Buffalo, New York

Poet and novelist Sinéad Tyrone shows you around her home city

By Sinéad Tyrone

“For the past twenty-five years, I have lived in a small house in an older, suburban neighbourhood outside of Buffalo, New York. The town lies on the eastern end of Lake Erie, one of America’s five Great Lakes.

At home, my mornings are quiet, and relaxing, filled with the sounds of birds greeting each other as they dine at my bird feeder. As I drive the twenty minutes necessary to get to my job, my pace quickens with excitement.

Buffalo is an old city with a new vibrancy about it. Approximately 900,000 people reside in the Buffalo region, with about 250,000 living in the city itself. The largest industries in the city are medical personnel (we have a large medical campus including Roswell Park, a world-renowned cancer research and treatment facility) and the legal profession, including Phillips Lytle LLP, a law firm. Mixed in with some fascinating old architectural masterpieces such as the Guaranty Building, Shea’s Buffalo Theater, and St. Paul’s Cathedral are a number of new or refurbished buildings, such as the Larkin Building and our own Canalside building.

Exploring Canalside

Canalside is a region of Buffalo that runs along the Erie Canal, where it connects with Lake Erie. The Erie Canal is a human-made waterway built in the 1820s to transport goods across New York State. Several large grain elevators from the early 1900’s rise against the skyline along this waterway. As I walk to my building, I can sometimes smell the oats for Cheerios and other cereals roasting in one of the grain elevators still in use. This smell always brings a smile to my face. If you stand at Exchange Street and Washington Street at the right time of day, you might catch the same wonderful smell!

The Many Delights of Buffalo

Buffalo is made up of many cultures. We are a sports town, with a minor league baseball team (the Buffalo Bisons), a professional football team (the Buffalo Bills), and a professional ice hockey team (the Buffalo Sabres, whose arena home is in the Canalside region). Buffalo loves the arts, with a major art gallery, philharmonic, theatre, and vibrant literary and visual arts scene. We have a large number of festivals throughout the summer including the Allentown Arts Festival, Taste of Buffalo, and the Buffalo Wing Fest, which celebrates one of our food specialities, the chicken wing, which was first introduced to the world at our Anchor Bar restaurant in 1964.

Aside from chicken wings, our most famous regional speciality is beef on the week, a roast beef sandwich served on a kimmelweck roll. Tim Horton’s replaces Starbucks as our favourite coffee house; while you’re there, be sure to try their doughnuts! Buffalo is a very diverse cultural city, though, and you can find a wide variety of ethnic foods.

Diving Deep!

While others enjoy our festivals, bars, and restaurants, I find I am always drawn to the water. A stroll along our waterfront region always relaxes me as I watch boats glide across the lake, and gulls swirl and dive. I’m especially fascinated by our fireboat, the Edward M. Cotter, the world’s oldest active fireboat, and the Spirit of Buffalo, a fascinating 73-foot schooner. Whether watching the boats, viewing our grain elevators or studying the peaceful steadfastness of our lighthouse, the Buffalo Harbour at Canalside is always a relaxing, refreshing experience.

For All Seasons…

We enjoy all four seasons here in Buffalo. Winter snow paints our landscape in amazing vistas of black and white. Spring brings many flowering trees – lilac, flowering cherry, and crabapple most prominent among them. Our summer gardens are richly coloured, and many are well-shaded from our old maples, oaks, and other deciduous trees. In autumn, our tree leaves turn glorious shades of red, yellow, and orange.

Things To Do, Places To Be

  • Betty’s on Virginia Street in the downtown region is the best gourmet eatery in town.
  • For Italian food, I love LaBella Sicilia on Genesee Street.
  • The Dog Ears Cafe on Abbott Road is my favourite. Right next to it is Dog Ears Bookstore, which happens to be my favourite bookstore as well!
  • Gramma Mora’s on Hertel Avenue offers the best Mexican food.
  • Walden Galleria Mall offers a wide selection of upscale stores. You can find more trendy, unique shops along Elmwood Avenue. Downtown, Boutique in the Square has a wonderful selection of clothing, jewelry, and gift items.

Twenty minutes from Niagara Falls, Buffalo is a shining example of an old city being reborn. I hope when you visit you will find my hometown as exciting and inspiring as I do!

Sinéad Tyrone is a Western New York poet and novelist. She published her first novel, Walking Through The Mist in 2013. When not writing, Sinéad enjoys music, photography, reading, and nature.

While Buffalo packs its own wonders, the nearby city of Niagara Falls is no less! Read all about Niagara Falls, Canada here.

Featured image courtesy: Buffalo, NY

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