A couple of weeks ago, Tim (my husband) and I headed over to a friend’s house on Norwood Ave on the spur of the moment to say hello. Well, she (Lori) wasn’t home. As we walked away from her house, we noticed several homes along the street that are fantastic. I thought, “Why haven’t I written about this street?” So here we are.
Norwood is a long street that runs from Summer all the way to Lafayette Ave. Because of the length of the street, I’m only going to cover Lori’s block, which is between Summer and Bryant.
Let’s Begin at Bryant
We started on the West Side of the street at Bryant. I took this particular hike with Tim and David, our grandson, who is about to turn 12. These are the first homes we see.
Then we came to this, below. This is when I pointed out the three columns at the corners of the porch, and what was (and I guess still is) a Palladian window, with the woodwork surrounding it. When I told David that the glass in the center window would have originally been rounded at the top, he said, “Oh, I see what you mean. So we’re looking for details like that!” Yes, exactly.
As we walked, we talked about architectural detail. The woodwork surrounding windows. Whether the glass is leaded, what sidelights are that flank the front doors. Whether a front door was painted or not etc. I love the windows at the top of this home, below, and the French doors on the upper porch. Would be great to throw those open in the summer for a nice breeze!
Of course, I also mentioned to David that you can’t notice these things when you’re driving.
This is the first one that really made us take notice. David admired the scrollwork in the pediment and above the recessed windows in the peak of the house. I pointed out the leaded glass in the window just to the right of the front entry. This is a beautiful home.
Check out the shingles above and below the windows, which are different from the rest of the home.
We came upon this home, below, across from Lori’s house. And, lo and behold, Lori was coming down the driveway, wondering what in the world we were doing taking pictures on her street. Haha! Urban hiking, of course!
She was apparently on her way out, and caught sight of us, did a double take, and realized it was us, acting like tourists on her street! We chatted for a few minutes, and she promised to hook me up with a neighbor or two, including her mother and step-father, who own the house she lives in.
Take a look at this amazing home. That peak! Those windows! That sweet diamond! The owner has been in this home over 40 years and has done a great job maintaining it! Love it!
Next, we come to this, below. This is one of three on this block designed by architect H. H. Little. He was a well-known architect in Buffalo from 1878 until his death in 1917. Little’s own home was on this block and we’ll come to it soon. But this home was built in 1894 for John Kronenberg, who was the Secretary and Treasurer of Machwirth Bros. Company. It was built as a single family home, but is now three apartments.
And it is spectacular! All the details! David said he thought it had “too much going on”. He might be right that there are a lot of different colors going on, but they’re well chosen and executed well. Very eye catching! To say nothing of the headless, handless mannequin on the upper porch…what is that about? Probably better that we don’t know. Haha! With that one exception, H.H. Little would be happy with the fate of this home.
If there is “too much” going on with the last house, perhaps it is the opposite going on right next door, below.
The Next H. H. Little on Norwood
This home was built in 1898 for F. Behn and Carl Behn, who owned Buffalo Refrigeration Company. It was built as a two-family home with identical floor plans for the first and second floors. There are a lot of lovely details here, the bay window on the second floor with its curved glass, all the woodwork around the windows and at the peak. Very pretty.
Next, we come to the home of William Gaertner, below, who ran for Delaware District Councilman in 1939, and lost. By the end of the year, he was indicted for making false affidavits designating himself as a candidate, to which he pleaded innocent. Apparently he produced a list for his staff, and had them each take turns writing in two or three names at a time, including contact info, on the affidavit. They had no idea they were doing anything illegal. (?) By January, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. It’s unclear what his sentence ended up being, but more than likely, he paid a fine if it was reduced to a misdemeanor. Oh Buffalo.
Anyways, William Gaertner’s former house is gorgeous, although I look forward to seeing it without the plastic surrounding the porch. Assuming it’ll be removed soon. I really like the canopy (is that the right word?) around the inside of the porch. Gives the home a classic look.
And these. They all have their own look and great details.
This one, below, appears to be going through extensive renovations. I believe I heard there was a fire here a while back. Alas, no one was there to talk to when we went by. This is one to watch though.
And one of my personal favorites. Just look at that upstairs room on the left and that super narrow window at that same corner of the house. Sweet! Not to mention the sun room on the front. Those windows appear to be original, and the front entry is just fantastic! The landscaping. Everything looks perfect here. The colors are spot on, the trim is done correctly. I love everything about this home.
