Be careful: our city’s soul is in those ratty old buildings

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

This isn’t anti- or pro- or anything specific, just what I thought about as I drove down Elmwood Avenue today.

They were shooting a movie in front of Voelker’s, because places like Voelker’s are what attracts people to Buffalo.

WNY is real, authentic, and lived in. A few blocks away, a battle’s been lost to retain some of that authenticity to make way for a building that we might see in Tampa or Phoenix or anywhere else in the world.

Progress is good and we need it– but we also need to keep in mind what draws people here.

In a word, it’s our soul. The soul that lives in us and the soul that lives as part of our streetscape and buildings. Protecting soul can’t be written into a zoning plan.

We have to be stewards of the essence that makes us who we are, and as a community, we need to continue to talk about all the Buffalo intangibles that money can’t buy– but sure as hell can ruin.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.