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The Chandler – A District in the Making

In Buffalo, there are a number of different districts that we have all come to love, including Larkinville and Canalside. Looking forward, as Buffalo continues to grow, are there more areas within the city that could become distinct destinations? I believe so. This past week I was invited to explore a series of buildings on Chandler Street that has the potential to become… dare I say… Buffalo’s version of the Toronto Distillery District. My tour guide was Lee Patterson, whose family has possession of the site. Lee is in the midst of formulating a plan to convert the turn of the century buildings into an art, festival and design complex. The bones of the compound are strong, and plentiful. There are limitless opportunities at hand, when analyzing the site’s potential.

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Upon walking into the complex, there is a giant daylit warehouse to the left (currently occupied by a month to month tenant that is using it for storage). Then there is a massive courtyard surrounded by a series of brick buildings. I immediately had a feeling that was somewhat spiritual and uplifting in nature. Truth be told, I had never seen anything quite like it in Buffalo. Lee, who is a design tenant and partner in the property (LEEP Outdoor Advertising), told me that there was 110,000 square feet of interior building space to work with. In his mind, he sees a literal stable of artists and artisans working inside one of the buildings, each with his or her own space to create and sell.

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Another building could become a residential component. And yet another would be dedicated for designers – Lee is currently set up in one offices, and other designers are expressing interest in coming onboard. With each building dedicated to different uses, this could become a spectacular creative destination in no time. Whether Lee’s vision evolves in a grassroots manner or is aided by myriad community partnerships is yet to be determined.

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While most of the buildings are in great shape, one of the structures that Lee showed me is too far gone. “I want to keep the exterior walls intact,” Lee told me [pointing]. “I envision a place where artists and musicians can gather, in a protected courtyard.” The more I thought of this idea, the more I thought about a recent missed opportunity, when The City demolished St. Mary’s on the Hill instead of shoring up the walls of the church and turning it into a community gathering space. Talking to Lee, I could see exactly where he was going with the concept. I couldn’t help but get excited about the possibilities. I could imagine people living, creating, and socializing in an a previously “undiscovered” part of the city that was still in close proximity to Wegman’s, Elmwood (Rocco Tremini developments), and Black Rock. Chandler Street also has a number of other cool businesses to add to the overall creative vision of the district, including Sold716, Horsefeathers and CooCooU.

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Now take Lee’s train of thought, and add a café or a restaurant. Or designate a place in one of the courtyards for a food truck to pull in. Have artists and artisans populate the courtyard with their works (for sale or for aesthetic purposes). Add some raised garden beds, where some farm to table produce would be grown, a grassroots microbrewery, some sculptures, LED lighting, and garden pathways (there is already an urban forest on the premises), and the development (currently referred to as The Chandler), would draw people in from all over the country. If anyone has ever been to The Foundry in Long Island City, then there is a great reference point for what sort of place this could become (weddings, dinner parties, functions, etc.)

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As for the history of the property, it was originally the Linde building, built in 1901. The business was a global supplier for industrial gasses*. The complex acted as storage/distribution and corporate headquarters until the early 50’s. The giant chimney still remains, giving the grounds an iconic landmark like no other. For the most part, the structures were built like a brick @#$%house.

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In coming days/weeks, Lee will be clearing out more of the debris that is currently found strewn about the grounds. Lee’s girlfriend, artist Sarah Caputi (partnering with ELAB), will be embarking upon a massive mural project on the exterior of one of the buildings. Right now there is a raw integrity to these buildings that sets them apart from the rest. Instead of drywalling the walls and removing the historic details, Lee wants to keep the raw integrity of the building “as is”, which is remarkable. The future of The Chandler will see much of this raw nature preserved (as much as possible), to showcase the industrial heritage of the street.

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At this point, Lee and his group have not brought onboard any developer partners, but he says that that is a likely possibility. A partner would allow the complex to move along at a quicker pace, and would also bring in key development ingredients. Then, it’s imperative to get The City to spruce up the street, with quality infrastructure improvements. There is plenty of room for parking cars, and there is also a ton of land to build upon. Chandler Street has incredible potential to become a stand alone destination, where visitors would bike or park, and then walk around to various neighboring design buildings.