The Third H. H. Little
Another favorite. This one, below is the home of H. H. Little. Designed by him, for him. My favorite part? The metal cresting along the roof line ending in a curlicue at two of the peaks. I’ve never seen anything like it. It shows Little’s whimsical side. I also secretly envy this type of recessed patio on the front peak. I would sleep out there in the summer! And I wonder if, and how, the owner uses the patio on the second floor corner? It’s such a private little spot.
The first floor is also red medina sandstone that’s been painted over. I wish it wasn’t painted, but this is definitely a cool house. It’s alway interesting to see what an architect builds for himself.
I’ve heard stories that the elderly gentleman who lives here now, used to drive a Pierce Arrow well after 2000. Now, that would have been a sight to see!
This next one has a bit of a sad story.
The home was once occupied by Mr. & Mrs. Charles N. Armstrong. Mr. Armstrong was a partner in an insurance firm, and very well-to-do. His wife, Florence, was the daughter of former Buffalo mayor, General William F. Rogers. Both Charles and Florence moved in high Buffalo society. After Charles’s death Florence continued to entertain and was frequently written up in the society pages.
On January 1, 1932, Florence left her home, above, for a walk before dinner. She never returned. She was last seen at the foot of Porter Avenue near the canal. Police searched for almost three months, before her body was found near the end of March in the canal. What a terrible end for anyone! And for her family, a daughter and son-in-law.
I don’t usually like to talk about sad stories like this in my posts, but this was so strange and unexpected, that I had to include it.
This next home is another favorite (I have many on this street). I heard from a neighbor that this home was owned by the Adam family from AM&A’s. There is some evidence to corroborate, but it’s not definitive. I am, however, willing to say that the home was probably owned at one time by Robert B. Adam, or his son of the same name.
The home sold in 2020, and was listed as a single family home. But after perusing the photos in the listing, there are at least two apartments, possibly more, in this house. From the sweet wrought iron gate, to the little patio above the carport, to the two dormers in the roof with their amazing windows, this home is fantastic. I wonder, however, if the room in the front with it’s leaded glass windows was always enclosed, or was this a porch at one time. No matter, this home has it all!
Bob & Susan’s Home
This is when we met Bob & Susan. What a home they’ve got! They’ve been in this house since 1976, and boy have they maintained it well. That door! So perfect! The leaded glass, the curved leaded glass and all the other details, including the red Medina Sandstone front. I’ve noticed several on the street that used sandstone. This home is fantastic.
Bob told a story that I have to share! One year on Christmas Eve, at about 10pm there was a knock at their door. Bob and Susan assumed it was a family member but when they opened the door, it was a man who introduced himself. He told them his grandmother used to live in the home, and he had with him a box filled with old photographs of the home, some framed! He gave them to Bob and Susan. Merry Christmas! What a gift. Who wouldn’t love for this to happen to them?! I sure would.
This is where we met Lucky and his owner Paul. Paul says he lives on the other side of Richmond, but walks Norwood with Lucky because it’s such a great street. Love it. Lucky was, perhaps the calmest, most relaxed dog I’ve ever met. That’s my kind of dog!
Crossing the Street
We see this. Just gorgeous! Very well done.
Nichols School on Norwood?
Yes, that’s right. This is the first permanent home of the Nichols School, below! Originally an all boys college prep school, this is where the Nichols School was located in 1892, until it’s present location was completed on Amherst Street, in 1910. Incidentally, the school was almost closed for good, when John Albright spearheaded the saving of the school, and donated part of the present grounds.
The original front porch was enclosed and additions were added to the second floor, to finally arrive at the look of the present home. Which I believe has at least four units, possibly five. How do you like the look?
Then there are these.
When I saw this house, below, I couldn’t help but notice the carriage house in the back. Now, this is a carriage house I’d like to live in!
This home below is part of a growing trend that I’ve noticed. Starting to see more homes painted black (along with the use of black trim paint). I like it. I like it a lot!
This green one, below, has so much to like. Both dormers are great, but the one on the right, how it leads right down to the bay window on the second floor. Almost all the windows are original, including the 9 and 1’s in that dormer! Awesome.
Lori’s House. No, Linda and Kevin’s House
Now we come to Lori’s house. More correctly, Linda and Kevin’s house. And I don’t know where to begin. This home is monumental!
