Larkin Square Blog

David Goodwin speaks about the impact of artists transforming a neighborhood in his book: Left Bank of the Hudson: Jersey City and the Artists of 111 1st Street

By Leslie Zemsky  
September 28, 2017

The Larkin Square Author Series presents David Goodwin author of  Left Bank of the Hudson: Jersey City and the Artists of 111 1st Street, Wednesday, October 10th at 5:30 pm

In the late 1980s, a handful of artists priced out of Manhattan and desperately needing affordable studio space discovered 111 1st Street, a former P. Lorillard Tobacco Company warehouse. Over the next two decades, an eclectic collection of painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, filmmakers, and writers dreamt and toiled within the building’s labyrinthine halls. The local arts scene flourished, igniting hope that Jersey City would emerge as the next grassroots center of the art world. However, a rising real estate market coupled with a provincial political establishment threatened the community at 111 1st Street. The artists found themselves entangled in a long, complicated, and vicious fight for their place in the building and for the physical survival of 111 1st Street itself, a site that held so much potential, so much promise for Jersey City.

Left Bank of the Hudson offers a window into the demographic, political, and socio-economic changes experienced by Jersey City during the last thirty years. Documenting the narrative of 111 1st Street as an act of cultural preservation, author David J. Goodwin’s well-researched and significant contribution addresses the question of the role of artists in economically improving cities. As a Jersey City resident, Goodwin applies his knowledge of the city’s rich history of political malfeasance and corruption, including how auspicious plans for a waterfront arts enclave were repeatedly bungled by a provincial-minded city administration. In writing this story, Goodwin interviewed thirteen artists and residents, two businesses, three government officials, and five non-profits, civic organizations, and community activists. The book chronologically explores the history and business of the P. Lorillard Tobacco Company, its evolution into a bustling arts community, the battle to preserve the warehouse as a historic structure, and the lessons to be drawn from the loss and ultimate demolition of the building in 2007, as well as the present state of the neighborhood.

Setting the facts straight for future generations, Left Bank of the Hudson provides an illustrative lesson to government officials, scholars, students, activists, and everyday citizens attempting to navigate the “rediscovery” of American cities.

Books will be available for purchase at the event through Talking Leaves. The talk is free, beverages and snacks available for purchase at the Filling Station. The Larkin Square author series is presented by KeyBank and sponsored by Independent Health and Talking Leaves books.

SOLD OUT: Hillary Rodham Clinton to sign books in Larkin Square, Thursday, September 28th, 12:30 pm

By Leslie Zemsky  
August 24, 2017

Tickets are currently sold out and required for this book signing event at Larkin Square. 
Larkin Square will be open to ticket holders on the day of the event, with limited access to the public. 


The Larkin Square Author Series and Talking Leaves books is hosting a book signing with Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday, September 28th, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Hillary Clinton will sign copies of her new book, What Happened.

“In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.”
—Hillary Rodham Clinton, from the introduction of What Happened

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet.

In these pages, she describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and how she found the strength to pick herself back up afterward. With humor and candor, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet—the rituals, relationships, and reading that got her through, and what the experience has taught her about life. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age, and appearance, and the double standard confronting women in politics.

She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on our democracy by a foreign adversary. By analyzing the evidence and connecting the dots, Hillary shows just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the outcome, and why Americans need to understand them to protect our values and our democracy in the future.

The election of 2016 was unprecedented and historic. What Happened is the story of that campaign and its aftermath—both a deeply intimate account and a cautionary tale for the nation.

Hillary Rodham Clinton will sign What Happened and the 2017 illustrated children’s book edition of It Takes a Village only. She will sign up to two books per customer, one of which must be What Happened. Place in the signing line is determined by time of arrival at the event. 

 No other books or memorabilia, personalizing, or posing for photos.

Parking is free for guests attending the event, please park in the gravel lot at Hydraulic and Seneca Streets. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from the Filling Station Restaurant in Larkin Square.