Every district needs a cornerstone attraction. The Chandler is positioned to be just that. I can see this place becoming a crucial component to this city’s growth on years to come. In the meantime, we will be following Lee’s formative efforts as they unfold.

The Chandler | 155 Chandler Street | Buffalo NY

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*Buffalo’s Chandler Street plant was used by Linde (Union Carbide) to experiment on and perfect the filters used in the gaseous diffusion process for the separation of uranium isotopes. Once perfected, this process was scaled up for the massive gaseous diffusion “K-25” plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (closed). This technology is now outmoded but I believe newer generation plants in Portsmouth, Ohio and Paducah, Kentucky are still in operation. – BRO reader CS

 

Written by queenseyes

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. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com

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  • 5to81allday

    i can envision a really nice conversion here. That courtyard alone has amazing potential. Thanks for posting!

  • reggdunn

    Great potential. Hope it happens sooner than later.

  • Soccerdude5719

    Next termini project?

  • Black Rock Lifer

    There are many interesting old industrial buildings in Black Rock that are finally getting some attention.  Chandler St has great potential and the Amherst-Tonawanda St area has many under utilized industrial buildings ripe for redevelopment. The greatest challenge at Amherst-Tonawanda is the huge vacant parcel being held hostage by the Ambassador Bridge Company. The land has sat idle and unkept for many years despite continued complaints from neighbors and the efforts of the city to clean it up.

  • No_Illusions

    Why would this be its own district when it would just be another part of Blackrock?

    There is actually a TON of space nearby in North Buffalo behind all the strip malls that could also be developed. It would be easier to call one of those a district since they are more isolated from the surrounding neighborhoods (you’d never even know they exist from the main roads).

    Chandler though looks to be already well incorporated into Blackrock.

    Also, they should reactivate the belt-line. Buffalo State would be a great terminus. Even better if there was a Metrorail/Commuter Rail line along Niagara Street to meet up with.

  • it’s a great complex, i always admired it.  best of luck!

  • Prime Minister of Buffalo

    I just hope that this becomes a location for the productive people and not for broke and creative artist types.  Black Rock has a nice gritty vibe, but could use some sprucing up.  This holds great opportunity.  Hopefully it will be seized by respectable people.

  • arcmorris

    A chandler was the head of the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandlery in medieval households, responsible for wax, candles, and soap.  Chandler may also refer to a ship’shttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_chandler, a dealer in special supplies or equipment for ships.
    Anyone know whether this street was named for a specialized district of artisans originally, or a guy named “Chandler?”

  • arcmorris

    Prime Minister of Buffalo  “Respectable” people?? Who are they??

  • Prime Minister of Buffalo

    arcmorris Prime Minister of Buffalo
    People who have a useful jobs and aren’t a bunch of alcoholic, hipster, or hippie roustabouts.  Your average yuppie is not included of course. :  )

  • DianaRenee

    This is very firmly in Black Rock, already not a huge neighborhood and already with two areas that like to pick and choose when they feel like being part of Black Rock depending on how trendy the term is that day. For instance, Grant Amherst long referred to itself strictly as that and distanced itself from my supposedly icky end of the neighborhood which they called Black Rock, but once outsiders started calling Grant Amherst what it is – part of Black Rock – in hipster press suddenly that area was all about how it was Black Rock and now my end of the neighborhood “isn’t really* Black Rock. *smdh*
    Why do I care, you may ask? Every time you put something cool in a neigborhood, thereby improving it and encouraging visitors, you then rob of that social capital by not actually *saying* it is in that neighborhood. For instance, people mistakenly say Sun Burmese is in the West Side, Papa Jake’s is in Elmwood Village, Buffalo Spree’s new headquarters are in North Buffalo… They are all in Black Rock, which extends from Niagara to the west side of Elmwood. I could go on.
    I’m sure it won’t be long before the area around the new medical campus is no longer “the East Side” and has some new yuppy name to make people with money feel more comfortable.