I’ll just start with the current owners, Lori’s Mother, Linda, and Step-Father, Kevin bought the home in 2004. There are four apartments in all. Lori moved into the second floor front apartment five years later. And Tony (now Lori’s husband) moved in a while after that.
How about those porches? Perfect! Great spot for a wedding.
Or Halloween, or Christmas. Or just a casual dinner with friends in the summer. If you live in the area, you know what I mean. Wink, wink.
Anyhoo. I sat down with Linda and Kevin last week to talk about the house.
The Diamond Connection
Lance Diamond was a long time resident at this home. As a matter of fact, he lived in all four apartments at one time or another. He lived here when some, or all of the Goo Goo Dolls lived here. They became friends, which apparently Lance did with everyone. Robby Takac was a regular visitor to the house to see Lance until his death in 2015.
While Linda and Kevin were telling me about Lance, they talked about the many meals they shared together, and about just hanging out with him on the porch. It’s obvious they both miss him very much. Goes to show that homes are always about the people who live in them.
Last spring, Robby asked Linda and Kevin to host a band on their porch during Porchfest in honor of Lance. Perfect porch for it. They agreed, but the pandemic hit, and Porchfest was cancelled. This year, maybe? Time will tell.
Kevin, Linda – you’ve got a fantastic home.
Moving Right Along
This next home shares a driveway with Kevin and Linda’s house. It’s really gorgeous too.
This home, below, was apparently in really, really rough shape. Flippers bought it, and did what they do. Looks like a brand new house. Wish I knew what it looked like before.
And oh my gosh, this sweet thing. I love the new paint job here! Very bold, and it’s so cheerful. My favorite part? The wrought iron on the two front windows – it makes the whole house make sense. H. H. Little would approve of this bit of whimsy.
And these. Aren’t they lovely?
Blown Away Again on Norwood
Just as I started to think things were winding down, we came across this. And it’s signed Tingley/Ogre 2012! In Buffalo street art, it doesn’t get any better than this. They are two of the most talented artists in Buffalo. So, what a find! And it’s been here since 2012? Never noticed it before.
I guess that’s because I’m usually in a car on this street. Here’s a case for urban hiking. Love this.
But, actually, it’s not quite what it appears to be. When I spoke with Newell Nussbaumer, founder of Buffalo Rising, and owner of the garage that is really a house, he explained that the original painting on the garage door was in fact done by Chuck Tingley and Ogre (Matthew Grote). And that garage door was damaged by a car, so Newell and his wife, Amelia took the door down and hung it inside their home. They then had the replacement door painted with what you see here (above) by mural artists Vinny Alejandro and Mark Madden. It is inspired by Danish mid-century modern pottery. Awesome.
Love their persistence. Most people would have just put up a new door and left it with the surround that belonged to the first mural. But Newell and Amelia wanted their yard to bring beauty and joy to their neighbors, so they had the new door painted as well.
A Little Background on the ‘Garage’ House and Yard
The home is a converted garage, or more precisely, a carriage house. It was where some of the neighbors kept their carriages (this is a late 1800s neighborhood remember). They would ride their horses over, hitch them up to their carriage and go on their way. I’m sure in some cases, their drivers did all of this, as we already know this street was home to some of Buffalo’s wealthier residents.
Then the building became a livery, and later still, a taxi company called The Norwood Garage. Wow! What a history!
Newell explained that his mother originally told him about the place coming up for sale. A friend of hers converted it into a home, and when Newell went to see it, he liked it well enough to make the decision to buy it that same day. And he wasn’t even looking for a house! Brave.
A Shared Driveway and Yard
Living in a home behind another home is something that I would say most people would be unwilling to do. Newell and Amelia’s home has a shared yard with three other homes. The people who live here share and share alike. Newell talked about how they watch out for each other, they keep an eye on each others’ homes if someone is not around. They all take care of the place together in a casual sort of way.
A lot of people wouldn’t care for this type of arrangement. But Newell says it works very well. In my opinion, this is what city living is about. People being true neighbors. Working together for the common good, and being there for each other. Newell referred to it as a sort of safety net. I like that.
These next two photos are the other two homes that share a yard with the ‘garage’ house. They’re twins, with minor differences.
Then we saw this! At this point it took every ounce of strength I had to not walk up the driveway to see what exactly was going on in there. Later, Newell filled me in on this one too. It’s in part of their shared yard, and was painted by Mark Madden. It’s the face of Elektra, a Tesla-inspired electrified sculpture. Cool!
