New York City – November 2017 – Tourist Day in Manhattan

With a day to spend in Manhattan with nothing special planned we wandered the city and checked out some of the non tacky tourist spots (i.e. Time Square)

 

Bryant Park Ice Rink and the Main Library

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Entrance to Rockefeller Center

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Statue and Flags at Rockefeller Center

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The Oculus

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Central Park West View

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A stop at the Met.

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Ornate apartment building on Fifth Avenue.

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Where do they put the prisoners?

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Buffalo – May 2017 – Central Terminal

The Buffalo Central Terminal is a rail station that was built and opened in 1929. It served as the main rail station until 1979, when it was abandoned. It was designed Alfred Fellheimer, who also designed Grand Central Terminal, of which it bears a striking resemblance.

A few times a year they host tours and the day we went there were about 100 people showed up. We spent two hours getting a tour and in depth discussion on the building and the effort to restore it.

In addition to the main lobby, there is a 17 floor office building, a freight building, and the original platforms, but only the main lobby has been restored.

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The exterior shape of the main lobby is also similar to the look of Grand Central Terminal.

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Four large clocks adorn the upper level of the office building.

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The ticket counters.

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One of the original news stands.

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A view from a mezzanine level.

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For a few years someone lived in the building in an apartment. It is now in a very poor state, but had a great view of the lobby.

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The ticket counter and baggage check.

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First view of the lobby

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The lobby and center clock

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The lobby from the mezzanine.

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Close up of the clock

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Second view of the clock

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Buffalo – May 2017 – Pierce Arrow Museum

The Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company was one of the first luxury cars ever built. They were so well known for luxury William Howard Taft ordered two as the first presidential vehicles.

George Pierce had started out building bicycles in the 1890s before moving on to cars. He also ended up building motorcycles and trucks in addition to the cars.

The Pierce Arrow Museum was opened in 2001 in an old Mack Truck showroom. A new expansion recently completed has the full size Frank Lloyd Wright design filling station

 

The entrance to the new section

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The drum from the company band in the early 1900s

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Two famed Pierce Arrow hood ornaments

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Artwork in the bicycle section

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One of the recently donated Corvettes

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The filling station

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A couple of classic Auburns.

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Buffalo – May 2017 – Frank Lloyd Wright in Buffalo

Renown 20th century architect Frank Lloyd Wright has landmarks remaining throughout the country and beyond, most prominently in his adopted hometown of Chicago. While not to that scale, Buffalo has an excellent collection of FLW designs still remaining.

About 18 miles south of Buffalo in the town of Derby is Graycliff. Built between 1926 and 1931 along the Lake Erie bluffs, it was the summer home for Isabelle and Darwin Martin. The Martin’s had a FLW home in the city prior to this home being built.

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Differing from most FLW designs it does not have extensive overhangs, rather strategic design to maximize natural light throughout. Also emphasized from anywhere on the property is the view of the lake.

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Sitting on a bluff 60′ above Lake Erie, it had stairs to get down to the beach. However years of erosion has left the stairs stranded.

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The interior is still in a much needed state of repair, but it does give glimpses of the FLW style. Unlike most FLW homes, this one has a minimal amount of built in furniture, mostly as a cost savings.

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The servants quarters and garage feature fantastic bi fold doors with diamond shaped windows. The diamond shape is prominent throughout the estate.

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Next up is the Fontana boathouse, along the Niagara River. Designed in 1910 it was never built until 2007. While there we met some very nice guys from the Canisius Crew, who showed us around.

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The lower level is wide open for the storage of the boats.

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The upper level features a meeting room.

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The balcony on the upper level offers great views of the Niagara River and the Peace Bridge to Canada.

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The Davidson home is a Prairie Style on a street not far from the famed Martin House complex. It is privately owned.

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The Blue Sky Mausoleum is in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo. Much like the boatside, and the filling station, this was built recently of an original FLW design, to his exact specifications.

