Posted in Buffalo, NY, travel

Train in Vain


I’ve been following the kerfluffle about a proposed new train station for Buffalo for sometime. I don’t have a real strong opinion about it as improvements are almost always good things and well, I finally have a good car. The current station is such a shack that it needs the Property Brothers to come to its aid or be replaced. There is a large amount of rail around the region that has been abandoned and forgotten about that you almost wonder if the fixings were possible to make the Metro rail more than the semi-straight line if we were fine with it going above ground more, but I digress. To call the current station a Fixer Upper would charitable.

It doesn’t exactly scream “Welcome to Buffalo.” It is such a hole that folks tend to wait in their cars and that was even before part of the ceiling gave way. The debate is interesting because there are positives and negatives to all sides in this. It leaves this semi-interested citizen hoping that reason wins the day. After watching Niagara Falls build a station and apparently then talk to Amtrak, I hope my city thinks thoroughly about where to drop much monies. I wasn’t really cognizant of the Exchange Street station until my daughter used Amtrak to get back and forth to school for a couple of years. When it was open, not many folks went in.

I don’t have any real strong opinions or preferences in that it doesn’t feel like we are looking to build the next Union Station or anything but you hope the folks who are signing off do what is actually best for the region, not just what is in vogue, popular or nostalgic or all of the above.

The popular talk centers on the old Central Terminal. I sort of liked that idea as it does reuse a building made for that very purpose and trains actually do still go by it. It might be a bit misnamed now as it isn’t central. My admittedly bleeding heart liberal inner-preservationist self would like to see it come to life and maybe give an economic engine to an area of the city that hasn’t one in years. But my pragmatic self thinks that it would need by in from our local transportation authority as a transportation center to make a go of it and I don’t think they are feeling it.

Other folks want to shove it into Canalside as that is an area enjoying on-going success. While I can appreciate that notion, I’m of a mindset that not everything needs to be shoved into the canalside area. It’s a recreation area, access to water, and generally working pretty well. The planned stage, merry-go-round, all good things. There is a museum going up soon as that is fine, leaving another plot of land to develop and somehow having the trains schlep on through there doesn’t work for me, not that it is up to me. You hope the area stays to true to experiences, letting Canalside be the spot for the good times (sort of makes it sounds like a casino). After all it wasn’t long ago that a youtube video taught folks how to find the place.

Again, not like Buffalo has a Grand Central Station coming, but you hope the committee is thinking ahead not just for right now. Let there be connections to taxi, buses, ride sharing with some place to park to pick up folks or drop off and things that get people to all parts of the city. Maybe a new facility should be put right where it currently stands, where all the taxi, buses, cars can get at them.

Wherever the landing place, it going to take some effort to get most local folks to not catch the train….in Depew.

Posted in travel, Work

Travelin’ Band


My work related travel took a big increase with my current posting and that is a good thing to get that kind of experience. It can a bit of stretch at times however, but you try to find some fun along with the myriad of long security lines and barely made connections.

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You have to be amused a little at the human condition, but especially at the times of air travel. The announcement of boarding makes everybody mill about like we are Black Friday shoppers waiting for Walmart to open. I’ve noticed a big of a swagger among some travelers.

There is no greater locale for people watching as all sorts come through airports. My most recent travels took me from Buffalo to Boston to Philadelphia in what might have been the longest 30 hours in recent memory. It was a pretty convoluted itinerary, but it’s what you do when you are told on Monday that you have to be someplace on a Friday morning, and that someplace is across the next state.

And the next thing you know, you are watching four women in full berkas cueing up at Checkers for some quick take out (or one going up many times quickly).

But, it’s not without its moments where you can’t help by laugh a little, like the Boston security guard watching me make my late arriving connection from Philadelphia to the other end of the c terminal to get to the Buffalo bound plane on time. His cheer of “Go, OJ, go” was pretty funny. Their placement of gate c29 away from c21 was not, but lesson learned: 35 minutes between flights is shaving it pretty close.

And never count on the booking site to be accurate with telling you where you’ll actually stop

 

Posted in Buffalo, NY, potpourri, Random, travel

Drive, he said


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There was an article published recently that talked of how lousy western New York drivers take to the roads.

