Our Lonely Tower

There she stands. Quietly overlooking North Buffalo.

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An empty plot of land surrounds her, and many months have passed since the former Korean Methodist Church sat in tact, keeping her company. It’s been even longer since there was activity at that corner.

To me, this nearly demolished space is a reminder of the “old Buffalo” – blighted and defeated. But, if you look at it from a different angle (and I suggest you do), this very tower symbolizes the movement we’re seeing all around town. One of promise, hope, and revitalization.

This tower is destined to return to glory. Just like those grain elevators downtown and the countless turn of the century warehouse buildings we’re seeing slowly reborn.

You may have read a prior blog of mine showing the plans to build high end apartments around the anchor tower. Time may have passed, but the plans haven’t changed.

The good folks at Saranac Central Block Association reached out to the owner of the planned development, Sam DeFranks, this month and got this update:

  • The project is moving forward but at a slower pace than planned. The harsh winter caused a series of delays for most contractors.
  • The design and intentions remain the same and the goal is to have foundations poured and framing/building shell construction start late this fall/early winter.

In general the following tasks will take place in the coming weeks:

  • Parking lot will be privatized and fenced/secured (by Halloween)
  • Job trailer will be located in parking lot (by Halloween)
  • Concrete foundations will commence (November)
  • Framing/shell construction will follow foundations

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Sam a few times and his position has always been the same. He’s excited for this project and for North Buffalo. He’s a bit apologetic for the length of time it’s taking to get a shovel in the ground. And most of all, he’s thankful for the patience and support of the community.

Hang in there folks, good things are ahead!

Tower photo courtesy of Chris Bordeleau Photography (@buffcleb). 

Be a Good Neighbor

A letter to our neighbors:

Within the past month our beautiful corner of the city was ravished by two devastating fires – one on Lovering Ave and the other on Saranac Ave.

Today, a drive by either of these houses will leave you in tears. Putting a moment of thought into “what would I do if this was my house?” will probably leave you feeling helpless and hopeless.

Well, we can’t speak for either of the families that fell victim to these fires, but we’d assume that’s how they’re feeling. So as residents of the City of Good Neighbors, now is our time to step forward, like we always do, and help our fellow citizens.

Separate efforts are underway to help these families get back on their feet.

For Ms. Flynn of Lovering Ave, City of Good Neighbors tee-shirts are being sold with full proceeds going to her and her family. The website asks that you do your part by buying a tee and then sharing the link. “Kind of like the ALS Ice Bucket challenge but helping out a Buffalo neighbor in need!”

For the Siwirski Family of Saranac Ave, a donation site has been set up through gofundme.com. Incredbily, but not surpisingly, over $5,500 in donations have been received in less than 24 hours.

Please visit both sites to learn more and help out. And if nothing else, spread the word to your neighbors. Our thoughts and prayers go out to both families in this time of need. God Bless.

Sincerely,

Charlie, Karen and Ray Fashana

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ICYMI: Delaware Park is Sweet

You’ve (hopefully) read a number of posts here about things to do at Delaware Park. (Reference: “Doubles at Delaware”“In the Meadow”“BuffaLOVE Fest”).

I’m about 40 blogs short of really covering Delaware Park, but it should be clear to all that I think the Park is the real deal.

Well, now, so does the American Planning Association. Recently, the APA named Delaware Park one of the 2014 Ten Great Public Spaces in America!

Boom. Chalk up another accolade for Buffalo.

If you take a look at the characteristics needed to earn such a distinction (and there are A LOT), it’s clear that this was no fluke.

Be sure to read the full write-up…I bet there’s a lot you probably didn’t know about this backyard gem of ours.

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Life is a Combination of Cupcakes and Pasta!

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On every refrigerator, overshadowed by some silly magnets, photos of our furry friends and occasional family recipes from mom and grandma, lies an old sticky note telling you to “Take That Dream Vacation NOW”.

Mine goes something like this:

1. Go to a locals-only Italian town.

2. Learn how to make pasta from scratch.

3. Drink Red Wine. Lots of it.

So when I heard that The Pasta Peddler was moving to Hertel I took it upon myself to pay the store owners a visit and give them a warm “Hello Hertel” welcome.

And boy, am I glad to have done so!

What started as a hobby almost twenty years ago in Eric’s father-in-law Mike’s basement, has come a long way to become The Pasta Peddler we know today – proclaimed by many as the finest artisan pasta available in Buffalo.

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This is only one of the many feathers in his cap, for his wife offers a delectable selection of cupcakes and other baked goods – Wait For It – at the same store, making the location on Hertel a joint venture between The Pasta Peddler and Blackbird Sweets.

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What makes them unique though are their future plans, as the owner very enthusiastically informs me about the possibility of a not-for-profit winter market (thanks to a big and spacious retail space), and a pasta-making class in the near future which hopefully would involve some wine drinking as well!

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He already had me when he used two of my favorite words in a sentence: Wine and Pasta. But throw in some Buffalo knick-knacks scattered around the store, a tiramisu flavored cupcake aptly named “Hertel”, reclaimed wood counters from Buffalo Reuse, a la monferrina pasta machine (its like the Hermes of pasta machines), the fact that he is a fellow NoBo resident and Buffalo Believer, I am more than happy to buy pasta from him for the rest of my life! And I am sure, so are you.

So stop by the store and show them some Buffalove! Do not forget to try the raviolis and the dark chocolate salted-caramel “Blackbird” cupcake, you will thank me later.

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The Pasta Peddler and Blackbird Sweets are celebrating their move to Hertel with a grand-openeing on September 27th, 2014.

MEAT.

In Buffalo, the crisp air can roll in without much notice and the glorious summer can abruptly feel like fall. Yesterday it was 87. Today it’s 63.

I’m ok with that though. It usually means football season has begun, fall beers are on the shelves, and our weekly food habits begin to shift. In our house we’re already starting our regular fall routine of making homemade sauce, chilis and stews. You know, the hearty foods to help bulk us up for the winter.

It also means our weekly quota of chuck roast and ground beef will increase exponentially. Cue Johnny’s Meats – quite possibly my favorite place out of them all on Hertel Ave.

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Maybe its because they’ve been around for 60 years, or that my family has been customers for nearly as many. Maybe it’s the specialty italian sausage. It could be the old school look and feel of the meat market or the culinary knowledge of its butchers. It’s probably a little bit of everything that makes this place the best for meats in all of Buffalo, not just North Buffalo.

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So stop in. Get the meat that will give your sauce the flavor you’re looking for. Ask them for some recommendations. Try something new. Like any great butcher shop, these guys know their meat, know what to use, when, how and why.

I can smell the sauce already. Enjoy! And of course, go Bills.

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