Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Down on Main Street

Back when the story of James the Ice Creamcycle Dude first hit the news, a person from Buffalo Place claimed that mobile vendors (or at least this particular one) didn't fit into their vision. This drew a lot of raised eyebrows as in "they have a vision?" which Buffalo Pundit pictured accurately, at least as far as the area around Main Place goes.

After I took pictures in Main Place, I had set out to cover a few surrounding blocks. Nostalgia is everywhere, but much bears little resemblance to the glory years. For every success story there is a neglected disaster or two. Everyone is familiar with the buildings that were AM&A's and its warehouse on Washington.

In front of Coca-Cola Field (aka "the baseball stadium, whatever it's called now") on Main sits an abandoned cigar stand. But, all in all, that area didn't yield much decay.

Over on Pearl Street behind what used to be the Courtyard Mall (now home to a mental health facility), there is what used to be the back door of Ulbrich's. The art supplies area was right inside at one time. It's a bit eerie there, right next to the Convention Center. I quickly moved on.

Main Street itself is a mix of splendor and squalor, and not just the people. Baker Shoes still has a presence, although not one they should be proud of. Underneath the deteriorated awning sits a cultist hawking his wares.

Over by the Hyatt there's old fashioned street signage along with the Electric Tower (!) and the Gold Dome (!) that is now a different bank. There are also rows along both Main & Genesee of what were long time stores, abandoned now, even by the newer merchants that tried to make a go of it.

This should be a hot area, so what's the problem? Is it greedy landlords? Over officious city regulations and permits? Apathy? I'm not advocating demolition, but rather re-use. A ready market would seem to be there if the atmosphere improved a bit.

It's good to have a vision, because the reality isn't so pretty sometimes. Maybe Buffalo Place could work on that before cars are allowed on that part of Main. As things stand now they'll get to see what visitors that stay at the Hyatt glimpse as soon as they walk out the front door.

Wait! There's more...

Unused restaurant space that used to be called Ruby Tuesday, Ruby Reds...Ruby something:

Need to get away?

In the end, not all is doom and gloom (despite these photos of some low lights), but everything isn't coming up roses either. That vision thing still needs some work. That, and some more investors serious about the task in front of them, and the potential that awaits. Vision and action...

1 comment:

stephanie of stopbouncing said...

YEARS ago I went to Artist & Models at Courtyard Mall... it's not any less creepy when it's full of people.
There's just something about that place that creeps me out.

Isn't it sad that the view from the Hyatt is seven-odd-something abandoned/run-down businesses?
Yeah! Welcome to Buffalo!

Sure, I can sit here and blahblahblah about what's wrongwrongwrong, but I don't have any better ideas then re-use...