  • DianaRenee

    Prime Minister of Buffalo  
    The hipster conversation in reference to Black Rock is interesting. I definitely see a lot of people basically *begging* for Black Rock to attract hipsters – and their (or their parents’, snicker) money. On the other hand I see people who terrified of gentrification and the “hipsterization” of a blue collar neighborhood.
    Personally I’m of the opinion, anyone who is willing to legally pay their bills, take care of their property (or the property they rent) and not act like a jackass should be welcome, regardless of how hip or not hip they are. I have no desire to see Black Rock become Elmwood Village BUT people who fear this happening are jumping the gun. Black Rock is NOWHERE NEAR gentrified and even if it continued at its current rate, wouldn’t be for easily a solid decade. For every two steps we take forward we take one back. Supposedly “next big thing” Amherst street has had a problem keeping some of its hipster long-term tenants for instance. The crime rate has not seen consistent, long-term dips that are large enough to be impressive. The poverty rate has not budged. Etc.

  • DianaRenee

    Black Rock Lifer That entire stretch of Black Rock around the Amherst/T-Street intersections (both sides of the viaduct, but especially the western side) has just ACRES of unutilized land between the vacant industrial land and Tee to Green. I’d love to see the sports complex go in there some were talking about.
    The Ambassador bridge people are *so* difficult. After that little boy was murdered in Tee to Green they still don’t even want to discuss selling Tee to Green and the city does not keep them accountable for maintaining or securing the property.

  • Sabres00

    The distillery district in Buffalo would be amazing.

  • reggdunn

    DianaRenee Prime Minister of Buffalo “BR is NOWHERE NEAR gentrified.” So very true. A bit more gentrification would be a good thing in this instance.

  • RaChaCha

    This all looks great! An interesting step forward would be to hold additional walkthroughs of the property for small groups, or small group events, to continue generating interest, ideas, and buzz. That happened at what is now Silo City — in January 2010 I was on the very first (I believe) group heritage tour that went inside Marine A. It was not yet cleaned out, and everyone had to sign a release. Yet it proved that people wanted to come there, and share their ideas and visions.
    Rochester has a community planning organization, Rochester Regional Community Design Center (now CDC Rochester) that organizes planning/visioning charrettes. Although Buffalo doesn’t really have the equivalent organization (UB Architecture + Planning does studio classes where students generate ideas and plans), such a visioning exercise focused on Chandler Street would be super-interesting.
    A couple of years ago, there were a lot of discussions about Chandler Street as part of the Tonawanda Corridor BOA planning process. A big question was whether to try to promote building on the north side of the street, along the railroad corridor. A lot of us felt that there are already thousands of square feet (as shown here) available to redevelop, and a lot of existing neighborhood fabric to revitalize, long before thinking about new builds.
    And, in fact, the strip along the north side of Chandler creates a super opportunity for a substantial greenway corridor that could do as much to enhance and revitalize the neighborhood as new builds. To the west, such a greenway corridor could merge with what could also be a significant greenway along the Tonawanda Street corridor. To the east, it might be possible to have greenway corridors branching off to Wegmans (and beyond, to Scajaquada Creek), and even to the Foundry Lofts (with underpass improvements better linking north and south of the Belt Line).
    An enhanced Chandler Street would go a long way to bolstering Black Rock, especially the north end of Grant Street and Military Road commercial strip, as well as the Elmwood/Hertel area, and Hertel/Military area.
    Onward!

  • RaChaCha

    BTW, I love that building with the skylit “lantern” section intact! Many industrial buildings in Buffalo have these lantern sections, but with electric lighting, many of the lanterns were converted to storage space or additional floor space. A good example of that is at the Buffalo Maritime Center on Arthur Street.
    Reveal your lanterns, Buffalo!!

