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  #1  
Old Posted May 22, 2011, 7:45 PM
MPK MPK is offline
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Niagara Falls, New York......living up to its potential?

Niagara Falls, New York skyline as seen from the Canadian side of the Niagara River.


Photo taken from the Rainbow Bridge (Canadian skyline on the right). We walked across without any hassle or attitude from Customs/Border Patrol. The cost is 50 cents (roundtrip) to use the pedestrian walkway between the US and Canada. Regardless of which country a visitor is staying in, I really recommend visiting both sides for their unique perspective and atmosphere.


The pedestrian walkway.


Niagara Falls State Park. The park is the oldest state park in the United States. In my opinion, the parklands are nicer on the American side than the Canadian, and they allow greater access to the Falls.


Niagara Falls State Park with the United Office Building peeking through. Downtown is adjacent to the park.


Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.






United Office Building (1929). At 20 stories tall, it was the tallest building in Niagara Falls, New York until the Seneca Niagara Hotel was built in 2006. It consists of upscale apartments, some offices, and a boutique hotel.


The Niagara (aka Grand Hotel Niagara). Built between 1923 and 1925 (the 1920's seemed to be a boom period for construction in the city's downtown core). The hotel was recently purchased for 1.3 million dollars at auction. A fellow Hamiltonian is planning a condo-hotel revival. I wish the developer would focus his efforts a little closer to home where we have many beautiful yet currently abandoned eyesores in our core. However, this is a great building that deserves a developer's attention.




There are many churches scattered throughout downtown.






I found the downtown to be a bit quiet. Despite being steps from the Falls and the park, it was absolutely dead. Also, there is a serious need for some infill. I'm not sure if buildings once stood where surface parking or urban prairies now exist.




Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel was built to aid the city in its efforts to revitalize its downtown. As far as I know, it isn't working as well as the city had hoped.




The Skylon tower and the rest of the Canadian skyline can be seen from most places downtown.




The Seneca Niagara Hotel is the largest hotel in the state of New York outside of Manhattan.


Niagara Street.


The following pictures are taken along Third Street. I believe the city is trying to create an entertainment district in this area. There are some restaurants/bars, but for the most part it looks pretty rough. It was an absolute ghost town and a bit eerie during our visit.








We wandered through some residential areas that were pretty gritty (not this one, in particular). There is some hardcore poverty in the city, and the crime rate is apparently higher than average. I've read that 60% of the city's residents receive some form of social assistance.




















There are a TONNE of Indian restaurants throughout downtown. I have no idea if there's a large Indian population in Niagara Falls, New York, or if local residents just really dig Indian food.




Back to the state park.




The American park allows far greater access to the Falls than the Canadian. This picture was taken approximately 100 yards from the crest of the Falls.


Many people were fascinated by this 1 ft. "waterfall" (videotaping, group photos, etc.). I wondered if they were aware that there was a slightly larger and more impressive waterfall about 50 ft. ahead.


Obligatory Falls pictures.
















Downtown's proximity to the Falls. I had never really ventured into the downtown before, and I enjoyed the visit. However, it's hard to believe that a downtown that sits yards away from a natural wonder and major tourist destination could be so void of life and development. I realize that the city faces many challenges (struggling economy, high taxes, industrial decline, competition with the Canadian side for tourists), but I'm hoping it can soon take full advantage of its geographical location.




Heading back home.


Thanks for looking! Take care.

Last edited by MPK; May 23, 2011 at 1:23 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted May 22, 2011, 9:17 PM
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Great photos! I really enjoyed your thread. I had no idea about the park atop the falls on the U.S. side.
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  #3  
Old Posted May 22, 2011, 9:38 PM
Dr Nevergold Dr Nevergold is offline
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The US side has a better natural park thanks to Olmstead, but Niagara Falls, NY is slowly getting better in the city behind the park. The new Seneca Casino is a magnificent building, and the new pedestrian friendly core they've built from the Casino to the park is impressive, but it is yet to be seen if the rest of the city can rebound.

The Canadian side has a better perspective of the falls, you can see them more clearly instead of being right on top of them, but I also think seeing them from both sides is the best choice, if you don't mind crossing the border of course.

Niagara Falls, ON is clearly far better off on the whole, but the Olmstead park is legendary and will continue to be so.