This special author event is sponsored  by Talking Leaves.

Media contact for the day of event: Bridget Schaefer,, 716-346-8053

Phoebe Lapine shares her “Wellness Project” on June 9th

By Leslie Zemsky  
June 02, 2017

The Larkin Square Author Series is pleased to present a special lunchtime, 12:15 PM, Friday June 9th, edition of the Larkin Square Author Series with the writer Phoebe Lapine. Phoebe is the author of the book the Wellness Project: How I learned to do right by my body, without giving up my life.

Ms. Lapine is a private chef, culinary instructor, caterer, cookbook author, and the voice behind the award-winning blog Feed Me Phoebe, which documents her recipes for healthy, gluten-free comfort foods and tips for achieving a more balanced life. Lapine is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Food52, Serious Eats, and Food & Wine, among other publications. Feed Me Phoebe was a finalist in the 2015 Saveur Blog Awards. She lives in New York.

The Wellness Project is written with humor and smart nutrition tips as Ms. Lapine spent a year investigating ways to feel better through nutrition and lifestyle choices without giving up a bellini with brunch! The book contains 20 recipes and lots of healthy living tips she learned during her 12 month journey of discovery.

Inviting Phoebe to Buffalo and to speak in Larkin Square is a perfect fit with our focus on healthy living here in Larkin Square. From the Healthy Options program at Food Truck Tuesdays to free pickleball, hula hoops and scratch made cooking at The Filling Station, we like to incorporate healthy fun into the programming and food offerings in Larkin Square.”

The Wellness Project will be available for purchase at the event from Talking Leaves. Lunch will be available for purchase from the Filling Station and Amys Food Truck.  For more information about Phoebe Lapine, please visit


By Leslie Zemsky  
May 30, 2017

Since 2002, the Larkin Development Group (LDG) has been actively reimagining, rehabilitating and reconstructing the Larkin District, aka Larkinville, into a lively mixed use neighborhood with residential, office, manufacturing, retail and culinary focused businesses. In recent years, a dozen buildings and 2.0 million square feet of redevelopment has been completed, including the revitalization of the entire streetscape. There are now more people working in Larkinville than during the heyday of the historic Larkin Company.

A sample of the new retail and culinary businesses in the neighborhood include the Hydraulic Hearth restaurant and brewery, Flying Bison Brewing Company, Buffalo Distilling Company distillery and cocktail bar, The Filling Station restaurant and many more under development. Furthermore, our free events at Larkin Square have provided a fertile ground for entrepreneurs to start small businesses including dozens of Food Trucks.


The momentum continues in Larkinville. Here are some projects we have in the works during the next 3-4 years:

    • The Swan Street Diner  The Swan Street Diner, a 1937 fully restored Sterling Diner, rolled into Larkinville next to the Hydraulic Hearth in May, and will be open for service in September 2017.
    • Live/ Work Buildings  Plans are underway for additional live/work spaces on Seneca Street near Smith Street with the construction of a series of buildings with retail on the first floor and residential on the second and third floors, targeting Fall 2019 occupancy.
    • A New Emerson Culinary and Hospitality School
      As the Buffalo Public School Board (BPS) considers a location and developer for a new Emerson Culinary and Hospitality High School, the BPS Board is considering Larkinville as a location. As Larkinville is now an epicenter for restaurants and events, the students can benefit from working with the businesses as interns and on special projects. Between the restaurants that we operate and the relationships we have with the food trucks and other professionals in the culinary and tourism sectors, we would bring added value and mentoring to the students and teachers at the school.Our proposal also includes support from businesses with headquarters in Larkinville who are interested in mentoring students in their areas of expertise. For example, mentorships can be offered through KeyBank on financial services, while SelectOne can provide programs on job readiness.There is also a built-in market (through visitors and tenants of Larkin Square and the Larkin at Exchange Building) to support students in developing their own events and trying their hand at small business and life skills before they graduate.A new custom designed school building would allow the district to have the exact layout that works well for students and the unique programming components of the school. Our proposed 80,000 sq. ft. site in Larkinville at Smith, Exchange and Seneca Streets offers a campus opportunity on a shovel ready site, with room for future programming expansion, such as the addition of a gymnasium and food gardens. There is excellent public transportation access with direct bus lines to the east side, South Buffalo, North Buffalo, the west side and downtown. Being located on the east side and and the gateway to South Buffalo would allow the district to place a high school in an area of Buffalo that does not have other high schools. In addition to the many thousands of employees working here, Larkinville is close to Tesla Solar City, the Cobblestone District, the Central Terminal, Seneca Babcock and the Broadway Fillmore neighborhoods. There is also a built-in customer base to patronize the dining and banquet facilities.

