My photography business took me to Buffalo this past Monday, so I thought it might be a nice chance to do what I do… swing into downtown with my bike and take some iPhone pictures.
Per usual, I parked at LaSalle Station on the Metro Rail line, and took train into the city.
I exited the train at Fountain Plaza and started capturing the beauty and energy of Main Street Buffalo at lunch time. To be honest, I’d never visited this area on a weekday… it was amazing to see people enjoying the public space, the outdoor restaurant spaces and milling about the streets and sidewalks.
People were out enjoying downtown’s powerful new vibe, as public spaces met trees and flowers with beautiful infrastructure as the backdrop.
Buffalo’s Metro Rail gives the city an added dimension. Visually, the movement of the trains in the street, the passengers gathering around the stations and the resulting spontaneous social activity all give the city a much bigger feel. I’ve always said that Buffalo “plays bigger” than it really is. It’s a mid-sized city that always wants to be more, and has the stunningly powerful architecture and infrastructure to do so.
Something I had never done in Buffalo was bike the trails that run along the outer harbor. This Monday, I had just enough time to make my way through this brilliant tour of Buffalo’s industrial history.
Once I reached the Outer Harbor Trail, I was greeted by a virtual parking lot for boats which stretched for acres.
The trail around the harbor invited the boater, pedestrian and cyclist to stop and take in the view of the water and the power of the city center of Buffalo.
A modern playground caught my eye… a wonderful summer and weekend attraction that catered to the family experience.
Gallagher Pier featured a sort of “station” for cyclists and pedestrians, providing a viewing platform of Buffalo’s blue collar history.
As I made my way back to downtown, I realized I had this feeling that I wanted to spend more time in Buffalo. The revitalization has momentum. The transit and cycling infrastructure is decent. The feel in the streets is one of a bigger, bustling downtown with plenty of life and energy. The layout, the history, the culture… it all just gives the vibe of a powerful transformation, reversing the wheels of decline that have haunted Western New York cities for decades. I will be visiting much more often, because honestly, Buffalo is exactly what I want a city to be. Like Rochester, Syracuse and other cities in the Empire State, there is a tremendous amount of work to be done. But the energy is there and it’s palpable, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!