The Recycled City: Reflections on the Buffalo Resurgence
The Buffalo Resurgence, or: Inspiration From a Former Church
We are on our way to Niagara Falls and my guide doesn’t understand why I want to talk about a fire-damaged church.
“Well, the church was damaged by fire until it wasn’t structurally sound” Brian Hayden of Visit Buffalo Niagara explains patiently, “But the tower remained, and the plan is to put some condos and apartments in there and use the tower as part of that. I mean, I guess that’s kind of intriguing, but it seems like it will be more interesting once the condos are actually there.”
From the Ashes
The revitalization of Buffalo has created an cyclical effect on its residents. The more energy they are putting into it, the more they continue to get back. So it’s completely understandable why Brian would miss the metaphor I saw in the remains of the church, he’s too busy talking about all the amazing things he sees in the city at present to focus on what will be their soon. But as an outsider, the poet in me appreciates the symbolism of this spot in this city. Much more akin to a Phoenix than the actual city of Phoenix (which is mostly strip malls and tract housing), Buffalo needs a few ashes from which to rise. If the Buffalo resurgence I saw that weekend was any indication, the City of Light is shining brightly once more.