BUFFALO, NY (Nov. 24, 2015) On Buffalo’s waterfront, a towering monument to the city’s industrial heritage has been repurposed as its largest public art installation.
Each night, a total of 550 light fixtures illuminate an area the length of four football fields on the Connecting Terminal, the grain elevator directly across the Buffalo River from Canalside, Buffalo’s revitalized waterfront district. The colors shift through a seasonal rotation, from the snowflakes of winter against a blue back drop to the flowers of spring, sunshine of summer and foliage of fall. The illumination, which began in early November, takes place nightly from dusk to 11 p.m. and is viewable from a waterfront boardwalk.
The project is part of a larger re-imagining of Buffalo’s grain elevators, and of the city itself. Those revisiting Buffalo for the first time in several years will experience a city undergoing a once-in-a-lifetime transformation, including over $1 billion in new investment (and $300 million alone on the waterfront), restored architecture, revitalized neighborhoods and a slate of new hotels, restaurants, craft breweries and distilleries.
Just a stone’s throw from the light show viewing area is the Ice @ Canalside, one of New York State’s largest outdoor skating rinks at 33,000 square feet. Ice skaters glide through history along a replica of the Erie Canal that once flowed through downtown Buffalo. A red dot in the middle of the rink marks the former “center ice” of the Memorial Auditorium, the storied home of the Buffalo Sabres that once stood on the property.
The rink isn’t limited to skaters: visitors can also rent an Ice Bike of Buffalo, believed to be the first of its kind available for public rental in North America. The bikes have generated international buzz and feature a stainless steel frame with blades that allow passengers to seamlessly glide and pedal on the rink.
Across the street from the Ice @ Canalside stands HarborCenter, a $200 million hockey and entertainment complex. Visitors can stay overnight at the 200 room Marriott HarborCenter, dine at (716) Food & Sport, browse through the Shops at HarborCenter and cheer on the Buffalo Beauts Women’s Professional Hockey Team and the Canisius College Golden Griffins on one of two NHL regulation sized rinks. HarborCenter is connected to First Niagara Center, home to the Buffalo Sabres, making Buffalo the first three-rink complex in the National Hockey League.
Behind HarborCenter is the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, which includes over 800 slot machines and 18 table games, a sports bar and café. An upcoming $40 million expansion will only add to the casino’s offerings in the coming years.
And just up the Buffalo River from the light show is Riverworks, a multimillion dollar complex featuring a roller derby track (home to the Queen City Roller Girls) ice rinks for curling and skating, a concert venue, bar and restaurant. The one-of-a-kind property became a Buffalo hotspot overnight and is helping to transform an area previously only known for its warehouses and industry.
These projects join nearly a dozen new breweries and distilleries, a slate of new restaurants offering everything from poutine to house-ground burgers and Southern comfort food and several new hotels and attractions like the Arctic Edge polar bear exhibit at the Buffalo Zoo. For more on Buffalo’s rebirth, head to visitbuffaloniagara.com.