Earlier this morning I took a walk over to Joe Galvin’s compound on 19th Street, a couple blocks west of Richmond Avenue. BRO writers have covered Joe’s housing exploits for years – he bought his first house at the corner of 19th and Massachusetts back in 1987. His next purchase (on 19th) was in 2007. Around that time there was a big problem with gangs, drugs and crime. When a murder was committed next door, he bought that house too.
Today he is possession of eight properties in the neighborhood that are all within eyeshot from one another. Not a day goes by that Joe is not working on his houses, replacing porches, adding Painted Lady exterior colors, affixing ornamentation, propping up foundations, redoing floors. He starts with the interiors, and then moving outwards. He even owns an old barn, which is the focal point of the compound… where all the magic happens.
Recently Joe converted 49 19th Street into an Airbnb (see blue house below). After a doctor moved out of the first floor, he decided that it was time to switch things up a bit. “My sister is moving back from NYC, to retire in Buffalo,” he told me. “We felt that it would be a good idea to start to transition some of the properties into Airbnbs so that she could manage them for me. We’re starting with the first floor of 49 19th. It opened in September. So far it has been extremely popular. The guy currently staying there for six weeks is working on a waterfront project. I love introducing all of these people to Buffalo – it’s completely furnished, with loads of Buffalo books and pamphlets, there’s a coffee station and a laundry room, and it’s close to so many places. I’m all about Buffalo, and when they leave, they are too.”
According to Joe, there are approximately 60 Airbnbs in the city, in some shape or form. That’s a lot more than I expected. For Joe, the Airbnb lets him influence the visitor’s perspective of the city. They get to stay in a neighborhood where most everyone is fixing up their houses. They get to see the action and the people who care about their neighborhood. They hear the buzzsaws, the hammering of roofs, and the clanging of ladders. It’s all part of the renaissance experience. “Instead of staying in a hotel room, people get to actually live in a great house in a wonderful neighborhood,” Joe said. “For me, it’s all about The Buffalo.”
Airbnb on the One Nine | 716-208-6408
^ A friend of Joe’s game him the Seasons Greeting sign. Everyone in the neighborhood calls him “Landlord”. They refer to the compound as the Seasons Greetings property. “It’s always some season,” said Joe [laughing]. “At Easter it’s the Easter season. The sign is always current.”
^Joe rescued a front porch from a torched house in Black Rock and fashioned it onto this Massachusetts property.
^Another Massachusetts property
^Four houses on 19th across from the Airbnb that are all being addressed in some fashion, from the removal of siding to new porches, etc.
^Another house on 19th that is getting a new front porch.
^Joe’s father once worked at Trico, so he has an affinity for anything that sports the name