We continue our series of Walking Buffaloes by a brave couple who walked every day in all weather during the first 30 months of COVID-19. I believe they (not systematically) walked every street in Buffalo, many in other cities and towns, and took about 20,000 photos, some of which they shared in this series. While not an itinerary, we hope to encourage others to “walk” to see, observe and appreciate Buffalo and beyond. William Gröbner and Diane Bennett are also film critics for 5 Cent Cine.
Photo Essay of the Day: of the yard
The garden is important, but not just because it’s the place you mostly see when you’re walking. What’s in the garden reveals a lot about how residents participate and perceive their neighborhoods and communities.
Yards have never been dodged in this series. Previous photo essays have covered politics (garden signs), flags, planters, sculptures, black lives matter, Halloween and Christmas, COVID-19, the front porch (which seems inseparable from the garden), and the garden as a spectacle. Here are some of the cool, weird, and revealing things people are putting in their gardens to round out our garden look.
Go Bills! We’ve seen hundreds of yard displays featuring the Buffalo Bills during our walks. But what we’re opening here are the only two area residences we’ve found walking around over the years, decorated in the colors of other teams: the Cleveland Browns (LaSalle/Niagara Falls) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (near William Street and Harlem Road). man bites dog
Trinkets and decorations? Very common, especially on the East Side and beyond the Delaware area. We found a nice collection of Uncle Sam, two lambs, frogs, seashells, angels and frisbees in Old Ward 1. But the prize goes to his Oakwood Avenue mansion in East He Aurora (thanks Charlie Clough for sending us there!).
Buffalo is a Catholic city (it was until recently), but we encountered two Buddha statues. One is integrated with the waterfall and faces the Chevrolet factory in the Old Town district. The other is on the west side, with Buddha embracing the garden’s most iconic pink flamingo.
“Good fences make good neighbors,” said Robert Frost in his 1914 poem “Mending Wall.” Perhaps so, but garden and neighborhood scholars view fences differently as signs of defense and retreat. The lower fence is of a different kind. The prominent “Peace” fence in Black Rock. An elaborate patriotic (and Bill’s) fence (also a privacy fence) on East Utica Street on the East Side. And a “little” heart-shaped picket fence encloses familiar and dear things: a “welcome fairy” stone, a seahorse, a few angels, a gnome, and two small flags.
A recent study of the front yard of Elmwood Village suggests that if fences make good neighbors, so do toys (cited in an earlier article in this series, “The Front Porch”). The idea is that having toys in the front yard means that there are children in the neighborhood who are playing in the public front yard (or on the street) instead of being segregated and protected in the backyard. The presence of an abandoned toy indicates a certain confidence that the toy will not be stolen. Her 7 bikes pictured below he does double duty. Children are playing, or will continue to play, in ‘public’. However, upon closer inspection, the vehicle appears to be chained to prevent theft, which is a safety concern. The dogs (which look like two pitbulls) could be a sign of security. Oxford Avenue, East Side.
Animals are a common feature in gardens, whether they are live animals or pottery. The “anything” category includes the caged chimpanzees seen in Old Ward 1. We watched a black-and-white tiger cub on Greenfield Street in North Buffalo, and enjoyed a cloaked Peter Rabbit-style bunny (and “Talking Proud”) nearby.
We publish dozens of photos of real (not ceramic, wire or plastic) deer. Among them are several in his yard, one of which is his photo of a doe munching on green shoots on the snow-covered lawns of the Broadway and Fillmore neighborhoods. Massachusetts Street yielded even more rare animal sightings. A turtle in a bathtub was within reach. On the East Side, perhaps just as rare, now common in Texas, the Muscovy Duck roams the yard with a few hens and a rooster. A friend on Facebook recalls that muscovy ducks were once a staple at Mashevski’s poultry shop in his Market on Broadway. Our favorite animals we witnessed were his two cats having a good time in Lackawanna’s front yard. I’ve also seen minks and foxes, but not in the front yard.
One of the more common garden motifs is the windmill, even though there are not many Dutch people living in the area. Found this on Grand Island.
Lighthouses are also common. This is probably because it serves as the house’s iconic lighthouse, but also to represent the neighborhood’s connection to the Niagara River and Lake Erie, for example in Riverside. If our informal research is accurate, there are no useless lighthouses in Old First Ward on the Buffalo River. Black and white lighthouses, very tall tree lighthouses, and modernist lighthouses are all located at Riverside.
And Blackrock, a region with a unique connection to water, has a lighthouse as a home.
Some of the front gardens, and sometimes even the parking lot, are filled with all sorts of wood carvings: windmills, lighthouses, wells, aviaries. One of these yards featuring Trifecta is in the Clinton Bailey area and the other is a woodcarving spectacular in the Babcock neighborhood.
An exceptionally creative woodworker created this tank. This tank is rarely seen in western New York.
Outboards as garden ornaments are unusual to say the least. It seems to have been remodeled to function as a mailbox. Found in Kaiser Town.
Some other garden installations caught our attention. One of them featured golf clubs and candles, the other was apparently dedicated to “Ronis” but was otherwise confusing (it was located in an empty lot on Mills Street on the East Side).
Equally ingenious and equally mysterious was the initiative by the Green Acres/Tonawanda homeowners to create a pool in the front yard.
For the spooky side, I nominate a six-foot-tall potter in a garden on Cayuga Island.
A winter wonderland in the Kenfield district. If in doubt, install a toilet in the garden.
When in doubt, leave everything in the garden. A well made of tires is worth noting. Riverside.
Alternatively, nail everything to the side of the house.
“I should have cut it a week earlier.” Lackawanna’s front yard.
How to Walk Buffalo and Beyond: Under the Railroad Tracks
How to Take a Walk—Buffalo and Beyond: Looking Back: Front Porch
How to Take a Walk – Buffalo and Beyond: Looking Back – Politics
How to Get Around – In Buffalo and Beyond: Trucks and Vans
How to Walk in Buffalo: “Reading” the City Signs
How to Walk the Buffalo: Look Up! Roofs and Roofers
Buffalo’s Walk Way: Buffalo’s Minimart
How to Walk the Buffalo: Remember 9/11
How to Take a Walk – In Buffalo: Street Humor
How to Take a Walk – Buffalo’s Garden: Garden as a Spectacle
How to Take a Walk – In Buffalo: Beware of Dogs
Buffalo Walk Way: Halloween
How to Walk Buffalo: Lesser-Known Trails and Paths
How to Take a Walk – Buffalo: Church Committee Advice
How to Walk in Buffalo: Coping with COVID-19
Buffalo Walk Way: Planter
How to Take a Walk in Buffalo: News of Christmas
Buffalo Walk Way: Sukajaquada Creek
Buffalo’s Stroll Way: Block the Crab
How to Take a Walk in Buffalo: Black Lives Matter
Buffalo’s Walk Way: Once in a Bar
Buffalo Walk Way: Queen City Sculpture
How to Walk in Buffalo: Raise the Flag – Education 101
Buffalo’s way of walking: (alternative) places to hang out
Buffalo’s way of walking: the long building on the corner
© William Gröbner