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Old Posted Jul 13, 2021, 8:25 PM
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benp benp is online now
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Buffalo NY - The River is on Fire!

OK, not literally on fire like it was in the 1960s (it wasn't just the Cuyahoga that burned), but the Buffalo River and surrounding neighborhoods are continuing to transition from nearly 2 centuries of being an industrial sewer to a popular mixed-use clean(er) industrial, residential, and recreational area.

Some recent photos (mostly recent) of the areas from the original First Ward of the city, consisting of the current Old First Ward, The Valley, Kelly Island, and the Cobblestone District.

These neighborhoods are just southeast of Downtown, and extend on either side of the Buffalo River, which served as a major harbor, grain milling, and industrial area since the early 1800s. The Old First Ward saw its first Irish settlers in the 1820s during the building of the Erie Canal, and today remains a working class enclave of their descendants as the "original" Irish neighborhood in Buffalo.


Edward M. Cotter
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Cheerio
by bpawlik, on Flickr


River on Fire
by bpawlik, on Flickr

The Cobblestone District (named when the city cleared vacant industrial buildings and re-paved streets in cobblestone) is the area closest to Downtown, and is primarily and entertainment (and parking!) area that is continuing to add new venues.


Cobblestone Skyline
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Hofbrauhaus
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Lockhouse Distillery
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Bollard Corner
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Cobbled
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Be Happy
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Ballyhoo and Casino
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Seneca Buffalo Creek
by bpawlik, on Flickr


The Swannie
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Elk Terminal warehouse to apartment conversion
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Michigan Avenue looking towards Michigan lift bridge to Kelly Island.

Michigan Avenue
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Last Stop
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Kelly Island is the area between the Buffalo River and the City Ship Canal, and is historically been the location of Buffalo's grain storage and milling activities and other industries, which continues to this day. In the last few years many vacant facilities are being converted to recreational and residential.

Michigan Avenue lift bridge.

Tug New Jersey
by bpawlik, on Flickr

The Great Northern Elevator (1897) still in use by ADM.

Great Northern
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Ganson Street
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Why my city smells like Cheerios.

General Mills
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Unloading at General Mills from the City Ship Canal.

Mixed Use
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Riverworks is an ever-expanding restaurant, brewery, bar, sports, and entertainment venue created by re-use of vacant grain elevators on Kelly Island.

Riverworks 5 July
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Approach
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Zip
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Wheeler Elevator (1909)
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Riverworks Rinks
by bpawlik, on Flickr


MIA (Music Is Art)
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Up
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Riverworks Market Day
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Six Pack
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Ward View
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Ohio Street lift bridge. There are several new docks and launches being added all along the Buffalo River for recreational boating and kayaking.

Ohio Street
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Other businesses are popping up amidst the mixed industrial/recreational and soon-to-be-residential areas of Kelly Island.


Wonder Island
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Marine A
by bpawlik, on Flickr


England vs Denmark
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Quiet Afternoon
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Barkeep
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Several hundred apartments are currently being developed inside former grain mills and elevators in the area also called Silo City, part of the "Elevator Alley" on the Buffalo River side.


The Yard
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Perot
by bpawlik, on Flickr


American Malt House
by bpawlik, on Flickr

The Old First Ward was settled by Irish immigrants as early as the 1820s, and to this day remains an enclave of the Irish descendants, retaining its own separate and unique St. Patricks Day Parade and celebrations from the rest of the city.

The area is not so much gentrifying, as the old and orderly residential areas remain mostly the same, but the former industrial neighborhood has taken on a new life and role as residential, recreational, and entertainment is infilling where there were formerly dusty vacant lots, abandoned buildings, and inaccessible polluted shorelines. But it is still a great work-in-progress.


First Sign
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Less than 10 years ago Ohio Street was a crumbling industrial road, lined with empty fields and mainly abandoned buildings, but was reimagined as a bike and pedestrian friendly parkway to provide access to the Buffalo riverfront and the Outer Harbor beyond.


Heart of the City
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Chicago Street
by bpawlik, on Flickr


E.B. Holmes
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Distillery
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Scholastic Rowing Association
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Scholastic
by bpawlik, on Flickr

The Landing by bpawlik, on Flickr


Landing
by bpawlik, on Flickr

"Elevator Alley" is a section of the Buffalo River that has maintained its dense wall of grain elevators and other buildings. For better or worse, it has been written that the grain elevators of Buffalo inspired Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and and Le Corbusier in the development of International Style of architecture.


Elevator Alley
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Mutual
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Louisiana Street
by bpawlik, on Flickr


South
by bpawlik, on Flickr


The Neighborhood
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Gene McCarthy's
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5072
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Undergrounds
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5233
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5229
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Mazurek's
by bpawlik, on Flickr


The Mechanic
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Hut
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5246
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5105
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5122
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5127
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5110
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Have a Seat
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5111
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5098
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5095
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5090
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5080
by bpawlik, on Flickr


Our Lady of the First Ward
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5101
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5102
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5103
by bpawlik, on Flickr


IMG_5104
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Renovations and conversions continue throughout the OFW, including conversion of the former Barcalounger factory into apartments.

