The Kensington is killing us. With noise alone.

Kensington @ Locust
Highway noise kills. Researchers in the U.S. and European Union (EU) have known this for decades. The New York Times reported this year that "noise could take years off your life." Hypertension, stroke, and heart attacks are just some of the increased risks. And who is at most risk? "poor people and communities of color are more likely to experience excessive noise exposure because they often have fewer housing choices and are more likely to live near high-traffic roads." Studies beginning in the 1990s showed that 90% of the tens of thousands of annual deaths in the EU caused by noise were due to highways. That led directly to laws limiting the amount of noise engines, tires, road surfaces and  vehicle speed could emit.

So why is the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) reconstructing perhaps the most destructive road in western New York? (we'll have to cover the catastrophic social and economic damage to downtown Buffalo, Lower East Side, and the Fruit Belt later) People across the region have been urging the tearing down the Kensington and the Thruway viaduct that wraps around downtown for decades, to reverse the expressway's devastating effects. Rather than deconstructing the expressways and playing a role in making people's lives better, the DOT is engaged in a $1 billion reconstruction project for 10 blocks of the five miles the expressway tears through the city. That is $100,000,000 per block, much of it for greenwash—a tunnel with a green roof where an open trench has existed since the early 1970s. The speed of the cars, the volume of the cars, the pollution of the cars, the danger of the cars, the economic and social devastation, will remain the same. That is explicitly stated by DOT: No alternative will be considered that doesn't move at least the same number of cars at at least the same speed.

Moving more cars, faster, has been DOT's purpose from inception. Expressway harm reduction? Full environmental review? Don't make me laugh. Restore Humboldt Parkway? Convert the infamous "Section One" of the Kensington (from roughly Michigan Avenue to Riley street just north of MLK Park)? Widen sidewalks? Build protected bike paths? Reconnect the Fruit Belt and the Lower West Side? Remove the Elm-Oak flyovers and rebuild the four blocks of housing that used to connect the Fruit Belt and North Oak neighborhoods to downtown? Make the the spokes of Genesee, Sycamore, Broadway, William, Clinton, Swan, and Seneca have priority accessing downtown over the Elm-Oak arterial, which cuts off downtown from the East Side? Nope. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, and NOPE.

Bottom line: the present project to reconstruct the 10-block portion of the Kensington must be opposed and stopped, and a new project initiated that has a full vetting through a proper environmental review process. That begins with a scope that takes in, at minimum, the full length of the Elm-Oak arterial and the Kensington's sections one and two, the interchange with the Scajacquada Expressway.

What to do? IMMEDIATELY contact the Governor Kathy Hochul and your state Assembly and Senate representatives. And please consider a donation to The Campaign for Buffalo. This is a fight our grandchildren will thank us for!

Donate with QR


You're Invited to the Urban Revival, a "festival of ideas for Buffalo."

2-up vertical mailer New amsterdam Bikeopolis-Layout 1
The Campaign for Greater Buffalo is hosting a series of three profusely illustrated presentations called Urban Revival Buffalo that it hopes will inspire fresh thinking on ways to revitalize the city while making it more equitable, sustainable, and attractive. The full slate of events is free and open to the public, with donations appreciated.


Deb's with vintage car
Eugene Debs Hall

The series kicks off on Wednesday August 30 at 6:00pm at Eugene Debs Hall, Peckham and Clark streets, Buffalo, with “Bikeopolis,” a look at European bicycle cultures in Dutch, Belgian, and German cities by Campaign Executive Director Tim Tielman. Tielman rode his bike to school and on urban explorations while a child in the Netherlands. A bike rider ever since and fresh off a working holiday in Holland and Germany, Tielman will show what it takes to embed “bikethinking” in everyday life and how that creates an ever-improving local bikeway standards (yes, there is a manual for that) and networks, 11,000-space underground bike garages, an international network of intercity bikeways, vital cities and happy citizens.


