|The grain elevators are |
within sight of downtown
The existing body in charge of developing the waterfront, The Erie Canal Development Corporation, has spent the better part of ten years planning on recreating the Erie Canal District as it originally was (presumably without the prostitution, illegal bars, black markets, and slums). Though everything was to be built from scratch, and to current fire & safety codes. Not very authentic.
|From left: Kurt Von Voetsch, Messbag Series, 2007; Amy Greenan, 1972; |
Mark McLoughlin, Stolen Souls Willing exhibition portraits.
|Jim Charlier, Powerplant, 2010. Ha!|
Tony Goldman envisions creating "Arts & Industry Island." The merging of two of Buffalo's greatest assets -- a vibrant current artistic community & impressive industrial past. He proposed creating the world's largest free outdoor museum -- have international artists paint massive works on the grain mills. Promoted as such, it would be an international draw. It would make the millions of tourists visiting Niagara Falls, only minutes away, stop to check them out -- drive by, boat by, walk by, bike by, and kayak by. Designed to be enjoyed from different vantage points, it would help develop the entire area for miles around -- not just the Canal District.
He suggested building nightclubs in some of the grain elevators with light shows by lighting designers in the cavernous interior spaces. I suggest the grounds around them have to be no more than fields for soccer, football, baseball, volleyball, driving ranges, running tracks, bike paths, playgrounds and such. Oh, and gardens. Always gardens. Once people start coming the entrepreneurs will show up -- as long as the city makes it easy and cheap for them to set up and thrive.
|Use 'em or loose 'em. |
Though it'll take centuries for them
to crumble on their own.
Then spend a good sum on making these grain elevators one-of-a-kind works of art.
With the existing bike paths; the Peace Bridge (a whole other topic); the break wall walkway; Broderick Park; the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Fontana Boathouse; the Buffalo Yacht Club; the Buffalo State College Maritime Center; the crew teams racing along the Black Rock Canal; LaSalle Park & bandshell; the Barkyard; the residential condo towers; the Erie Basin Marina; The Hatch; the Observation Tower; the Marina Test Gardens; Miss Buffalo Boat Tours; the Veteran's Memorial; the Naval Park with its destroyer, battleship & submarine; the Small Boat Harbor; the HSBC Arena and the current Canalside concert venue & authentic canal-era remains; the kayak rentals; Buffalo's 1818/1833 lighthouse; the USS Cotter; Tifft Nature Preserve; Festival Park; Conway Park; the Ohio Street small craft launch; and the sun setting over Canada already make for a one-of-a-kind, spectacular waterfront. Other cities don't have all this. I think we're too close to see it. No one's looking at it holistically. And not enough are taking advantage of it all. And we never needed to drop a chain store in the mix. But art? It always adds, it never detracts.
Feel free to pick up and use these images as you wish, just please use the artist's credits if you do.
Top photo: Tom Holt, Berzerk!, 2009 (center four grain elevators); Felice Koenig, Cherry Fizz, 2009, and Gardening 2008-2009 (two right tanks).