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View Full Version : Upstate Architectural Treasures



Shadly
November 14th, 2008, 01:24 PM
I did not see a thread like this, so I figured I'd start one and reprahsent upstate. I'm going upstate this weekend, all the way to Buffalo, does anyone recommend anything in particular?

Here's a few pictures of what I have thus far:

http://michaelpadwee.ws/files/users/7/535D64723E6A2048E040A8C0AC002D4E/Niagara%20Mohawk%20bldg,%20Syracuse,%20NY.jpg
Niagra/Mohawk Power Building, Syracuse

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Darwin_D._Martin_House_Front_Elevation_%28South%29 _Detail_-_HABS_NY,15-BUF,5-3.jpg
Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo

http://www.vraweb.org/chapters/upstateny/images/Bard-Gehry%27s_Fisher_Center-03.jpg
Gehry's Bard-Fischer Center, Red Hook

Does anyone have any other pics of anything notable?

NoyokA
November 14th, 2008, 01:53 PM
Rochester's Time Square Building:

http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/outoftown/fingerlakes/rochester/downtown/08broadst.jpg

Buffalo's City Hall:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/49/Buffalo_City_Hall_LOC_116277pu.jpg/619px-Buffalo_City_Hall_LOC_116277pu.jpg

Shadly
November 15th, 2008, 03:43 PM
I'm in Buffalo right now. Frank Lloyd Wright grows on trees up here!

ZippyTheChimp
November 15th, 2008, 04:19 PM
Buffalo is 2nd to Chicago in Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes.

Kris
November 16th, 2008, 11:06 AM
Saving Buffalo’s Untold Beauty (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/arts/design/16ouro.html)

Hof
November 16th, 2008, 07:09 PM
Although I grew up in Rochester (which has a dense architectural history,including at least one remaining example of Frank Lloyd Wright's homes--AND an Olmstead park) a lot of my youth time was spent in Buffalo.We would drive the 90 miles at least once a month to visit family.My Dad's people are from there,and as a kid my architectural awakenings were partly formed from traveling Buffalo's streets.

My Grandmother lived in a magnificent heap of a house on Delaware Avenue--Buffalo's original Mansion District--and one of her pleasures was taking me to the temple-like Albright-Knox Art Gallery,just around the corner from her place.As we walked there,Gram would point out the beautiful homes that lined the streets,providing details on who lived there in the past and when the places were built.A Native,she knew a lot of the City's history.The mansions sat well back from the street on impossibly green lawns and were shaded by huge Dutch Elms.I used to think that there were a LOT of rich people in Buffalo.

Often,instead of driving we would take the train from Rochester and debark at the 25-story Deco spire of the Erie-Lackawanna station.(It's still there,a great building that SHOULD be one of the City's crown jewels,but,like most of the victims of Buffalo's financial demise it now sits alone and abandoned behind fences in a forlorn industrial area just off Downtown that probably hasn't issued a paycheck to anyone since the '60s).
Upon reflection,Gram must have been an architecture buff.I recall her mentioning the Larkin Building and how she thought it was a sin that the place had been demolished.She had a great deal of pride in her City.

On several occasions,Dad and I would go to Buffalo's monumental City Hall,and I clearly remember how I formulated my concept of Art Deco by absorbing the details on the building's facade and within it's cathedral-like Main Hall.We would wander Downtown,which at that time--the mid to late 1950's--was still vibrant and very busy,almost like Manhattan.It was filled with hotels,department stores and busy shops and offices. I would compare DT Buffalo with DT Rochester and feel a deep jealousy--Buffalo's Cityscape seemed SO much richer than my hometown's.
Buffalo even had a President assassinated on her streets,and the McKinley Monument--the obelisk in front of City Hall--commemorates the event.Buffalo,it seemed,trumped Rochester in every category--from history to industry to it's expansive Downtown,it seemed to be a notch above Rochester in so many ways.

My grandfather--who died before I was born--was a dentist,and he used to have offices in the Niagara-Mohawk building,a blinding white marble Gothic/Deco spire on Genesee St (--or maybe it was on Main,I just don't remember) that was built during the early 1900's as the centerpiece of an International World's Fair.It used to be called the Electric Building.Once,Dad and I took the stone age elevator to the top and he showed me a great vista of Downtown,then we bluffed our way into Grandpa's old office.