Next time, Newell, I’m going in. Haha!
A Couple More
This home, below, is very much like a lot of the homes on this street. That is to say, a Victorian era, or Queen Anne, or shingle style home. It could be grand again. Look closely at the details. The double columns at the back of the porch, the scroll work under the eaves, the shingles…if they’re not damaged. The right paint could make all the difference in the world for this house. Let’s keep an eye on this one.
Where to begin with my impressions of Norwood Ave? I have to say that this street blew me away. The homes, the history, the people! Nichols School! Lucky and Paul! Bob and Susan. Lori, Linda and Kevin. Newell and Amelia! And Lance Diamond, a Buffalo Icon!
I mentioned earlier that Lance made friends with everyone. He made friends with me many years ago as I headed up the sidewalk to meet Lori on her porch. He was sitting on the little stoop just up from the sidewalk. I didn’t know who he was, although I had heard of him. He introduced himself, and told me that any friend of Lori’s was a friend of his.
I cannot tell you how many people I’ve met who’ve said that to me about Lori. She’s good people. She is without a doubt, the absolute salt of the earth. And so are Linda and Kevin. 100 percent. Happy to be considered their friend, and have been for a long time. True Buffalo people.
And being a regular reader of Buffalo Rising for many years now, it was really fun to talk to Newell about his house and his neighborhood. Thank you for that Newell. You’re true Buffalo people too.
Norwood is a long street, I’ve only shown you about one third of it. And I apologize if your home didn’t make it in to the post. There were so many homes! Buffalo’s Garden Walk began on this street – the other end. If you can, you should come see this street. The whole street. It’s truly amazing. And so are the people.
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A couple of days ago, I found myself walking along Bidwell Parkway. What a gorgeous piece of real estate. Seriously. Of course, it helped that it was a stunning day. 80 degrees, sunny with just a smattering of wispy clouds in the sky. People everywhere, but still not crowded. A perfect day for an urban hike along one of Olmsted’s most celebrated Parkways, in what he himself called the best-planned city in the world. That’s us Buffalo. Come walk it with me.
Bidwell is a shining example of what Olmsted intended when he created our Parks and Parkway System. With plenty of room to roam, it’s about 200 feet wide. It’s got a tree-lined grassy median, and runs from Soldiers Circle through the heart of the Elmwood Village and on up to Richmond at Colonial Circle. And if you walk that median, you feel like you’re in a park. Exactly what Olmsted intended.
Let’s take a look around.
The Parkway itself
As I walk on the north side of the road, heading towards Elmwood Ave, the first thing I notice is the homes. And really, Bidwell Parkway is all about the homes from start to finish. Add to them the spacious median, the one-way traffic with both parking and bike lanes, within easy walking distance to Elmwood Avenue, and Bidwell becomes the perfect place to live.
Look at this beautiful home below. I mean, come on. Who wouldn’t want to live here? This craftsman bungalow was built in 1904 and was designed by Esenwein & Johnson, a very well respected architectural firm here in Buffalo at the turn of the 20th century. Note the diamond motif is repeated in the windows and the shingles. Also, check out the tie rod and anchor securing the chimney. I wish I had gotten a better shot of it. This house is so well kept, it’s amazing.
A Couple More Along This Stretch…
Here are two Colonial Revivals – but executed very differently. Love that round porch on the one on the left, and that row of dormers on the right!
And below, yet another Colonial Revival, different still. This one designed by none other than, wait for it…Esenwein & Johnson. They were very busy along this stretch. This one is from 1906. Now, if you know me, you know I’m not a huge fan of columns. But these are great.
And here’s an interesting one (below). This is what a builder builds for himself. This is the home of Charles and Margaret Mosier. Charles was a partner in the contracting team of Mosier and Summers. They built a lot of buildings for Esenwein & Johnson, including the first Statler Hotel. Oh, and by the way, Esenwein & Johnson designed this home too. Apparently Colonial Revivals were hot in 1905.
I think this is a particularly handsome apartment building just across from the Bidwell Farmers Market near Elmwood Avenue. I’ve never been inside, but in my daydreams, it’s got all the original woodwork, hardwood floors, and tile work. And it’s in fantastic shape! Ha! One can hope.
Actually I’ve heard that they’re nice, but nothing special. Oh well, the building looks good from the front anyway, and the location doesn’t get much better!