  • Black Rock Lifer

    DianaRenee Prime Minister of Buffalo Agree, we welcome all types as long as they are good and responsible neighbors.  I wouldn’t want the neighborhood to become too gentrified (not that it’s likely anyways). Black Rock has always been home to many different people, the neighborhood has attracted immigrants since the beginning. We also have a wide range of income levels, a true measure of real diversity. That said the neighborhood has a poverty rate at about 50%, we can certainly use more middle class residents. Black Rock is’t for everyone, there will always be a little grit and toughness here that some aren’t comfortable with but we also have so many good solid people that things balance out.

  • DylanBurns

    If you’re referring to the Fruit Belt next to the medical campus, that term has been a thing for a while.

  • warehousedweller

    used to be g&r machinery. teddy rosen , god rest his soul. nice piece of property. david, good luck with this. teddy would be proud.a lot of work and money, but you can do it…………bruce you know who !!!

  • Prime Minister of Buffalo

    Black Rock Lifer DianaRenee Prime Minister of Buffalo
    Hey man, I’m all for gentrification, but then again, I live across the river so…

  • AndrewGolebiowski

    Amen !

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    DianaRenee 
    I’ve been saying the same thing for quite sometime. BRO likes to manufacture names for places around the city. Many older Buffalonians will tell you the “West Village” was neeeeeever called the West Village by anyone until about 6-8 years ago when it started to become trendy. In my mind you have North Buffalo, Elmwood, West Side, East Side, South Buffalo, Kaisertown, Fruit Belt, The First Ward and that’s about it. Anything else is just manufactured to make it sound more trendy.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    Black Rock Lifer DianaRenee Prime Minister of Buffalo  
    Well said.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    No_Illusions 
    The line is privately owned and used for shipping cargo….never gonna happen.

  • AndrewGolebiowski

    I agree. Here are a few more old names: Lovejoy, Kaiesrtown, the Valley, Hydraulics, Ghost Town, Little Hollywood, Cold Springs. The Polish neighborhoods of the East Side were referred to by parishes. Thus you had Kaziemierzowo, Stanisławowo, Wojciechowo, Różańcowo, Łukaszowo, Kantowo, Gwalbertowo, and so on.

  • jim1234664

    BeardedBuffalonian DianaRenee
    Who cares? and who says neighborhood names can be invented once and boundaries are frozen in time forever?

  • bruce beyer

    Prime Minister of Buffalo Of course, it’s the broke and creative artist types who inhabit such areas which then become trendy. “Respectable people” are so boring!

  • maniachitch

    Prime Minister of Buffalo  I am both productive and a creative artist type  who lives in BR. I am also respectable and find your comment …insulting…

  • CalebBasiliko

    Actually grant-amherst is the name of the business association which had been in existence since at least the 1920s… In the 20 years I have been involved we have always identified as being black rock.. The sign on Casey tavern welcoming people to downtown black Rock has been there since I can remember… Technically the original village of black rock was located just north of the peace bridge but as that area industrialized, residents moved north. A late 1800s map refers to the area as upper and lower black rock, divided by the tracks…

  • CalebBasiliko

    We have been in contact with the ambassador bridge group that owns the tee to green property to build a soccer complex there to serve the immigrant population and the city as a whole… They are less than cooperative.. Currently it sits in deplorable conditions and the murder of a local Iraqi refugee still means nothing to them… Its unacceptable… They own the bridge between Detroit and Windsor and hope to build a private bridge here… Google them, not nice people…

  • qwerty1010

    DianaRenee This is supposed to be a pretty good source of the real place names in Buffalo:
    http://library.buffalo.edu/maps/buffalo-wnymaps/location/buffalo-neighborhoods/

    Although I can tell you that North Park is totally wrong.