That came into my mind over a recent errand into Canada for work. It’s a different world for border crossings in recent years obviously enough and the worst thing to do is get unnecessarily worked up as that solves little. In returning from the errand via the rainbow bridge, a predictably long line filled the bridge and the near by side streets. It was a nice day and little to do but roll down the windows and be patient. Most folk took that in spirit, people let each other in, except one grouch in a Lexus, who cut people off, changed lanes like it was important that he and he alone make it to America with his purchases. For his trouble, he got an extended chat with the good folks in customs,

This popped back into my mind this morning negotiating the highways that envelope Toronto. This is not for the squeamish. A lot of things happen, all at 75 to 90 miles an hour. There’s a reason the Canadians go slower on Buffalo roadways as the pressure is off. My gps couldn’t draw the directions quick enough to keep up with the vicissitudes of the 401 to 400 to 427 highway exchange,

That said, driving isn’t the mad max movie that is Wny highways. While walking from my hotel just now, I did see the aftermath of an accident where the participants said a rare thing to each other

“Soory”

Posted in travel

Ride, Captain, Ride


I was sitting in O’hare Airport when I laid eyes upon the ride home. It was one of those smaller planes that my dad and brother could quote the model on sight. I walked down a seemingly very long jet way to see a door way that required I fold my six foot two frame to fit in without inducing head trauma. Once in, I didn’t mind as there were two seats on one side of the aisle and singles to the other. That mean a window seat and I had a camera. I liked little planes…for the moment.

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And then we landed…was too busy watching the brakes work to get a picture of that.

Posted in Buffalo, NY, travel

Flight Plan


It’s funny. I don’t travel for work often, but there appears to be common threads to those instances. Perhaps it’s the destinations, employers sending me, what have you, but the “adventure” is lost on this casual traveler.

It doesn’t always go like that, but any excitement about a trip seems to have been snake bitten.

One thing that jumps out at me is the plane. Despite modern advances, improvements in technology, and the like, I am consistently on a vehicle that most likely has Wrong Way Feldman in the captain’s chair. If that reference escapes you, think of a flying hoopty. If that reference escapes you, google it. And if that reference escapes you, get out more. And today wasn’t really different, with my being placed on the United version of a minvan. Some of these folks are crafty. Most airlines charge to check bags these days, but some of these folks brought large bags only to surrender them on the jetway, beating the charge. It gives one pause, but not on that jetway, a rickety looking structure ever there was.

The whole morning surrounding the pretty short flight time is a great festival of people watching, starting as the folks assemble in Buffalo. The airport wi-fi got interrupted momentarily and one goof who was plugged into the charging tour acted like his world collapsed, personifying the spoiled brat in Louis C.K.’s “Everything is amazing and nobody’s happy.”

I arrived in baggage claim at the same time my bag did, not bad considering it got a ride.

Anyway, here I sit at 32000 feet with the jamoke behind me kicking my chair repeatedly as I stare out the window waiting for the clouds over Michigan to break up so we can see what kind of day it actually is here in the central time zone. The captain was good enough to trace the route for us. “We’ll be flying over London, Ontario, down along the lakes, into Michigan, and finally into Chicago land.” While that was nice to know, it didn’t mean anything as there was no discernible difference from the canadian clouds to the michigan clouds to the Illinois clouds (Except those were an hour later). So, you couldn’t see much, dig?

I was actually disappointed to see no sky mall catalog in my seatback, but given how old the plane is, it would all have to be in black and white.

But it gives one pause. The folks at the terminal outward bound were downright pleasant, security was a breeze. If your only downside in the arrival point is that I knew where I was going better than the cab driver, that’s doing okay.

“I’m sorry, Sir, I can seem to find it”

As he was parked under the sign of my destination.

oy

 

Posted in Buffalo, NY, travel, Weather

The Beaten Path


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is kind of overrated. If there is a more spiritually soothing way to shut the world out for a bit, it’s a walk by the water. While the beaches aren’t ready for swimming just yet, (hell, it snowed not too long ago), it was very therapeutic to get close to the water. Two workers were literally combing the sand for the sunseekers to come. There were a couple of us who couldn’t wait.

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The endless winter did leave a few interesting carvings behind.

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It was good to be outside, in the sunshine, and with no particular place to go, so the beach at Woodlawn State Park and the areas in the Outer Harbor were a good place to walk, and put into practice how good it can feel to not have a shoe on.

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There’s a little beauty everywhere

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It’s just in knowing where to look

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Wandering…it was good for this soul.

Roam

Posted in Commentary, Music, travel

Cleveland Rocks


Yep, Ian Hunter was correct. Even though the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame only rarely does their inducing in Cleveland, the museum is great fun.

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You can take photos but some are kind of challenging. Witness the display case enveloping Mr. Garcia’s guitar below.

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But there are indeed friends around every corner.

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This guitar was one of Muddy Waters’

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I’m pretty knowledgeable about my music history in general terms, but never saw Elvis play a doublenecked guitar.

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But even here, Bill Graham is watching.

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And there are more folks waiting on you.

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(as the flood of pictures on my FB feed will attest)

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Time it right, however and the sun does shine over the wall.

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Thanks for having us, Pete

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Yeah, I’ll be back. Perhaps the Hall should have their party there once in awhile.