Love the Neighbors Here Too
You know I never turn down the chance to talk with people on my walks. Some people are willing to chat, others, not so much. Some of them I write about, some I don’t.
So, this is about the time I got chatting with a lovely woman, who lives here (below) in this Tudor Revival. She was outside playing with three very cute kiddos who also live here. The woman agreed that this stretch of Bidwell is a wonderful place to live. In her words, “I love it here.” Who wouldn’t?
And here are a couple more I saw on my way to Colonial Circle. Lovely.
Colonial Circle& Daniel Bidwell
We’ve all seen the soldier on the horse in the center of the circle, but who is he? Well, he’s Brigadier General Daniel Davidson Bidwell. Born in Black Rock in 1819, Gen. Bidwell was heir to a very successful shipping company founded by his father. He was very well known in Buffalo, and when the Civil War broke out he joined New Yorks’ 65th Infantry. Bidwell fought in several famous battles, including Gettysburg, and was promoted to Brigadier General in the summer of 1864. He was killed in action in October of that same year at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia. Bidwell Parkway is named for him.
St. John’s Grace Episcopal Church
As I head out of the circle and back over to Bidwell, I see St. John’s Grace Episcopal Church. It’s so pretty. I love the delicate cross atop the bell tower. The building you see here was built in 1907, but the church was first located at the southeast corner of Washington and Swan Streets. Among its founders were William Bird (Bird Avenue), William Fargo (Wells Fargo & American Express), and Joseph Masten (Buffalo Mayor and later Buffalo Superior Court Judge).
The building itself is built of Onondaga Limestone from the quarry that used to be in Delaware Park. The large window above the main entrance was donated by Mr. & Mrs. Seymour H. Knox, in memory of Mr. & Mrs. Lewis Northrup. It’s quite beautiful.
And Still More Great Homes
As I continue down Bidwell back towards Elmwood Ave, I notice this side of the block has a whole different feel. There is more shade because there are more trees. I swear it’s 10 degrees cooler. Here’s some of what I saw.
And then, I come upon this one (below). I really love it. I’ll tell you a secret. I’ve never been a big fan of Tudor design, with its stucco walls and half-timbering. I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t do anything for me. This house though, with its mix of Tudor and Craftsman design really catches my eye. I do love a good Craftsman design though, and maybe that’s it. This home makes even me appreciate the Tudor elements in this design. My favorite part of all though has to be the Craftsman style porch and those brackets! I like this one!
And One of My Old Favorites
But then. Then I come to this one. This house I’ve admired for years! When I was a child I thought it was a giant gingerbread castle, with that tower and conical roof! Even as an adult, I’ve wondered what the room looks like behind that palladian window with the two ocular windows on either side. I pray it’s not an attic. That would be horrible!
Come to think of it, I haven’t seen many shingle style homes here on Bidwell, but this home reminds me of one I know in North Tonawanda, the Humphrey House.
This home, however, is slipping a bit. There used to be these really sweet wrought iron ‘shutters’ that gave this place a storybook house look. I see that they’re now missing. Perhaps the current owner didn’t like them, and that’s okay, but some of the regular shutters are missing as well, and some of the shingles are in need of repair. Let’s hope it doesn’t slip too far.
Here’s the view from the sidewalk at the corner of Bidwell and West Delevan. It’s one of those views that draws me in. So, in I went.
And a few more on the south side of Bidwell.
The home on the upper left has a brand new copper roof – impressive. The one next to that – those eaves! And the two beneath that are fabulous to look at as well.
Two More by Esenwein & Johnson
Can you believe how many homes Esenwein & Johnson designed on this street? The home on the left was built in 1909 for Charles M. Heald who was the Commissioner of the City of Buffalo. The Craftsman Style five-sided porch is what makes this Tudor Revival/Craftsman style home. The house on the right was built one year later for William Statler (brother of Ellsworth Statler) and is a true Craftsman (Arts & Crafts) Style home, so you know I love it! (It’s also pictured as the lead image at the beginning of this post.)
As I stopped to check traffic to cross Potomac, something caught my eye. I looked up and this is what I saw, hanging on a tree. Boy am I glad I looked up! This just goes to show, you never know what you’re going to see on an urban hike! Certainly wouldn’t notice this driving by in a car. The artist is Pulitzer Prize winning, editorial cartoonist, Adam Zyglis. Cool.
