The Great Buffalo Revival



Soar a dozen stories over the Buffalo River, seemingly close
enough to touch from my kayak.
It’s an incongruous sight with the serenity of the apartment river so
near hand. The buildings once stored enormous tons of grain for
transportation to major
East Coast
towns. Today, however, the marine traffic from downtown Buffalo is mostly recreational vessels just like our trio of
kayaks, as well as motorboats, standup paddleboards, as well as flying
tiki bars
–that look one mai tai away from leaning over.

As we paddle north, a more homesick aroma drifts round the
Water Lucky Charms. Tour guide Jason Mendola, a native of South
Buffalo and also co-owner of Elevator Alley Kayak, points out that the origin of the sugary scent: that the General Mills mill, among only a
handful still working along the waterfront in this metro area of
1.1 million. The aroma makes it feel as if we’re navigating a
scene straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. What’s
even more unlikely is that we’re paddling a waterway that
previously was so polluted with toxic sludge that it once caught on
fire. These days, however, the water is remarkably fresh, and parks
and bustling waterfront development co-exist easily with its

10 Best Urban Kayaking Adventures

After decades of decline, this long-depressed town isalso, if not
Quite flourishing again, certainly bouncing back. Buffalo’s brutal
winters and Super Bowl–contested football team have constantly made
for easy punch lines. But say incentives like the Buffalo
Billion–that subsidized projects including a brand new $750 million
Tesla mill –have sparked renewed optimism. The impressive turnaround of the once-dead Buffalo River has played a major part,
too, because of a 10-year, $75 million shoreline restoration. The
Canalside district, because it’therefore known, is currently teeming with
restaurants, bars, and a boardwalk, bringing fresh life to the
once-blighted waterfront. This summer will also mark the conclusion of a 25-year, $50 million recovery of the Martin House Complex
–that the toughest endeavor by America’s most famous architect,
Frank Lloyd Wrig

This buzzy fresh Buffalo is mostly the use of enterprising
Locals like Mendola, that embody the blue-collar work ethic the town
has ever been known for. “The pride has just been bonkers,”
Mendola says. “If you’re going to say something terrible about
Buffalo today, people will fight you. And it’s the young
people. They haven’t been jaded by the past. ”

Refurbishing older buildings for some newfangled function, called
Adaptive reuse, is a trendy term nowadays, particularly with
politicians and planning forms. But few places are pulling it off
as easily –and charmingly–just as Buffalo. Silo City is the most
poignant example. The five-acre bunch of former industrial
buildings today functions as a venue for art exhibits, concerts, and
literary events. Grain elevator tours can be found, and also the latest addition on website is a cozy tapas bar.

That harmonious combination of new and old is woven throughout the
city. In the Old First Ward area, a
116-year-old former barrel mill currently houses Mendola’s kayak
store, along with a craft distillery, a brewery, and a pizzeria. A
couple of blocks off, Undergrounds Coffee House & Roastery
celebrates its former life as a funeral home. Across town, in a
complex called Buffalo RiverWorks, grain silos are the site of a brewery, a zip line, and a climbing wall.

Great Destination Restaurants

Hotels are getting in on the act, also. Hotel Henry is housed
In the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, its own foreboding
facade, complete with turrets that seem lifted from the Middle
Ages, belying light- and art-filled interiors. The swanky Curtiss
Hotel, meanwhile, is now displaying a $25 million make-over of a
former office building.

In addition to the revitalization, the town is becoming an extra
Increase from refugees and immigrants, as it’s among the nation’s
leading places for resettlement. There’s no better spot to obtain a
literal taste of the gifts than in the West Side Bazaar,
a business incubator with six retail stalls and nine food vendors
who turn out authentic dishes from around the Earth, for example Ethiopian injera and Indian biryani. The bazaar is a powerful draw in
the gentrifying area, manager Bob Doyle tells me.

“The refugees were those casual urban pioneers,” he
says. “Usuallyit’therefore that the hipsters coming into and gentrifying.
But it had been the refugees that kicked everything off. ”

On my very last day in town, I grab a cherry-red pair of wheels from
Buffalo’s motorcycle share program. The city’s flat streets and
ample bicycle lanes make riding a breeze, and I spend hours
researching the Elmwood Village and Allentown neighborhoods, brimming
with bars, book- shops, and cafes–some old, some fresh.

So what I’m expecting to see, however, is still bubbles. They come
Courtesy of a local legend called the Bubble Man, that resides in a
top- floor flat and regularly blasts bubbles out of the window. The previous occasions I’ve ever been past his corner, there’therefore been nary an orb from the air. But since I pedal down Elmwood Avenue
that time, a flash of iridescence, another, catches my attention.
Suddenly dozens of shining globes float down on the breeze. It’s
yet another nice surprise in a town which ’s currently filled with them

Where to Stay

The Hotel Henry
Features soaring ceilings and halls full of local and
national art (from $155). Even the Curtiss Hotel has a snazzy lobby,
rotating bar, along with rooftop lounge which ’therefore a very popular neighborhood gathering
place in the summertime, with excellent views of the skyline (from

Where to Eat

James Beard-nominated chef Victor Parra Gonzalez’s Las Puertas has a menu with
Mexican tastes and French methods; splurge to the tasting menu.
Even the Anchor Bar claims to
have devised buffalo wings, and it regularly covers sailors ’ lists
of top spots for them. You can’t go wrong with some of those dishes in the West Side
, together with influences from around the world.

Don’t Leave Without 

1. Taking in a Sunday-night jam in the early Colored Musicians Club, that has
Hosted a number of jazz’s best artists, including Miles Davis,
for over 100 decades.

2. Ogling the mansions along Millionaires’ Row,
A peek into Buffalo’s booming ago.

3. Grabbing a Reddy Bike along with
Taking the five-minute trip round the Buffalo River around the Queen
City Bike Ferry to the Outer Harbor. There, bicycle
Paths run along the shores of Lake Erie past character preserves,
Public artwork, and an outside beer garden.

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