    In my mind Buffalo is mostly 5 “general” areas and neighborhoods within:North Buffalo (North Park, Central Park, Parkside etc)South Buffalo (First Ward, Valley, etc)
    East Side (Polonia, Kaisertown, Cold Springs etc)
    West Side (Elmwood Village, Allentown, Upper/Lower WS, Grant Ferry etc)Downtown
    Although I do have to say, I’m not sure where Riverside fits in…

  • qwerty1010

    DianaRenee I think you are doing a good job describing the whitewashing of the city places.  All of the new people who moved into the city over the last few years have never been exposed to places to understand much about history.  Anything “nice” is referred to as the Elmwood Village (or maybe Allentown – maybe)  
    In the end, everything is kind of a made up name.  Remember the “Elmwood Village” is a made up name too.  10 years ago most still said “The Elmwood strip” and before that it was probably just called the “West Side”.  Everyone refers to anything North of Delaware Park as “North Buffalo”, despite being historical places called “Parkside, Central Park and North Park”

  • AndrewGolebiowski

    qwerty1010 DianaRenee

  • Mike_Puma

    BeardedBuffalonian DianaRenee West Village is a bad example. It’s been called that since at least the historic district was formed in 1980 and probably sometime before that.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    DylanBurns Nah, she means that something else entirely might be invented for marketing purposes.  Kind of like Newell did here with “Chandler District”.  Fruit Belt has negative connotations for most, given its having “been a thing for a while”.  I’d say that “Medical Corridor” already fits the bill of what Diana is talking about…but sure, there might be another one that emerges assuming additional spinoff development in the vicinity of the ‘medical corridor’

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    AndrewGolebiowski I’d never seen the Polish names before…great stuff.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    BeardedBuffalonian DianaRenee don’t forget Black Rock and Riverside…as a kid I’d always get them confused.  As an adult, too.  Which means, they were actually used

  • AndrewGolebiowski

    Matt Marcinkiewicz AndrewGolebiowski 
    Word has it that Kaisertown comes from the adaptation of Kazimierzowo, after the name of the parish (“St. Casimir Town/Village”, in effect).
    There is no evidence that I’ve turned up that Germans lived in the area in any great numbers.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    AndrewGolebiowski Matt Marcinkiewicz Ah, so that’s what the ‘owo’ suffix means.  (My last name translates to son of Martin…you might know that already, haha).  Makes sense…I mean, I’m 29 so I don’t know what Kaisertown was like decades ago, but having grown up in West Seneca, it always struck me as more Polish than anything

  • arcmorris

    Detroit has had a lot of trouble with Marty Maroun over the years.

  • arcmorris

    It’s Matty, not Marty, sorry!

  • DianaRenee

    Matt Marcinkiewicz DylanBurns Yes! Exactly. As in a real-estate-manufactured name to set the area apart from a supposedly “undesirable” area for marketing, and not something the locals use.

  • DianaRenee

    BeardedBuffalonian  I’m sure you just left this out, but Black Rock was Black Rock before there was a Buffalo. It was its own village, which incorporated most of what is now Black Rock and parts of what is now the upper West Side area. I guess that is part of my angst as well with trying to carve it up into new things. It has a longer history than any other part of the city (some of the oldest houses as well, though given the mass burning during the War of 1812, not nearly as many as their *could* have been).

  • reggdunn

    What he said. If we’re going to be ridiculously anal about it, let’s call it what it really is — The Iroquois Five Nations, or better yet Teyohoseroron.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    AndrewGolebiowski qwerty1010 DianaRenee Ward and Valley are kind of separate entities but also part of “southern Buffalo”…I think they’re distinct neighborhoods within South Buffalo.  Like Hydraulics (now Larkin) and Seneca-Babcock

  • DianaRenee

    jim1234664  There is natural progression and change and then there is developers and real estate agents slapping a new name on something to make it more palatable to hipsters and yuppies. This is a problem for several reasons. 
     1) As I mentioned above, putting something cool in a neighborhood then renaming *just that section* of the neighborhood robs the original neighborhood of the “cred” it deserves for said thing. Thus the rest of the neighborhood gets nothing from that advancement. It’s rather carpet-baggery. 
    2) Sometimes renaming is used as a tool to intentionally mislead people not really familiar with what they are getting – such as magically expanding Allentown into parts of the West Side that are night and day from what the core of that neighborhood is, which leaves hipster 20 somethings buying houses in a very urban setting they are not prepared for *and* forces out locals when the rent/house assessments sky rocket well before the area offers the safety and amenities one expects with those prices. The north end of Hudson a few years ago comes to mind. Houses assessed at $35k selling for $90 in an area with regular drug deals, car break ins and burglaries (my friends lived at Hudson and Cottage for 4+ years and we saw it all). 