It wasn’t always that way, even in The Netherlands. It took riots and bike “die-ins” by citizens to turn the tide of car culture and restore lost freedom of movement for those on bikes and to protect the historic architecture and land uses of Dutch cities that made walking and biking possible. Buffalo bicyclists once had the freedom to safely roam, too. The local bike network stretched to Lake Ontario and included a 23-mile path around Grand Island, built by the Erie County Sidepath Commission. How can Buffalo start rebuilding the ecosystem that makes a bikecity possible?

Bernice Radel, executive director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara and bike enthusiast, will provide an introductory talk relating her experience biking in The Netherlands. The event is a “Jane’s Talk,” a series of lectures held at Debs Hall.


Screenshot 2023-08-24 at 7.55.04 PM
Lafayette Brewing Company

The Urban Revival then moves downtown for its second installment at the Lafayette Brewing Company in the Hotel Lafayette on Wednesday September 6 at 5:30pm and a look at the radical reconstruction of the lost cores of Berlin, Dresden, and Frankfurt. In “Back by Popular Demand,” Tielman explains that the cities were first bombed flat in WWII, then rebuilt in Modernist and Brutalist styles. Residents found them soul-crushing and unsupportive of a rich urban life.


That is, until the 1990s, when German reunification gave impetus to citizens’ movements to demolish the oppressive post-war constructions and empty spaces and fill them with outwardly exacting reconstructions of what existed before the war: medieval and baroque streets lined with everything from modest shophouses to imperial palaces. complete with streets and squares where cars are tightly controlled and humans given free-range, the reconstructed precincts are much-loved vessels of memory and vitality.

In the third and final installment in the series, “New Amsterdam,” again at the Lafayette Brewing Company, on Wednesday September 13 at 5:30pm, Tielman looks at the new neighborhoods built since 1990 that tourists, absorbed by charming and ingenious 17th century canals and canal houses, don’t see. Whether in old office parks, lumber docks, or on new man-made islands, the new neighborhoods employ techniques that emulate the comfortable domesticity of the 17th century within 21st century systems. You could call it paleo-urbanism. Buffalo, originally named New Amsterdam, could learn a lot from Old Amsterdam!

The largest Dutch cities were actually losing population due in no small part to post-war government policies favoring decentralization and road construction, combined with Modernist planning theories and architecture. With a lot of encouragement from an informed and demonstrative public, the city did an about-face and built new districts of thousands of apartments and houses according to principals, emphasizing materials, scale, and locomotion that supported human nature. It also refurbished existing streets and neighborhoods to increase quality of life by de-emphasize speed and cars.

The result? Amsterdam is better and more popular than ever, with steady growth, world-class historic areas, beautiful new architecture that compliments the old, and a superb mobility system that ties it all together.

To recap:

6pm Wed. Aug. 30, 2023 at Debs Hall,
435 Paderewski Dr. (near Central Terminal). Free (donation appeciated).
The bicycle is a vehicle for equitable, sustainable, mobility and freedom in historic cities worldwide. How do cities do it? Can Buffalo do it? A “Jane’s Talk’ in collaboration with Debs Hall. Come early—$3 pizza slices while supplies last!

Man and boy biking amsterdam
To be safe and sociable, bikeways should allow side-by-side riding.

Back by Popular Demand
5:30 pm Wed. Sept. 6, 2023 at Lafayette Brewing Co., Hotel Lafayette, 391 Washington St. Free (donation appreciated).
Citizens demanded Frankfurt, Berlin, and Dresden demolish Brutalist and Modernist post-war buildings and street plans and reconstruct entire historic areas. They got their souls back, and an economic boost. Could Buffalo do the same?

Frankfurt altstadt
Every building in this image of Frankfurts Aldstadt has been reconstructed following available documentation or according to historic construction techniques and materials.