Barcalo
by bpawlik, on Flickr


On the Waterfront
by bpawlik, on Flickr

The Valley neighborhood is adjacent to the Old First Ward, but was called the Valley due to being surrounded by elevated roads and railroad tracks. It was nearly wholly dirty industrial with a small residential area, and much of the industrial area has been cleaned up.


The Valley
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Former powerhouse of the Buffalo Color complex now converted to a mixed use office and event space. Areas adjacent have been converted to Medaille College sports complex and practice fields.

Powerhouse
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Former church and school, now converted to a unique arts complex and apartments.

St. Theresa Parish
by bpawlik, on Flickr


St. Theresa School
by bpawlik, on Flickr

Former Buffalo Malting Company now converted and used as offices and design center.

Buffalo Malting
by bpawlik, on Flickr


What was an inaccessible polluted industrial waterway until less than 10 years ago is now a clean and active recreational and industrial waterway undergoing a transition to a popular residential and recreational destination. It would be hard to find anyone who saw this coming, even when it started happening, and a lot more development is still in the works.

2 Tugs
by bpawlik, on Flickr
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  #2  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2021, 8:45 PM
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Nice tour with some fantastic urban elements there.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2021, 11:43 PM
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The Buffalo River area is not typically seen on SSP. I remember what things looked like (post-fire days lol) before the revitalization started and no one dared kayak on the river. The old grain scoopers must laugh that people are now paying for luxury apartments on the riverfront compared to the "burning river" days when all the grain elevators were at capacity and Republic steel employed thousands.

Glad to see the transformation in progress.

Thanks for the tour, Ben!

Last edited by Wigs; Jul 14, 2021 at 12:12 AM.
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2021, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benp View Post
Fun fact: The c. 1900 Buffalo FD Edward Cotter fireboat was sent on an emergency mission, putting out a huge grain elevator fire across the Canadian border in Port Colborne, Ontario on October 7, 1960. The grain elevator is still in operation, now owned by ADM.




A distance of over 20 miles



More info:
https://www.wbfo.org/heritage-moment...-port-colborne
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2021, 12:23 AM
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Well well well I begin to love Buffalo now for its Germanic vibe...
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2021, 5:16 PM
MplsTodd MplsTodd is offline
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Great Post! I really enjoyed exploring Buffalo's neighborhoods and downtown on my last visit a few years ago. I never made it to the port area or lakefront. It looks like a large area and its good that new uses and attractions are being added.
Did the HSBC Tower (or old Marine Bank Tower) get reskinned? It looks darker than what I remember.
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2021, 6:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MplsTodd View Post
Great Post! I really enjoyed exploring Buffalo's neighborhoods and downtown on my last visit a few years ago. I never made it to the port area or lakefront. It looks like a large area and its good that new uses and attractions are being added.
Did the HSBC Tower (or old Marine Bank Tower) get reskinned? It looks darker than what I remember.
Cleaned and a new coat of paint/epoxy, now called Seneca One. New owner modified and added new wings onto the building for 100+ apartments and retail, updated courtyard, etc. Just recently completed first phase and I understand apartments 100% leased.
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2021, 7:52 PM
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Nice pictures. I took pictures of the neighborhood back in 2007, before any renovations really took place (outside of the Cobblestone District), but I have not been back there since. It sounds like it's becoming an outdoor play area for adults. It's good to see it getting some life!
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Old Posted Jul 15, 2021, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MplsTodd View Post
Great Post! I really enjoyed exploring Buffalo's neighborhoods and downtown on my last visit a few years ago. I never made it to the port area or lakefront. It looks like a large area and its good that new uses and attractions are being added.
Did the HSBC Tower (or old Marine Bank Tower) get reskinned? It looks darker than what I remember.
Hey Todd,
you can read more about the Seneca One Tower transformation here:
https://www.buffalorising.com/2021/0...at-seneca-one/
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Old Posted Jul 15, 2021, 2:07 PM
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Very cool!
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Old Posted Jul 15, 2021, 2:26 PM
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Buffalo, pound-for-pound, is one of the most interesting U.S. cities, IMO. Great pics.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2021, 12:44 AM
MplsTodd MplsTodd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wigs View Post
Hey Todd,
you can read more about the Seneca One Tower transformation here:
https://www.buffalorising.com/2021/0...at-seneca-one/
Thanks for referencing this article. Very impressive releasing performance at this tower.
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2021, 1:41 AM
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Great photos...and go Bills!
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2021, 2:59 PM
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Wow...Really interesting stuff. Amazing the repurposing going on with the warehouses/grain elevators.

I love the pride people have in the neighborhood.
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  #15  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2021, 1:04 AM
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Looking good and great too see people out and taking advantage of what's new.......Was there a contest for decorating front yards and porch's??
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  #16  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2021, 2:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Yorkie View Post
Looking good and great too see people out and taking advantage of what's new.......Was there a contest for decorating front yards and porch's??
I really don’t think so. There are homes and yards decorated all over the city and surrounding towns. It’s just something people do around here.
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