WANTED: Street Art!

Calling all artists! The North Buffalo Organization has extended their deadline for the Mural Design Contest submissions. This is NBO’s first public art project and the winning submission will be painted on the huge (15′ x 75′) and highly visible wall on the side of the J&L Auto Repair building at 1127 Hertel.

For those that may be unfamiliar with public art, or may even question its significance, please allow me to offer some insight.

The idea of public art is predicated on a few very basic premises: to celebrate art and artists; to beautify neighborhoods and enhance their cultural identities; and to simply connect people and communities.

Public art takes on all shapes and sizes and can come to fruition in a few different ways. You’ve likely seen Shark Girl or the “you are beautiful” signs. Those are just a few of the many exhibits that came from Albright Knox Art Gallery and their Public Art Initiative. Then there’s amazing public/private collaborations like that of Savarino Companies and the Art Services Initiative of Western New York, which brought “Go!” to the side of a Cobblestone District building.

Go-Buffalo-NY-1 - Buffalo Rising

Hertel has even seen some public art courtesy of Community Canvases, a Public Art and Community Development Initiative that has put their mark on many utility boxes along the avenue.

canvas 1

Art lover or not, it’s hard to deny that these exhibits not only add beauty to our community, but character, intrigue and just flat out fun.

The goal for this particular project is no different from any of these and the opportunity is huge for both aspiring and established artists alike. So make the last few brush or key strokes (graphic designers are artists too!) on your work, and submit that masterpiece!

You have until Sunday, September 20, 2015 at Noon.


Above photo credits to Buffalo Rising, Community Canvases, and the North Buffalo Organization.


Another snowball in the face?

Here we go again.

Blizzard of ‘77. The infamous grab a six pack of ‘85. October Surprise in ’06.

Now we have the Snovember to Remember in 2014.

Each of these weather events are every bit as serious as they sound. They demand the attention of government support and national media. They’re damaging to property, city and town budgets, and our image. And not to forget, they can be life threatening.

These are the storms that everyone around the globe hears about and the images of such storms pop into their heads whenever the name Buffalo is mentioned – no matter the time, place or setting. We’re forever associated with snow based on a handful of “big ones”.

So what, right? Yes and no.

As a marketer, it’s a PR nightmare for our region. No matter how hard we try, changing people’s overall perceptions will be a continual challenge. Despite snow events like these ranking far behind catastrophes most other places commonly see (you know, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, wildfires, droughts), for some reason, snow seems to stick in people’s minds the way it does to our rooftops and car windshields.

As a lifelong resident, it can be infuriating. Our opportunities to make the national spotlight are limited; it’d be so much better if we had the chance to fill those timeslots with the billion other great things going on here.

Nobody likes to be constantly reminded of tough times.

I can’t think of anything worse than vacationing somewhere and telling people I’m from Buffalo, only to hear the “is it snowing?” comment. In June.

It’s funny how weather gives people and places a certain stigma if it’s perceived to be always bad and a blatant arrogance if it’s thought to be good.

So where am I going with all of this?

As we dig out of this latest blast, and continue to be the focal point for all of the bad weather that the Northeast ever gets, I urge everyone to think about a few things.

Embrace it. If you’re not in danger, have some fun! How many other natural disasters let you go out and play games in the wake of the storm? Or better yet, enjoy the quality time with your family and favorite alcohol next to a fire.

Be part of the positive story. When the sky gives you slush, make a slushy? You get my point. There’s a good way to handle dealing with things, and there’s the way that adds insult to injury. Give a follow to Visit Buffalo Niagara, which is taking every step possible to see the creative and positive side of the weather, and join in on the fun.

Help someone. We NoBo’s have escaped relatively unscathed here. Take the time, once the roads open up and it’s safe to do so, to help out friends and family that may need a push or hand shoveling or a beer.

And most importantly, remember that all in all, we have it really good. We have four beautiful seasons of weather. OK, three and a half. But still, it’s pretty awesome. And really what it comes down to is we’re surrounded by genuine people, and their best shines through in moments like these.

Where else would you rather be, than right here, right now? Hawaii? Maybe. But I’m just fine in the 716.


In The Meadow…

We can build a snowman in December. By my calendar it’s still summer, I’m talking about the Meadow Cafe in Delaware Park.

Meadow Cafe

It’s a healthy lunch and juice joint, a people watching paradise and an oasis for the park’s devoted exercisers. You may remember it as the Juicery.

