Our representative in Canada – Christopher Graper – has put together an amazing urban exploration tour to Buffalo, USA this July. While you are likely aware of Detroit’s infamous, otherworldly urban landscapes and abandoned majesty, Detroit is by no means unique. The legacy of America’s unprecedented 19th century development and the roots of “American Exceptionalism” are found throughout the post-industrial “rust-belt” cities of the United States, and Buffalo is one of the best places to safely awe at the grandeur, splendour and decay.
Formerly one of the largest cities in the US at the end of the 19th century, Buffalo’s population has been in steep decline since 1950. Since that time, the city has haemorrhaged more than half its population. Vast tracts of the city are abandoned or blighted, including the majority of the city’s once massive industrial base. For the earnest residents trying to stem the tide of economic contraction, the problems are enormous, unprecedented and simply overwhelming. Once a beacon of hope and optimism, today those who remain strive uphill to secure a stable future for the city and it’s infrastructural treasures. With each day that passes, another building falls.
You will experience the rise and fall of a great American city as it happens, and by doing so understand more about the unique ideas and historical circumstances that produced the American Experience of the 19th and 20th century. Buffalo has some relatively strong prospects for stability, and we will introduce you to some of those interesting entrepreneurs and their projects as well, including urban farms, micro-breweries — and indeed tourism! Read on or email email@example.com to find out more details:
City of No Illusions — Buffalo, NY USA Exceptional America Tours 2013
5 Nights in Buffalo, East Aurora and Niagara Falls, USA
Thursday 11th – Tuesday 16th July, 2013, Tour cost USD 1499
- Inside Buffalo’s Abandoned Grain Silos
- Buffalo Central Railway Terminal
- Robert R. Moses Power Plant
- Love Canal
- HH Richardson State Psychiatric Hospital
- Roycroft Utopian Community
- Largest collection of Frank L Wright Houses in the US
DAY 1 — THURSDAY 11 JULY 2013
TRAVEL DAY: Guests arrive and make their own transfers to hotel. Taxis are safe, fare approx $40 from airport to hotel. Transfers for large groups can be arranged.
HOTEL: HYATT HOTEL, BUFFALO NY
Pre-Tour Briefing and Cocktails (Optional) — Meet your hosts and fellow urban explorers in the hotel lounge, further details TBD. Get excited as we begin our Buffalo exploration the next morning!
DAY 2 — FRIDAY 12 JULY 2013
AM: THE LIVING ARCHITECTURAL MUSEUM
DOWNTOWN WALKING TOUR INSIDE and OUT. Today we will explore Buffalo’s living architectural museum. City Hall, Ellicott Square (Burnham), Guaranty Building (Sullivan), Old Post Office, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Old County Hall, Rand Building, Hotel Lafayette.
LUNCH: Swannie’s House for excellent fish fry lunch.
PM: WORKING CLASS AMERICA
Driving tour of Buffalo’s once massive industrial waterfront. Abandoned grain silos and remains of Bethlehem Steel Plant*, Wind Turbines*, Pumping Station*. (*Bethlehem Steel is decommissioned and in the process of demolition. Legal challenges from preservationists have delayed the process, however at time of press access inside cannot be guaranteed, and by the time we arrive, it simply may no longer exist! Please understand, we will go as deep inside as safely, legally and physically possible.) Beth Steel Museum. Our Lady of Victory Church. Lift a pint and talk shop talk with the South Buffalo locals or complain to your Shop Steward at Cheesy’s Little Vegas OR Talty’s.
EVENING REFRESHMENT: FORGOTTEN BUFFALO — PRIVATE CLUBS & ETHNIC ENCLAVES
Tour of the Corpus Christi Church and a relaxed evening of bowling and shuffleboard at the Corpus Christi Athletic Club. Daren’s AND P&K OR Saddle Up.
HOTEL: HYATT HOTEL, BUFFALO NY
DAY 3 — SATURDAY 13 JULY 2013
AM: BUFFALO IS A POLKA TOWN
Tour of abandoned 13-story Buffalo Central Railway Terminal inside and out. Tour the formerly thriving core of Buffalo’s Polania District, once the largest Polish population in North America with our local guides who share their pride in the neighbourhood, their experience of decline and indeed hope for the future. Worker’s Cottages. Urban blight. Wilson Street Urban Farm. Extraordinary St. Stanislaus Bishop and Marytr Church. Broadway Market. Chance to try homemade sponge candy and other local treats.
LUNCH: Ted’s Red Hot’s for Buffalo 85-year long tradition of excellent charbroiled hot dogs.
PM: ATOMIC AGE TOUR
50′s and 60′s Futurism and Kitsch. Suburban tract homes, strip malls and post-war American architecture (with insights from Robert Venturi’s Learning from Las Vegas and Venturi and Scott-Brown’s Learning from Levittown) HQ of Pearce & Pearce developers and meet grandson of master builder Bill Pearce. We’ll see hundreds of these houses, and inside if possible.