As I cross over Potomac, I see The Buffalo Seminary. This is a school that was founded in 1851 as the Buffalo Female Academy in the former home of Ebenezer Johnson, in what is now known as Johnson Park. It was the first institute of higher learning for women in the country! Buffalo Seminary is an all-girls day and boarding high school. It’s an institution almost as old as Buffalo itself, and it’s been here on Bidwell Parkway since 1909. Like all schools in NYS, they’ve finished up the school year conducting their classes online.
Public Art on the Parkway
“Birds Excited into Flight” stands at the far east side of the median on Bidwell Parkway. The bronze plaque states “Sculpture by Griffis”. This is one of those times that, as I walked over to take this photo, I realized that although I’ve seen this sculpture a thousand times, I’ve never really looked at it.
The people at the base raise their hands, which morph into birds taking flight. I love how I (accidentally) caught that top bird heading straight up to the sky. It’s a beautiful sculpture.
Soldiers Circle is the spot where Bidwell Parkway, Lincoln Parkway and Chapin Parkway meet. I admit, I’ve wondered why it was called Soldiers Circle.
That was until I looked it up a few years back and learned that Soldiers Circle was originally meant to have the Soldiers and Sailors monument that now stands in Lafayette Square. When it was erected downtown instead, the circle was given several cannons and stacks of cannonballs as ‘decoration’.
But apparently, people kept stealing the cannonballs to sell as scrap. Oh, Buffalo. As a result, all of it was eventually removed. Soldiers Circle has been renovated several times since. But in my humble opinion, it remains unremarkable to this day. How about some trees at least? It’s so unremarkable that I didn’t even think to take a photo of it during this walk. The photo above is from the Buffalo parks website.
How about a good old fashioned design contest to spruce up Soldiers Circle? I’d love to see what the designers come up with. I bet they’d include trees. Just saying.
Bidwell Parkway is one of those city walks I take occasionally. Just to see it again. I will certainly miss the Bidwell Concert Series this year as we all embark upon our ‘new normal’ social distancing lives. This is the only series left in Buffalo, where it has stayed a neighborhood event. You can bring your own food, drinks, blankets, chairs, chandeliers for the trees, etc. Or, if you choose, you can purchase drinks and food from the vendors and food trucks in attendance. It’s one of the best and I hope they pick up next year right where they left off last summer.
This time when I walked the parkway, knowing I was going to write about it, I couldn’t help but wonder what Frederick Law Olmsted would think of how we’re using it today. I’d like to think he’d love it. Olmsted had a gift for bringing a real sense of peace to an outdoor space. Strolling along the center median, sitting on a chair or blanket to relax on a summer day here, certainly brings peace. All the people scattered about here know it. It’s why they’re here.
I think that’s why all the homes here enchant me so much. Just to know that the people who live inside them, look out over such a peaceful place makes the homes that much more fascinating.
Thanks for coming along with me this week. Take a walk Buffalo. There’s so much to see, so much to learn. So much stress to shed. Go shed it.
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For those of you who don’t live in Buffalo: Allentown, the Elmwood Village and the West Side are all neighborhoods within the city of Buffalo. As I sit down to write this, it occurs to me that I should have begun this series in Allentown. Because the street art movement in Buffalo really began there.
In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned a time when street artists used to (some still do) go out in the dark of night and create. Illegally. They were constantly looking over their shoulders to make sure they were not getting caught. Some were arrested. Some went to jail.
In 2013, the Allen Street Street Artists Collective was organized by Buffalo historian, businessman and arts supporter, Mark Goldman in conjunction with the Allentown Association. The goal of the collective was to legitimize the artwork done by street artists, to enhance the neighborhood through art and to provide legal work for the artists.
Mark Goldman dedicated his work on Allen Street to his late brother, Tony Goldman, who was a well known street artist in New York City and Miami.
Since 2013, the art on the buildings in Allentown has changed some, a few of the original paintings are still there and are noted as such below. Street art, or public murals, was once described to me as temporarily permanent work. Must be strange for an artist to know that their work will one day deteriorate and eventually be removed and/or replaced.
I for one am glad that they continue on with their work, to our benefit.
