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I was appalled to view the condition of City Hall on a recent trip downtown to get a copy of a birth certificate. Initially, I was excited to visit the building and see the interior of this National Historic Landmark. I had read about an art exhibit on the 25th floor I thought might be interesting, and planned to go up to the observation tower and capture a panoramic view of the city.

Climbing the front steps, I noticed the lack of flowers and landscaping around the front, as well as cigarette butts strewn on either side of the steps. The lobby was dark and drab, and it took some time to find someone who knew about the exhibit. After entering the second set of elevators to reach the art exhibit and observation tower, I noticed the dirty elevators. The door to the exhibit was locked, with no explanation, as was the gate to the observation tower.

A guard opened the gate to the tower. I climbed the dark stairs to the top and found a young, disheveled boy who apparently had spent the night there. The observation deck was dirty and filled with cigarette butts -- certainly not what I expected. On the drive home, I couldn't help wonder what visitors to Buffalo might think if they wanted to take a stroll through this beautiful piece of architecture only to find it desperately needs a good housecleaning.

Kathy Hall-Zientek