Destination Information - Buffalo, New York, USA
As I-90 sweeps down into the state's second largest city, Buffalo, downtown looms up in a cluster of Art Deco spires and glass-box skyscrapers - Manhattan in miniature on Lake Erie. The city's early twentieth-century prosperity is reflected in such architecturally significant structures as the towering 1928 City Hall (the tallest in the country, and with a free observation deck on the top floor), the deep red terracotta relief of Louis Sullivan's Guaranty Building on Church Street, as well as major buildings by H.H. Richardson, Eliel Saarinen and Frank Lloyd Wright. However, the dereliction of the immediate environs suggests that the Rust Belt of rotting industrial towns may now have reached Buffalo. The city has only distant memories of the boom years, when the massive grain elevators along the Erie waterfront were busy 24 hours a day.
That Buffalo's wealthy merchants were a cultured lot is also apparent in the excellent Albright-Knox Art Gallery, two miles north of downtown amid the green spaces of the F.L. Olmsted-designed Delaware Park. One of the top modern collections in the world, it's especially strong on recent American and European art: the Color Field painters, Abstract Expressionism, Pop, Op and Kinetic Art, with Pollock, Rothko, Warhol and Rauschenberg among the names. Other highlights include thirty large paintings by Clyfford Still, and a fine selection of pieces by earlier artists such as Matisse, Picasso and Monet. There's also a tasty, chic restaurant open daily for lunch from noon-3pm.
The area around Delaware Park is Buffalo's choicest neighborhood, featuring several homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Between here and downtown is Allentown, Buffalo's most bohemian quarter, its leafy streets lined by lovely Victorian homes as well as numerous good cafés, bars and restaurants. Allen Street between Main Street and Elmwood Avenue holds some of the best examples of nineteenth-century architecture; some of the area around Theatre Place downtown is also good.
Being a staunchly blue-collar city, Buffalo loves its professional sports teams: football's Bills, ice hockey's Sabres and baseball's Bisons who, as the top farm team for the Cleveland Indians, attract over a million fans per season to downtown's modern and very pleasant ballpark.
The Lake Erie shoreline west of Buffalo is lined by numerous beaches where windsurfers skim across the water and do flips in the waves, while the Miss Buffalo boat tours, which leave from 79 Marine Drive next to the Naval and Servicemen's Park, provide a good view of the city skyline. To the south, in the town of Orchard Park, the Burgwardt Bicycle Museum holds over two hundred antique bikes and engaging displays of cycling memorabilia.