Tag Archives: Aud

The Placemaking Scam

14 Apr

They never told you what they were doing was merely temporary. They never explained to the assembled crowd that it was all a stopgap to make the waterfront less ugly and more usable for the period of time before final structures could be built.

That’s why Donn Esmonde giddily wrote this column a few days earlier, during one of the PPS’ “let’s talk benches” mixers.

But with respect to the Mark Goldman-led insistence that the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation embrace “lighter, cheaper, quicker,” the Project for Public Spaces, Fred Kent, crowdsourcing of ideas, and all kinds of unproven, untested, unscientific gobbledygook, there has been a wholesale theft of money from the people of New York State.  I’ve sent an email to ECHDC asking how much, exactly, PPS was paid.

Because, as far as I’m concerned, the ECHDC could have taken the money it spent on Fred Kent and the PPS, burned it, flushed the ashes down the nearest toilet, then spat on them, and gotten a better return on their investment than the unserious, make-believe nonsense the PPS provided.


For giving us the work-product of unempirical wishes, a Google image search, and an unwieldly PowerPoint presentation, the PPS or Mark Goldman should pay the people of the State of New York back every dime of money that went into that embarrassment.

Just a couple of weeks after the PPS punked Buffalo, the ECHDC presented what seems like the 900th serious plan for developing the Aud block. It’s a beautiful plan that features *gasp* underground parking. I eagerly await the howls of disapproval from Buffalo’s ersatz intelligentsia, demanding permanent implementation of “flexible lawns”.


Out with the Old

20 Apr


Time-lapse video of the demolition of Buffalo’s Memorial Auditorium, compiled by Chris Byrd.

Aud Demo Time-Lapse

3 May

HT Indabuff

Ribbons and Photo Ops

2 Jul

At around 3:30 this afternoon, near the Erie Canal Terminus, Hillary Clinton and other dignitaries, luminaries, glitterati, politicos, and other people with fancy suits will be simultaneously thumbing their Blackberries whilst arguing over who gets to stand close to the ribbon to get their maw on the evening news.

That’s because the canal terminus park isn’t “officially” open until the electeds get their photo op.

On a serious note, everyone who had a hand in crafting the park that we have today deserves the community’s praise and accolades. When I moved to Buffalo in 2001, that spot was a barren wasteland of a parking lot under the skyway. As a newcomer, I had no idea that it held any special significance whatsoever. Now, its historic importance is evident to all, and the city has a new, well-designed, well thought-out attraction to be proud of.

But the work has only just begun. The Canal Side project writ large will bring residents, businesses, retail, and restaurants. Hot dog vendors are a great start, but something more permanent and winterized will be needed to ensure that the project is attractive year-round.

So, give the electeds their oversized scissors and red ribbons. Give them their photo ops and their speeches. It doesn’t matter. With this project, we all won one.