Facebook friend Sean Brodfuehrer alerted me to his recent bike ride through a very pretty East Side neighborhood, when he posted a pair of pictures from the Grider neighborhood near the Erie County Medical Center on the East Side of Buffalo. He noted that the area was a really well maintained quiet little niche of great little bungalows, with many people out cutting grass and trimming bushes. He says this is the East Side you won’t see on the news.
When talking about East Side neighborhoods like this, it is necessary to point out the well manicured streets in a way we don’t have to do when talking about North Buffalo, Allentown, Elmwood and others. We are trained to think of the East Side as a monolith of decay and crime. Don’t go over there; its dangerous; nothing worth while left. While its true that much of the East Side has been devastated by social and economic problems, it is also true that the East Side is made up of neighborhoods as diverse as any other part of the city. Neighborhoods like this one are anchors of good on the East Side, that need to be nurtured and strengthened. Thinking of this half of the city as one big lost cause is a disservice to the people of this neighborhood and others like it.
These few Google images of the Grider neighborhood, included below, confirm Sean’s observations. The streets, houses, and lawns are immaculate. Most of the houses are full of original details and materials from the 1920s, when this area of the city was built out, lending the streets incredible charm. In the 60s and 70s white flight took hold of this part of Buffalo and it quickly went from a comfortable white middle calls enclave to a comfortable middle class black enclave. It remains one of the nicest neighborhoods in the city. I didn’t have to hunt and peck to find a rare nice street and the occasional nice house. Block after block and house after house are the picture of neighborhood pride. When people love their neighborhood it shows. The East Side is no exception to this rule.