Saturday, April 11, 2009

Urban Farm on Wilson St.

The Urban farm over on Wilson St. has gotten a lot of press lately. Also the city has mentioned that the Stevenses could go through Grassroots Gardens to get their lease for the land. In the past the Mayor's administration was very helpful in working with Grassroots Gardens and moved the leases that are needed through the process quickly. Currently there have been no new leases with Grassroots Gardens in more than one year. This is a big deal as Grassroots Gardens has not be able to allow over 20 Community groups the ability to use their community gardens. The gardening season is upon us, so we would like to allow people to garden. Mr. Mayor and Commissioner Reilly please move these leases off of your desk and into the Common Council for approval! Check out David Torke's post on the Mayor's response to questions regarding the Urban Farm on Wilson St.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Its been a while! Burlington Vermont and my Birthday!

HI All. It has been a while since I have posted and all sorts of crazy things have been happening. The one that I want to talk about now is the fact that last weekend I went up to Burlington Vermont with my Friend Jake to visit my sister for my birthday (yes I am now 28 years old!) It was a long drive (9Hours) but the conversation was good.
Saturday we went to Shelburne Farms (an old Rockefeller Farm/Castle) and saw the little baby sheep that had just been born and also the sugar shack where they were boiling off the Maple sap to make maple syrup. It was really neat to see that process being done. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of Maple Syrup.
Then we went to Palmer's Farm where we have hot dogs BOILED IN PURE MAPLE SYRUP!!!! and Sugar on Snow. The hot dogs were a highlight of the trip, so delicious that no ketchup was needed. And the sugar on snow is shaved ice with maple syrup poured on it, served with a pickle and a donunt ( I don't know why the pickle but it was damn good.) That night I went out with my tiwn friends Heidi and Heather (and Alagash the Gnome) to celebrate our Birthdays (we all came into the world on March 26th, a year apart though) It was great fun and the above pictures are Heidi's Hope all has been well with everyone!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

From nature, to destitution, to casino

My friend Bekah and I went for a walk yesterday. I guess first we went for a ride in the car, then we walked then drove then walked! It was a crazy day! Started off at SPot coffee on Delaware then we headed over to Times Beach which is a great and weird place it is off the skyway on Fuhrman Boulevard near the Coast Guard Base. It is really hard to get to because of the stupid Skyway. Buffalo's waterfront is so cut off from everything! But we walked along the break wall and over towards the coast guard base and on the boardwalk the picture is from the Nature part of our day.

Then we drove around the area over near the grain mills and onto Chicago Street where there is much destitution, and also some housing projects which butt right up against boarded up buildings such as this little firehouse. Some of the projects are boarded up themselves, which is pretty crazy to me! That's the destitution part!

Then we saw the NEW flashy and weird Native American Casino which is only the temporary site for a larger and more magical casino which probably will never be actually built (the steel skeleton is there though) IT was weird to go from a serene nature spot to the destitution of Buffalo to this glitzy casino.

We then went to Campieri's on Main Street for some awesome food. The food was great, and we were really hungry. It was an awesome day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shovel Ready Sites?!

New York Gov. David A. Paterson's office has identified more than 1,900 "shovel-ready" projects that could be started soon, depending on how federal stimulus dollars are allocated.

This database includes proposed projects in every county in New York but is linked directly to Erie County projects. You can also sort through them if you would like. Some ask for millions others ask for $30,000. It is really a crap shoot as to who gets what funding. Lets hope that Buffalo is included in a big way in this allocation!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Flight 3407

It is one thing to not hear the back story and be like 50 people just died it is a totally different story when you start hearing the names and life details of the people on flight 3407. BuffaWhat shared the above graphic from Hero Design. I felt numb up until now with regards to this, but now as the stories of peoples lives lost come out it feels real. I prayed tonight for the first time in a long time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A New Vacant Lot Strategy. NINJAS!

