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Best of WNY: Eye Candy Part II



kc kratt

Best restoration/renovation/reuse
Genesee Gateway
These long-neglected, deteriorating structures on Genesee (in between Oak and Ellicott) along the busiest entry to downtown were embarrassing icons of Rust Belt decay for many years.
The project, completed as contemporary offices and retail space adapted to the requirements of new tenants, is an important achievement. It is important to the city symbolically and psychologically and is tangible physical evidence of a vital regeneration of our historic urban core. This was a real partnership of tenacious work by City View Properties, design by Flynn, Battaglia Architects, and innovative financing by the Wendt Foundation, who together made this dramatic improvement and terrific adaptive reuse a reality.

 

Most promising new construction
Joint Schools Construction Project
This project has been going on for so long (ten years and counting) that many of us have forgotten about it. But the results are impressive. Six phases and $1 billion later, Buffalo now has one of the most impressive collections of school buildings in the country. We can only hope that improved test scores will follow.

 

Favorite symbol of Buffalo/Best old building
City Hall
It never fails. Every visitor we have shown around Buffalo is blown away by City Hall. They may exclaim politely at such arguably more important landmarks as Richardson’s State Hospital and Sullivan’s Guaranty Building, but jaws drop when that final turn is made into Niagara Square and Dietel & Wade’s richly detailed masterpiece heaves into view. If you have not taken a tour of City Hall, make time to do so—the meanings and metaphors behind its myriad ornamentations are fascinating—and often bizarre.

 

Best use of your taxpayer dollars
Arts funding
Maybe it’s one of those things you either get or don’t get. Clearly our county executive doesn’t, but an awful lot of people in WNY do grasp that one of the main things that makes our region special is its cultural scene—which has always been remarkable for a city of Buffalo’s size from as far back as the nineteenth century, and has only grown more so in the twenty-first. The arts bring people here, and even more importantly, they convince people to stay. We are well past the point when we should be thinking of artists and arts organizations as charity cases (if not outright leeches); it’s damned smart to support them as well as we possibly can, because, frankly, they’re the best hope we’ve got.

 

Best sign the recession is ending
Crowded restaurants
On a recent Saturday, we attempted to get a reservation at any downtown restaurant at any time before 9 p.m. It wasn’t easy. Buffalonians may not be ordering jeroboams of bubbly when they dine out, but they are dining out, and enjoying it. It’s a pleasure to see and hear.

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