Buffalo New York: Being a Tourist in Your Own Hometown


So every summer, my husband and I have 3 months off from work and head back to our hometown of Buffalo, NY. By the end of three months, the cash always runs low, so here are a few of the things we did to keep the fun and the stories flowing.

Ahh Summer. After spending 9 months in the Alaskan Tundra my husband and I act like small school children, abandoning everything (including leaving our house in shambles) and head to our hometown to visit family and friends.

So those who live in the Western New York area can attest that it really is a dull depressing place where the infrastructure continues to crumble and the jobless rates continue to soar. However, when you haven’t seen civilization in almost an entire year, even the business district of Buffalo, with its gigantic vacant buildings and where nothing happens after 5pm sounds like the carnival just came to town!

So after going crazy and getting all of our seedy vices out of the way, we wondered to ourselves…what in the world did we just do? I guess it’s probably good that the whole Las Vegas vacation thing didn’t work out. So about one month left of our vacation and we had to reign ourselves in, realize that we are adults again, and not blow our life savings. So what to do? Well our solution was to romp around the city like we’ve never been there before.

First stop was the downtown theater district.

Now if you haven’t been down there in a while it is certainly worth another look. Of course you can take in a show, and if you do, I recommend Shea’s, as any person from Buffalo can tell you, it’s simply the best and also has amazing architecture. Still attempting to save our money though, our first stop was the Theater District visitors’ center. In reality it’s not much of a visitor center at all, but an awesome old arcade with an art gallery attached. Go there. Really!

The outside is just as cool as the inside!

And of course that area has some interesting old buildings so your eyes will have some fun even if you’re not there to see Phantom of the Opera or whatever happens to be playing.

See? Told you! Go look at those buildings!

Next up on our tour of Buffalo was the old abandoned New York Central Terminal. This is where all the trains used to run though, but has long since been left to crumble except for a Halloween party or two. So this place appeals to me for two reasons
1: I have a degree is Archaeology so old things are always interesting
2: My dad used to tell me that cults used to hold satanic rituals here, so who doesn’t want to see THAT?

This place isn’t for the weak of heart. It’s in a pretty bad neighborhood and is really beat up. But if you’re into old things with potential satanists and ghosts, this is the place to be. It is a massive complex of buildings and platforms that could take you days to explore. If you like talking to homeless bums, you can spend even more of your time there.

It has a great post-apocalyptic feel to it too which makes for some really interesting pictures, and of course is great to view with your real eyes and not just a viewfinder too. There’s something strangely alluring about this place.

Check it out, you won’t regret it.

Lastly, for our free nightlife, we ended up at the Lancaster Speedway for what is called Shredd and Regan Cruise Night. This is such a blast that everyone from my 5-year-old nephew up to my father can’t help but smile.

It consists of drag racing, a car show, a burnout pit, a hot girl competition, and about half of the population of Buffalo at any given time. And honestly, who doesn’t want to see an old hatchback decked out monster truck style or see you mom drag race her mini van against some hot shot in a Chevelle?

That’s the great appeal here. Anyone who comes can do any of the activities even if their car is awful. If you don’t have a car, bring your motorcycle, ATV, or snowmobile, it really doesn’t matter.

So after we got back on the responsibility train, I think we might have even had a little more fun than before. Not only could we remember what we did but we had enough wits about us to bring the camera too.

written by johnnyq302 on 2011-02-08 in #world #locations #theatre-district #personal-story #architecture #downtown #drag-races #abandoned-buildings #new-york #buffalo #friends #fun


  1. daforl
    daforl ·

    hehe, i like the second picture

  2. nigelk
    nigelk ·

    A day at the racetrack is a lomographer's dream!!! You could take a million cool photos there.

  3. johnnyq302
    johnnyq302 ·

    @ Nigelk: Agreed! It was my first ever outing with a lomography camera so I wasn't sure how they would come out. This summer I will definitely take advantage of the 3-4 races that take place near my house each week!

  4. derek_raymond
    derek_raymond ·

    It's great to see some amazing shots from my home town!

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