New Amsterdam
5:30 pm Wed. Sept. 13, 2023 at Lafayette Brewing Co., Hotel Lafayette, 391 Washington St. Free (donation appreciated)
Buffalo was founded as New Amsterdam. (Old) Amsterdam and Buffalo tried urban renewal and highways in the 1960s and 1970s. Massive fail. Amsterdam changed its approach to “paleo-urbanism” and became an international marvel. See the Amsterdam tourists don’t see, and what makes it work.

Diemen canal
New housing outside Amsterdam conforms to innate human preferences, like Amsterdam canal houses of the 17th century.


Rare Look at Buffalo's Arts & Crafts Masterworks coming in September

Oakley & Schallmo 2023 $45 tour poster
Campaign for Greater Buffalo executive director  Tim Tielman and Henry Swiatek of Swiatek Studios, art restorers, for a special tour of the interior and exterior decorative extravaganza that is the peak of Arts & Crafts architecture, the 1920s churches of Oakley & Schallmo.  An Abundance of Delight, the Arts & Crafts of Oakley & Schallmo is an exploration of mastery not to be missed.

Chester Oakley (1893-1968) and Albert Schallmo (1884-1928) worked together for just nine years before Schallmo’s premature death. The last years of the partnership produced four exquisite churches in the four corners of the city: St. John’s in Riverside, St. Casimir’s in Kaisertown, St. Luke’s on Sycamore St. on the East Side, and Blessed Trinity, serving the north-central part of the expanding city. Their work was the end of an era; no more large churches were built in Buffalo, and modernist architects sought to cast shade on decoration.  This is a rare chance to see these marvels of brick and terra cotta in one day. Includes snacks and beverage to sustain you!

Reservations can be made by calling 716-854-3749, or by scrolling to the post below to reserve online through our tour calendar.

The Expert and Entertaining way to Explore Buffalo Architecture!

Open-air Autobus silhouette 2022

"This may be the best city tour we've ever taken."
TripAdvisor reviewer from Pittsburgh

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo's Open-Air Autobus is on the road for its 14th stellar season. The Open-Air Autobus is the biggest part of our LearnAboutBuffalo programming of tours, lectures, and publications. Not only to you get an informative two hours of seeing Buffalo in a fresh way, your tickeys help support our non-profit historic preservation activities.

There is no better way to learn about Buffalo than to travel around and about Buffalo with the experts of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture. Climb aboard the Open-Air Autobus—a mobile classroom that's the best way to see, hear, and smell Buffalo (toasted oats, chicken wings, charcoal-grilled hot dogs!).

Reserve a seat with one of our news-making experts for their personal take on Buffalo.

Tim Tielman, the leading voice for preservation in Buffalo for 30 years and recent Buffalo News Citizen of the Year.

Paul McDonnell
, president of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo and president of the American Institute of Architects: New York.

Chris Hawley
, planner, Buffalonia collector, restorer and operator of Eugene Debs Hall, a classic Buffalo shophouse and tavern.

The Campaign is Buffalo’s most dynamic preservation organization. Our trips reflect our character: Passionate, lively, and knowledgeable, led by experts who love exploring the world around them. Our trips are built on 30 years’ worth of architectural and historical research and help raise funds for our wide-ranging preservation work. Join Larkin Development Group in supporting our programming and the preservation it makes possible!

By doing a trip, you are doing good: The Campaign is a charitable organization chartered by the New York State Dept. of Education, and revenues are plowed directly back into local historic preservation. Become a member of the Campaign ($36.50 and up for individuals) and you get a 20% discount on all our tours and events!

The Campaign’s trips are popular, informative, well-done. Book your seat or schedule a charter today! Ph # mortised cut

Reserve your tour by clicking on a one of our scheduled tours on the calendar below. Have a charge card handy. Want to reserve over the phone? Something online not working right? Call us at 716-854-3749. Walk-ups are always welcome, space permitting.

Reserve online by clicking on a highlighted date on the calendar below, or the button below the individual tour descriptions. You can call us for reservations at 716-854-3749 as well. You'll need a charge card handy.

