“We’re moving to Kaisertown!”
“What? Why? Where even IS that?”
This is the reaction you might expect from your family and friends when announcing that you’re packing up your apartment in Parkside and moving to the heart of Kaisertown.
For those who don’t know, Kaisertown is located on the East side of Buffalo, bordered by the 90, the 190 and the Buffalo River. Clinton Street runs through its center and it has traditionally been known as a Polish, working class neighborhood.
I find Kaisertown enthralling. I suppose I’m often attracted to areas that are rich with a sense of Americana and walking around Clinton Street it’s easy to imagine what Kaisertown was like in its heyday. It’s as retro as it comes in Buffalo and provides a sense of nostalgia. Kids still play on the streets. Neighborhood bars were (maybe still are?) a mainstay. You can walk to a hardware store and talk to the owner. His name will be Bill and he’ll welcome you to the neighborhood.
I’m sure that there are those who would question this choice. The neighborhood has changed in recent years. Many families have moved from Kaisertown into the suburbs, leaving an older generation to mix with a supply of absentee landlords and their neglect. There are many empty storefronts on Clinton Street and several homes in foreclosure. It seems more a place that Buffalonians drive through during their daily commute than one in which they are interested in participating.
Kaisertown has much to offer the people of Buffalo. It’s a walkable community with a very affordable housing stock (especially if you’re willing to use a little elbow grease). It has a rich history and boasts many meticulously maintained homes and properties. It’s a blue collar neighborhood, and one that it’s residents take pride in.
It’s my hope that this blog shows what Kaisertown has been and can be again. It’s important to prevent sections of the city like Kaisertown, Lovejoy and Riverside from falling into disrepair. Part of preservation and planning should be working to proactively preserve such areas. With all of the growth and real estate battling in trendy neighborhoods, perhaps shining a spotlight on some fringe neighborhoods would add a bit more depth to Buffalo and give more affordable housing options to its residents.
So Kaisertown, here begins my love letter to you 💌