by Chris Clemens
Driving East on Rt. 31 out of the Village of Palmyra will wind you along a stretch of rural roadway that parallels the always charming canal just a stone’s throw to the North. If you’re watching the waterway and not paying attention to the South side of the road, you may miss a bunch of yard art sculptures that have been the target of mixed reviews by locals. I made the drive out to see them in person and convinced my friend Sarah of MindfullyFrugalMom to join me.
Though it may be entirely unrelated to the sculptures, Rt. 31 in this part of the state also serves as a shared highway for bicyclists and is known to the two wheeling travelers as NY State Bicycle Route 5. Perry Lafluer and his son Alex have been buying, fixing up and selling bicycles for years at their home on the route. Though many get repaired and are ridden again, there have been quite a few that have found their way in front of a welding torch and have been reborn into a curious collection of yard art that lines the side of the road.
An 8 foot tall collection of bike frames holds an American flag, an old pallet that holds a bike like a picture frame, a fence made of just wheels and a carousel of children’s tricycles are just a few of the oddities that the Lafluer’s have displayed in their front yard.
While Lafluer says that he gets people stopping to take photos regularly and telling him how cool it is, he also said that there have been some people who aren’t too pleased. He has been cited numerous times for code violations sparked by outcries from certain Palmyra residents. The violations were not in direct reference to the sculptures but rather the collection of bikes in a carport and operating a business in a non-zoned area.
He has since adjusted his yard and the bike fixing business to avoid fines, but for now the unique artwork remains for those who choose to enjoy it. If you stop and take photos, tell them Exploring Upstate says hello!
*Note: the Lafluer’s are friendly folks but remember that this is private property and proper respect should be given. There’s a decent sized shoulder on the South side of the road to park, but cars whiz by there pretty fast, so be mindful of your safety while playing on the side of the road!
Chris Clemens is the Founder/Publisher of Exploring Upstate. From his hometown in Rochester, he spends as much time as possible connecting with the history, culture, and places that make Upstate New York a land of discovery. Follow him on Twitter at @cpclemens