Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Wandering around Buffalo

Posted by Frum Hiker on November 18, 2009

Buffalo, NY has a bad rap, it is one of those cities that evokes negativity whenever spoken about by people who never even set foot onto its wide tree lined boulevards, or grimy ghetto streets with wood paneled housing and shaky porches. I don’t know what images fill your head when I mention Buffalo, maybe the grazing Buffalo of upstate New York or the abandoned mills of Bethlehem Steel, maybe you think of the western terminus of the Erie Canal or of Buffalo as a suburb of Niagara Falls, that place you drive through to get to the falls, which you visit for about 15 minutes before retiring to the fast food and tourist establishments along Lundy street on the Canadian side of the falls.

I didn’t realize how much I missed Buffalo until I drove down Elmwood avenue today and marveled at the abundance of art stores, organic food establishments and hip funky music/coffee houses.

I then drove down a wide boulevard with a small park in the middle and wondered if the Buffalo haters had ever seen the houses here. Had they seen the color, the ornate woodworking attaching the roofs to the upper story windows? Had they seen the tal spires of the brown stoned churches? Had they seen the traffic circles with fountains in the middle?

Texas doesn’t have what Buffalo has, Buffalo has charm and character, it has beautiful old buildings, of the red brick industrial warehouse variety and of the art deco spires and gargoyle variety. Buffalo is one beautiful city, even the ghetto has charm. Rows of houses just stop for the random railroad tracks all leading to some abandoned grain elevator.

Don’t get me started on the grain elevators, Buffalo has more abandoned and unique grain elevators that Topeka, its quite beautiful to see the different designs and the peeling white paint. General Mills still has a large operation, but there are many more, smaller and larger grain elevators that appear to have been abandoned for 5 decades, weeds grow at the bases and railroad ties are scattered around. The Buffalo river and frozen canals leading all over the place past these behemoths create quite the scene, add the hundreds of railroad tracks and you get a n industrial photographers paradise, it doesn’t hurt that there are no neighborhoods around, which means safe wandering and no bums with syringes sticking out of the arms annoying you with change requests.

Downtown Buffalo is quite impressive in terms of architecture, only a few bland new skyscrapers compete with the countless older beauties. Old advertisements, neon signs and the trollies mix together to bring Buffalo alive, even though it is mostly abandoned. I think I thrive on the desolation and solitude of downtown Buffalo. It is quite cold out and a few stray people are walking around hands shoved deeply in their pockets heads down against the wind, with scarves fluttering about their faces, I drive by oblivious to the cold but thankful for it, the cold paints Buffalo as it should, an old city left over from an industrial heyday that has embraced its funky artsy citizens who need to have a way to escape the negative feelings that the media and non-residents feel toward them.

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One Response to “Wandering around Buffalo”

  1. Great post! Buffalo is a very beautiful place. In other NY news…

    Good For The Jews with special guests DeLeon and comedians Morgan Murphy, Seth Herzog, and Rachel Sklar is happening at the Highline Ballroom tonight! It’s going to be a great time, hope to see you there!
    December 7, 2009
    Concert starts @ 8PM
    Doors open @ 6PM
    Tickets $15.00

    Discount code: GFTJ

    The hilarious music duo Good For the Jews bring their national tour to New York for a night of unorthodox music and comedy on December 7, the minus-fifth night of Hanukkah.


    Jewish music for people who don’t like Jewish music.

    No songs about dreidels.

    And no Israeli folk-dancing.

    “Good For the Jews is a hilarious musical act. Don’t miss them.” National Public Radio

    “Like Sarah Silverman and Jon Stewart, Good For the Jews is wickedly hilarious.” Village Voice

    “Good For the Jews: a Jewish Flight of the Conchords.” Denver Westword

    “Like Adam Sandler with a few additional IQ points.” The Onion

    “Good For the Jews is part of the sharp new culture presented by such talents as Jon Stewart, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Sarah Silverman.” Washington Post

    DeLEON makes “Spanish-Jewish indie rock” by infusing 15th hcentury folk music with the entrancing cadences of the ancient Sephardic tradition. They have toured with Gogol Bordello and recently completed a 20-city tour with Brazilian legends Os Mutantes.

    MORGAN MURPHY has been a writer for the TV shows Crank Yankers and Jimmy Kimmel Live. She has performed standup comedy on Premium Blend and Last Call with Carson Daly, and is currently writing for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

    SETH HERZOG has appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Chappelle’s Show, and VH1’s Best Week Ever.

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