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.
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.