So I have been thinking about vacant lot strategy for the city of Buffalo. Buffalo has between 7,000 and 10,000 vacant properties many of which are lots. We are busy creating community gardens tree farms etc on these lots to reclaim them from what they formerly were which was often places where people dumped tired and other debris. People also used these lots as places to do drugs and other illicit things. I know this is a huge and important problem, but just wanted to throw out an idea that I think is great and silly. NINJAS. (takes a little while to get down to the street view) If you click on this link you will see the new Ninja Training school that has been established in the City of Pittsburgh in order to take back the vacant lots that are throughout the city. No one wants to dump trash in a vacant lot if they know that ninjas are lieing in wait to cut them to bits. No gang activity is going to go on there because as everyone knows Ninjas can cut bullets in half with their swords. So I say if Pittsburgh can do it so can we! Go Ninja Go Ninja GO Ninja GO!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Community Garden Task Force

This morning Anthony Armstrong from LISC, Erin Sharkey and Diane Picard from MAP, Yuri from CUFF and Bill Parke from the City of Buffalo Planning Dept. met with Dr. Samina Raja's Food Security Class. The class is tasked with doing research that will lead to increased security for community gardens. The hope is that we can then present a policy document to the Common Council that will be adopted and put into law. It is exciting to see all of these students and their excitement about doing this work is great. I hope that we can create long lasting community gardens, especially since there are so many vacant properties in the City of Buffalo. I think we are moving in the right direction and will be able to provide people with food and beauty in the form of community gardens!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Grassroots Gardens

I have been involved with Grassroots Gardens for about 4 years now. I kind of fell into it. A friend of mine was working on a community garden at the corner of West and Hudson on the West Side, and told me that the city wanted to take it away to make way for infill housing. I went over to the garden saw how beautiful it was and thought to myself, "NO WAY!" This garden was full of life, it contains a peach tree, tomatoes, squash, beets, chard, carrots, peppers, peas, etc as well as a diverse assortment of flowers. Our little group organized and got about 500 signatures and sent them to Brian Davis (who would not agree to meet with us!) He sent back a letter stating that he had talked to the block club president and that the community wanted this in-fill housing. We shopped our petitions around and found that once you shine a light on something it is easy to ensure that your ideas will be heard. The house was never built and we still have a great garden!

That first year I didn't really garden, I just worked on the organizing end of things. We got together a little group we called, "The Buffalo Garden Group." This group was pretty much me, Justin Weidenbach, and Anna Falicov. Anna put together a great policy brief that we brought to the city, and to Tim Wannamaker (then head of economic development) to see if we could make into some sort of policy or ordinance. This didn't really work, as no real follow up came from the city.

Our little group disbanded shortly thereafter because we had other things to do and our garden was safe, but I became a board member of Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo, and then became the Vice President, then President of the board. That was about 3 years ago and the ride ever since has been an amazing learning experience! I have now started gardening much more regularly and have a roof top garden outside my window. If anyone wants to start a Community Garden in Buffalo leave a comment and I will do my best to get back to you. There will certainly be more posts on this in the future.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Handle Meetings with CARE!

So yesterday was a day full of meetings. Mostly regarding an international marketplace that I have been working on over on Grant St. Literally back to back to back meetings. 10am-3:30pm straight! Even lunch was a meeting to plan strategy for a later meeting. By the 3 o'clock meeting I was a bit wiped but manager to keep it together.

I do feel as though the meetings were productive and we are moving towards a concrete project that we can all be proud of, but it was a really tough day. At 3:30 when I had my last meeting I took a 15 minute walk just to decompress. It is tough to be "On" for that long!

The truth is I love my job, I think that city goverment needs people that care. That care for the individual, the neighborhood and the city as a whole. I try to do that as much as I can when I am out in the district or at meetings or wherever I am. It is truly important to care, and to listen. So those are 2 tenents that I try to live by I guess caring and listening! Even when you have literally a day full of meetings. CARE and LISTEN that's how we can make Buffalo better!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blogging Bingo

Check out my friend Jessica's blog post on Gay Bingo! It really was a great time! Also we had a great turnout at the GBC yesterday morning a total of 10 people which was cool. The opening go around was what's your name and what is your favorite mythical creature? We came up with some good ones "Tupac, Unicorns, the Yeti"! Next GBC is on Valentines day so don't forget to show up! Add Video

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Living Cooperatively Part 1 The History

