Friday, May 28, 2010

Buffalo

Last fall when I was headed back to finish school I received a comment from a concerned friend who was sad about the prospect of only seeing pictures of Buffalo on my blog. (Pat, I am looking at you ;)). Buffalo is actually a great place, and, much to the amazement of most Americans I tend to meet, well worth a visit. It's a city with a great and rich history. It's the final resting place of Millard Fillmore and was home to Grover Cleveland. It's the place where McKinley was assassinated and Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in. If you go down to the court house you can see the room in which they tried McKinley's assassin Leon Czogosz. The massive metal bars that they had to construct to keep the people of Buffalo from dragging him out onto the street and carrying out vigilante justice still guard the court room.

It's home to an excellent modern art museum, more great local restaurants than you can possibly eat at in one trip, a well preserved Frank Lloyd Wright house, two professional sports teams and a minor league baseball team. Down by the harbor is the terminus of the Erie Canal. Yes, Buffalo has its issues, but all in all it's well worth a visit. You would be surprised, so if you are in the area go and check it out.
These pictures were taken in the very late fall when the boats were in dry-dock. Most of the year the harbor is packed with sail and motorboats.

A few years ago a winter storm struck the area in October. The leaves were still on the trees and many fell or lost branches from the weight of the ice on the leaves. The felled trees were carved into statues of famous Buffalonians and various objects that in some way relate to the city. Most of them are actually quite good.





Thursday, May 6, 2010

As American as Apple Pie

It's baseball season! About a month ago I had a date with my dad at the Opening Day of Great American Ballpark, which is the current home of the Cincinnati Reds. My dad has had season tickets for as long as I can remember, and when I'm lucky (or in town when the Reds are at home) he takes me along. Some of my best and most vivid childhood memories revolve around my dad and the ballpark. Most involve getting hopped up on cotton candy and popcorn and then driving home in the eighth while listening to Marty and Joe call the rest of the game. Some aren't so happy, like the first Opening Day of the new park. I was a senior in high school. My dog had died that day and my dad and I sat up in the Riverfront Club and watched the Reds get pummeled. Despite it being an all around bad day, what I really remember is that I was at a ball game with my dad, and that's really all that matters, isn't it?


Opening Day is a big deal in Cincinnati. As the first professional baseball team ever, the Reds have the distinction of being the only major league team that opens at home every year. Opening Day is sort of a city-wide holiday. There is a massive parade before the game (or so they tell me, I have never actually been myself) and festivities that go on all day long. Cincinnati is probably one of the few places in the country where "we took him/her to Opening Day" is a perfectly legitimate and acceptable excusable absence from school (this I can personally attest to as it worked for me on multiple occasions). The park and the people have changed. The experience has not. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter if the Reds won or lost (they lost), because the day is about the ambience and the return of return of a home-grown sport for the summer.