Rolling on the river


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There are power boats.

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And power boats…

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And boats for the powerful. “Yes, we can go rapidly, but we are against it, something might spill, thank you.”

Summer is beating a hasty retreat, but a last walk of summer canalside is still a treat.

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Got to get outside, soup weather is coming, but in the meantime, got to make a friend with a boat owner.

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Clutch!


Meandered down to canalside for the clutch artists autorama on Sunday. While I’m not sure some cars are classics (a fiero, really?), there were some lookers.

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Fun to day dream in a few of those bad boys.

Weather Report


Okay, so last year was an anomaly but typically if we get the St. Patrick’s Parade behind us so should the shivering weather.

Despite the phrase “wind chill” still being in the weather, you can still find some catching moments.

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I know, it’s Buffalo being Buffalo, but I’m anxious to downgrade how much coat is needed.

On the Waterfront


You don’t go too long these days without hearing some mention of the Canalside, Outer Harbor and Marina areas on local news. There is a good reason for that as it is a nice place to lose yourself for a bit. I went down the light up of the grain elevators on Tuesday evening and a lot of voices spoke of not having been down this way in awhile. While the cool display doesn’t take away from the fact, we’re not sure what to do with the elevators the rest of the time, it was nice to see people out about. I’m not quite sure how you get more people to take that chance to come down here other than encourage that (as “i’ve been down there since…”) (usually that next sentence references AM and A’s).  So, here I am.

I’m a little bias as the canalside area is maybe five minutes from my door so it is easy for me to drift down there, but as the season is rapidly evaporating. The Hatch Restaurant has signs posted that they are done as of Sunday evening. And I understand if your travels don’t take into the city very often, but I want to suggest a little localized wanderlust when the warm weather returns (and perhaps even sooner).

It’s easy to snicker at the idea of a Buffalo waterfront resurgence when our then leaders acted a little too needy during that dalliance with Bass Pro. But consider this, over 200 events came to the canalside area during the summer months. There is more happening that just concerts. Car shows, exercise classes, plays, street buskers, a variety of festivals all landed over the summer. The recent Navy visit was “anchored” at Canalside. Erie Basin Marina was never more secure.  The marina is seeing enough of an upturn that the long maligned Hatch needs to expand business. If you haven’t been to the Liberty Hound yet, you need to journey there as there is more than just carnival food on the water.

If it reads like I’ve drunken the kool-aid, I guess I have. The compilation of lots of little things are gathering their collective might to turn into something of substance. One of my preferred walking paths is to start at Erie Basin Marina and do a lap and connect down with canalside and if I’m feeling ambitious, journey behind First Niagara Center across Ohio Street over to the new Riverfest Park. Along the way, you see the locks of the canal being recreated, the Spirit of Buffalo, Miss Buffalo, the Moondance Cat and the water taxi all taking people onto the water. You’ll see folks enjoying food and drink at Templeton Landing, the aformentioned Liberty Hound, the Hatch, Clinton’s Dish and if you follow my path, it will take you down to the Swannie House, which has its own charms, if you know what I mean (and you do). I really believe that if we give folks a place to fall in the water, they will come out and probably want to eat something. I wrote in these hallowed pages about the progress of Gallagher Beach. That is the stretch of sand off the small boat harbor. It has its own boardwalk already and a pier dividing the water traffic. It was gratifying to read that Congressman Higgins has arranged funding to position part of Gallagher as a legitimate swimming hole. That is tremendous as a city beach will generate visitors. There are places for the food trucks to hang out, and even more business for the fearless folks who run Dug’s Dive (which, attention please, is now open year round).

My point in all of this is stuff is changing. Ignore downtown as that is a separate issue. If you live in one burb and work in another, it’s understandable how a portion of the city that isn’t Elmwood might not be on your radar. Drift down to the waterside as many have. There is no Bass Pro, Ikea or any other monument to other dumb ideas. It has however, become the one place where slews of different types of folks of all races, income brackets, social whatever, gather and have a really good time.

The phrase goes something like “there must be something in the water.” But I should tell you there is something to being along side it as well.

Go wander

Beachin’ and Hopin’


So, some high level city meetings are being held about waterfront development. That’s great. I do worry a little as the area has good reason to become jaded at “big ideas.” Administration after adminstration has gone in pursuit of the “Silver Bullet” that will fix all the wrongs in one swell foop. I do have one notion to contribute to this and all the little successes happening at Canalside reinforces this.

A City Beach. I took the picture above at Gallagher Beach last weekend. The pieces are coming into play there. I mean think about it, you give people access to water, let em fall in, they will come and probably want to eat or drink something. If you haven’t been, drive your vehicle of choice to Erie Basin Marina some evening. Take a walk from the marina along the marina on down to Canalside. The spectrum of folks you encounter runs from affluent boat owners, landlubbers like myself enjoying slightly marked up ice cream, folks of all flavors enjoying being by the water all the way down to Canalside.

There are some engineering issues to creating beach access there, but those lessen a lot at Gallagher Beach. There is a nice boardwalk already in place. The area’s food trucks could make a good buck. The way I see it, leave the right hand side as it is for small water craft, deploy some of the city resources on the other side of the pier to actually allow for some swimming.

See, a low cost notion to enhance the outer harbor fun. A little city asssistance on the beach, lifeguards, and a little work, but not a huge amount of resources and viola, a quality of life entity.

Summertime, and most folks like having places to cool off, and someplace to get something to eat afterwords. Most of the city success stories are like this. Take something small, add a few pieces and suddenly you have something that doesn’t resember a suburbanite’s 20 year old perception of an area, and people (gasp!) come and use it.

The great things happening at Woodlawn Beach aren’t planet altering, just pleasant ways of making something good, better. I wager the same thing can happen on the Northside of the treatment plant. We’re almost there…

While Bennett Beach was a wonder, here’s a city beach that could be a legit city beach.

Hmmm?

Musta Got Lost


Went on “walkabout” in the nice weather. I hope this is reward for having no breather in the winter weather last year as opposed to the other shoe getting ready to drop.  Whichever, the curiously refreshing December weather was nice enough to go take in a little no-money fun down at the waterfront and check out the grain elevator that fell into the river.

It was a little quiet, but it was nice to wander with the mental volume turned down for a change.

Just in case the outer harbor needed aerial support.

Cheerios, no, not today, the scent nearby reveal a certain Au du Cocoa Puff.

A signpost up ahead to which I can relate.

Look at what is on Ohio Street, who knew?

I mean, flippin Ohio Street?

With a perfect view of the now collapsed grain elevator. Now, this is where the noise from some of the preservationists rings a little hollow with me. These might have been a building or two worth hanging on to at some point, but to get all in arms now, no. At some point, it would have easy to steal a page from Cleveland (Cleveland, really) and turn these into other types of buildings as the setting remains a great one, but too much time elapsed. The preservationists did have a point with these, but the time had definitely passed.

I just like this view. I took it from the middle of the Ohio Street Bridge. The picture isn’t all that great, just nice to catch an unfamiliar perspective.

Covering the Waterfront.

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