What Travel Writers Say


Buffalo's Character and Class

© by George Bailey
 
Buffalo New York
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If you're looking for a spur-of-the-moment day trip from Niagara I have the answer for you - downtown Buffalo, New York, an hour away. The older downtown area offers a step-back-in-time experience. Forget the chicken wings; the epic buildings make a statement about style and sophistication.
     Visit Buffalo's Art Deco City Hall which dominates the downtown area. Built during the early 1930's, at the height of the great depression, this is a must-see stop. The building is open free of charge Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. Take the elevator to the 22nd floor, and then walk the stairway to the observation area. You'll feel like you're on top of the Empire State building in New York City, rewarded with an awe-inspiring view. Free tours of City Hall are offered Monday to Friday at noon. Meet in the lobby, and a volunteer will put you through your paces relating the history. Docent Rick Smyth, a retired teacher, explained the meaning behind the many murals and statues that adorn the inside of the building. "They tell about the friendship between Canada and the United States that has extended since the end of the War of 1812."

Artwork   At Base Of The Building   City Hall   Downtown Area    Subway System   View From Top

     Outside City Hall is Niagara Square and dominating the square is a monument built to honour the memory of William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States (1897-1901) who was assassinated in Buffalo at the Pan American Exposition in 1901.
     All of Buffalo's century-old buildings have stories to tell. Escorted walking tours can be arranged at www.buffalotours.org or 716-852-3300.
     Lafayette Square is three blocks to the east of City Hall. It's a park in the centre of the downtown. The block, which was once square, is lined by many of the city's tallest buildings including the Liberty Building and Rand Building. The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library is an interesting place where you will find manuscripts of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Samuel L. Clemens, known by his non de plume, Mark Twain, lived in Buffalo between 1869 and 1871. The library is open daily at 8:30 am, except Sunday, free of charge.
     This block is surrounded by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's Metro Rail light rail rapid transit, which runs about 12 blocks above-ground along Main Street in what is called the Free Fare Zone. The ride really is free.
     You'd be hard-pressed to leave this area without visiting one of the many historical theatres that offers touring Broadway shows, concerts, opera, dance and classic film series.
     Shea's Performing Arts Center on Main Street, built in the style of 1926 European Opera House, has an outstanding line-up of live entertainment. Greats like George Burns and Frank Sinatra performed here in the past.
     To stifle hunger pains, I recommend the Spot Coffee Restaurant at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Streets. This independently-owned coffee shop is more authentic than the likes of Starbucks. They have good and reasonably-priced food and plenty of it. Uneven floors, wood tables and exposed brick make this the perfect neighbourhood eatery. They open at 7 am and close at 11 pm. I like to hang out here during the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
     Street parking is reasonable here. Be sure to carry lots of American 25 cent coins to feed the $1 an hour meters. Lot parking is about $7.00 for the day.



Photo Credits
George Bailey

George Bailey contributes to Sun Media's 43 paid-circulation newspapers across Canada as well as numerous magazines. George has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Canada AM, The Discovery Channel, and Live with Regis and Cathy Lee. He has published five books on Niagara Falls.
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If you go
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo,_New_York
Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Buffalo_%28New_York%29
About.com: http://architecture.about.com/od/usa/p/buffalo.htm
Visit Buffalo: www.visitbuffaloniagara.com or 1-800-283-3256.
Buffalo and Erie County Public Library: www.buffalolib.org
Shea's Performing Arts Center: www.sheas.org
Places of worship: http://www.yellowpages.com/buffalo-ny/churches-places-of-worship
Fiction: http://www.buffalocam.com/buffalo_related_literature.htm
   http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americannovel/timeline/twain.html
Movies featuring Buffalo: http://www.forgottenbuffalo.com/thenaturaltour.html

Travel Aid
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Currency conversion: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
Distance calculator: http://www.indo.com/distance/
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Maps (Google interactive map): http://maps.google.com/
Maps (Mapquest) U.S. & Canada: http://www.mapquest.com/maps/main.adp
Maps (Mapquest) World: http://www.mapquest.com/maps/main.adp?country=GB
Media Guide (local newspapers with current listings): http://www.abyznewslinks.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/
Time zone converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/
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