They really did a great job recreating the once popular spot, with tons of tables and chairs nestled both in the sun and the shade, great food and juice drinks, water bowls for the dogs, and flower lined views of Buffalo’s greatest park.

View from Meadow

AdirondackI had a spectacular morning posted up on an Adirondack chair with my son watching the walkers, runners and cyclists. My friend Ben jogged passed us three times, each offering a funny smile and an increasingly tired expression. I chatted with my friend Rachel and met her year and a half old puppy, Penny. Some other folks gave some thoughts about having kids and another kind person offered musical babysitting services.

Just another Buffalo Sunday in the Park.

But possibly the most fun I had was piecing together the fragments of conversations overheard as people whiz by and trying to make a story out of them. Based on what I heard from four different groups of folks, here’s some advice:

If you want that kind of person in your life..to..build you a boathouse..then the ..burr under your saddle..is..you’re going to have deal with New York State.

So that’s how I passed the time today. Hope you’re having as much fun as I am!

Meadow Cafe Sign

From Farm to Hertel

It’s finally happening. A step towards environmental responsibility. A nod of support to our local growers. Another win for Hertel.

The North Buffalo Farmers Market will open for the 2014 season on Thursday, June 19, from 3 – 7 pm. It will be located at Holy Spirit Church on Hertel near Delaware.

I’m sure most of you need not be sold on the benefits the come along with supporting local farmers markets, but I’ll reinforce them:

  • Choosing to eat locally is more than a trend, it is a healthy way of life.
  • Eating local means you have access to nutritional, fresh foods.
  • Eating local means you know the farmer that has produced your food.
  • Eating local is being environmentally responsible as you are choosing to eat without imposing a large carbon footprint.
  • Eating local is economically responsible, as the dollars you spend on food are kept in circulation within our local community.

The market is set to run on Thursdays through November 6, but will take the week of July 17 off so volunteers and their families can attend the annual North Buffalo Italian Festival. (I’m sure if the farmers could grow cannoli or zeppole they’d stay open, but without that, no chance.)

A Grand Opening Celebration is planned for July with music and activities when more vendors will be available and fresh produce is in full season. Food trucks are being invited, and vendors are always welcome to apply.

It was no easy feat to get this market off the ground. Securing a location proved to be much more than “let’s do it here” as most of the 15+ sites that were scouted were unavailable. This made securing growers difficult too, as it’s already late in the season. But now we have the foundation to start building what could be a large, annual marketplace. If we show some mighty Buffalove to the few who can join us this year, then we will reap the benefits next year and beyond!

Kudos to Patricia DiFrancesco Banning, Board Member of NorthBuffalo.org and Market Manager, for her hard work and diligence to make this happen. Without her, we’d still be aimlessly saying “Hey, Hertel should get a farmers market.”

Shop Local – Support Farmers – Eat Well – Celebrate Community

Buy Local Buy Fresh

Let’s plant some trees!

If you’ve been paying attention to NorthBuffalo.org, Hello Hertel or Hertel Avenue’s Facebook page, you should know about the upcoming Spring Clean-Up on April 26. (I’ve been practically crying for signs of spring since February)

If you just learned of this now, not to worry, it’s not too late to sign up to help out.

What hasn’t been as widely publicized is: in conjunction with that clean-up will be a Re-Tree spring planting on a few of our NoBo streets. I’ve been working closely with Ryan Sajdak, NorthBuffalo.org’s founder, and we’ve secured an order of 50 trees!

But I also promised Ryan that we’d have enough people to help plant those trees.

So again, it’s not too late to sign up, and if you’re someone who loves lining an urban neighborhood with some beautiful foliage like me, please check the box on the registration form that indicates you want to help with the planting. And feel free to mention Hello Hertel in the comments section too, I’d love to meet any loyal readers of this blog!

In closing, here are some pictures of the trees we’ll be planting, along with their funny names. Hope to see you on the 26th!

Cercis Canadensis (Redbud)

Cornus X Constellation (Dogwood)

Parrotia Persica (Persian Ironwood)

Prunus Virginiana (Canada Red)

 Eucommia Ulmoides (Hardy Rubber)

Ginkgo Biloba (Ginkgo Princeton Sentry)

Quercus Coccinea (Scarlet Oak)

Quercus Rubra (Northern Red Oak)