So I live in a housing cooperative, called Nickel City Coop. It is a 13 bedroom mansion located on the corner of Elmwood and North and is completely beautiful. It was purchased back in 2001 by 6 UB students that didn't want to have landlords anymore they wanted to be their own landlord. Ever since then this house has been a coop where 14 people have lived in relative happiness together.
The house is also known as the Granger Mansion was designed by Green and Wicks and built by Edward Granger in 1885 it was built on the outskirts of Buffalo at that point. The Granger's were judges and a green grocer and could afford to build such an opulent house on the "outskirts" of town. The house had a wrap around porch, gargoyles and a beautiful slate roof. Fast forward a couple of years and the invention of the car comes along, Elmwood Ave. "needs" to be widened in order to make way for this horseless contraption so the wrap around porch is removed from the Elmwood side! We still have a great porch, but not a wrap around anymore. Fast forward until around 1995 (I know that is skipping about 100 years or so but hey, that's how it goes) The house is being used for offices and an antique store in the basement. Around 1999 the house goes empty and is vacant until 2001 when our group moves in. I guess vacant isn't the right term, there were homeless people living in the house during that time. Then we buy the house in 2001! Stay tuned for more of the house that almost wasn't next time!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Gentleman's Breakfast Club

Some of my gentleman friends and I have been meeting at Nick's Place (504 Amherst St across from the ReStore) for the last couple of years. We meet there to discuss all of the important issues such as who is going to be the next president and whether or not Elvis is actually dead. In this post I am breaking the first rule of the Gentleman's Breakfast Club which is, "The gentleman's breakfast club does not exist," but hey such is life! I started it therefore I can change the rules. So if any gentleman wants to attend this delicious breakfast come on down to Nick's Place Saturday January 10th the eating starts at 10:30am.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Shout Outs

I needed to give some shout outs to both buffawhat (Nate) and BuffaloPundit (Alan), both of whom plugged my blog on their blogs, which certainly have a much higher readership than mine. So thanks gents, here is a shout out to your blogs: and
Thank you both!!

Monday, January 5, 2009


Sometimes I sit in meetings and I think to myself, man people sure do a lot of talking but they sure as hell don't listen that well. I think it all comes down to listening. If you can listen well then you will be able to do well in life. You need to be able to listen to the things that are unsaid, the subtle gestures and the rising tension in the room. Being able to listen and respond correcltly is the thing that can truly make or break any relationship; be it romantic, business or otherwise. I feel that in so much of life everyone wants to talk, and no one can take the time to actually listen. Listening is what we need more of that should have been Obama's campaign slogan. He should have said I will listen, if he would have said that he might have won Arizona too!! Like I said meandering thoughts is what I do best!

Snowflake Soiree

This past Saturday at my house we had the Snowflake Soiree, which as it's name implies is a fancy shin-dig where everyone gets dressed up and is, just plain fancy. I wore my only sports coat and fancy pants combination, without a tie because I don't yet know how to tie them! Maybe one day I will learn! We had really good chocolate, cheese and wine for the evening and it was an overall awesome event. This is what happens when you live with so many great people!
Above is a picture of the cake that Potter brought from Sweet Tooth along with tons of the chocolate around it. Jennifer Ulrich took the picture, I think she takes some great pics!

Buffalo Gay Bingo

I have never been to this event, but have heard lots of good things about it:

The theme for this Saturday's (Jan. 10) Gay Bingo is Leather and Lace Bingo with your hostess with the mostess Gladys Over! It is held St John's Grace 51 Colonial Circle it starts at 7pm, but I hear that you need to be there by 6 in order to get a seat. It is $20.00 for the entire evening of bingo boards and I hear they have a helluva lot of fun! I am planning on going and hopefully bringing a big crew to this evening which I am sure is going to be great!
The name of the game is “Gay Bingo,” but you don’t have to be gay to play. Crowds of around 200 people gather to play bingo—with a twist— on the second Saturday of each month at St. John’s Grace Episcopal Church (located at 51 Colonial Circle in Buffalo). Doors open at 6:00 PM, and the program begins at 7:00 PM. Admission is $5.00, although Bingo “packets” are very popular at $20.00 and include admission. Raising monies for local AIDS services providers. Organizations that have benefited so far include AIDS Family Services, Mark’s Place, and the PACT Program.

Friday, January 2, 2009

First Post of the Rest of your life

HI All,

So my name is Kirk and this is my blog to talk about all sorts of fun and exciting things that go on in my life and in the City of Buffalo. I work for the City of Buffalo, and am interested in making Buffalo a better place by working together. I have seen how through cooperation and coming together we can make this place better. In fact I live in a housing cooperative. I hope that this blog can be a way for me to share my meandering ideas with the rest of Buffalo and actually RE-THINK Buffalo!