The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

The place to talk about the world famous waterfall attraction, the tourism, and the condition of each side of the border.

Moderators: Kelly, Brenda

The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

Postby Matt » Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:19 pm

Shana and I stopped by Niagara Falls, NY yesterday to see the fall and grab a bite to eat. When it came to finding a nice place to sit down and have dinner, we couldn't really find anything decent, albeit trustworthy. There are several Indian restaurants, but we couldn't risk it. We walked around and entered in in a few shops. Haven't always just passed through on our way to Canada, we never visited anything other than the parks. It really seems like another country. The brands, the people, everything is just a little off- seemingly impoverished. Storefronts a block away are empty, and those that are still in business carry stale food and outdated merchandise. And that food court in the small plaza they have in front of Niagara Fall State Park is just plain creepy.
I'm shocked that the Hard Rock Cafe was there - and still in business! We ended up eating there and it was fantastic. How long will that last? We didn't walk down to the Casino area- its location is just too far from the falls.
Across the river, skyscraper resorts are being built; new water parks and multimedia attractions are forming- Clifton Hill is outgrowing its space.

It just goes to show that the government is doing (and has been doing) something totally wrong there. Taxes, zoning, promotion, I'm not sure. In many ways our side it more attractive, with intimate views and closer proximity to the falls, plentiful parks (which are in rough shape), and handicap accessibility. Even now with the dollar weak and the Looney overpowering it, you'd think this summer there would be a large boost for our side. Essentially we offer the same main attraction as the other side- the falls. How have we managed to not take advantage of it and turn our Niagara Falls into a tourist Mecca?

What are your thoughts on this?
What do you think the problem is and what steps can be done to turn this area around?
User avatar
Matt
President
President
 
Posts: 14333
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:01 pm
Location: Chili, NY
Camera Model: Olympus OMD Em-1; E-5
Challenge wins: :star:

Advertisement

Re: The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

Postby cbobcat49 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:48 pm

Along with everything you've mentioned it's been common knowledge for awhile in the Buffalo/Niagara area that the Niagara Falls city government, namely the mayor, is linked with organized crime.

What perplexes me is why the National Park Service doesn't have some sort of presence here. Niagara Falls is one of the 7 wonders of the world and it's only a state park? I think it could easily be given National Monument status. I don't know if doing that would have any effect on the local economy though.
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us. ~Henry David Thoreau
User avatar
cbobcat49
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: Wed May 24, 2006 7:19 pm
Location: Tonawanda, NY
Camera Model: Olympus Stylus 400
Challenge wins: :star1:

Re: The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

Postby Matt » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:04 pm

becoming a part of the national park system will significantly increase attendance. this would increase its national and international exposure a great deal.
Excellent idea.
I had no idea about these so-called links from the government to organized crime. So there's a big market for gangsters in Niagara Falls huh?
User avatar
Matt
President
President
 
Posts: 14333
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:01 pm
Location: Chili, NY
Camera Model: Olympus OMD Em-1; E-5
Challenge wins: :star:

Re: The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

Postby Eileen » Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:40 pm

My hubby grew up in Niagara Falls and he has noticed the trending downhill over the last 20+ years. When the carbon plants were active in the Falls area, the town was booming and prosperous. As those plants closed in the late 80's, many of the people that were laid off left the area. We went to the Falls this summer in our convertible with the top down, and were actually regretting it as we drove through downtown and towards the Niagara Falls Park. Last summer we went to the Seneca-Niagara Casino to see a concert, and walked from the casino, through the park, and then over the bridge to Canada. Matt, as you mention, just cross the river and it's a totally different story! We are actually headed to the Canadian side of the Falls this weekend to celebrate our anniversary, and will not be spending any time on the NY side beyond passing through. It's quite sad. (I do hope for some good "shooting" over the weekend though, since the CR contest ended and school began, I've hardly taken any pictures!)
Eileen
Rookie
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:50 pm
Location: Rochester, NY
Camera Model: Two Kodak camera's - Z1015 and M893; and my first DSLR - Olympus E520

Re: The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

Postby Bill_K » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:23 pm

It's been quite awhile since I have visited the Falls but as far back as I can remember the Canadian side has always been better. The gardens, upkeep and cleanliness seems a priority to the Canadians and this alone makes it a more pleasant place to visit. It really is a shame that we are missing the ball on the U.S. side. I like the idea of it becoming part of the National Park System.
To become truly immortal, a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken, it will enter the realms of childhood visions and dreams.
*Giorgio de Chirico*
http://www.flickr.com/photos/walking_trails/
http://www.redbubble.com/people/billk
User avatar
Bill_K
VIP
VIP
 
