Will Niagara Falls Ever Run Out

If you were to follow, the flow of water from Lake Michigan down the Niagara Falls, through the St Lawrence Seaway and into the Atlantic, it would be a 15 hour journey

I The Great Lakes Record High

II Rochester 

III Come to Canada for the Views

V Niagara Rushing Back from COVID

VI The Liberty Hound’s Last Drink

I last visited the Great Lakes 20 summers ago. The Navy was conducting a three-month, 16-port recruiting cruise to show the Midwest how their tax dollars were been put to good use. In addition to recruiting and outreach, the USS Clark (FFG-11) provided an opportunity to conduct multi-national operations with our perennial allies from the North, the Royal Canadian Navy. It was a cruise that every American Sailor dreamed of. That blistering hot summer in 1999, the Great Lakes was experiencing the lowest water levels in decades. Ships were stuck pier-side for days on end – a sure sign of the Greenhouse effect.

Spring forward twenty summers years later, thanks to record snow falls and heavy springtime rains, many ports along the Great Lakes are rising rapidly, flooding local communities.

That is why swimming at Lake Ontario Beach was quite unique. First with overcast skies and lower than normal temperatures the water was still a frigid mid-50s – unseasonably low for mid-June, but a refreshing feeling none- the-less. Lake Ontario, the last lake in the chain of five and the gateway to the St. Lawrence Seaway is perceptibly the most polluted. But for this grimy body that hadn’t bathed for days, it was more than satisfying. The icy waters provided cold-water immersion therapy boosting my immune system and my spirits.  That’s because the body literally goes through shock when you take a dip and reacts by releasing the stress hormone cortisol.

The good thing about Rochester summers is that it rarely gets hot. That’s because both Lake Ontario and Erie moderates hot air masses that move to the region.

The bad thing about this summer was the flooding had taken a toll on the shoreline, significantly reducing beach area, raising E-coli levels and even closing some beach areas for the season.


II Rochester 

Rochester, the former home of Eastman Kodak and predominately a manufacturing town is a poster child of post-industrial urban decline.

It has a high unemployment rate with nearly a third of residents living below the poverty line. Despite losing residents to mass-exodus to the cities, the outlook for jobs today is steadily improving.

The city is experiencing a startup renaissance with downtown returning back from the throes of death.

After decades of decline, Kodak declared bankruptcy in 2012 and many of their buildings have been demolished or on the list for the cutting block.  But new-venture businesses are moving back to the decrepit Eastman Business Park, turning the downtrodden ghost-town into a venerable tech hub.

And Rochester can attract more than businesses. Overlooking expansive Lake Ontario, it is also home to a couple of picturesque beaches and idyllic camp grounds where New Yorkers and out-of-staters have flocked to as soon as the spring-time weather starts to break.

And Ontario Beach is where I found a welcomed respite from the stress-filled regimen of the open road.  The calm lake, with crystal-clear water beckoned me to take a refreshing dip and the sub-tropical water temperatures felt relaxing and invigorating.

This is when I realized the balmy Great Lakes had an edge over the surf-ridden seacoast. It wasn’t sunny Florida, but I didn’t have to fight over a parking spot and didn’t have to battle the crowds to find my treasured spot to camp out.

Rochester, I soon will return.


III Come to Canada for Views

While it has been 20 years since I last sailed the gargantuan Lakes in my threadbare whites, It’s been 30 years since I last journeyed to the great Falls. 

It was mid-week – I was surprised to find coach-size parking spaces for my tractor along the street.  The parking machine read “$5 an hour, maximum of 4 hours”. I decided to blow off the fee and just take the ticket.

Terrapin Point – Best vantage point in the US side.

One glaring observation: While the US side with its pristine state park and Mom & Pop shops on Main Street has grown at the pace of a trickle, the Canadian side continues to explode as fast as the raging rapids.

Over four decades ago, Ontario realized the importance of tourism and began to make huge investments to bring infrastructure and retail.  The US, on the other hand, was too focused on its hydropower and manufacturing to focus on tourism.

Here Nikola Tesla harnessed the power of Niagara Falls and started the electrification of the world.

Though the Falls reside mostly in the US, it is Canada that provides a commanding view of Horseshoe Falls that has arguably more complete and stunning.