(Part of) Tribute to Tony Goldman 2013
Located at 245 Allen Street – College Street Side (Rear)
“The work we do is not for the faint of heart.” This is a quote from Tony Goldman, street artist. This is the tribute wall that was created in 2013, in honor of Mark Goldman’s deceased brother Tony Goldman, who was himself a street artist, and created large street art displays in both New York City and Miami, by purchasing large scale buildings and hiring talented street artists from all over the world. Tony Goldman was the inspiration for the Allen Street Street Artists Collective. While writing this post, I was walking on College Street in Allentown, and saw that this work, and the following two, were being painted over, and some construction was taking place inside the building. See photos at the end of this post* Temporarily permanent.
Iron Fireman 2013
Artist: Rust Belt Division
Located at 245 Allen Street – Rear of Building (Lower) – photo below
This work is based on the Iron Firemen (huge boiler systems) found in old industrial buildings of the Rust Belt.
The artist of this work is described by other Collective artists as reclusive and chooses not to talk about his/her art publicly. He/she also changes his street name from time to time so as to keep his/her identity unknown. Makes me wonder if it is perhaps a public figure who created this mural. This is the second of three that has been painted over this week. See photos at the end of this post* Temporarily permanent.
Artist: David Chino
Located at 245 Allen Street – Rear of Building (Upper) – photo below
Chino grew up in Brooklyn, NY surrounded by graffiti. He mainly painted his name on the subway walls while he lived there. He moved to Buffalo in the early 90’s and would only paint occasionally here because he felt that Buffalo was very clean and it didn’t feel right painting here. He impressed the other artists in the Collective though, and was asked to participate in the project. This is the third and final mural that has been painted over this week. See photos at the end of this post* Temporarily permanent.
Photo of Iron Fireman (lower) and Chino (upper)
Secondary Occupants 2013
Artist: Julian Montague
Located at 245 Allen Street – College Street Side (Front)
Julian Montague was part of the Allen Street Street Artists Collective. Earlier he had a project where he created “fake” books by creating new covers for existing books and giving them new names. One of these “books” he titled “Secondary Occupants”. He used the cover of this book to create a mural. He describes it as cutting the building in half using these creatures with eyes that appear to be watching us as we go about our business in Allentown.
Title Unknown 2017
Artist: Nicolas Delfino
Located at 245 Allen Street – College Street Side (Lower Front)
I don’t know too much about this series of paintings contained within the lower half of “Secondary Occupants”. Done by Nicolas Delfino, they do fit in nicely with the whole Allentown neighborhood, and is perhaps a collection representing the spirit of Allentown. My opinion.
Tribute to Spain Rodriguez 2013
Artist: Ian DeBeer
Located at 233 Allen Street
What sets this mural apart from every other mural in Buffalo is that the artist never actually painted the mural. Ian DeBeer was incarcerated for graffiti art vandalism crimes in New York City, and as a stipulation of his parole he could not use or possess any street art tools. He created this mural with charcoal on tracing paper, then worked with projection artist Keith Harrington to have the mural projected onto the side of the building. The mural was then painted by artists of the Allen Street Street Artists Collective under DeBeer’s direction.
Spain Rodriguez was a comic artist from Buffalo who also dabbled in street art. DeBeer became familiar with his work while in jail. He created this mural as a tribute to Rodriguez’s cartoon that memorialized a fight he had gotten into in a bar on Allen Street called (at the time) The Jamestown, now Nietzche’s.
It’s the back story that makes this mural for me. So interesting.
Artist: Chuck Tingley
Located at 224 Allen Street
Chuck Tingley painted this in 2014, and has now become one of Buffalo’s most prolific and popular artists. This mural was inspired by the ability to persevere and overcome adversity in the form of gender and race bias. The boater is making his/her way through the darkness, being led by the light from the lighthouse. The way the lighthouse is located in the boater’s head leads you to believe that he/she is really following their own inner light. It’s beautiful, no?
Homeland – Perhaps It Is Because I Wish To See You Fly 2017– AK Public Art Initiative
Artist: Betsy Casanas
Located at 583 Niagara Street
Casanas was invited by the Albright Knox as part of their Public Art Initiative to create a mural celebrating the contributions of the Hispanic and Latino communities to the economic and cultural growth of the entire West Side neighborhood. She worked with community members to design the mural itself, and with volunteers to actually paint the mural, making it a true community effort, headed by Casanas.
Covering two sides of the building, and depicting both immigrant and indiginous people, this mural is a true celebration of the community it brightens.