I was also impressed with Buffalo's industrial might,with it's humming factories and their mile-long street frontages.Many of them were carefully designed and didn't look like factories at all.They seemed to be monuments to the industrial might that powered Buffalo's economy,all red brick and stone with hundreds of windows.

Years later,when I finally got a car,I had a girlfriend who lived there.We would go down by the Lakeshore near Lackawanna at night to park and make out and we could see the steel mills that lined the shore South of town,row upon row of mighty industry,their smokestacks belching and dyeing the nearby neighborhoods a rust-red.
From time to time the factories would dump red-hot slag from the ovens into Lake Erie and the glow of the waste and the steam that they generated would produce a hellish bright glow,illuminating the area like a sun come to Earth.What pollution they must have generated !!!

All of that is gone now.The Downtown,like most rustbelt cities,is sad and very near abandonment.Though there has been some attempt at revitalization,it's hanging on by a slim thread and will probably be done in by the current economic conditions.The steel mills have gone cold and most of the industrial base has disappeared.The remaining factories in the city are stone heaps,their rows of windows shattered.Many of them are just gone,brownfielded into oblivion. The housing stock has mostly reverted to slums and a lot of the City has a population density slimmer than the suburbs.The Delaware Avenue mansions--including Gram's house--are still somewhat intact,but you can tell they have seen better days.The Elms all died in the '60s from a terrible disease that thinned their numbers down to nearly nothing and the big homes were divided up into apartments.Where once a family of rich folks lived in splendor,now five families live in the decaying remains.

I was there in 2005 and the neighborhoods I was once so familiar with were slummy and gaptoothed and mostly abandoned.I was saddened.I was saddened further when I read recently that the Downtown Memorial Auditorium was torn down.I went to my first rock concert there,a Buddy Holley show.

During the time I knew Buffalo,ther must have been a dozen or more relatives who swam in the same gene pool as I,but today every one of them--and their descendants--have left town for friendlier,more prosperous places.
My cousin Tom was the last holdout.He just retired from the city fire department and moved to Arizona.My Buffalo genes are no more.

I am no longer jealous of Buffalo,but I'm glad that so many of the Downtown's architectural efforts are still there.They symbolize the economic power that Buffalo once had,and like the clouds of slaggy steam that once lighted the city's waterfront they hold the mist of the City's history within themselves.

stache
November 16th, 2008, 11:54 PM
Sounds like a smaller version of Detroit. Wikipedia has a very good entry about Buffalo.

Hof
November 17th, 2008, 09:42 AM
Yes,Buffalo and Detroit have similar stories.

In comparing the two cities,one could substitute their names and could tell similar stories.The great difference between them is how Detroit got very busy demolishing it's architecture and wiping it's past out.Huge structures--the big department stores and hotels,the obselete commercial structures and factories--now live on in fading sepia-toned photos,a Detroit of memory.
Any hope for gentrifying Detroit's faded Downtown went South when the buildings came down.Motown has sacrificed much of it's rich architecture for parking lots that nobody needs and there is not a hope in Hell that anything will be erected to replace them.Its Downtown is as gap-toothed as Buffalo's abandoned residential neighborhoods.

At least,in its decline,Buffalo managed to avoid a mass demolition of Downtown and is able to hold on to its past.

stache
November 17th, 2008, 10:40 AM
The same thing was true in my home town. It was largely built in the 1870's due to an energy boom, but much of it was torn down in the '70's in the old urban renewal mode. If they would have kept it intact it would be a tourist destination and an excellent movie location.

