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Metal BUFFALO letters are Hertel Avenue's newest public art

Mike Desmond
The 5' letters sit on the lawn of The Cornelius Apartments on Hertel Avenue.

Buffalo's recent explosion of outdoor public art expanded again Tuesday with the unveiling of a display of large metal letters on Hertel Avenue. The five foot-high letters are on the lawn of The Cornelius Apartments, the former Saint Margaret's School. From one direction they spell out BUFFALO and from the West, they read BFLO.

The letters are not far from Hertel Alley which has acquired a series of giant murals, part of a surge of murals across the city.

Councilmember Joel Feroleto, Cornelius' owner Iskalo Development and Arc Iron Creations owner Andrew Chambers worked together on the display. They were designed by a team from Iskalo and may eventually be lit up.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Chambers says he spent a month working with heavy steel plating, cutting, grinding, welding and ultimately putting on three coats of powder coating for the gray and blue letters.

"Each letter is two pieces of quarter inch plate that were cut out for the letters and then in between those plates are flat bar, either 3 inches or 6 inches and it had to be V'ed out on both sides and then tacked, sometimes every inch where, especially, where I bent it around the edges of the letters and then welded solid," he explained.

Before the dedication Tuesday, Chambers went over to the site at Hertel and Saranac and polished the letters with an auto wax.

He said several years from now, they may need some work after a few Buffalo winters.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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