Once you stroll over the Rainbow Bridge into Canada, one must continue a mile along the shoreline to the Horseshoe Falls offering a great vantage point of both the U.S. and Canada.

When visiting the U.S. side, make sure you visit Terrapin Point. It’s a further walk on Luna Island but the panoramic view of Horseshoe Fall and Ontario is just breathtaking.

There are few things in North America that tops the grandeur of the Falls. You can stand there for hours in absolute amazement and never get bored.  The falls are so powerful and never-ending. And each time, there’s something magically different.

Meanwhile you get a kick out of seeing tourists on the all-electric Maid of the Mist getting tossed around soaked by the potent falls like a battered boat been slammed by a Nor’easter.

And even at 200 feet up, you feel the strength of 75,000 gallons per second smashing the rocks below, creating a plume of mist that rises like a hot-air balloon, magical and refreshing.

Many Canadians and Americans alike prefer to view the Falls from Canada and there is a better selection of restaurants and amenities there.  Many pass by shuttered storefronts and struggling stores on their way to Canada where a spinning ferris wheel, glowing arcade lights, festive carnival rides and yes, even a tribal casino beckons. There are clearly two chasms between the two and it’s not just one that is formed by rushing water.

Some say you have to visit Niagara in the winter when the icy cascade creates a winter spectacular. The best views by far are at night, when the falls and drifting mist are lit up in a rainbow of colors.

Hyatt recently announced it will build three hotels in downtown Niagara Falls by 2022. Meanwhile many business along with a mall has closed on the US side but things will be changing soon. Politics have finally lined up and the US has finally realized that its time to invest in tourism.

The US industries are long gone and the state now has to figure out how to keep tourists this side of the Niagara.

There are many taller falls than Niagara. The Angel Falls in Venezuela is the world’s highest and is over 20 times taller. But what makes Niagara Falls so impressive is the amount of water – over 3,000 tons flowing per second.

And it’s the attraction of the rushing water that lures dozens to jump over every year, either to die early or to live in infamy.

Although I didn’t succumb to this mystical trance, the massive cloud of mist floating up in the air felt refreshing as it evaporated gently on my skin. I longed for the refreshing feeling of jumping into the lake – not for the thrill, but for the feel.

And as the roaring waters crashed onto the rocks below, tons of negative ions were produced resulting in a dose of serotonin and quantum lows of positive energy. it helps improve your immune function, normalize breathing rates, decrease blood pressure and lower stress levels.


III Swimming in Lake Erie

So after spending a few days at Niagara Falls, I wanted nothing more than to get waist deep in the Erie water. Where nearby can I make a splash? Buffalo Harbor State Park – there’s lots of green space for biking and walking, and boaters flock here, too.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is NtdbFDzS16MzKP7nFHdOQ-1024x768.jpg

I visited Gallagher Beach which is adjacent to the park. While there is no soft sand, the beach boasts a nice lagoon protected by a seawall. It’s a great spot to go boating, and on this particular windy day, there were lots of windsurfers.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is m6id06y5RfqIUObbT3K0IQ-1024x768.jpg
 
An avid windsurfer flying high on a wind foil
Due to potential toxins in the water, you’re not allowed to swim. But that didn’t stop this wandering explorer from taking a dip. With the high winds (20+ knots), any toxins in the lake would sure to be dissipated. I didn’t see any algal blooms, but if there were, the high winds would spread the toxins airborne.

Where I should have gone instead was Woodlawn Beach on the eastern most part of Lake Erie.

It’s a one-mile long natural sand beach which is popular with swimmers and sun bathers.

 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is WZsh5G5JR5SxQjFRQsaImg-1024x768.jpg
 
 
 

IV Stroh’s Tavern on Lake Erie

After five days, I left Niagara awe-inspired, and full of admiration for nature and her glorified beauty.

I stayed rent-free, parked minutes away from the natural waterfalls — I definitely got more than I bargained for. And no one hassled me.

There was only one unfinished business left — plunging into the refreshing lake water. The icy water would relieve my inflammation and stress and the negative ions from the falls crashing onto the rocks hundreds of feet below would liven my mood and stimulate my senses.