NoyokA
November 17th, 2008, 12:58 PM
I went to school in Buffalo for a year. It is a miserable, horrible place. Yes, industry left but making things worse its urban planning is the worst I've ever seen. There's the highway that effectively cuts off the waterfront from the city. There's the decision to build the football stadium and the University in the suburbs. There's the public sector for a city of 500,000 for a city half that size now, raising taxes to support itself. There's a lack of culture, the only art museum far away from the city center is the Albright-Knox Gallery which actually sells its artwork. The office buildings are too far spread apart to constitute any sort of central business district. There's no street-level retail, Chippewa's the only street that's active and its only 2 blocks long and only active on the weekends at night. I once had to go downtown to get some blueprints done and at 3 o'clock it was literally impossible to find a place for lunch, I walked all around downtown and not a single place was open. Then there's the most nonsensical urban planning endeavor of them all, the subway to nowhere. The subway only goes down one street, Main Street, and noone rides it. The most ridiculous thing about it though is its planning is entirely backwards, it runs underground in the suburbs and then when it enters the city it goes above ground, I've never seen such an arrangement. Since once you enter the city the train goes above ground traffic is rerouted from Main Street. Main Street which used to be the busiest street in Buffalo now is a literal ghost town, all the stores have closed. Buffalo is a car city, if people can't drive down a street, it doesn't exist. It was intended to be a pedestrian street, I suppose to be shared with the train, but nobody walks in Buffalo. You'd be hard pressed to find another person in the middle of the day. Buffalo is a very sad city, the people there only care to eat wings, hoagies, and other disgustingly unhealthy foods and wash it down with a beer or 20 while rooting for a sports team that is yet to win a championship. Who cares if you only live to 50, the public health care is atrocious anyway and atleast its better than living in Buffalo.

stache
November 17th, 2008, 01:45 PM
Which reminds me of a friend of mine that moved sight unseen to Buffalo for a one year job assignment. She said as soon as she got off the plane she had a feeling she would not like the area.

Shadly
November 17th, 2008, 03:21 PM
The cities in Upstate New York, as of now, have to abide by the same high development costs of Metro New York. Meanwhile, across the border, Southern Ontario is booming. Spitzer ran on reducing the costs of doing business in these cities, but with the poor economic times (and the high priced hookers) that has pretty much been put on hold. I don't think you can lay the blame entirely on the people up there. The city was designed before sound urban planning was considered a good thing. New York City had to deal with too (Robert Moses), but unlike Buffalo, New York had the funds to correct it, and it has done that.

I noticed some construction going on downtown despite all of this. The old auditorium is coming down, there was a water front project, and there is another mid to high rise building going up downtown. Cities like this are opportunities. Look at what Baltimore became.

stache
November 17th, 2008, 05:23 PM
Yes, exactly lol!

NoyokA
November 17th, 2008, 06:00 PM
The cities in Upstate New York, as of now, have to abide by the same high development costs of Metro New York. Meanwhile, across the border, Southern Ontario is booming. Spitzer ran on reducing the costs of doing business in these cities, but with the poor economic times (and the high priced hookers) that has pretty much been put on hold. I don't think you can lay the blame entirely on the people up there. The city was designed before sound urban planning was considered a good thing. New York City had to deal with too (Robert Moses), but unlike Buffalo, New York had the funds to correct it, and it has done that.

I noticed some construction going on downtown despite all of this. The old auditorium is coming down, there was a water front project, and there is another mid to high rise building going up downtown. Cities like this are opportunities. Look at what Baltimore became.

Which is the highest in the country. NYC can get away with it because its NYC, if a company moves out of NYC it'll find itself crawling back because this is where the workforce is, where their workforce wants to be, and where business partners and other business interests are. Upstate cities don't have that. Nobody wants to invest in upstate cities because of the taxes, they have nothing going for them. The AUD coming down is state and federal money as well as the waterfront. The only midrise going up in Buffalo is a courthouse. The other you might be thinking of is a recladding project of a former federal highrise that went forward with the help of "community revitalization tax credits". Office vacancy in buffalo is about 50%.

Shadly
November 17th, 2008, 09:03 PM
http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-Northeast/Buffalo-Economy.html

That doesn't deny the fact that their is still interest in the region. The geographical significance is still there, they scale is just tipped towards downstate.

The problem is New York City doesn't need the scale tipped in its favor. Under normal circumstances, the cost of doing business in an area like upstate New York should be cheaper than setting up shop in the financial district. The profit potential might not be there right away, but that does not subtract the economic significance.

stache
November 17th, 2008, 09:19 PM
The problem with Buffalo and many rust belt cities is there is no geographic advantage to be there any more. Most current industries have no real use for a lake, and winters are brutal. Chicago does well because of its sheer size and it serves as the regional hub.

Shadly
November 18th, 2008, 08:50 AM
With NAFTA, proximity to Canada provides more of a geographical advantage to living in this area than it has enjoyed since they rerouted the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

I'm not trying to argue that it's not a dung heap, I'm just arguing that it's not a lost cause. No one thought any of those Southern Cities would ever recover from the Civil War. They did. New York wouldn't have been what it is today if LaGuardia and FDR didn't funnel billions in pork to the region during the 30's. There really hasn't been a concerted effort to clean up the Rust belt.

stache
November 18th, 2008, 12:16 PM
I think part of the reason for this is the educational level of the typical Rust belt inhabitant is relatively low. IMO they would have to start by putting more emphasis at the public school level, but then you have the problem of the brightest people leaving the area in search of a more sophisticated life.

