I'm starting to get pretty excited for this Sunday. Greg Bauch is leading the way as we spend a day exploring South Buffalo although I kind of wedged my way into it, actually. Mike Schopp told me he was going to ask Greg to do this for him because he really had no familiarity with So. Buff. Expecting that any tour of South Buffalo would/should include lots of beer and/or whiskey, I offered to tag along as the driver as I am currently a dry county. There were no objections and I can't wait. While quite familiar with a number of establishments on Seneca, So. Park, and Abbott, I did not grow up in So. Buff. I just played hockey with kids who did. Greg is really from there and he has an itinerary and everything. It's very official and stuff with titles like, "It's pronounced Crick" and "These cars used to have hood ornaments." This got me thinking about some of my favorite spots in the city.
Squaw Island. It takes some doing to get there because it almost seems like you shouldn't be going where you have to go to get there. I'm talking about the narrow bridge you'll need to cross after turning into the parking lot off Niagara St. It's okay. Go across. It's a really cool spot once you're over there. My favorite part of it is the International RR Bridge. I am pretty much a sucker for old bridges and your kids will dig it if you are there when a train comes rumbling across. Mine did.
The foot of Hamburg St. in the Old First Ward. This is not exactly a park. By not exactly I mean not at all. Really. But there is enough room to park you car, get out and sit on the guard rail and get up close and personal with a few of Buffalo's well known grain elevators. They look much different from here than they do speeding by on the I-190. I am not going to pretend to have an idea of what to do with these behemoths. I just think they are cool and often end up here when I am out riding around on my motorcycle in the spring and summer, but have ended up here in the winter as well. You can see the Ohio St. lift bridge in the background. I also like the sound the First Ward makes. Everyone knows about the Cheerios smell. Listen to the sound the next time you park your car for a hockey game, although it could be hard to detect when there is all that traffic. I've noticed it in the middle of the day or at 2 am leaving the Swannie House. It's the buzzy hum of industry, which while just a shell of what it once was, still exists in this part of the city.
Sitting with Abe Lincoln at the Historical Society. I would suggest going inside and visiting the museum at some point. It's worth it. But the theme here is cool places to sit and just be and the steps overlooking the lake, Delaware Park, the Albright Knox Art Gallery and the Scajaquada is a long time favorite of mine. As a teenager this seemed like about the coolest spot I could think of. When you're sitting on the steps of a building as fine as the Historical Society, looking at that setting, Buffalo can seem like a very good place to be.
Sometimes we could all use to be reminded of that, I think.