I arrived at Lake Erie Beach, in Angola, NY – a small town just outside of Buffalo with the single intention of doing just that.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is abnaKoc7RaiafAMBFS4Cuw-1024x768.jpg
 

The beach was small with only spots for a couple dozen cars – that’s why my semi attracted quite the attention when I pulled up, with all six cylinders roaring under the hood. Like Rochester, the water was frigid, but a little murky from a recent downpour. The water did indeed do the magic and after a quick 30-minute dip – my body cleaned and my soul healed, I was back in the cab drying up, my stomach starting to growl.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is S4DM3QsgSmWIIogwyHPjQQ-1024x768.jpg
 

It was easy not to notice a tavern located next to the parking lot. The strange-looking pub could easily be mistaken for an air strip. The big letters on the tail of an airplane read Stroh’s Tavern. A prop plane was actually buried halfway into the roof of the bar with the tail section jutting out. This piqued my interest — any place with a wreck jutting out of the roof would certainly be a great dive bar.

As soon as I walked up to the deck, I was greeted by a friendly bartender who was still setting up for the day.

“Good morning. Know I’m early. Say you got WiFi?”

“Certainly. Grab a seat. We’re a bit busy this morning. I’ll be right with you.”

The pub was spacious and airy with Buffalo Bills and Sabres gear adorning the walls. I remember driving by New Era field on the way here and I knew that the locals loved their Bills. A lone pool table sat unused – people were gathering outside on the deck by the tiki bar.

I soon learned that the most talked about item on the menu was not the burgers or BBQ Chicken, but the fried bologna sandwich, and I wasn’t going break with tradition

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fullsizeoutput_84e-1024x777.jpeg

The famous Fried Bologna Sandwich at Stroh’s Tavern
 

“What’s going on today?” I inquired.

“We’re having our anniversary party,” said July has she continued scrambling to get things ready.

“Really how long has this place been here?”

“Over 50 years, but this is the first year of the new ownership,”

Wow, 50 years!! Perfect timing. I simply came here for a swim before I find my next load and stumbled upon an Anniversary Party at the local-favorite tavern.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is nLIMcLl3QfO0IYh4VAqPdQ-1-1024x768.jpg
 

The party started without a hitch and soon the parking lot was full of locals, some in Harleys, one family came in an RV – guess they were planning to spend the night.

A classic rock band was performing, and soon the crowd was engaged in the tunes of CCR and Rolling Stones and in avid conversation with each other.

I immediately felt like the only minority in the room. This didn’t deter me from sticking around. I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly and inviting the locals were. I met the new owners as well as the old ones – who didn’t want to sell but were ready for retirement, and a handful of guests who were easy to talk to.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fullsizeoutput_a0e-1024x768.jpeg
 

I walked towards the bar to grab another $3.50 Michelob lite. Guess I wasn’t going anywhere tonight, either.

A lady, probably in her sixties, who was sitting at the bar immediately moved over to make room.

I smiled and thanked her and asked if she wanted anything.

“Sure vodka and cranberry would be nice.” Found out her name is Debbie and she’s been living in Angola for years, but not quite as long as Stroh’s been in existence.

“So what’s to do here besides socialize and swim on the Lake?”

“That about sums it up. But most of us don’t even get in the water anymore. We just enjoy looking at it.”

“Why is this place called Angola.”

“This place was settled by the Quakers who were supporting missionary work in Angola, Africa,” said Debbie.

“What’s the major industry, here?”

“Besides tourism, there isn’t much. In fact Angola hardly existed before the arrival of the railroad line in the 1850s.”

“That’s right, you might have heard the tragedy of the Edmund Fitzgerald. But here in Angola, we have the train wreck horror of 1867,” said George.

George had been working at Stroh’s for the last fifty years. He could have retired years ago but he had too many friends to keep up with and he loved watching the sun set over Lake Erie each day.

“Train wreck?”

“Yeah, the Buffalo bound New York Express derailed and plunged into a creek. Stoves set coaches on fire – nearly 50 died – many more injured.”

“Oh my goodness.”

“Yeah, John D. Rockefeller was supposed to be on that train. His bags were onboard, but he missed the train by minutes,” said Debbie.

“It was the worst train wreck of the 19th century,” George face turned somber.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is xgdZYVzZQFWebbObm4jxzg-1024x768.jpg
 

The conversation soon turned to sports and politics, and I turned our attention to the setting sun over the lake.

To cap things off there was a modest fireworks show, teasing us with the big event on July 4th.

