Saturday, 15 July 2017

Maid of the Mist

Even though we had taken this boat trip before, we decided to take a tour on the Maid of the Mist for a close up view of both the American and the Horseshoe Falls from below.

This distant view of the bridge to the Canadian side of the river, the Observation Deck and the American Falls with one of the boats beneath gives an idea of the scale of things.  As the boat trips run about every 15 minutes from both sides of the river and as tourist boat trips have been taken here for well over a hundred years, we felt pretty safe!

From the start of the trip the spray coming from the Falls was very noticeable - they give you the blue raincovers for good reason and many a camera and phone has succumbed to the weather.  This photo shows people looking down from the top of the American and Bridal Veil Falls and at the bottom in yellow rain covers those on the Cave of the Winds trail.

Almost as soon as the Horseshoe Falls come into sight they disappear again into the mist and spots of water appear over the camera and phone lenses (both happily in their waterproof cases).

Instant hair frizz in the spray means no glamorous photos (as if anyway), but just to prove we were there..

And st this time of year, at least the spray was not too chilly!

Once off the boat and on the basis that we were already pretty wet, we walked up the side of the Falls to a very damp viewpoint.

Some flowers and plants clearly thrive with the frequent watering and much of the grass around the Falls was very green.

A shaft of sunlight behind us and a beautiful rainbow appeared in the mist below..

Finally we returned to the Observation Deck to look down over where we had been.  The sun giving a little more life to the Falls and the water now noticeably brown after heavy rain.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Niagara at Night

We arrived in Niagara Falls from Buffalo last night in the early evening.  It was cloudy, unfortunately, due to the rain, which also meant that the river was high and the Falls extra noisy!

The Maid of the Mist was busy ferrying damp passengers into the area under the Horseshoe Falls.

As before, we marveled at the fact that it is possible to stand in safety so close to the rushing river and  the Falls and that there are wildflowers growing right up to the water's edge.

As it got darker, the Falls were illuminated..(note the very calm duck in this next photo)..

On the Canadian side, the hotels, casino and Skylon tower were all brightly lit, though often shrouded in the spray/mist coming off the Falls.

Once it is really dark the constantly changing coloured lights are quite effective.

Although the white light gives a very powerful look to the water..

At 10pm there is a firework display on the Canadian side of the river..

Try as we might we could not find an angle which enabled us to photograph Falls and fireworks together, but we enjoyed the show anyway..

Thursday, 13 July 2017

City Hall, Buffalo

This is a photo of City Hall taken when we visited in July last year.  When I went there this morning it was raining stair-rods and far too wet to stop for photos until I was safely under the columns of the front entrance, when I was able to photograph Niagara Square..

 and the extraordinary but partially derelict  Statler Hotel.

The reason for visiting City Hall was to join a daily guided tour of this magnificent Art Deco building which remains largely as it was on completion in 1931.  Far from being a 'Depression era' building it is opulent in both the intricacy of its design and the materials used.

It was the tallest building in Buffalo on its completion and remains one of the largest City Halls in the US.  I was pleased to hear that, despite all the rain and some flooding on the upper terraces, we would be allowed to go with our guide to the 28th floor observation deck to see the views of the city.

We waited for our guide in the entrance hall, admiring the carvings in stone and the mosaic tile ceilings depicting the life of the early pioneers and Native American culture and traditions.

These themes run through the whole building, as well as celebrations of Buffalo's strategic importance on Lake Eyrie and the Canadian border and its key position on the early railroad and the Eyrie canal.

These themes are clear in the two murals at each end of the hall.

And are carried on in decorative details around the ornate elevators..

On our way to the deck we visited the Mayor's Office..and briefly met the Mayor.

Our next stop was due to be the very large and ornate Council Chamber but unfortunately it was in use for police promotion exams so I had to look for some images of it on the web..

Which explained why our guide (who said he had never been denied access before, was so disappointed not to be able to show us).

On to the 28th floor (25 by elevator and 3 on the stairs) and the rain had stopped, leaving clear if soggy views of Lake Eyrie, the Niagara River valley and Downtown Buffalo..

Once on the ground again, the Mayor was busy making a statement to the press about flooding in the area..

And I was able to end my visit with a reflection of City Hall in the brand new Courthouse building alongside, which also has some kind of Declaration or People's Charter etched into the glass.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Second Attempt

An early start this morning, heading to the metro at 6.30am to travel to Washington National Airport (known as Ronald Reagan Airport).  It is built alongside the Potomac and close to the Centre of DC.  It is strange to look out of the airport window across the runway and have a clear view of the Capitol and Library  of Congress buildings.

Once in the air the views over Washington are spectacular..

Firstly the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial and in the background the National Mall, here seen more clearly..with the  WWII Memorial and Washington Monument in the foreground and all the Smithsonian museums stretching either side of the National Mall up to the Capitol building.

Our journey to Buffalo this morning was via Newark - the only route available to us.  More views as we flew into the airport at Newark, New Jersey, one of the three New York airports.

Then shortly afterwards out again on the same plane.  This time a view over Newark with New York's Manhattan skyline in the background..

We finally reached the hotel in Buffalo some seven hours after setting off!

This evening, a brief stroll in the downtown area near the hotel.  This is City Hall.

Close by, the Liberty Building with a statue of Lady Liberty on the roof.

Finally a view through the door of the now apparently abandoned foyer of what was once (from around one hundred years ago until the 1950's) one of the largest and grandest hotels in Buffalo.