Across New York (part two)

Where there is part one there is usually also part two, with the exception of, perhaps, Mel Brooks’s History of the World. (But who knows; the guy is still shooting movies.) So, this post is the continuation of my previous write-up on our travels throughout the great state of New York.

Albany

We spent the morning of our second day in Albany, New York’s capital. A sad foggy morning that was. And obviously, like anywhere else, the bad weather in Albany meant that there would be no people on the streets, and that we would end up with worse-than-desirable pictures. So maybe it was a positive thing after all that very little in town actually caught our eye.

One item we always try to deposit in our photographic account when in a state capital is a picture of the Capitol building; and New York has a huge one.

Then there was an egg, monstrous both in the matter of size and aesthetics.

The more ordinary architecture and monuments followed.

A long day still awaited us, and we pushed on to Syracuse, planning to skirt around some of the finger lakes in the northern part of the state first. (As with most of the New York’s frequented resorts, the advertised scenery of the North Country and Adirondacks seemed totally overrated.)

Syracuse

A small town in the Upstate New York, Syracuse can boast very few attractions apart from the lovely campus of Syracuse State University. The university buildings actually have a much more antiquey stature and grandeur than most of the Ivy League schools we have seen so far. And the establishment is not much younger either.

While there were hardly any nerds students on campus, a bunch of lazybones them gathered around downtown shops and restaurants, just a couple of blocks away.

While the little guy snuffled, deeply immersed in his daytime nap, my wife and I shared a hot chicken burrito. Once finished, full and rested we all moved on to the next stop, the Museum of International Masks and Puppets. To our immense frustration, the museum was both in repair and closed.

Optimistic still, we prepared ourselves to another good stretch of road and left for Rochester.

Rochester

In such a far-famed place as Rochester I was surely hoping to replenish the camera memory with dozens of interesting shots. The university, High Falls, and closeness to Lake Ontario I believed would make together for an exciting excursion. Only Rochester turned out a far more middling site than I was rushing to find. Bad luck again.

Niagara Falls

However many vexatious gaps we were fated to have in our never-ceasing itinerary, we were nonetheless nearing the pearl of our journey, and we could not afford stubbing ourselves in the toe on that one. Niagara Falls had long been among the tops of my pretentious travel wish-list. And, after six or so years of sitting still, it was probably time to cross it out.

As one would find to be the case with all vehicle-accessible world-famous attractions, the place was overcrowded. What came as surprise was that most visitors were Indian. Well, that is, 90 percent were foreigners, and 90 percent out of those were Indians, which still makes the “most.” In fact, it appeared as if Niagara Falls were the second spot on Earth most densely congested by Indians; the first would be India of course. For a moment I even thought that what I was seeing was some sort of religious pilgrimage required for all Hindu people, similarly how Muslims flow to Mecca; but I guess that Taj Mahal should already serve the purpose pretty well.

Even late at night the crowds just would not thin out, and taking a decent photograph was next to impossible. Oh, and while the rain hardly affected the thick of tourists, it did affect my photography potential quite a lot. Protecting the lens from splatters of water I was at the same trying to sustain a long-enough exposure in order to get any kind of luminance in the pictures. To make matters worse, after dark I no longer had any reference points for auto-focus to catch on, and was forced to do adjustments by hand. To conclude my excuse for lousy photographs, please indulge in picturing me holding an umbrella in one hand, mounting a tripod with another hand, covering the camera lens and setting the focus with my second pair of hands, and finally pressing the shutter button with my remaining fifth hand. Enough said; here are the pics.

Buffalo

Although, if you are a traveler, the primary reason for going to Buffalo is probably to see Niagara Falls, the town is actually not half-bad. My only reservation is that the campus of Buffalo University is rather disappointing; I could barely find anything to photograph, let alone scenic corners.

As for the rest of Buffalo, those were, give or take, some of the nicest city blocks that we had seen in the Northeastern U.S.

Since we were heading home the same day and still had another place left, we compelled ourselves to get up early, see Buffalo, and shrug off a good chunk of our commute before our son was awake. (The intent was to also to save more time for evening relaxation and loosening up before we had to hit the bed and confront our duties the following morning.) And that is why the streets of Buffalo look so deserted on the pictures.

Ithaca

Our entire return was darkened by constant rain, and, unfortunately, it was in such conditions that we explored Taughannock Falls and Cornell University in Ithaca.

Cornell University is an Ivy League school and one of the best universities in the world. And, perhaps, accounting for the Cornell’s academic success (despite its remote and isolate location) is the extreme abundance of wineries in the adjacent lands. Practically every quarter of a mile we saw a new winery sign.

Speculations aside, the campus of Cornell University was actually pretty spacious and well-maintained. Vast open lawns harmonized with austere old buildings, and the dreariness of the weather intensified that stern English look to an even greater extent.

Although not terribly heavy, the rain just would not give in, and shortly we opted for wrapping up our stroll and heading home.

While the car rushed our weary bodies back to Downingtown, our minds reflected on the natural and man-made amenities of the great state of New York. At times ordinary, at times odd, New York is nonetheless a state of great diversity and charming splendor.

Be it the seething life of southeast or peaceful mode of Upstate, New Yorkers are lucky to have the choice.

Below is the map of our travels through New York State.

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