Each year Stroh’s sponsors the fireworks show. There is not much of a city council here or a budget. Angola doesn’t even have a police department but shares these duties with Evans town.

They invited me to see the fireworks next week. Unfortunately I would be out of town by the next morning, and by Independence Day hopefully somewhere in the Northeast.


V Niagara Rushing Back from COVID

It’s tough to revisit an area that I so thoroughly enjoyed in the past, but is no longer the same. Gone are the busloads of tourists. from Asia and everywhere. Gone are the family vacationers making the yearly trek to Canada. Gone are the restaurants – still shuttered from the pandemic. And the few that are open just welcomed diners inside. Even the Seneca Nation welcomed back  their gamblers, but with a ton of restrictions (plexiglass everywhere and hand sanitizers galore.)

Even the Maid of the Mist hasn’t made it’s maiden journey – I miss seeing adventure seekers getting soaked to the bones. Meanwhile the smokey mist climbs to the height of nearby Ontario skyscrapers, creating an alluring backdrop.  Gulls prance around the falls, soaring to new heights.  They roost, rest, feed and for now, they have this cascade all to themselves.

Everyone knows that the best view of the falls is from the Canadian side, so for now, the international borders that flowed in unison remain a deep chasm in between.

But the one thing that hasn’t changed the magic and mystery of the falls which knows no border or is affected by a world-wide pandemic. The rushing waters still provides peace and serenity and the produces negative ions that improves your health and lower stress levels.  Travelers know this, and that’s why many choose to ditch the mask.  They need to breathe in the fresh air and feel the mist hydrate their skin.

T.G.I. Friday’s was still closed but thank goodness the Rainforest Cafe was open and I sipped on a rum and coke at the bar enjoying the thundering roar of the lions and the elephants trumpeting under the aura of a tropical thunderstorm.

So if you’re a day trip away from the Falls (yes, I’m talking to you Washingtonians), you should consider a road trip this summer. It’s natural, it’s uplifting and we need to do our part to boost the local economy.

 


VI The Liberty Hound’s Last Drink

A lot of people may not know this, but Buffalo has a Navy. The legendary Sullivan Brothers is docked here alongside the USS Little Rock and SS Croaker. And right behind the armada is a lively galley adorned with Naval memorabilia boasting a large pier-side patio that resembles a forecastle of a Navy destroyer.

Owners Mike Shatzel and Jason Davidson commissioned the canal-side restaurant here nearly a decade ago. Prior to that, the area was mostly sand and gravel. The Navy ships arrived in 1979, but didn’t bring along much development. The waterfront remained an industrial wasteland.for over 30 years until liberty came calling.

The name Liberty hound refers to the Sailor(s) who are always one of the first to leave the ship when liberty is called. They are on a mission is to patronize the local taverns and they yearn to enjoy every last minute ashore before the ships returns to sea. Often they stumble back across the brow minutes before liberty expires. If these ships returned to life, you would certainly see their crew enjoying a last drink here.

So WNY has launched Phase 2. I enjoyed my steel beach burger on the canal-side pier alongside the flotilla To wash down my chow, I swigged down a Thin Man porter – dark and bold – all lights out before Taps was called.

I was glad to see patrons returning in droves, and mariners and landlubbers swapping scuttlebutt on the open pier.

And as the roaring waters crashed onto the rocks below, tons of negative ions were produced resulting in a dose of serotonin and quantum lows of positive energy. it helps improve your immune function, normalize breathing rates, decrease blood pressure and lower stress levels.


III Swimming in Lake Erie

So after spending a few days at Niagara Falls, I wanted nothing more than to get waist deep in the Erie water. Where nearby can I make a splash? Buffalo Harbor State Park – there’s lots of green space for biking and walking, and boaters flock here, too.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is NtdbFDzS16MzKP7nFHdOQ-1024x768.jpg

I visited Gallagher Beach which is adjacent to the park. While there is no soft sand, the beach boasts a nice lagoon protected by a seawall. It’s a great spot to go boating, and on this particular windy day, there were lots of windsurfers.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is m6id06y5RfqIUObbT3K0IQ-1024x768.jpg
 
An avid windsurfer flying high on a wind foil
Due to potential toxins in the water, you’re not allowed to swim. But that didn’t stop this wandering explorer from taking a dip. With the high winds (20+ knots), any toxins in the lake would sure to be dissipated. I didn’t see any algal blooms, but if there were, the high winds would spread the toxins airborne.

