These photos, taken this morning by Larry Bystran (co-owner of The Barrel Factory) are of the 663′ Great Lakes freighter Manitoulin, seen unloading grain at the ADM Standard Elevator on the Buffalo River in the city’s historic Old First Ward.
The photos triggered the recollection of a recent article that was published in City Journal, which suggests that Buffalo should be investing more into its authenticity than relying on the Buffalo Billion to carry is forward. Reading the article, I had mixed emotions, as many Buffalonians will. But I did agree with author, Aaron M. Renn, regarding his stance on our devotion to our city and our need to concentrate heavier on the things that make us a unique mid-sized city. We must remember that Buffalo was rebounding before the Buffalo Billion came to pass.
“Those who love and choose the city must do so for what it is, not for what it might be if massive money is spent attempting to transform it. Buffalo will be “back” when it transitions to a smaller—but ultimately, more financially sustainable—model and refocuses on its role as a quirky regional center with steadily improving civic functioning and quality of life.” – Aaron M. Renn
It is the blossoming of the city’s commercial and residential neighborhoods that will ultimately pay off, which equates to a better quality of life for those who can walk and bike to nearby shops and restaurants.
Our waterfront is coming back to life again. We’re starting to respect our industrial heritage, finally. In Renn’s article, he mentions the grain silos, which are iconic Buffalo structures that set us apart from so many other cities. Not long ago, there were many people who were crying for the silos to be knocked down. Today we are lighting them up and rallying around them.
Larry Bystran (who took the photos) is doing his part to pay tribute to the industrial lands that bound the Buffalo River. Not far from where the Manitoulin is seen unloading its grain in the Old First Ward, The Barrel Factory is getting a complete makeover. Soon it will be filled with apartments (recently approved by Buffalo Planning Board), Queen City Malting, Lakeward Spirits (distillery) and Elevator Alley Kayak. It’s these types of developments that fuel the imagination of Buffalonians, and those who visit. These projects would be moving forward with or without the Buffalo Billion. I just hope that in years to come we remember, and the rest of the country knows, that we picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off, which is what helped to bring the Buffalo Billion here to begin with.