EVENING REFRESHMENT: FORGOTTEN BUFFALO — PRIDE OF POLONIA TAVERNS.
POLISH CHURCH SUPPER and LIVE POLKA BAND. R&L Lounge AND St Stan’s OR Mickey’s aka Adam Mickiewicz Library & Dramatic Circle Club.
HOTEL: HYATT HOTEL, BUFFALO NY
DAY 4 — SUNDAY 14 JULY 2013
AM: NIAGARA TRIUMPH and TRAGEDY TOUR
Robert R. Moses Power Plant and Niagara Power Project Power Vista. Perched atop the hydro project’s main power plant, we will learn about the hydroelectric history of Niagara Falls, set amidst the spectacular scenery of the Niagara River Gorge. See and hear the functions of huge gantry cranes and weather permitting, the presentation may include an outdoor visit to the forebay area and a spare turbine. Diorama-rama! Spectacular views in the comfortable environment of a glass enclosed walkway or on the outdoor observation deck. THE ECHO CLUB. 125 year old registered landmark visited by Presidents and Popes, with amazing architecture built using Glacier Rocks. Features 5 trap doors used during Prohibition for the on-site speakeasy. Incredible collections of retro memorabilia, bricolage, gee-gaws, knick-knacks and doo-dads. Should be great fun! William T Love and the Tragedy of the Love Canal, one of America’s most toxic environmental disasters and site tour. Hydro towers, exurbia landscape, Niagara Falls blight contrast with falls.
LUNCH: ANCHOR BAR. Legendary Home of the Buffalo Chicken Wing.
PM: RUINS OF THE GILDED AGE
HARD HAT TOUR: Deep inside the ruins of the Gilded Age. HH Richardson State Psychiatric Hospital TREMENDOUS abandoned insane asylum. Inside the Grain Elevators and elevator alley.
EVENING REFRESHMENT: SCHWABL’S – Classic 30′s German resto, chance to try Beef on Weck (proper hand-carved beef on kummelweck roll sprinkled with caraway seeds and pretzel salt — au jus and a helping of horseradish. Delicious! Exceptional service, decor and quality and a charmingly nostalgic dining experience. After supper we will drive in the country to the ROYCROFT CAMPUS in East Aurora NY, home of Elbert Hubbard’s utopian Arts and Crafts movement. 19th Century enclave for artists, bohemians, eccentrics joined by the ideal of craftsmanship over mass-production and the philosophy of “head, heart and hands.”
HOTEL: ROYCROFT INN, East Aurora NY
DAY 5 — MONDAY 15 JULY 2013
AM: FRANK L WRIGHT TOUR: Drive in the country to Greycliffe House, overlooking Lake Erie.
LUNCH: Ted’s Red Hot’s for Buffalo 85-year long tradition of excellent charbroiled hot dogs OR Nick Charlap’s Homemade Ice Cream
PM: FRANK L WRIGHT TOUR — Largest collection of FLW buildings in USA! Larkin Building, Inside tour of Darwin Martin House, Davidson House, Heath House Blue Sky Mausoleum Rowing Boathouse, Shingle-style Houses and Arts & Crafts cottages.
EVENING REFRESHMENT: END-OF -TOUR EVENT TBD
HOTEL: HYATT HOTEL, BUFFALO NY
DAY 6 — TUESDAY 16 JULY 2013
Hotel check-out and airport transfers.
END OF TOUR — Bid adieu to Buffalo, NY — City of No Illusions. Return home and tell all your friends of your Buffalo adventures!
TOUR COST: USD 1499
TOUR FEE INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
- Twin-occupancy hotel accommodation
- All entry fees
- Local guides, transportation and driver to complete tour itinerary
- Continental breakfast each day
- All applicable taxes
- Certified PPE Hard-Hat
- Group donation to help re-tile the Central Terminal Restoration Corp
NOT INCLUDED IN THE TOUR FEE:
- Optional single supplement of USD 75 per night
- Optional single supplement at Roycroft of USD 100 per night
- Spending money for drinks and souvenirs
- Lunch and supper (all restaurants are VERY reasonably priced between USD 8 and USD 15 per meal with LARGE portions)
- Tips for driver and local guides (Please Note: In the USA, tipping is customary for bartenders, taxi drivers, restaurant servers, etc.)
To Apply for this tour send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- All applications and payments must be received by June 15th, 2013
- Room upgrades are available — please ask for more information
- This tour requires a minimum of 10 persons to run
- Tour includes all sites listed below, however the schedule may be adjusted
- Every effort has been made to ensure that we will see the sites as listed. However, it is possible that closure, demolition, safety concerns or other factors beyond our control may make it impossible to visit particular sites. We ask that clients understand these unique circumstances, and trust that we will make every effort to find a suitable replacement.