Category Archives: travel

Buffalo Central Terminal


Looking up at the Buffalo Central Terminal

Buffalo Central Terminal, built by the New York Central Railroad, opened in 1929, just months before the stock market crash of October. The art deco building was designed to handle over 200 trains and 10,000 passengers daily.

Station visitors were originally greeted by a stuffed American bison. Passengers, including thousands of WWII soldiers, rubbed their hands through the fur, causing the large buffalo to go bald. It was replaced by a bronze statue, which was destroyed by an eventual owner of the terminal. A bronze recasting using the original molds, can be found outside the football stadium on the University of Buffalo North Campus. The current statue in the station, is a fiberglass replica.

Buffalo Central Terminal saw active train service from 1929 – 1979. In addition to New York Central, the Canadian National Railway, Pennsylvania Railroad, and Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway also serviced BCT. The terminal saw its peak during World War II.

While touring about Buffalo, the Frozen Foursome received an unexpected invitation to tour the main concourse of Buffalo Central Terminal. As a perfect example, of “it doesn’t hurt to ask”, one quick question had us in the door, and once it became apparent that we were in no hurry to leave, an additional invite to explore further inside was offered.

All of us were excited to see inside the abandoned terminal, but it was far more personal for The Curator. His father was an engineer for New York Central, and he remembered running throughout the concourse when he visited Central Terminal with his dad and siblings.

BCT is a beautiful terminal, and must have been something very special in its day. It is currently owned by the Central Terminal Restoration Corp., whose volunteers we met and talked with during our visit. I reminded one volunteer that Union Depot in Saint Paul, Minnesota has been brought back to life and train service restored. There is certainly hope for Buffalo Central Terminal, although it’s a damn shame that the building has suffered such neglect.

BCT opened with a Western Union office, a restaurant with dining room and lunch counter, a coffee shop, soda fountain, and, of course, a street car lobby.

Central Terminal is located 2.5 miles from downtown Buffalo. The current Amtrak station, is a tiny building a bit closer to downtown. Throughout its history, Buffalo Central Terminal was always larger than needed, but hopefully the CTRC will be able to repurpose BCT now that Buffalo itself is seeing a revitalization.


Erie Canal


The canal map at Gasport, NY

The Erie Canal spans from where Albany meets the Hudson River to where Buffalo meets Lake Erie. When completed in 1825, the 363 mile Erie Canal was the second longest canal in the world.


The Erie Canal at Gasport

Construction began at Rome, NY in 1817. The canal has 34 locks, with an elevation difference of 565 feet.


The Tow Path at Middleport, NY

When it opened, the canal cut transportation costs by 95%. 1855 was the canal’s peak year, when 33,000 shipments took place.


The Erie Canal at Middleport

The last large commercial ship retired in 1994, and the canal has seen mostly recreational traffic since. 42 commercial shipments took place in 2008.


Bridge over the canal at Middleport. The cafe on the corner is well worth visiting.


The Art of the Brick

Buffalo Museum of Science
Buffalo, New York


The Scream

The Art of the Brick is a global touring exhibit by artist Nathan Sawaya. His medium is the Lego. It happened to be at the Buffalo Museum of Science when I was in town.


David, with Augustus of Prima Porta looking on…


Rembrandt self portrait


The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Several of the works were the Lego impression of classic works of art, but the vast majority on display were not based on previous works.


Titled Gray, 23,678 Legos; “Taking a leap was hard… but I always knew there was another me, an Artist Me, lurking inside…” – Nathan Sawaya


Swimmer


Titled Grasp, 17,356 Legos; “No matter where your heart wants to lead you, there will be hands that try to hold you back. Life’s challenge is to find the strength to break free.” – Nathan Sawaya


T-Rex

I saved my favorite piece for last: A 20 foot long, 80,000 plus Lego, of a T-Rex. He gets two photos to show the size of this many-bricked dinosaur.


Hockey Hall of Fame

Toronto, Ontario


Hockey Hall of Fame

Four members of the Frozen Foursome+ made the pilgrimage to Toronto to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame during the off day of the college tournament. The Hall was established in 1943; it has been in its current location since 1993.


Dedicated to Mr Hockey

Currently, there is an exhibit honoring #’s 9 & 99: Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky. A nice video tribute on both of the legendary players, as well as exhibits highlighting their connection.


One section of the Wayne Gretzky exhibit

One can not argue with the contribution both made to the game of hockey: Mr Hockey & The Great One.


Hobey Baker’s induction plaque

The plaques honoring the players that have been inducted and the various trophies are displayed in the Great Hall, which is in the historic Bank of Montreal building.


The Great Hall’s ceiling

The Great Hall is a stunning room, the highlight of which is the 24 fanned-panel, stained glass dome, with eight stained glass circles, and even more detailed panels on the outer edge and inner section.


Herbie’s induction plaque

The Bank of Montreal building, which is home to The Great Hall was constructed in 1885.


The Original: Lord Stanley’s Cup

The original Stanley Cup, and the retired bands from the current cup, are stored in the old bank’s vault. Now known as Lord Stanley’s Vault.


The Canadiens are well represented

The HHof receives around 300,000 visitors a year. This year, with the Frozen Four held in nearby Buffalo, NY, there was a definite influx of college hockey fans while we visited.


Conn Smythe Trophy


Miracle on Ice

There is an entire section dedicated to international hockey, which includes Olympic Hockey. A large exhibit honoring the 1980 Miracle on Ice team was prominent.


They do play hockey Down Under

A hockey fan could spend several days exploring the Hall. I know that all of our group would have loved to spend more time than we had, but it was a well worth the trip across the border to experience the history of hockey.


A very small section of the exhibit dedicated to the evolution of the goalie mask


Hello Dixie!


A few Toronto sites

A few random views of our side trip to Toronto:


Niagara Falls State Park


Welcome to Goat Island

Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the U.S.. The 400 plus acre park was established in 1885. I spent an entire afternoon exploring its trails and taking in the sights and sounds of The Falls.


Niagara Falls from the American side

Compared with last autumn, when I was on the other bank with the Curator & Brazil Lucas, the crowds this week were at a minimum. From the looks of things, May 1 is the date that things open up. The lower trails were still closed off, and few, if any attractions/facilities were open.


Statue dedicated to Nikola Tesla

In 1896, Nikola Tesla sent AC power, generated at The Falls, to Buffalo for the first time, proving to the world that it could be done. Previously, the DC power generated at The Falls could only be transmitted 100 yards.


Canadian Goose enjoying lunch at The Falls

It was a beautiful day to be out walking the trails. There is a trolley that runs through the park. You can get on and off as many times as you need during a day for $3. Not a bad price when you consider that a horse drawn carriage ride around The Falls in 1895 cost $1/hour.


Waterfall leading up to Three Sisters Islands

There is a pedestrian bridge and a vehicle bridge over to Goat Island. There are actually several islands at this end of the park, with foot bridges connecting them all. Some nice views of both sides of The Falls can be had from the island, with the Niagara River surrounding you.


Niagara from Goat Island

Four of the five Great Lakes drain into the Niagara River, before it flows into Lake Ontario. 75,750 gallons of water a second goes over American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, and another 681,750 gallons per second over Horseshoe Falls.

It will take 50,000 years, due to erosion, for Niagara Falls to cease to exist.