Before I came to Buffalo, I had planned a handful of rides I wanted to revisit, like ride up to Niagara Falls, or head down to the Boston Hills, or maybe even ride to South Buffalo and drink a pint in one of the Irish pubs. Then once here I became too busy to ride all over the place (I also wasted my first day in town thanks to a bone chilling rain). With only one day left in Buffalo, I forced myself to squeeze in one of these rides, so I ventured forth through the chilly weather up to Niagara Falls.
|The highway and the creek.|
|I’m sure this matches some weird modern house somewhere.|
|That old industrial space was once a failed attempt at hip found space living.|
|The sun was way more apparent looking in this direction|
|Grand Island bridges.|
|The view from the bridge.|
After the Scaj Path, I returned to the Riverwalk (which you can read about more in myearlier post) towards the Grand Island Bridge. The Grand Island Bridges are still terrifying to ride across (which I guess is why they suggest you walk over the bridge), but the apex gives a stunning view of the Niagara River (strait!) at it’s widest point, which makes it almost worth crossing. Dropping over into Grand Island I got that strange sense of what this place could have been, a feeling I get every time I am here. Grand Island is a strange sort of development, where everything is built about a mile apart, leaving large vacant lots between buildings. Some of these lots are raised for “shovel-ready” sites while others remain wooded. It’s these wooded lots that make me wonder what Grand Island could have been. I imagine that no one ever built a home here, that the 190 bridges were never built and this island was one huge preserve only accessible by ferry. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, so I just kept my head down and rode passed the big ugly strip mall lined road occupied by high speed traffic. Right before the north bridge, leaving the river island, there is a huge swath of protected swamp land (my favorite thing America does, by protecting land that cannot be built on as a preserve, but I digress) which is absolutely beautiful and makes me sad for this vision of what Grand Island could have been.
|Where does this go?
A path I found nearpl the north bridge of Grand Island.
|Niagara Falls peering through the bridge.|
|Playing with the timer on my camera.|
|The bike at the swamps.|
Heading towards Niagara Falls (after getting lost a little, they really need to sign these bike paths better) I became disillusioned again by Western NY’s failure at protecting something beautiful. A few miles out from one of the natural wonders of the world are some of the ugliest chemical factories in this country has to offer. Looking across at the quaint Niagara Parkway on the Canadian side I listened to a chemical plant unleash steam at such high pressure it sounded like a jet plane, only amplified by the sound of the US Interstate traffic whizzing by. This path has some nice qualities, especially as the sun was reflecting off the river, but this places feels like it could have been saved but was lost to more failed policy. I never understood why a place with such a beautiful natural attraction needed chemical plants to supplement their job base (I am aware that the cheap power had part to do with this, which oddly enough now that hydro power is sent to New York City, another silly thing about this place).
|The Niagara River.|
|This reminds me of a story a co-worker once told me of an acquaintance losing his engine and anchor around this point and deciding to polish off the rest of his 30 rack before help arrived.|
|Niagara Parkway grasslands, this is actually the site of the Chippewa Creek Battle of the War of 1812. It’s strange to think how deadly this boundary was 200 years ago.|
With my last day over in Buffalo, I was prepped for tour, leaving for Rochester the following morning.