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As a child growing up on the East Side, I recall going with my parents to meet arriving guests, or sometimes to board the NYC to travel to Pittsburgh, PA. My last trip out of Central Terminal was in 1957, on the NYC, to Manhattan where Canisius College was playing the Tarheels (I think)in the NCAA playoffs (we lost). I recall getting into to spirit of things by comsuming a good part of a case of Carling's Black Label--before we reached Batavia. We won't even talk about what happened later that night. As for Central Terminal, my memories are as warm as those of others on your site--the big Buffalo statue, the Union News Company where my stepfather would buy a paper, the cafeteria where I'd be treated to a grilled cheese sandwich. And what a refuge Central Terminal was in a snowstorm when that wonderful steam heat took the chill off after a walk there from Broadway-Fillmore.
I would AT LEAST make it a museum, but hopefully make it a structure that was of practical use. I find it intruiging that it would be considered as a train station again........I think that is great.
Sad. I saw it in 1998. A friend took me there and I cried. Oh God is it sad to see her.
The building is in Buffalo. Unfortunately, Buffalo is a dying city, not exactly on the "cutting edge" by any standard. The insanely high tax situation in New York State, combined with a shrinking population in Buffalo, I don't see much future for the building past a wrecking ball. This is sad. I have not lived in Buffalo now for many many years, but I'll always remember the elegant, unique structure from my distant memory viewing it from I-190, when it still looked intact.
Junk it. It is obvious that the most powerful vandal of all, Mother Nature, has won this battle. Water, its various mineral components, expanding and contracting properties, as well as erosive dynamics have degraded the integrity of the physical structure itself, not just the decorative ambiance. I am not an engineer, nor have I visited the site in twenty years, but the descriptions and images are enough to convince me that, sadly, the end is here. There is sometimes a very subtle distinction between preserving our historical fabric and turning the page on a dangerous eyesore. If you interpret the history of the terminal as I have, this complex was not an integral element in Buffalo's creation, apex nor destruction, but rather at its peak was a transient way-station for servicemen who would never look back as their train pulled out of city. Yes, Buffalonians labored there. Thousands more labored at the abandoned steel industry facilities also in disrepair, but I haven't seen anyone try to wave the magic preservation wand at those monstrosities. I'm not anti-preservation. Indeed, I'm usually one of those hysterics that weeps while watching the wrecking ball savage another "should-have-been-saved" building for some corporate wag to inhabit another lifeless, sterile den of commerce. I even have a brick on my desk collected from the rubble of St. Joseph's (old) Cathedral on Deleware Avenue. This battle is over. Let's choose our next one more wisely.
I am a big believer in evolution. It is the 21st century, and buffalo is stuck in the mid 20th century. Generally speaking, I think that you should break down the old in favor of the new, but the Central Terminal is one of a limited number of buildings in Buffalo that I feel should be preserved. Also on the list would be any remnants of the Pan Am Exposition, the Guaranty Building, and City Hall (once it is no longer used). I am NOT in favor of preserving everything though, such as the Erie Canal, the Gas Works, or any grain elevators...these are a part of our past, and we must move on...if not to the future, then at least to the present.
If Buffalo is willing to shell out millions for a waterfront revival project due to its historical significance, they shouldn't stop short and not recognize the other great era of transportation that also made the city great at one time.
I found an article in a 1985 Trains magazine and the cover showing the Buffalo Station at night looked so great, I thought I would model it in N scale. The library of the Historical society sent me several photos. I started the tower but the octagon shape gave me some problems. I built a replica of Washington DC Union station instead.
I really think people should drop the nostalgia, and face reality. The Central Terminal has none of the qualities that reusable buildings have. Here's a partial list: (1 it's structurally unsound, most of the original is beyond cost-effective repair. (2) Its tower floors are too small for a modern office plan, which requires large open floors. (3) It is located in a slum, and not within walking distance of any viable redevelopment district.(4)Passenger rail traffic, even if Amtrak becomes profitable, needs an architectural presence in the active downtown area. Conclusion: Put your efforts into projects that make sense.