Artist: Prish Moran
Location: 220 Grant Street
Prish Moran purchased the building at 220 Grant Street in 2007. When I met with her in 2017, Prish told me she painted the lower half of the building brown because it was covered with graffiti. Not the good kind. She decided to paint something else to make it look a bit nicer. She went through the folders of pictures she tears out of magazines to save for inspiration, and found a photo she liked. So she painted her own version of it on her building. She makes it sound so easy!
One day, she was working in the (at the time) unopened cafe when there came a knock on the door. She answered it to a gentleman from the refugee resettlement center who was with several women refugees. He explained that he was taking the ladies on a tour of the neighborhood to show them around and when they came upon Prish’s building the women cried tears of joy having seen the mural which was, unbeknownst to Prish prior to this, the Burmese God of Happiness. The women were from Burma, and stated that they now felt at home in Buffalo having been welcomed by the God of Happiness himself. Prish says that the Burmese women from the neighborhood have been touching the mural when they walk by ever since. Great story, and a beautiful mural. Thanks for sharing both Prish.
Welcome to the Iconic Elmwood Village 2018
Artist: Michael Gelen
Illustrator: Bill Jankowski, Zoom Copy
Installer: Andrew House
Located at 1055 Elmwood Avenue
This is a fun mural that was made possible by Marc Corsi, owner of the Poster Art Store housed in the building. He wanted to use childhood images to showcase a diverse group of icons and legends. Included in the background of each icon are clues to their identity, leaving the beholder with the task of identification.
Not gonna spoil the fun and tell you who they are. You’ll have to figure it out yourself. Hint: They aren’t necessarily Buffalonians…
Artists: Augustina Droze | Bruce Adams
Located at 938 Elmwood Avenue
This mural is a happy-go-lucky look at Elmwood Village life, from the Bidwell Farmers Market, to Jim’s Steak-Out, to the cyclist to the skateboarder. Life is good in the Elmwood Village, a neighborhood that was named one of the country’s 10 best neighborhoods by the American Planning Association. Indeed, it is home to some of the city’s best shops, restaurants and art galleries, not to mention the beautiful homes! I took this picture in 2017, but now this painting needs work, or…temporarily permanent?
Nicola Tesla 2018
Artist: Rory Allen
Located at 727 Elmwood Avenue
This mural is a nod to Nicola Tesla who is credited with bringing electricity to Buffalo. Commissioned by 40 Thieves Restaurant, Rory Allen is the artist with Zoom Copy.
Lip Service 2018
Artist: David Mitchell
Located at 712 Elmwood Avenue
This mural was a collaboration between Bureau (owners Jon Eisenberg and Joseph Stocker) and Klub Weimar. They wanted to give back to the community. It was meant to be both provocative and family friendly at the same time. Sort of like the neighborhood itself. Pretty sure the Rolling Stones would approve.
Yellow Dog 2019
Artist: eRic Luplow
735 Elmwood Avenue
Luplow grew up in Batavia, and after a chance meeting with Bureau owners Jon Eisenberg and Joseph Stocker in Arizona, came to give Buffalo this fun, quirky mural on Elmwood. Having visited the Albright Knox regularly as a kid, Luplow always dreamed of having one of his paintings on display in the Albright Knox. He reportedly figures having this mural on Elmwood for all to see is the next best thing.
Eyes (?) 2019
Artist: Chuck Tingley
257 ½ Summer Street – Facing Elmwood Avenue
This mural was done as part of the Flutterby Festival held here this past August. The festival is intended to raise awareness of environmental concerns. According to Tingley, he depicted the eyes closed because they can represent anyone, of any ethnicity. He also wanted to bring attention to the fact that so many of us are closing our eyes to the worlds environmental issues. This one gets me.
Some more shots from my travels around the city. Buffalo is literally becoming covered with art!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trip through the Allentown, the West Side and Elmwood Village murals! In case you missed it, check outPart 1 of the Buffalo Street Artseries. Next up – Hertel Ave. See you then!
*I happened to be in Allentown today (October 29, 2019) and I am sad to say that the last of A Tribute to Tony Goldman, Iron Fireman and Chino had deteriorated quite a bit in the past couple of years, as you can see from the photos above. All have now been painted over. As I’ve said before in these posts, street art is only temporarily permanent. Although we’re sad to see a mural go, it’s the nature of the beast, and these were deteriorating badly. I’ll be watching to see what happens next, and will let you know if I see anything interesting! Photos below.