Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Other BP

It seems to me that the main business of Bass Pro has evolved into marketing itself as a savior of sorts.  It's selling a version of a dollar and a dream, except we're talking mega bucks into their pockets. Forget the fishing equipment, it's all about name and image.  Substance? Maybe ten years ago.

Every few days in the newspaper we are treated to quotes stating that this project would revive Buffalo.  A fishy smelling wad of money is being offered to the Common Council to overlook the Community Benefit Agreement that would guarantee a living wage be paid, among other things...this under the guise of helping to revive neighborhoods.

Steady jobs that pay a respectable wage are what will revive Buffalo, yet BP and the Harbor people somehow won't see the connection. Go figure.  Then again, the bribe is a one shot wonder and probably can be written off somewhere.

In another article a planner mentioned a bigger need for a mass of people canalside via an office building and the rest, including businesses, will come. Then elsewhere in the same paper HSBC is clearing its corporate throat, making noises about needing another building...You know, maybe by the waterfront.  Hello? Eh, they would probably want money thrown at them too.

Brian Higgins was right to tell Bass Pro to fish or cut bait, although I would just as soon let them swim away.  The last few years they've more resembled the high-flying but ruinous to its surroundings Asian Carp rather than any food fish.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Walking the Walks

Saturday I went on the 3rd Annual Photo Walk in the morning down by the Erie Basin Marina/Harbor and part of the Garden Walk in the West Village in the afternoon before I totally zoned out.  While I haven't got the pictures uploaded on Picasa or Flickr yet I still need to come up with one photo to submit to the Photo Walk judges.

While I'm not kidding myself about winning because I don't use the enhancing programs well, I'd still like your opinions on which one to send in, counting from the top.  At least I don't have to think of a cute title (I don't think so anyway)...







It was overcast most of the day, and we had to make do with the light as it was between 9 and noon. It was also my first time trying to use my Nikon DSLR for any length of time without really knowing how. In hindsight there are a few things I should have done differently, but it is what it is :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gardens on North Parade

There are only 2 days left to stroll down North Parade and view beautiful landscaping jobs that were donated as part of a group effort by various local landscapers (see here for an out of town viewpoint).  View and vote for the best ones that is.  The splendor will be there long after tomorrow.

I found myself getting distracted by the magnificent houses though.  Some need some work (and money to do it), some don't. It was a pleasure to see them all.  Their view is outstanding also as they all look out across Martin Luther King Jr. Park, which is right by the Science Museum (see blue line for specific garden walk area). This google map isn't entirely accurate in my opinion, as the museum is accessible from Best Street also and is in that x marked spot rather than where they have it...However I never knew how beautiful it appears from the back, looking from Northampton.



Just from the name "Parade" I knew it had been designed to be something special, and so it was.  From Buffalo Architectural History:
"The Parade, built in 1872, is intended by landscape designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux  for military drills and public gatherings. It quickly becomes a popular gathering place for the east side's German immigrants, who, like contemporary park users, frequently irritated nearby residents with loud and unruly behavior. The parade will be redesigned and renamed Humboldt Park in 1896.

The large circular fountain and wading pool will be added to thwart the use of the park as a vehicular shortcut. Olmsted will be deeply opposed to these changes but his firm, headed at the time by his son John, will proceed to alter the park at the City's request.

Humboldt Park (was) renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Park in 1978."
Back to the gardens and houses...I had 2 favorite houses at opposite ends of the street.  28/36 North Parade won out though, because I liked the gardens a tad better. Also the owner was outside watering and chatted a bit.  I had thought it must have been split into apartments at some point in time, but according to a real property search its still a one family house!





 At the other end was 84 North Parade with a totally different style (to my eyes anyway):





 And a few more on the street, although truthfully they are all beautiful - you should go see!







And finally, my Hospitality award went to a gentleman in mid block who welcomed everyone to the neighborhood yesterday evening without fail!   Thank you all for sharing!


UPDATE: Before and after pictures of all the homes, along with winners (mostly sorted by gardeners/nurseries, however everyone won something!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Goo Goo Dolls Live in Buffalo July 4, 2004

This video appeared here a few years ago, but I really like it a lot :) Different thoughts from me and different links this year too.  So in case you missed it the first time around or just want to see it again, here are the Goo Goo Dolls singing "Iris" on the stairs of Buffalo's City Hall in the middle of a monsoon on July 4, 2004.

Some people thought it prudent to watch from inside of buildings or under a tent, but you weren't really THERE if you weren't getting drenched! It was great fun, and definitely a concert to remember!

There is another good video of the Goos prepping for the concert and taping in the days preceding the actual event, and some scenes from the evening of the 4th set to the background music of "Give a Little Bit".  Embedding was disabled, but you can still go see for yourself. Its worth the click :)

Happy 4th of July! Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Inside the Hotel Lafayette

Before the doors of the Hotel Lafayette were locked, awaiting financing options for renovations, I took a few pictures.  The interior, at least the parts visible to me, were always immaculate.






One worker in particular took time to fill me in on bits of history and clearly loved the hotel.  He mentioned how some parts of the ceiling had been lowered, pointed out some unique light fixtures, and told how they used to have their own seamstresses on call and that bolts of cloth were still in storage at one point. Many services the hotel provided were self-contained.



He also climbed up on the counter and took a better picture of the wooden mural behind it than I could have managed from the floor.



Another mural was across the foyer. I hope they're in the next edition of the Lafayette.



At one time it was important to have list of churches available for visitors to choose from; then Pepsi took precedence. Phone booths are right across the hallway, only one looking like it might work.  Who ever thought that would be "old fashioned" ?



Moving day for the Lafayette Tap Room too. They weren't too happy so I didn't ask if I could get a last picture.


Hopefully the ability to sell tax credits or whatever it is the State keeps passing and then reneging on comes to pass so more restorations can take place.  But meanwhile, its so long for now...


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Continued...

A few weeks ago, after news of a possible suspect in the murders of both Kevin Smith and Bill Fickel had already appeared in on the sites of local television stations, the Buffalo News apparently felt pressured to do some sort of write up. The angle the writer chose centered around whether the suspect and victims in New York had all attended Clarence High School.

Probably for expedience the writer contacted the school and law enforcement:
"There have been widespread media reports that all three men attended Clarence Central schools, but Genesee County officials disputed that point, saying that Fickel went to school in Oakfield.

A check of Clarence High School records from that era — including yearbooks and transcripts — showed that of the three men, only Rebert attended the high school, graduating in 1983, school officials said Tuesday. That doesn’t mean the other two didn’t attend Clarence schools in the earlier grades."
I realize "Smith" is a bit hard to track down, but the Courier-Express/Tri-County out of Pennsylvania managed to interview both families.  Good article - take time to read it please. And since when is it unusual for people of differing ages to know one another?  We all left high school behind quite a while ago.

Speaking of high school, I'm really positive Kevin's oldest sister and brother were there at the same time I was.  Stands to reason the rest would have followed.  But I'm not sure that Kevin graduated in '78 or '79 or if he graduated at all. What counts is having spent the school years with the same kids, with the final outcome only really a matter of stats for scholastic purposes.  I have a number of classmates from the "Class '72" that didn't exactly get their diploma with the rest of us due to many reasons, but they're still my classmates from back in the day.

Smiths used to live on Clarence Center Road.  The house isn't there any more, but it was around about where that stand if trees is that I pictured yesterday.  Maybe a bit to the left where the soccer fields are, or a bit to the right where a new build is.  But I think right there.  If one squints one can still see the house, with a little help from imagination.

I hope the cases are solved, and the sooner, the better.