Where I should have gone instead was Woodlawn Beach on the eastern most part of Lake Erie.

It’s a one-mile long natural sand beach which is popular with swimmers and sun bathers.

 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is WZsh5G5JR5SxQjFRQsaImg-1024x768.jpg
 
 
 

IV Stroh’s Tavern on Lake Erie

After five days, I left Niagara awe-inspired, and full of admiration for nature and her glorified beauty.

I stayed rent-free, parked minutes away from the natural waterfalls — I definitely got more than I bargained for. And no one hassled me.

There was only one unfinished business left — plunging into the refreshing lake water. The icy water would relieve my inflammation and stress and the negative ions from the falls crashing onto the rocks hundreds of feet below would liven my mood and stimulate my senses.

I arrived at Lake Erie Beach, in Angola, NY – a small town just outside of Buffalo with the single intention of doing just that.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is abnaKoc7RaiafAMBFS4Cuw-1024x768.jpg
 

The beach was small with only spots for a couple dozen cars – that’s why my semi attracted quite the attention when I pulled up, with all six cylinders roaring under the hood. Like Rochester, the water was frigid, but a little murky from a recent downpour. The water did indeed do the magic and after a quick 30-minute dip – my body cleaned and my soul healed, I was back in the cab drying up, my stomach starting to growl.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is S4DM3QsgSmWIIogwyHPjQQ-1024x768.jpg
 

It was easy not to notice a tavern located next to the parking lot. The strange-looking pub could easily be mistaken for an air strip. The big letters on the tail of an airplane read Stroh’s Tavern. A prop plane was actually buried halfway into the roof of the bar with the tail section jutting out. This piqued my interest — any place with a wreck jutting out of the roof would certainly be a great dive bar.

As soon as I walked up to the deck, I was greeted by a friendly bartender who was still setting up for the day.

“Good morning. Know I’m early. Say you got WiFi?”

“Certainly. Grab a seat. We’re a bit busy this morning. I’ll be right with you.”

The pub was spacious and airy with Buffalo Bills and Sabres gear adorning the walls. I remember driving by New Era field on the way here and I knew that the locals loved their Bills. A lone pool table sat unused – people were gathering outside on the deck by the tiki bar.

I soon learned that the most talked about item on the menu was not the burgers or BBQ Chicken, but the fried bologna sandwich, and I wasn’t going break with tradition

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fullsizeoutput_84e-1024x777.jpeg

The famous Fried Bologna Sandwich at Stroh’s Tavern
 

“What’s going on today?” I inquired.

“We’re having our anniversary party,” said July has she continued scrambling to get things ready.

“Really how long has this place been here?”

“Over 50 years, but this is the first year of the new ownership,”

Wow, 50 years!! Perfect timing. I simply came here for a swim before I find my next load and stumbled upon an Anniversary Party at the local-favorite tavern.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is nLIMcLl3QfO0IYh4VAqPdQ-1-1024x768.jpg
 

The party started without a hitch and soon the parking lot was full of locals, some in Harleys, one family came in an RV – guess they were planning to spend the night.

A classic rock band was performing, and soon the crowd was engaged in the tunes of CCR and Rolling Stones and in avid conversation with each other.

I immediately felt like the only minority in the room. This didn’t deter me from sticking around. I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly and inviting the locals were. I met the new owners as well as the old ones – who didn’t want to sell but were ready for retirement, and a handful of guests who were easy to talk to.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fullsizeoutput_a0e-1024x768.jpeg
 

I walked towards the bar to grab another $3.50 Michelob lite. Guess I wasn’t going anywhere tonight, either.

A lady, probably in her sixties, who was sitting at the bar immediately moved over to make room.

I smiled and thanked her and asked if she wanted anything.

“Sure vodka and cranberry would be nice.” Found out her name is Debbie and she’s been living in Angola for years, but not quite as long as Stroh’s been in existence.

“So what’s to do here besides socialize and swim on the Lake?”

“That about sums it up. But most of us don’t even get in the water anymore. We just enjoy looking at it.”

“Why is this place called Angola.”

“This place was settled by the Quakers who were supporting missionary work in Angola, Africa,” said Debbie.

“What’s the major industry, here?”