We go rain or shine, thanks to our roll-down, see-through roof. We're not going to let a little passing shower spoil your day! Still, always dress for the weather.

Tour poster whirlwind"The tour highlights what you need to see and the guide was very animated and kept you wanting more."
TripAdvisor reviewer from Toronto

The Buffalo Whirlwind

• 10:00am Saturdays and Sundays from June 24 to September 10.

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca & Emslie streets. Two hours, $30. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

There are few places you can see buildings by America’s Big Three architects— Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and H.H. Richardson— plus a park system by Frederick Law Olmsted. Buffalo is one of them.

On this trip, besides the master works by the Masters, you’ll see scores of other beautiful buildings and houses by prominent national and international architects and the streets and neighborhoods where Buffalonians carry on their everyday lives.

We start at the Larkin Square, in the heart of the Larkin Historic District (which The Campaign created!). We proceed to the Old First Ward and its grain elevators,  the Canal District (we saved it!), downtown buildings at the dawn of the Skyscraper Age,  then out to the broad Victorian-Era residential districts and the foundation of American Architecture, H.H. Richardson's Buffalo State Hospital, conceived in 1870. 

In between, you’ll see world-altering industrial architecture, the preening mansions of Delaware Avenue, and the prototype for the skyscraper, Sullivan’s Guaranty Building. We’ll put it all in context for you, as we point out dozens of buildings as markers of Buffalo’s progress through the years.

You’ll see:

• Kleinhans Music Hall • First Presbyterian Church • Ellicott Square by Daniel Burnham & Co. • St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral by Richard Upjohn • The Canal District • Niagara & Lafayette squares • Millionaires’ Row • Allentown Historic District • Delaware Historic District • Larkin Historic District • City Hall and Old County Hall • Theater Historic District • Bidwell, Chapin, Lincoln parkways.

The Whirlwind is an compelling two-hours with Tim Tielman, Paul McDonnell, or Chris Hawley. Entertaining experts all!

Grand Tour Tielman poster 2022The Grand Tour

• Saturday, 10:00am September 9

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca and Emslie streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

Tim silhouette beer
Tim Tielman

Some people just want more: More buildings, more neighborhoods, more stories, more impressions, and more understanding of The City of Buffalo. To meet that demand, Tim Tielman will lead a special 3-hour Grand Tour that covers all the sites of our Whirlwind trip, but adds all the places we wish we could’ve shown you before with our mobile classroom the Open-Air Autobus.

Spend three hours with an expert and see:

• Buffalo's epic grain elevators—the harbingers of Modernist architecture
• Lake Erie and Buffalo’s harbor defenses
• Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House compound
• Fredrrick Law Olmsted's Delaware Park
• The Linwood Historic District

The Grand Tour is also available as a charter, with lunch and a rest stop—it makes a great afternoon outing! Contact us for special pricing at 716-854-3749, or FrontDesk@

Tour poster Belt Line 2023 sans info
Exploring the Past & Future Belt Line

• Sunday, 10:00am September 10

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca and Emslie streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

Join Chris Hawley, The Man Who Knows Too Much Cool Stuff, as he uncovers one of Buffalo’s Hide-in-Plain-Sight secrets: The New York Central Belt Line railroad of the 1880’s, the city’s most consequential transportation project after the Erie Canal. Chris lives along the Belt Line and has just restored and occupied both parts of a classic Buffalo shophouse!

The Belt Line attracted huge industrial plants like Pierce-Arrow, Ford Motor, Larkin Soap, and, of course, the titanic NY Central Terminal itself.

See how John Larkin and Darwin Martin built a gargantuan factory complex that, building-by-building, traces the de- velopment of modern architecture. Today it is Larkinville, a new neighborhood of offices, apartments and gathering places.

See the changes to Henry Hyde’s innovative Mentholatum factory, F.N Burt’s Niagara Street and Seneca Street folding box plants, and other former factories that have been converted to lofts, restaurants, and commercial space trading on industrial appeal. Learn their stories and those of the diverse neighborhoods it traverses, Parkside, Polonia, Black Rock, and the “Yammerthal,” the stone quarries called the “Vale of Tears.” Reserve now!

