night knowing these crazies are out and about during the day?