It’s too bad this view from 25th floor of Buffalo’s City Hall building doesn’t show you what the building itself looks like. With tips from the NYT Travel Section column we spent 36 Hours in Buffalo and were just starting the final 24. We had already been to Big Ditch Brewery for their award-winning IPA and we had dinner at the Mexican place recommended in the article. We had walked along the waterfront as the sun went down in Canalside Park. We were staying at the refurbished Lafayette Hotel downtown. The article had recommended two other places. The Lafayette was designed by America’s first woman architect, Louise Blanchard Bethune, and was intended to be ready for the Pan American Expo but it wasn’t finished in time. It was big and funky, something like the Overlook Hotel in the Shining. My uncle told us he used to have lunch there but in later years it became what he called a flophouse. We located these places from the the observation deck of City Hall and we met an Indian couple up there who were visiting their daughter in Buffalo. They told us they had been to the Hindu Temple in Rochester.
When our band played Buffalo in the late seventies and early eighties I never knew where we were. I could get to places like the Continental, McVans, the Garage and Nietzsche’s but then we’d head off to a late night party in loft downtown or an apartment off Delaware or to some crazy late night food joint and I’d be totally lost. It would take us forever to get out of town.
This time stayed downtown and walked up to the Albright Knox. We zig aged and found Rowhouse Bakery, a dreamy coffee shop/bar/restaurant. We walked around the museum of course and then back downtown, stopping in Allentown for a local beer and dinner at Tempo, an Italian place with an Ellsworth Kelly print hanging over the fireplace. We ate out on the patio and split two appetizers and a beet salad. We were full before dinner so we stopped. We clocked ten miles before the day was done and now have a much better sense of the lay of the land.
We stayed up late watching the display in the fake fireplace and we started our day with a Cortado in Public Espresso + Coffee on the ground floor of our hotel. They had cool black and white art on the walls, paintings somewhere between Franz Kline and graffiti, and design magazines scattered about. Most of the customers seemed to be carrying on business via laptop or phone. We entered my Aunt and Uncles address in Niagara Falls into our phone and headed up there for the afternoon.