Visit to Larkinville was worth the trip

I’m a Buffalo native and currently live and work in our state’s capital region as an architect. My family still lives in Buffalo and I come home every chance I get. For years, I have watched a confused look cross people’s face when they ask where I’m going on vacation and I proudly proclaim, “Buffalo!” With every trip home, I come with a list that must be accomplished – places to eat, a festival or event, or a destination to explore that I read about in The Buffalo News online.
Most recently, I was looking forward to planning a trip home to see Larkinville. I had read articles about Howard Zemsky’s transformative project and hoped it was everything I envisioned. I knew this project was on the map when one of my urban-planner friends in Schenectady asked if I happened to know what “pickleball” was.
Last weekend I came home, and early on a Sunday morning, my mom and I went on an adventure to Larkinville. As we turned the corner of the Larkin Building, one thing was immediately clear – this post-industrial city is not beyond innovation. The urban blend of indoor-outdoor space, vibrant pops of color and perfectly placed furniture amid a backdrop of historic architecture is truly something to see. It was just population two at Larkinville early that morning, but it was easy to imagine the merchants open, bands playing and the smell of the grills going. My mom and I sat on the couches and admired how clean and beautiful it was. Around every corner was another surprise – all well-designed and well-maintained.
It reinvigorated a passion in me – how architects and developers can breathe new life into old places and, above all, that it can and will happen in and around Buffalo. I left happy that I was able to bring back news that “it’s happening” – the dedication and indomitable spirit of partnerships in Buffalo are paying off. There’s a buzz about my hometown that’s traveling across New York State. This Buffalo native is talking proud.
Sara Stein