Posts: 2117
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:00 pm
Location: Rochester, NY (Greece)
Camera Model: Panasonic DMC-FZ8 and Canon Rebel XSi
Challenge wins: :star1: :star1: :star1: :star1:

Re: The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

Postby Matt » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:02 pm

It's sad because it's times like this that the state economy could benefit greatly from commerce coming from across the border. It's a multi billion dollar industry we are just watching from across the river. The fact that we aren't taking advantage of the stronger Canadian dollar is a sad, sad thing.
User avatar
Matt
President
President
 
Posts: 14333
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:01 pm
Location: Chili, NY
Camera Model: Olympus OMD Em-1; E-5
Challenge wins: :star:

Re: The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

Postby Brenda » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:49 am

Matt wrote:The fact that we aren't taking advantage of the stronger Canadian dollar is a sad, sad thing.


Some of us are. ;) :lol: Oh, but we were talking about Niagara Falls weren't we? I agree that a National Park would be a good thing. We also enjoyed the Hard Rock on this side. In January, it was one of the few places that was even open. We also did a bit of walking around town and it is quite dismal.
Finger Lakes Mill Creek Cabins
http://www.fingerlakescabins.com
User avatar
Brenda
VIP II
VIP II
 
Posts: 2854
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:01 pm
Location: Lodi
Camera Model: Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
Challenge wins: :star1:

Re: The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

Postby Geoff » Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:52 pm

I grew up in Northern Erie County, and Niagara Falls was our 'backyard'. Yep, the Canadian side has always been clean, prosperous and well organized, while the American side has the park, and...well, not much else. I didn't know specifically about any mob ties to the mayor, but Buffalo & Niagara Falls have a long and dishonorable tradition of corrupt and incompetent government. Buffalo in particular recieved well over a billion dollars in Federal development money in the 1970s - 1980s. The city squandered essentially every nickel of it artificially suppressing tax rates and holding off on making painful but essential decisions on downsizing services to match the plummeting population. Hence Buffalo's current bombed out status.

Near as I can tell, Niagara Falls was even worse. The entire tax base was the chemical industry, and when it skipped town one step ahead of the Love Canal clean-up bill, it was game over.

Local economics/demographics are also at work, of course. The Canadian side is a natural draw for folks from prosperous, cosmpolitan Toronto just down the lakeshore a ways. The American side? The most economically depressed part of the rust belt. And America's post 9/11 paranoia has made crossing the border much more of a pain in the behind, making it that much less attractive to Canadians.
Geoff
Rookie
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:13 am

Re: The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

Postby Eileen » Sat Oct 25, 2008 2:28 pm

So, we had an awesome visit to the Falls last weekend. We stayed at the Sheraton and had a room on the 21st floor overlooking both falls, the skylon and the ferris wheel. It was an amazing view! I took a few panorama's from the room of the entire view that came out pretty well. I also got a few decent shots from Clifton HIll. What I am finding most interesting though are the emails and letters we have gotten from the hotel and casino thanking us for staying, welcoming us to come back again, and even sending us coupons for discounts off our stay and a free buffet. Granted, they made a few bucks off of us at the casino :( but, I don't recall ever getting a thank you note for staying from a NY hotel! Looking forward to our next visit!!
Eileen
Rookie
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:50 pm
Location: Rochester, NY
Camera Model: Two Kodak camera's - Z1015 and M893; and my first DSLR - Olympus E520

Re: The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

Postby Matt » Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:11 pm

FALLS: Official formation of USA Niagara Development Corp.

NIAGARA FALLS — Former Gov. George Pataki signaled the beginning of a “new chapter” in the history of Niagara Falls in January of 2001 — the formation of USA Niagara Development Corp.

The division of the state economic development department was formed with the express purpose of bringing a “brighter and stronger” future to the city’s downtown business district.

In theory, [e]the new organization was supposed to create the same sort of public-private sector partnerships that had helped the state revitalize Times Square in New York City.[/e]

In practice, Pataki’s big promise has been slow to materialize.

Or at least slower to materialize than many residents and business owners in Niagara Falls had hoped.

“We’re not trying to criticize or attack,” said Dan Vecchies, one Third Street developer who has expressed frustration about a lack of progress downtown. “We’re asking for accountability. They haven’t done what they set out to do.”

