Saturday, July 24, 2010

Travel: Niagara--Still falling after all these years

We interrupt the ongoing saga of last month's championship fight at Yankee Stadium to bring you a few images from the Finto File's recent fact-finding trip to Niagara Falls (July 12-17).

From the side, one can see and feel the power and volume of the water plunging over the cliff--and see that it's gradually eroding and undermining the rock face.

Dwarfed by mighty Niagara, a bird (lower left) tries to pick up a little altitude.

Niagara Falls is the place for touristy kitsch and garish neon, if you like that sort of thing (and we do, we do).  This is Clifton Hill, the densest concentration of souvenir shops and cheesy haunted houses in NF.

Yes, you can Ride to the Top! (is there anything better than old neon?) of the Skylon Tower...

...and see the Falls spread out below.

There are rainbows everywhere you look in Niagara Falls...

...but with beauty comes violence:  These rapids, downstream from the Falls, are considered the most dangerous in the world.

The Hotel Europa appears to have seen better days... has the Cadillac Motel.  But to step back in time, you have only to look at this sign.  Remember when Cadillac was a synonym for all things quality?

These photos were shot in or from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.  Still to come:  Niagara Falls, NY; the Erie Canal; and Buffalo wings.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Boxing: Fight night in the Bronx, Part 2

Note:  If you haven't yet read the previous post, "Fight night in the Bronx, Part 1," please scroll down and do so now, before reading Part 2.  Go ahead, we'll wait.

Additional Note:  The above photo is called "A Blur of Action," and yes, I know it's blurry.  Was that my intention when I took it?  Don't worry about that--sometimes art is serendipitous.

The new Yankee Stadium is indeed bright and new and, in many ways, better-designed than the old, post-1970s-renovation, Stadium.  As in the Mets' new home, Citi Field, you can see the field from nearly anywhere in the arena, including the concession stand areas.  And there are few or no bad seats; if you have a lesser-priced ticket (there are no cheap tickets), you may be high, but you're not far--you look directly down at the action.

But the new Yankee Stadium has a disappointing whiff of the low-bid about it, as if someone's brother-in-law got the contract rather than designers and  builders of state-of-the-art ballparks.  Once you're in the Stadium, you walk along bleak concrete walkways past bleak concrete walls unbroken by art or decoration, like you're in the parking deck of a suburban mall.  By the time of last year's World Series, small cracks were already beginning to appear in the cement.  And on this visit, taking a few minutes to see Monument Park, we had to walk through a narrow, featureless corridor that lacked only the smell of urine to be a good imitation of a housing-project hallway.  Between New York's two new ballparks, Citi Field is by far the more pleasing to the eye.

Nonetheless, Yankee Stadium was looking good for fight night.  The ring, located in right field, was protected by an imposing, space-age-looking canopy setup.

As the undercard fights got underway...

...the crowd was sparse...

...but began to fill up.  Middle America was in the house... was Manhattan...

...and every conceivable shape, size and description.

Boxing's return to the Bronx had sure drawn a diverse and colorful collection of spectators.

To be continued...

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