Hof
November 18th, 2008, 08:15 PM
Many of the rustbelt cities have excellent colleges and universities.Their primary problem is,and has been ever since I can remember,creating an interest within their pool of graduates to remain in town once they have degrees in hand.
To cite an example that I'm very familiar with--Rochester.

The list of schools within Monroe County is impressive.There's the Univirsity of Rochester (my old school),St John Fisher,Nazareth,Eastman School of Music,Rochester Institute of Technology,Colgate-Rochester Divinity School and several State Universities--Brockport and Geneseo State (which is in adjacent Livingston County),Monroe Community and others.They graduate thousands yearly,yet most immediately leave the area for somewhere else.

The reasons why they leave are numerous,mostly based on percieved opportunities--or more precisely,the percieved LACK of opportunity--in Rochester.At one time,in the '50s-'60s,the city was a high tech magnet and had a very well-educated population,but in recent times the once powerful companies that offered instant attraction to grads have dwindled.

Rochester,I should point out,is not really rustbelt,like Buffalo.
It was a very cultured town,with world class libraries,museums,etc.
There was always a large number of "clean",well-paying,non-blue collar industries--Xerox,Bausch & Lomb,GM,Kodak,etc--that offered well-paying opportunities in R&D,medical research,marketing,etc,but as the Century wound down these companies were downsizing,leaving town or outsourcing,presenting grads with little chance of securing jobs commensurate with the degrees they had earned.
By the 1970s,Rochester became infected with the rustbelt disease and like other Great Lakes cities such as Cleveland,Buffalo,Detroit,etc,it has gone into a long decline just as severe as the other cities have.

The social climate (along with the actual climate) were decision killers as well.The now-troubled City no longer provides young,educated people with very many reasons to stay put after school,so thousands of viable grads take their degrees and their brains and leave for places where they could feel welcomed--and warm.

This brain drain has always puzzled me,since at one time Rochester was one of the best places in the Northeast to be in.It was a true cutting-edge "incubator" town,filled with growing industries and excellent possibilities,then,almost suddenly,it was not.

Shadly
November 21st, 2008, 10:05 AM
Let's see if we can shine this up...

http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v354/108/80/9508973/n9508973_32331236_929.jpg
Brutalist Structure, not sure what this is.

http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v354/108/80/9508973/n9508973_32331237_1272.jpg
Buffalo City Hall

http://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v354/108/80/9508973/n9508973_32331238_1566.jpg
Modern Structure, not sure what this is either.

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v354/108/80/9508973/n9508973_32331239_1866.jpg
Frank Lloyd Wright Moseleum

http://photos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v354/108/80/9508973/n9508973_32331240_2180.jpg
Gardner House

http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v354/108/80/9508973/n9508973_32331241_2496.jpg
Darwin House

http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v354/108/80/9508973/n9508973_32331242_2798.jpg
Soldier House

http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v354/108/80/9508973/n9508973_32331243_3105.jpg
Tillenghast House

smuncky
November 27th, 2008, 12:19 PM
Let's see if we can shine this up...

http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v354/108/80/9508973/n9508973_32331236_929.jpg
Brutalist Structure, not sure what this is.



that's one of the federal courthouses i believe.

kz1000ps
November 29th, 2008, 05:40 PM
Actually it's the City Court, completed 1974. There's a brand new federal courthouse (http://www.buffalorising.com/story/construction_watch_federal_cou) going up directly across Niagara Square from this, though.

Derek2k3
September 25th, 2009, 04:10 PM
Not really upstate, just in Westchester County.

Kykuit Manor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kykuit

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b5/Kykuit%2C_Tarrytown%2C_NY_-_front_facade.JPG/800px-Kykuit%2C_Tarrytown%2C_NY_-_front_facade.JPG

wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kykuit,_Tarrytown,_NY_-_front_facade.JPG)


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2654/3697110911_bb0339bdc1_b.jpg


http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3619/3695629425_9a3b7184dd_b.jpg
JamesPolk (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jhcarter3/3695629425/)