    I’m not anti-gentrification to a degree – you need mixed-income neighborhoods for them to be sustainable – but hyper gentrification is typically not good for anyone.

  • DianaRenee

    Matt Marcinkiewicz See my comment on Black Rock’s age below. Riverside is a bit newer (largely 1900-1920’s I believe *but* there was basically nothing there before it was Riverside – it was built to be “the suburb in the city” on what was largely farmland).

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    reggdunn Good point…slippery slope, etc.  How to think about one’s surroundings is ultimately always up to the living, however historically ignorant the living may be.  Gangs could rename vast swaths of this city in the course of a turf war and that would be just as valid as any other naming method.  But one thing that’s easy to reject by longtime residents is obvious marketing efforts that have no authenticity and are manufactured in an effort to orchestrate forced revitalization.  You know, urban planning at its most fake.  But, at the same time, many people rally around that sort of thing in the name of progress

  • AndrewGolebiowski

    “South Buffalo” starts southeast of Rt. 62.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    AndrewGolebiowski I guess calling those areas I named “South Buffalo” would be like calling Black Rock and Riverside part of the West Side.  Geographically correct but historically inaccurate…that sound good to you?

  • DianaRenee

    CalebBasiliko Hi Caleb!
    I wasn’t implying Grant-Amherst is a new thing. But you know what I mean with the politics of when what is called Black Rock and by who and how divided people get on both sides of the viaduct over the issue. I’m not saying *everyone* does it by any means but when I first moved into the area in 2001 many residents in the G-A area were quick to distance themselves from the “Black Rock” image. I didn’t know you or anyone in GABA then so I can’t speak to that. Clearly, we are all on the Black Rock team at this juncture.

  • DianaRenee

    qwerty1010 Tell an Elmwood Village person they live in the West Side. I dare you. lol

  • DianaRenee

    Matt Marcinkiewicz AndrewGolebiowski The way I hear locals say it, there is the West Side (the neighborhood comprised of northwest of downtown, west of Allentown/Elmwood and south of Black Rock – which has subdivisions of course as it is large) and the west side (no capitalization) as in the entire western side of the city (the West Side, Black Rock and Riverside). These three areas have many common assets (the waterfront chief among them, along with far more diversity than anywhere else in the city) and many of the same problems. Thus people from all three neighborhoods tend to collaborate on a lot of non-profit/community improvement things.

  • DianaRenee

    reggdunn DianaRenee Prime Minister of Buffalo Controlled/slow gentrification can be a good thing.

  • DianaRenee

    Black Rock Lifer DianaRenee Prime Minister of Buffalo Yes, economic *diversity* should be something we strive for, not “bring in all the hipsters/yuppies and force out all these poor people!” which is a sentiment I hear uttered, though often veiled.

  • reggdunn

    DianaRenee jim1234664 I was just having this conversation with the early French explorers who were completely miffed when the gentrifying European hipsters moved in and changed their territories name from the Riviera aux Chevaux to Buffalo Creek just to attract traders. House prices shot up from 35 cents to a dollar and drove everyone away! And for what? So that those lazy bums could lounge around all day and sip their artisan crafted sarsaparilla root flavored beverages?!

  • BeardedBuffalonian
    just one teeny, tiny problem with your west village theory: it was designated as a national register district by that exact name 35 years ago.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Village_Historic_District_(Buffalo,_New_York)

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    grad94 BeardedBuffalonian Was the term “West Village” common with the average Buffalonian, or at least the average West Villager, 35 years ago?  I was -6 years old then so I have no way of knowing

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz grad94 BeardedBuffalonian
    for what its worth, its been in the bible of buffalo architecture since 1981. 
    https://goo.gl/9cFDFF

  • AndrewGolebiowski

    Yup.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    DianaRenee jim1234664 
    You had me right up until….
    ” you need mixed-income neighborhoods for them to be sustainable”
    It could be argued that more affluent neighborhoods are the most sustainable.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    grad94 BeardedBuffalonian 
    Like Matt said, “was it a commonly used term for the West Side?” My mother has lived in the city since the late 80’s and I’ve never heard her once say anything about the “West Village.”