The agency’s current president, Christopher Schoepflin, insists USA Niagara has done a lot in its eight years on the job. He believes critics have ignored progress that has already been made. He notes the agency has endured some significant challenges — the aftermath of 9/11, the abrupt departure of Pataki’s successor, Eliot Spitzer and the current economic crisis to name a few. He also said his team does not operate in a vacuum and other partners, including the city and its private investors, all play crucial roles in the success of the downtown business district.

“I would take the position that given the amount of resources that we have and have invested, we have made significant progress amid a number of challenges,” said Schoepflin, who has led USA Niagara since 2003. “I can’t speak to going all the way back to day one other than to say we had a marketplace that had suffered from decades of disinvestment and decline. Not only have we stemmed that to a certain degree, but I think, in some cases, we have reversed it.”

As proof, Schoepflin points to the positives. The reconstruction of the East Pedestrian Mall. A $34 million renovation at the nearby Crowne Plaza. The transformation of the Old Falls Street Faire into a $20-million downtown conference center. The ongoing revitalization of the United Office Building.[e]Plans to raze the Wintergarden and clear the way for a new connection between Old Falls Street and Niagara Falls State Park.[/e]

Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte believes Pataki’s promise has fallen short but that’s at least partly because the state has failed to provide enough attention and resources for USA Niagara’s mission. For that reason, she said it’s tough to fairly review the agency’s effectiveness.

“I’ve heard of people who are very supportive of USA Niagara’s efforts and I’ve heard from people who think it’s not fulfilling its mission,” DelMonte said. “Somewhere in the middle is the truth.”

One of USA Niagara’s first official moves as an agency was to hire a private consultant to analyze downtown and determine the best course of action.

The state paid Hunter Interests, a Maryland-based urban economics and real estate firm, to assist in the development of a revitalization blueprint for the agency’s 192-acre coverage area. Working with Cannon Design, Inc. of Grand Island and Parsons Brinkerhoff of Buffalo, the consultant created the USA Niagara Development Strategy. If the steps in the 114-page document were ever fully executed, the consultants’ theorized the city could attract between 4.4 and 8.8 million new visitors per year and generate as much as $437.5 million in new spending annually.

The blueprint includes 26 “strategic links” — projects deemed “financially feasible and economically sustainable” under the right development circumstances. A review of those recommendations shows successes and failures.

[e]The positives:[/e] Downtown does have a casino and an attached hotel thanks to the Seneca Nation. The state did convert Falls Street Faire into a conference center. The old Holiday Inn Select on Third Street is now a modernized Crowne Plaza. There’s a Starbucks on Old Falls Street. Restorations continue at the United Office Building.

[e]On the down side[/e], the city’s downtown area doesn’t have the foot traffic or the nightlife many originally expected. The Niagara Aerospace Museum opened but has since closed and been moved to Buffalo. The Turtle building is still empty. The proposed Niagara Experience Center remains on the drawing board. The Rainbow Mall is still closed. Third Street — a marquee renovation project supported in part by a $3 million investment from the state — remains home to empty buildings and a handful of committed business owners struggling to survive.

The plan encouraged USA Niagara to set a goal of achieving one major announcement every 60 days. Each year, the agency was also expected to calculate the actual economic and fiscal impacts of finished projects and compare them with projections contained in the report. The state and the city were supposed to create an “aggressive business recruitment strategy” for downtown.

Surveying downtown, Vecchies asks a simple question: “Where’s Times Square?”

Weber says he’s past being disappointed by the state’s lofty development promises. He’s outraged.

Schoepflin said it took at least 15 years to revive Times Square. He’s confident downtown Niagara Falls will come back in time as well.

“The remaking of this city is never going to be fast enough for anybody and it’s going to require a lot of patience and hard work and dollars,” Schoepflin said. “It is happening and it’s going to continue to happen.”


http://www.lockportjournal.com/local/lo ... 35903.html


Here's an outline of the plan

USA NIAGARA: A look at the strategic plan

Staff Reports
Niagara Gazette
Plan of Action

An overview of the key areas of development listed in USA Niagara’s 2002 strategic plan:

1. Niagara Aerospace Museum: Opened in Seneca Office Building in 2002. Moved out of Falls and to Buffalo last year.

2. The United Office Building Restoration: Now known as The Giacomo, $10 million renovation project continues.

3. Key cultural attractions/Niagara Experience Center: $100 million plan still on radar.

4. Falls Street Faire reuse as Niagara Falls conference center: $20 million renovation complete. Facility opened in 2004.

