Sunday, November 14, 2021

[BUFFALO] No Niagara Falls for You


Talk about ill-advised itineraries. Now starting to sound like a broken record, I’ve told everyone again and again that the original plan for Niagara Falls was to cross the bridge from the Ontario side to the New York side, but since this happened when inbound US land restrictions were still in place, I had to scrap it. Even though everyone has been saying that the falls are just majestic from the Canadian side anyway, I still wanted to see it from the American side. So, I booked a roundtrip weekend flight via jetBlue. Oh well, still no Niagara Falls for you. What welcomed me was snowfall in mid-November and no buses going there.


Imagine my not so amused face as the plane was taxiing at Buffalo Airport and I was witnessing what I later found out to be the first day of snow for the season. Are you kidding me? Since this is a weekend trip, I came here with just a backpack and extra underwear, because I’m planning to spend Saturday and Sunday wearing the same clothes I was already wearing: knee-length socks, thermal leggings, long pants, collar shirt, knitted sweater, and aviator jacket. It’s not even winter yet in Manhattan and I’m already wearing all these layers. Obviously, these aren’t enough for me when you factor in snow.



And wind-chill. I guess I kinda like the cool weather, to be honest, but only when the sun is up and toasting me alive. I appreciate that contrast you know. But when there is no sun and all you have is strong wind chill, then I’d rather stay indoors. But come on, did I just spend close to a hundred bucks on jetBlue tickets just to go on staycation near the airport? And so, I checked for possible itineraries. The first surprise is that Buffalo is an hour and a half away by public transportation from the falls. Compare that to Niagara Falls, Ontario where you can just walk all the way to the viewing decks. Canada = 1; USA = 0.


Aside from this, since I was going on a Sunday, there were no buses going there. At least according to Google Maps. Awesome. An Uber trip would take just under an hour but costs around 45 bucks, which is equivalent to one-way plane fares from JFK via jetBlue. Are you kidding me? No thanks. The other option was Amtrak, which would have been ok budget-wise but wasn’t an option because there are limited departures throughout the day. Had it been summer I wouldn’t have minded, but risking getting stranded at the perpetually drizzling falls in this weather? Again, no thanks. Canada = 2; USA = 0.


And so, this trip suddenly became an impromptu tour of downtown Buffalo, which lasted for around half an hour before I called it quits. Downtown was rather empty on a Sunday. It felt like the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse or something. My Airbnb host suggested going to Canalside for some touristy sites, but I never made it there anymore. My phone battery died early, as is expected in cold weather like this, and again, I was cold. Like, hands freezing kind of cold. It’s freaking 2C here, you know.


So, what did I see downtown? Just some random buildings. Downtown Buffalo is an odd mix of brutalist façades down there as well as a handful of graffiti-filled walls that did catch my attention for a bit. I guess the highlight of the short tour was the city hall. Rising high and with a phallic white obelisk in front of it, I felt like Voltes V or Mazinger Z would be emerging anytime from the building and grab the obelisk to be his sword. Well, shit. I guess this freezing weather must be giving me hallucinations now.


And that’s Buffalo, folks. Between Buffalo and Albany, I don’t really know what to choose. Both seem to be quiet little cities upstate that don’t have a lot going on, to be honest. Buffalo has the city hall. Albany also has its city hall, the egg, and that huge ass park in front of it. Both has museums, although I never really got to visit any here in Buffalo. I am guessing the clincher would be Canalside by the water as well as Buffalo’s cobblestoned zone. But since I never got to see either, I think my bias would be Albany.

[BUFFALO] No Niagara Falls for You
 [NEW YORK] Budget and Itinerary (6)

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