An Abundance of Delight: Inside four Arts & Crafts Masterpieces Oakley & Schallmo 2023 $45 tour poster

• Saturday, 10:00am September 16

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca and Emslie streets. $45. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

Join Tim Tielman and restoration artist Henry Swiatek for a special 4-hour tour of the extravagant interiors and exteriors of four of Buffalo's most proclaimed Arts & Crafts buildings—churches designed by the firm of Chester Oakley and Albert Schallmo. Far-flung St. John's in Riverside, St. Casimir in Kaisertown, St. Luke's on Sycamore Street, and Blessed Trinity in Leroy are essays in craftsmanship and the humanistic aesthetic at the heart of the Arts & Crafts movement.  Plus, a discover the beautiful Tudor Revival parish house "hidden" to all but hard-core architectural aficionados!

Be part of a rare occasion and see these unique masterpieces and revel in their attention to detail, from the painted ceilings terra-cotta-tiled passages and the hundreds of pieces of multi-colored iconographic symbols that takes a book to decipher!  Reserve now!

Tour poster Green & Wicks 9:17:23 sans info
Buffalo's Best: Green & Wicks, Architects

• 10:00am Sunday September 17

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca & Emslie streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations required: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

McDonnell silhouette
Paul McDonnell

The firm of Green & Wicks (1882-1917) coincided with Buffalo's Golden Age. W.S. Wicks (1854-1919) and E.B. Green (1855-1950) were Buffalo’s most distinguished architects of the period. The firm had dozens of major commissions, many of them superb examples of their type, whether office building, hotel, apartment building or grandiose mansion. The number and quality of its commissions is staggering: Buffalo Savings Bank, The  Market Arcade, half of “Millionaire’s Row,” the Twentieth Century Club,  the American Radiator factory, the Marine Bank, the Albright Art Gallery, department stores, and more.

Join Campaign for Greater Buffalo president Paul McDonnell, who is also the incoming president of the American Institute of Architects: New York, to explore fine structures of wood, brick, and stone,  prominently sited or tucked away on side streets, radiating charm and poise. Join Paul as he hunts down dozens of the buildings and tell the tales of the people who lived, worked, worshiped, and socialized there.

Charter poster 2022 9

Travel anywhere around Buffalo anytime you want by chartering the Open-Air Autobus. There is no better way to learn abot Buffalo than to see, hear, smell the city. We’ve done school trips from grade 2 to graduate students, weddings, bar mitzvahs, reunions, and corporate affairs. You get a ride like no other and expert commentary from the passionate pros of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture. We know our stuff! Ph # mortised cut
• 46-person capacity
• See-thru, roll-down rain fly
• $750 for up to two hours with expert commentary; longer tours available
• About $15 per person at capacity
• $440 for up to three hours for bus & driver only
• Take a walking tour with same top-notch experts: $200 for 2 hrs. for up to 20 people; $10 ea. add’l.

 Call now: 716-854-3749

From Trash to Treasure: Our Proposal for the Broadway Auditorium

2.A - Armory Place V.6 - MKT [12.2.16]Once again, the city of Buffalo has called for Requests For Proposals from developers for the Broadway Auditorium (nee Armory, nee Arsenal, nee Batavia Market), for 75 years ingloriously used to store garbage trucks, salt mounds, and dump trucks. Rather than turn the site over to a private developer and face an uncertain future ("Dang, we thought we could save the building, but it is worse than we thought! We're going to have to demolish it and use the whole 4 acres for our new-build project!"), the site should restored and remediated for public use and operated by a non-profit set up for the purpose.

The Campaign's illustrated Armory Place proposal has the details and historic photos and an outline of the site's history.

Download our Armory Place concept here and read all about it!

Bway Aud auto show