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The Martin House complex in Buffalo consists of a number of homes and buildings designed and built by FLW. The primary home was built in the Prairie Style between 1903 and 1905, showing the amazing talent in that it still looks ‘modern’ today.

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Along the backside of the property is the Gardener’s Cottage.

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The main house holds a commanding view along the side street.

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An impressive Pergola connects two of the buildings together.

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Finally we paid a visit to the Pierce Arrow Museum (detailed in a separate posting) where they have built the FLW designed filling station.

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Western New York – May 2017 – Roadside America attractions

As with all trips one of the highlights is finding the offbeat things in an area, and our route to Buffalo was no different.

 

First stop – Barcelona, New York Lighthouse

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Silver Creek, New York – Valvo’s Candy – Dolly The Waitress

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Eden, New York – America’s only Kazoo factory

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Buffalo – Roswell Park Hospital Giant Buffalo Nickel

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Buffalo – Canalside – Shark Girl

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Niagara Falls – Late Summer 2016 Road Trip – Day 16

The best time to visit Niagara Falls if you don’t want people in your photos – before daybreak on a Sunday. The roar of the falls drew us to the edge of the park to see the white water before it crashed over the edge. The glow of the buildings from the Canadian side of the falls cast some light on the falls but it was a shadowy image for us to see. Niagara Falls seemed exceptionally larger to me than the falls we saw in Quebec.

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I believe it is the expanse of the gorge and the enormous volume of water flowing from Lake Erie into the Niagara River over the falls that is so amazing. Niagara Falls is actually three waterfalls; Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and American and Bridal Veil Falls on the American side of the gorge.

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After a return to the hotel to get breakfast and checked out, we headed out for some more views of the falls. We parked the car in an empty lot and walked across the Rainbow Bridge to Canada for a better view. The bridge gave us a great view of Horseshoe Falls and as the sun rose above the falls; the lighting improved the beauty of the scene even more.

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Since we were going back into Canada we had to pass through immigration, where we were reminded that we had to stay behind the little black line on the floor before approaching the window, even though we were the only people there. But they let us back into the country, and we proceeded up the hill onto the Ontario side.

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The area was nearly empty and perfect for photos. The sunlit mist rising from the gorge was very pretty. The Ontario side is very well landscaped, obviously built for the crowds that regularly view the falls from this vantage point. But on this early Sunday morning we had the place to ourselves.

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One of the attractions is a zip line down into the falls. I have read that the tacky commercialization of Niagara Falls in the 1800s lead directly to the push to create the National Park Service, and it is clear that in the 150 years since the people of Niagara Falls still haven’t learned their lesson. Even with the beautiful landscaping of the park along the Ontario side, they still obstruct the view with zip lines.

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Usually met with objections one of my favorite photo subjects are people posing for photos. This morning I was presented with a perfect opportunity, one man fussed with his turban while the other man, a version of Joe Dirt, played with his rooster-comb styled haircut.

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But you can only have so much fun, so we decided it was time to walk back to America, and we headed across.When we had crossed the first time a couple of hours earlier I had noticed the immigration entrance was void of any cars at all, so it was surprising on our return to come up on the bridge and see traffic stopped fully across the bridge.

As we walked on I noticed all of the entrance lanes had red lights lit, indicating they were closed. It was then I realized it was September 11th, at the time that the first airplane hit the World Trade Center.

From the walkway on the bridge you could see the immigration workers standing at attention around the flags, which were at half staff, in tribute to the tragedy.

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Once they completed we walked inside where I complimented them on the sincerity of their tribute, and they seemed genuinely thankful for the compliment, and we passed quickly through and on to our car.

Our long drive back to Columbus went without event, and we arrived home safe and sound and extremely pleased with yet another fantastic road trip. This passion has allowed us to see amazing places and meet lots of cool people, and as soon as we are home we are looking forward to the next one.

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