Great photos!
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Old Posted May 22, 2011, 9:57 PM
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Beautiful pictures. Thanks for the interesting perspective. I don't think I have had a good look at the downtown area or this park before. Usually pictures are taken from the Canadian side. Some fine buildings there. I hope they can find their way.
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  #5  
Old Posted May 22, 2011, 10:58 PM
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The "No Bicycles on Walkway" deal probably is a response to increased use of bicycles by tourists and the general public. In 2000 I took my bike, and walking it on the walkway was how I bypassed the long lines of traffic at customs. I never had any problems or caught any flack about it then. It gave me tremendous mobility throughout the area, with easier access than a car and more efficiency than walking.
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  #6  
Old Posted May 22, 2011, 11:28 PM
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So it is your fault.
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  #7  
Old Posted May 23, 2011, 12:12 AM
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they don't ask for passport or green card, do they?
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  #8  
Old Posted May 23, 2011, 12:26 AM
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Nice pictures. Downtown Niagara Falls was dense with buildings 60 years ago and farther back. Back in the early 1900s, Downtown was packed with world-class hotels. Many actually burned and nothing really survives since those types of hotels eventually fell out of favor and the last couple were demolished during urban renewal.

I've done a few threads that cover much of Niagara Falls' neighborhoods, if you ever want to see what some of the rest of the city looks like.
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  #9  
Old Posted May 23, 2011, 1:47 AM
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Good stuff! Niagara Falls receives a lot of bad rep, although I can't speak for myself since I never been there. Judging by these nicely done pictures, it's looks much different than I expected, according to what I've heard and read about this particular city, although I am sure there is much more to NF, but this part of town isn't shabby. Well done!
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  #10  
Old Posted May 23, 2011, 4:26 AM
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Thanks for the tour!
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  #11  
Old Posted May 23, 2011, 5:14 PM
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What a great tour. Sad to the see the city in such decline since there are some good bones there. Hopefully, the improvement efforts will pay off. The park is gorgeous. Thanks!
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  #12  
Old Posted May 23, 2011, 6:42 PM
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Thanks for the comments, everyone.

@xzmattzx: I appreciate the information. I suspected that many buildings had been lost throughout the years, but I wasn't totally sure. It's too bad that urban renewal often produces negative and unintended consequences.

@Robert Pence: You may be right. It's becoming increasingly popular for cyclists/tourists to cycle along the Niagara Parkway and throughout the vineyards.
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  #13  
Old Posted May 23, 2011, 7:58 PM
citi_matt citi_matt is offline
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nice pictures,.. its really too bad with that casino there and not much of anything else
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  #14  
Old Posted May 24, 2011, 2:16 PM
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Nice pictures! I plan to go to Niagara Falls this summer, between New York and Toronto.



I have never seen a gate like this that leads to another country before. You could actually stretch your hand trough it and shake a persons hand in Canada.
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  #15  
Old Posted May 24, 2011, 2:26 PM
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The Canadian side looks much more urban and Im sure its downtown is in much better shape than Americas side.
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  #16  
Old Posted May 24, 2011, 4:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photolitherland View Post
The Canadian side looks much more urban and Im sure its downtown is in much better shape than Americas side.
Downtown Niagara Falls, Ontario is in pretty poor shape, but is a ways from the falls.

The immediate urban area next to the Canadian Falls is a weird Vegas-ish tourist-trap zone.

The U.S. side feels relatively empty, and somewhat decayed, but is improving.

I stayed at a boutique hotel downtown (U.S. side) for a business trip (on the top floors of a converted office building), and there was a strip of new businesses on one of the streets. I remember a tapas place and panini place, among others.

So there seemed to be seedlings of improvement.
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  #17  
Old Posted May 24, 2011, 4:27 PM
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I could have sworn I made a previous response here, but it's gone.
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  #18  
Old Posted May 24, 2011, 8:36 PM
MPK MPK is offline
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@Nightsky: Technically, the other side of that gate is still America. The actual boundary between countries is halfway across the bridge. It's marked by an American flag, about 10 feet of space, and then a Canadian flag. In between the flags is a plaque marking the boundary. I would have taken a picture, but there were too many other people taking pictures of themselves straddling the two countries, ha.

@Photolitherland: Crawford is correct; the actual downtown of the Canadian side is far removed from the Falls. It is nowhere near the hotels you see in the photographs, and I doubt that most tourists go anywhere close to it. It used to be run down, but developers are trying to create a cultural district (galleries, boutiques, restaurants). I was there recently on a Saturday evening, and there was not a soul in sight; too bad. It has a very "small-town" Ontario feel, consists of basically one street (Queen St.), and I actually think the American downtown has more potential with a few gems already in place. If you're interested, here is a thread with some downtown Niagara Falls, Ontario pictures which were taken in horrible winter weather!
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=188478
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  #19  
Old Posted May 27, 2011, 11:46 PM
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Thanks for the tour, I always want to take some photos on the American side. It gets a bad rap and they tore most of it down over the years.

At the time I toured downtown Niagara Falls Canada (almost 3.5 years ago) it was one of the most decayed downtowns I'd ever seen in Canada: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=146238
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Old Posted May 28, 2011, 12:20 PM
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Man, it's rough on both sides of the border. Thanks for sharing.
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