“Besides tourism, there isn’t much. In fact Angola hardly existed before the arrival of the railroad line in the 1850s.”

“That’s right, you might have heard the tragedy of the Edmund Fitzgerald. But here in Angola, we have the train wreck horror of 1867,” said George.

George had been working at Stroh’s for the last fifty years. He could have retired years ago but he had too many friends to keep up with and he loved watching the sun set over Lake Erie each day.

“Train wreck?”

“Yeah, the Buffalo bound New York Express derailed and plunged into a creek. Stoves set coaches on fire – nearly 50 died – many more injured.”

“Oh my goodness.”

“Yeah, John D. Rockefeller was supposed to be on that train. His bags were onboard, but he missed the train by minutes,” said Debbie.

“It was the worst train wreck of the 19th century,” George face turned somber.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is xgdZYVzZQFWebbObm4jxzg-1024x768.jpg
 

The conversation soon turned to sports and politics, and I turned our attention to the setting sun over the lake.

To cap things off there was a modest fireworks show, teasing us with the big event on July 4th.

Each year Stroh’s sponsors the fireworks show. There is not much of a city council here or a budget. Angola doesn’t even have a police department but shares these duties with Evans town.

They invited me to see the fireworks next week. Unfortunately I would be out of town by the next morning, and by Independence Day hopefully somewhere in the Northeast.


V Niagara Rushing Back from COVID

It’s tough to revisit an area that I so thoroughly enjoyed in the past, but is no longer the same. Gone are the busloads of tourists. from Asia and everywhere. Gone are the family vacationers making the yearly trek to Canada. Gone are the restaurants – still shuttered from the pandemic. And the few that are open just welcomed diners inside. Even the Seneca Nation welcomed back  their gamblers, but with a ton of restrictions (plexiglass everywhere and hand sanitizers galore.)

Even the Maid of the Mist hasn’t made it’s maiden journey – I miss seeing adventure seekers getting soaked to the bones. Meanwhile the smokey mist climbs to the height of nearby Ontario skyscrapers, creating an alluring backdrop.  Gulls prance around the falls, soaring to new heights.  They roost, rest, feed and for now, they have this cascade all to themselves.

Everyone knows that the best view of the falls is from the Canadian side, so for now, the international borders that flowed in unison remain a deep chasm in between.

But the one thing that hasn’t changed the magic and mystery of the falls which knows no border or is affected by a world-wide pandemic. The rushing waters still provides peace and serenity and the produces negative ions that improves your health and lower stress levels.  Travelers know this, and that’s why many choose to ditch the mask.  They need to breathe in the fresh air and feel the mist hydrate their skin.

T.G.I. Friday’s was still closed but thank goodness the Rainforest Cafe was open and I sipped on a rum and coke at the bar enjoying the thundering roar of the lions and the elephants trumpeting under the aura of a tropical thunderstorm.

So if you’re a day trip away from the Falls (yes, I’m talking to you Washingtonians), you should consider a road trip this summer. It’s natural, it’s uplifting and we need to do our part to boost the local economy.

 


VI The Liberty Hound’s Last Drink

A lot of people may not know this, but Buffalo has a Navy. The legendary Sullivan Brothers is docked here alongside the USS Little Rock and SS Croaker. And right behind the armada is a lively galley adorned with Naval memorabilia boasting a large pier-side patio that resembles a forecastle of a Navy destroyer.

Owners Mike Shatzel and Jason Davidson commissioned the canal-side restaurant here nearly a decade ago. Prior to that, the area was mostly sand and gravel. The Navy ships arrived in 1979, but didn’t bring along much development. The waterfront remained an industrial wasteland.for over 30 years until liberty came calling.

The name Liberty hound refers to the Sailor(s) who are always one of the first to leave the ship when liberty is called. They are on a mission is to patronize the local taverns and they yearn to enjoy every last minute ashore before the ships returns to sea. Often they stumble back across the brow minutes before liberty expires. If these ships returned to life, you would certainly see their crew enjoying a last drink here.

So WNY has launched Phase 2. I enjoyed my steel beach burger on the canal-side pier alongside the flotilla To wash down my chow, I swigged down a Thin Man porter – dark and bold – all lights out before Taps was called.

I was glad to see patrons returning in droves, and mariners and landlubbers swapping scuttlebutt on the open pier.

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