      As a destination, our proposal includes free parking for patrons of the restaurant and banquet facilities. The design of the school includes an outdoor courtyard, allowing students to enjoy a campus atmosphere. Students and staff will also be able to take advantage of Larkin Square’s current and future amenities all year long.

    • 111 Hydraulic Street This site is located in between the proposed Emerson School and Larkin Square. This year we will be issuing an architecture competition for over 100,000 sq. ft. of retail, commercial, and residential to be built on this site with a completion by Fall 2021.
    • Public Park Space  The development of the former Ameripride site, next to Flying Bison Brewery, will include recreational amenities such as tennis, basketball, volleyball and a running track available to be enjoyed by those who live, work, visit or attend school in the neighborhood by Fall of 2020.
    • Larkin Lanes  The development and return of the former neighborhood bowling alley at the corner of Seneca and Griffin Streets.  This long abandoned building will have a new chapter as a refurbished bowling alley and eatery with a fall 2020 completion date.
    • Larkin Men’s Club This historic building, once a social hall for the Larkin Soap Company, located behind the fire station, will be redeveloped into commercial and residential space by fall 2019.

We are proud to call Larkinville home for our company headquarters. Many of our team members and employees of fellow Larkinville companies also live in the neighborhood. Entrepreneurs continue to open businesses here in a neighborhood that is both a national and local model for urban planning and redevelopment. We will be in the neighborhood for generations to come and it’s going to be an exciting few years as Larkinville and the east side continue to grow.

Lauren Belfer returns to Larkin Square, May 15th, 2017

By Leslie Zemsky  
April 28, 2017

The Larkin Square Author Series is pleased to welcome back to Larkin Square and Buffalo, Lauren Belfer. Buffalo’s beloved author has invited Frank Kowsky and Stephanie Crockatt to join her in a conversation titled, Buffalo’s Olmsted Legacy: Past, Present, and Future. The talk will include historic images of the Olmsted Parks which inspired Ms. Belfer’s writing in City of Light.

Lauren Belfer is the author of the best-selling novels City of Light, A Fierce Radiance, and and After the Fire.  City of Light is set in Buffalo. Much of the story is set in Olmsted designed parks in Niagara Falls and in Buffalo. This will be Ms. Belfer’s fifth time speaking at the Larkin Square Author Series. This will be her first talk with a thematic subject.  She has invited Olmsted scholars Frank Kowsky and Stephanie Crockatt to join the conversation. Audience members will be encouraged to ask questions as well.

Frank Kowsky is the author of The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux and the Buffalo Park System.  Stephanie Crockatt is Executive Director of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

We are honored that Lauren Belfer will again return for a spring time talk in Larkinville. May is the most beautiful time of the year along our Olmsted designed parkways and parks, we are delighted to share some of that beauty through conversation and historic images.”

Lauren Belfer’s books will be available for purchase at the event from Talking Leaves.  A book signing will follow the talk. Information on the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy will also be shared at the event.   Beer, wine and snacks available for purchase from The Filling Station. For more information about upcoming Larkin Square events, including upcoming author talks, please visit  For more information about Lauren Belfer, visit For more information about the Olmsted Parks, visit

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