Niagara River, Tonawanda

This post will hardly be ground breaking for anyone that lives in the Northtowns, but as someone who lived in the Southtowns all the way through high school, Tonawanda was largely a great unknown to me.  Back then, I knew the town (they really call it a city?) was somewhere up around Amherst, but not as far as Niagara Falls.  My first experience I remember was a trip to the infamous hot dog stand, Old Man River, with my dad when I was much younger.  I think at that time it was because there was a coupon in the Entertainment Book for buy one get one free hot dogs.  I don’t remember much about the area from back then – all that really stuck in my head was the big whale on the roof of the place, and the crazy décor inside.  Since living in Buffalo, and now Kenmore, I’ve been to the river in Tonawanda a handful of times, but never really stopped to take everything in.  So yesterday I took the short drive over there, picked a place to park, and began to explore.  Check it out after the jump:

Continue reading

The Mission, and the Break Wall

Another year, another idea for a blog.  I was conversing with my friend (also named Chris) who now lives in New York City, about some good places to take a summer stroll in Buffalo after work.  What surprised me was the ease at which we rattled off place after place, all within about 10-15 minutes from my apartment.  Elmwood Village, Hoyt Lake, Bird Island Pier (also known as The Break Wall), Tonawanda River Walk, Central Wharf, Outer Harbor…the list goes on and on.  I eventually settled on the Break Wall, which I will write about below, but the idea itself brought up a whole new concept.  When I mentioned the next day I was off to explore somewhere new, Chris said, “Look at you – Urban Explorer!”.

The term just seemed to fit so perfectly, and for some reason reminded me of an old book my parents used to have called “Beyond Buffalo” – a collection of hikes and jaunts across the WNY area, complete with pictures and suggestions.  Even as a young, naïve resident of WNY back then, I still found the book very interesting, as many of the hikes and places to visit were right under your nose.  Well, why not have something like “Beyond Buffalo” in blog form?  We have plenty of great blogs already highlighting the city, but none that simply draw your eyes away from the everyday issues like politics, food, and shopping, and steer them towards the simple things you might walk by and ignore every day.  We have Buffalo Rising, which can highlight hidden gems in Buffalo, but also focus a bit too much on politics for my taste, we have my friends Don and Alli over at Buffalo Eats, who cover the all important topic of FOOD in Buffalo, and even buffaBLOG, which focuses on underground and indie music in our great city.  The blog list is endless, and hopefully this new idea can fit nicely into the preexisting lexicon.

This blog aims to be something a bit different.  Rather than give a critical spin on something, I simply want to draw your attention to places, buildings, events, etc, that you may or may not be aware of, and give YOU the decision to check them out or not.  Sure, many people know about Hoyt Lake – but do they know about the RC Boat Club that meets there during the summer?  Of course there will be places that the majority of readers have been to, but maybe there is ONE person who hasn’t, or maybe someone who hasn’t been there in a decade and forgot it existed.  One of the main reasons that I start a blog and quit it shortly after is because no one ever reads it.  I’m hoping the motivational factor to keep this one going will be that at the very least, it will stand as a personal travelogue for me.  I am going to post pictures, descriptions, and facts about a bunch of random places.  I’m also hoping that you, the reader, will give me suggestions on places to check out.  So let’s get to the first gem after the jump.  Click on over:

Continue reading