Let’s face it, Buffalo has a less than stellar reputation. Ask any Torontonian about this visiting this city just across the US border, and you’ll likely get a bewildered “Why would you want to go there? It’s a dump!” That was the near-universal reaction of everyone when I mentioned a weekend roadtrip to upstate western New York. Truth be told, it took some convincing of my travel mates too, even though we did check out Rochester and Letchworth in previous years.
As it turns out, Buffalo has a lot to offer in terms of food, culture, and art. Certainly the city is far from its peak glory days during the pre-war years as the economic powerhouse of the Erie Canal. However, “The Queen City” has been experiencing a bit of a revival in the past few years with increased tourism and a new-found confidence and self identity, and it’s a welcome change to the typical tourist fare at Niagara Falls.
Our first stop – a visit to the local museum gallery, which happens to be Buffalo’s major showplace for modern and contemporary art.
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is one of the oldest public arts institutions in the United States. A stately building among equally impressive mansions near Delaware Park and Millionaire’s Row, the museum houses key works from some of the most well-known artists of the past three centuries. The limited gallery space can only exhibit 200 works at any one time (a mere 3% of their entire collection), so repeat visits are usually rewarded with new displays and discoveries.
Our visit was perfectly timed with the gallery’s First Friday, a monthly event where special public events are hosted and the museum is open late till 10pm, with free public admission.