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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2016 Archives > Washington Street As Literary Corridor

Washington Street As Literary Corridor

Buffalo Common Council unanimously approves an executive proclamation


June 7, 2016 - On Tuesday, June 7th, the Buffalo Common Council unanimously approved an executive proclamation submitted by Mayor Byron W. Brown.  This proclamation designated Washington Street, from Clinton Street to Virginia Street, as the Washington Street Literary Corridor.

“The City of Buffalo has an extraordinary literary history and legacy, is home to one of the country’s top literary centers, and has an active and growing literary community,” said Mayor Brown. “I’m pleased to support the shared goal of bringing our city’s literary arts into full visibility by designating this section of downtown Washington Street as a Literary Corridor, fostering even more economic development and promoting Buffalo’s continued legacy as a world class literary city.”

Buffalo Common Council Education Committee Chair Hon. Ulysees O. Wingo, Sr. stated that he hopes that the corridor would inspire more literary activity in the city. He said, "Reading is the fundamental capability by which the exchange of information begins. Information brings about knowledge; knowledge builds capacity; and capacity brings about change. In order to instigate impactful change, we need to change perceptions, and what better place to start than in a book. ”

Done in conjunction with Just Buffalo Literary Center, Plur·al·ity Press, the Western New York Book Arts Center and the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, this designation reinforces the hub of vibrant literary activity along downtown Washington Street.

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Director Mary Jean Jakubowski said, “Old, new and rare books, writers, literary events, discussions, chronicles, documents, and print shops can be found along this section of downtown’s Washington Street which is blessed with amazing literary connections.  Buffalo’s newly proclaimed ‘Literary Corridor’ is another intriguing and positive chapter in the story of our great city, Buffalo!”

“Just Buffalo Literary Center wants the entire community to share in the love of reading, the art of writing, and the power of the literary arts to transform individual lives and communities,” stated Laurie Dean Torrell, Executive Director of the Just Buffalo Literary Center.  “We are delighted at this heightened visibility for what is truly one of Buffalo’s distinguishing assets. ”

The participation of more citizens in an already active literary center will create a highly visible identity for a core area.  Shayna Israel, Editor-in-chief of Plur·al·ity Press affirmed, stating that, “Banners along the Washington Street Literary Corridor will work to showcase Buffalo's rich literary history while helping to engender a sense of pride among its residents. It inspires curiosity and a renewed attention to the joys of reading.”

Along with both Mark Twain and F. Scott Fitzgerald having lived in Buffalo, this city has been home to many historically significant poets, novelists, and playwrights including Lauren Belfer, Robert Creeley, Lucille Clifton, Ishmael Reed, Charles Olson, Emanuel Fried, Susan Howe, Charles Bernstein and Carl Dennis.  The designation of a literary corridor along Washington Street will create a highly visible identity for a core area which contains central literary assets such as Just Buffalo Literary Center, Plur-al-ity Press, the Western New York Book Arts Center and the hub of our great library system, the downtown Central Library.