Buffalo Basics Founders

Buffalo Basics Founders

By Miyoko Ohtake
Buffalo, New York, regularly ranks among the top poorest cities in the United States. And with its heydays over 100 years in the past, it’s no surprise that though its people may be strong in spirit, its buildings are starting to crack. Earlier this year, two young Buffalo natives, Megan McNally and Whitney Yax, decided to do something about the city’s dilapidated buildings by educating its denizens. As Centennial Scholars at Barnard College, they each received $4,000 for a project of their choosing, which they were then required to present at the end of the year. Many students take trips around the world and write a report about the culture of the country they visited, by McNally and Yax wanted to work on a project that would make a difference.

In January, they launched Buffalo Basics at 153 Eaton Street. They put their funds together to purchase a 1,500-square-foot foreclosed home for $3,500 and opened it up to Buffalo residents via free renovation workshops. They teach home repair skills like installing glass block, fixing plumbing, and hanging drywall with the help of local professionals and have given the participants not only new knowledge but new-found confidence as well.

We applauded McNally and Yax as Nice Modernists in our July/August 2009 issue. Here we give you an interview with the pair, who have recently constructed compost bins out of old seat belts and are working on outdoor maintenance now that the weather has warmed.


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