Tag Archives: blogs

How to Suck

28 Oct

Former WNYMedia.net writer and current fellow at the Atlantic Cities, Mark Byrnes (you may remember him from such blogs as “All Things Buffalo“), now expatriated to Baltimore, MD, comments on Brian’s thought-provoking postmortem on the big preservationist conference that rolled into town last week. I reprint it here because I think it’s spot-on, but also because it’s a very clear and concise rebuttal on the “at least they’re trying” coddling of mediocrity in which we engage too often here in Buffalo.

Let’s look at stuff done by local firms only so KPF’s courthouse design is excluded.

The two things that stand out to me as genuinely good architecture by a local firm is 285 Delaware (by HHL) and the Northhamton Lofts @ Artspace, also by HHL (although I believe they recieved significant assistance from a Toronto firm on that design). Cannon is technically local but they know their market well, they know Buffalo is fine with crap so they usually give their clients crap (I’m oversimplifying for the sake of my argument but w/e).

Niagara Center was right before Buffalo Rising, and if that site existed, maybe they would not have gotten away with such crap. But with that location and those clients and that scale of a project-its the most embarrassing building done in Buffalo in my lifetime.

And the Avant is an amazing project that you can’t question. But if you want to pick nits, the curvy form on delaware that pops out is awkward and could have been handled infinitely better (the original drawing was much worse). I feel bad critiquing it because its such a great project but there are some subtly laughable design elements inside and out to those who care.

But it’s not just architecture. Web design is awful in Buffalo because no one cares to pay for a good website, so the good web designers leave (12 Grain Studio is a rare exception). There are no standards for typography or print design in general (Hero, White Bicycle, Montague/Fraser/, Block Club, Martin Group are rare exceptions).

Basically, Buffalo’s problem is that no one is allowed to say that something sucks as long as someone really tries (see what happens when someone tells Newell on BRO that his writing is atrocious). I was not a good designer until I left because I couldn’t find people who had the background or the balls to tell me my stuff was shitty. No one felt comfortable telling me my writing needed serious improvement until I moved away. Buffalo needs to be okay with being told we suck as long as it comes from a good place that is meant to help point us in a better direction.

All of that is so incredibly true. Something to think about. Have a nice day.

Collins Finds New Enemies

31 May

The big question going on in local politics-land is Who is Doc Maelstrom?

Whoever it is, it’s an insider with ties to a growing, bolder anti-Collins contingent of the local Republican Party.

Collins can see the planets starting to lineup against him, alliances forming where none existed before, all because Hochul’s team showed a way to victory. That and the fact someone is talking on the inside.

Chris Collins has good reason to wonder what’s up. Collins has created plenty of enemies over his term and none more than in the Rath Building. His iron fist has come down on those he opposes but also on some who had supported him. For that reason it’s tough for Collins to look everyone in the eye he passes in the halls. However, now Collins must look for that face wearing the smile, wondering if its owner is friend or foe.

Apparently, it’s not just Democrats who have a problem with our county executive.  It was the Collins brain trust that mismanaged Corwin’s loss in a +6 Republican district. It was the Collins campaign crew that sent Michael L. Mallia to harass an old man in a parking lot and then giddily posted it to YouTube. It was Collins’ people who expected the Corwin race to be a cakewalk dry run for November against Poloncarz. The fact that it wasn’t has them in finger-pointing disarray.


When even some in Collins’ own party are ready to throw him under the metaphorical bus, it’s interesting, isn’t it, that some of the people Collins can count among his most loyal supporters are a couple of Democrats in the legislature.

Buffalo News Re-Design

22 Jul

Everyone was talking about the Buffalo News’ new website yesterday. It’s moved away from trying to have the site resemble an online version of the paper with blogs, and now resembles the online presence of most papers around the country. There’s nothing revolutionary or epic about it. It’s just keeping up with the times, with an edgier condensed-font logo and trying to look more live than just a site providing static news.

The product remains the same, despite the new packaging.

I’ll note, however, that the blogs have been relegated to also-ran status – they couldn’t be more of a pain to find. As we know from the Jim Heaney saga, Editor-in-Chief Margaret Sullivan doesn’t want reporters wasting time blogging when there’s writing to be done for the paper.

As if the two were mutually exclusive somehow.

In fact, with the new redesign, Heaney’s blog’s very existence has been obliterated. It’s not gone, however. The archives are available if you know the URL, but it is no longer among the listed Buffalo News blogs, and Heaney is banned from blogging in any way for any outlet. Not only can he not update or write it, but the News did not give him the courtesy of informing his readers about its involuntary demise.

Perhaps that explains why people have suddenly resumed writing for the Politics Now blog, which is little more than an opinion-free repository of press releases.