Friday, December 14, 2007

shufflin' off to buffalo, art deco style (2)


Previously: City Hall
After leaving City Hall we wandered around downtown for a few minutes, noticing the utter lack of life and ominous black smoke belched by a building close to where we parked. After lunch at a diner further up Main Street, we initially intended to check out the Darwin D. Martin complex designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Unlike City Hall, there appeared to be a lineup and we suspected we might not make one of the last tours.

Buffalo Central Terminal
We headed to the Buffalo Central Terminal. Located east of downtown,the station was opened by the New York Central Railway in 1929 and remained in use as a passenger station until Amtrak pulled out in 1979. Two decades of neglect and stripping of artifacts by various owners followed until the site was turned over to the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation in 1997. Since then, Volunteers have gradually restored the site. There's a long, long way to go, though the work to date gives a sense of how neglected the site was.

Stone and Broken Windows (2) Lower Area
We started by exploring the perimeter of the station, which combined ornate architecture and smashed windows.

The New York Central Railway Back Entrance
The back entrance to the main hall, which did not quite prepare us for what lay inside...

To Buses & Taxicabs To Street & Buses
To Train Concourse
Ticker Booths (1)
The three of us could only come up with two phrases to describe the terminal:

1) "Wow..."

2) "Holy shit!"

Imagine going on an archaelogical dig of a giant train station in the far future or after an apocalyptic event. It was a hard feeling to shake, combined with all the other ghostly sites we'd seen earlier in the day. Definitely one of the most awe-inspiring sights I have ever seen.

The Union News Company
Restoration work on a news kiosk. Another one was used as a booth for volunteer information and souvenirs.

Filiing Drawers
Furniture found in the former baggage check area.

The terminal has found all sorts of interesting uses in recent years, from artistic gatherings to weddings. Posters promoted an upcoming Halloween party. I suspect the transfer to the volunteer group was made just in time, or else the site could have decayed further to the state of ghost terminals like Detroit's Michigan Central Station.

All photos taken October 14, 2007. Full set on Flickr More stories from the day's adventures at Squiddity. - JB

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