5. The Turtle site: Owned by Niagara Falls Redevelopment. No announced plans for reuse.

6. Rainbow Mall reuse: Leased from city by Baltimore developer, Cordish Corp. No announced plans for reuse.

7. Wintergarden renovations: Slated for demolition as part of West Pedestrian Mall improvement.

8. Oxy building/AquaFalls site: Now One Niagara. Owned by developer Frank Parlato.

9. Temporary casino: Opened in 2002 in the old Niagara Falls Convention Center.

10. Reservoir development: Plan for improved parking in area bounded by Third Street, Rainbow Blvd. and Falls Street Faire.

11. Third Street revitalization: $3.7 million renovation completed in 2005.

12. Future development site: Area between First, Main, Ferry, Third and Niagara streets targeted for improvement.

13. Falls Street Station: Long-time home to TeleTech, houses 400-room Crowne Plaza suites.

14. Revitalization of historic district near state park: Planned development for bed and breakfast corridor along Buffalo Avenue.

15. Residential/lodging revitalization: Proposed upgrade for area bordered by state park, Robert Moses Parkway and Rainbow Blvd.

16. International Entry Corridor: Beautification plan for entrance to Canada.

17. Southern Gateway Project: Call for stone pedestrian bridge to link areas of park separated by Robert Moses Parkway.

18. Jefferson Apartment expansion: Renovated building offers apartments for rent, home to Ashker’s Third Street Cafe.

19. Downtown infill development: Reuse plan for pockets of vacant property near casino.

20. New lodging/entertainment: Property conveyed to Seneca Nation.

21. Additional lodging/entertainment: Seneca site development.

22. Seneca development: Ongoing.

23. Seneca development: Ongoing.

24. Permanent casino: Called for “Las Vegas style” casino to either replace or augment temporary facility.

25. Transportation Services Zone: Plan to accommodate bus traffic at the northeastern terminus of John Daly Blvd.

26. Hotel development between Buffalo Avenue and state park: Identifies as area for new hotel.

The complete development strategy report can be viewed at www.usaniagara.com.


http://www.niagara-gazette.com/local/lo ... 14937.html
User avatar
Matt
President
President
 
Posts: 14333
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:01 pm
Location: Chili, NY
Camera Model: Olympus OMD Em-1; E-5
Challenge wins: :star:

Re: The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

Postby spartacusii » Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:38 am

i just visited Niagara Falls the week prior to the 4th of July - had not been since i was a very small boy (guessing that would have been around '62?). we went up on wed & spent the nite. after taking some pics of the falls under the lights, we decided to grab a bite to eat. we had already been to the casino & just didn't care to return (it isn't THAT far - just didn't care for the whole atmosphere & choices) we wound up at the hard rock, which was fine. but we did find it a little striking that there wasn't more to choose from.

in all candor, it struck us as rather desolate . . . & i have reflected on this aspect a bit since we were there. 1 thougt has crossed my mind that i can't help but wonder if it isn't a large factor. clearly, the best side for VIEWING niagara falls is the canadian side. standing on the american side & looking across the river & seeing their skyline, what does it matter? - it isn't like it is wrecking a great view. but ya gotta ask yourself how you would feel about it seeing all that skyline as the backdrop to the falls? if i am honest about it, i wouldn't prefer it at all.

so then, IF the city/state is going to revitalize the area, how far back & how tall are you going to allow? i think the area could be better developed as far as services (restaurants & activities) for the tourists that do come. i just would not like to see the same sort of skyline behind the falls that we see across the river. they could do it cuz, like i said, it isn't interfering with any special views.

just thought i would share my thoughts about this topic.

jp
spartacusii
Junior
Junior
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 2:03 am
Location: KS (long ago transplanted from NY :( )

Re: The sorry state of the American side (commerce)

Postby Matt » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:40 am

I actually prefer the viewing experience from the American side, as the platform we have gets a full panoramic view of both falls, and you can walk right up to, the American Falls and Bridal Veil.
I think the Hard Rock is really the only place to eat around there that isn't Indian Food.
User avatar
Matt
President
President
 
Posts: 14333
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:01 pm
Location: Chili, NY
Camera Model: Olympus OMD Em-1; E-5
Challenge wins: :star:

Next

  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to Niagara Falls

cron

Thanks for supporting our sponsors

Click here for Finger Lakes photos & gifts

Thanks for supporting our sponsors

Click for Finger Lakes pics

Thanks for supporting our sponsors

Finger Lakes pics