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Buffalo’s 2nd Skyline: Silo City and Elevator Alley

Last night a few grain mill and elevator advocates got together to test out some lighting on the monolithic structures. The first structure to be lit was Marine A (lead photo). A $6000 LED lighting system (consisting of two units that looked light a suped-up Lite-Brite) was brought in close and aimed upwards onto the structure, emitting a concentrated wash that did a great job as far as light intensity. 

Next up was the American elevator (see below). This time the lighting system was set up from further away and successfully lit up the entire building. Different colorized light patterns were trained on both structures to see which colors would illuminate the best. In the end, the spectrum of light helped to showcase the different ‘moods’ of the industrial buildings. Rick Smith, Jim ‘Swannie’ Watkins and Peg Overdorf (see Peg’s lighting efforts) were all on-hand to observe the demonstration and were extremely pleased with the outcome. “Mike at Lightspec really put on a show,” Rick said. “The goal of this demonstration is to prove that we can make Elevator Alley (Silo City) a landmark destination. Activists such as Joan Bozer have been calling for this sort of action and we’re happy to say that the technology is affordable and we are seeking out interested parties looking to participate in a joint effort… I see this as Buffalo’s 2nd skyline.”  

As an aside, I received an email from Greg Conley this morning who wrote, “This caught my eye today over at Web Urbanist. A multi-silo grain elevator in Omaha Nebraska has been turned into public art (see here). It catches quite a bit of attention because it borders a highway used by 76,000 commuters each day.”
That’s the same sort of impact that Rick Smith hopes to capture some day when our own elevators are showcased rather than disparaged. As interest continues to grow at sites along the Buffalo River, maybe similar art projects as the one seen in Omaha Nebraska can be added and enhanced by the lighting research that is being conducted now.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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