Urban Unfamiliar: Wednesday Evening In A Different City

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Recently, I have become increasingly disenchanted with the idea of writing long, report-style urbanist blog posts in this time when so much in our cities is uncertain. Even as I’ve tried to inject humor or creative writing, I can’t help but feel like I am reiterating the same old urbanist jargon that anyone can find on a far more popular site where people actually get paid to do research and travel for stories. So at least for the foreseeable future, I’m going to write about urbanism through the eyes of… umm… well, an urbanist. Instead of writing about cities, I am going to write about my experience with cities and my thoughts on urbanist concepts as a sort of personal reflection on all that I’ve seen and experienced. Let me know what you think 😉

A man at the picnic bench next to me took a long swig of beer as a metro rail train traveling Northbound along Main Street slowly rolled by in the background. I turned and took another chunk out of my chicken sandwich under the watchful embrace of the gold dome topping the historic Buffalo Savings Bank Building. It was an hour into my late day jaunt in this city to the west, and already I was feeling great.

Midway through the Wednesday afternoon, I asked my wife if she would mind if I hopped on a train from Rochester to Buffalo after I got out of work. I assured her that there was a bus that would bring me back to The Flower City by 10:30pm. Because my wife understands my desire to experience other urban paradises on a regular basis, she gave me the thumbs up. She gets me like that, and I am always grateful.

So I cut out of work at 4:20 and headed for the Amtrak station, only to find that my train was running about 30 minutes late. So I hopped around the corner to the Genesee Brew House and had a pint of Scotch Ale to fill the time.

Shortly after, I headed back to the station and boarded a train to Buffalo. Armed with my Beercan Boards longboard, my goal was to cruise around downtown and see what I could do in a couple of hours.

Upon arriving in Buffalo, I skated to Main Street where I headed North to OSB Cider Works Buffalo Tasting Room. Last time I was there, I discovered the place by accident and fell in love with the cider and the interior. This time was no different, despite the fact that I was virtually the only person there.

After a delicious beverage (it was something with Cherry in the title) I skated over to Fattey Beer Company in Roosevelt Plaza. Aside from liking their beer selection, I had heard their chicken sandwich was outstanding. It did not disappoint.

After leaving Fattey, I just skated up and down Main Street for a bit. With the smell of rain in the air, I was simply enjoying every minute of the pushing around downtown on an early fall night. For those who haven’t followed until recently, I’m a 40 year old man who taught himself how to longboard during Covid lockdown. When the only thing I could do was go outside for exercise, I became obsessed with skating my neighborhood and beyond. No tricks for this guy, just the feel of confidently surfing the pavement has been enough to entice my senses. Plus, longboarding is an extremely portable way to dart around a city!

Finally I dropped into Big Ditch Brewing Company for a quick finish to the evening. While I usually go there for the food, tonight it was all about a quick shot of beer and a chance to get out of what was becoming a rainy evening.

With a solid amount of food and drink in my belly, I skated through the now-pouring rain to the Greyhound station and boarded my bus back to Rochester.

After an 8 hour day, I hopped out of my work, enjoyed a brew in downtown Rochester, boarded a train, traveled 80 miles or so to a historic rust belt city, skated around downtown and visited 3 premier establishments before taking a bus home. I had a mini urban vacation on the back-end of a single evening and it was transformative. I can’t wait to do it again soon. Until then, remember this… adventures to a nearby city can clear your head without the commitment of a long journey or vacation. Just to travel to somewhere other than where you live… sometimes I find it’s the reset button I need.