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I would like to commend the City of Buffalo and the Preservation Coalition for their joint effort to provide an observation deck so we can watch the unearthing of our Canal District, our city's most historic corridor.

This recalls a similar effort implemented by John D. Rockefeller Jr. when Rockefeller Center was under construction in New York. After he was chased away by a worker while watching a big steam shovel, Rockefeller had a gallery installed for the safety of curious onlookers.

On the side of the gallery wall, a Dutch motto was painted that read: "The best pilots stand by the shore." The incident resulted in the Sidewalk Superintendents Club for excavation watchers.

An added bonus for us, however, is the interpretive information, updating and historic photos that the Preservation Coalition will supply so that we can clearly understand the excavation process as it reveals the Erie Canal terminus. This is great news for everyone in Western New York.

But a more appropriate inscription for our observation deck would be: "Honest labor needs no master; simple justice needs no slaves." This addresses the virtue of work and the uncovering of the Underground Railroad.

This message was inscribed on the Seneca Street facade of the Larkin Administration Building annex, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, which was demolished in 1950. It would serve as a reminder of the tragic loss it was to the cultural legacy of our city.



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