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Just one correction, Upper Black Rock and Lower Black Rock were divided by Scajaquada Creek, not the tracks.

  • DianaRenee

    Black Rock Lifer My comment about the viaduct was referencing the current area known as Black Rock. There is a sense on both sides of the tracks with some residents that what occurs on the other side is not their concern. A “our side is better.” “No, their side is snooty.” “No your side has the crime problems.” “No yours does.” type of discourse that doesn’t get anyone anywhere.
    For instance, when I promote G-A area events to the western side population I’ve had people ask “why that concerns us.” I’ve also witnessed people on the G-A tell people that the opinions of someone from my side of the tracks aren’t relevant to their area. I’ve heard people on both side say planning events with both sides isn’t doable since people “won’t cross the tracks” to go from one side of the neighborhood to the other (as a somewhat-newcomer, who goes all over my neighborhood and those around it, that’s ludicrous to me but some long-term residents preach it like gospel). 
    This type of division is partially what I was referencing with some Grant-Amherst residents a few years back not wanting to admit G-A is Black Rock. The viaduct forms a natural barrier that makes it easy for people to literally say “that’s the bad side of the tracks.”

  • DianaRenee

    Black Rock Lifer But I shouldn’t talk about these things. I’ll get chastised for not being a smiling beam of optimism. Or worse yet – get told I don’t have a right to comment on my own neighborhood because I’m “not from here.” The classic Buffalo insult.

  • dzuchlewski

    It warms my heart to here a debate on the boundaries of Black Rock and Riverside.  I thought all those discussions had died along with the old timers and Baby Boomers that moved out.  The traditional differences between the 2 Black Rocks was ethnic with the Polish on one side then Germans and Hungarians on the other.  It was further identified in the 1970’s when the City had Planning Districts and Planning Councils that divided up CDBG funds.   Those maps identified different neighborhoods and created Hertel-Military besides.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    DianaRenee Black Rock Lifer When I was a kid the oldest part of Black Rock where I live was considered less desirable, Grant Amherst was pretty solidly Polish and in good shape and Riverside was the newer more middle class neighborhood. Many Riverside residents originally came from Black Rock and still had relatives in the old neighborhood. Even then the 3 neighborhoods were somewhat separate and each had their own business communities, social organizations, and culture. 
    I’ve worked with the Grant-Amherst people on several projects over the last 20 years or so. I think most of the activist types know we are all in this together and see Black Rock as one. Black Rock certainly is unique, the neighborhood has it’s own vibe and reputation for better or worse. It’s not always easy here but I have met and worked with some truly wonderful people, I think we have real potential to expand on that base.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    DianaRenee Black Rock Lifer In my experience many of the best neighborhood advocates are “not from here”. Many long time residents don’t see the potential or recognize the assets here. That said there are of course also many long time residents committed to the neighborhood.

  • DianaRenee

    Black Rock Lifer I can totally agree! Overall the pros have outweighed the cons on many fronts. We are one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods, both racially/ethnically, but I also think in terms of the type of people who live here (age groups, types of employment, social/political beliefs) and variety of businesses. Food especially – you have everything from upscale businesses with hundreds of stellar reviews on Yelp to mom’n’pop diners that have been around 80 years.

  • DianaRenee

    Black Rock Lifer Nicely said. I go through phases myself of being bogged down with the negatives after living here for seven years and I have to take a step back and remind myself of pros (or chat with someone newer to the area or living in “up and coming neighborhoods” in other cities, which are significantly less affordable and not offering the amount of amenities).

  • OldFirstWard

    AndrewGolebiowski
    Technically, the First Ward and Valley have used their traditional names as “destination locations” but South Buffalo is pretty much everything south of Seneca St. which would include the First Ward and Valley.

  • LouisTully

    warehousedweller How’s the listing of your warehouse going?  Finally parting with it, huh.