After 41 years as Dortmund’s sister city, Buffalo is not in their development plans.

After 41 years as Dortmund’s sister city, Buffalo is not in their development plans according to Dortmund’s Economic Development Agency.  You would think that after having becoming  partners pair in 1974 or 1977 there would be some type of visible and active business relationship.  The two cities don’t even agree with the year that they became sisters, or twinned as they say elsewhere in the world.  Dortmund claims 1977 while Buffalo says it was 1974

Dortmund’s Economic Development Agency ( claims:


As part of our international activities we inform you about your chances. We provide you with our services to help you to enter foreign markets.

We provide you with support in your search for international cooperation partners.

We advise you and arrange contacts to EU-oriented consulting institutions. We are pleased to pass on our experience with applying for and running EU projects together with information about EU funding opportunities.

As a member of the network of large European cities EUROCITIES we maintain links to over 100 major cities in Europe. Regional focus

The City of Dortmund Economic Development Agency arranges sustainable business cooperations and in Dortmund’s partner towns in particular. The current key regions are:

  • Leeds, Great Britain
  • Xi ‘an, VR China
  • South Korea

The concept behind sister cities goes back to the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower and is wonderful.

Founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for individual sister cities, counties, and states across the United States. This network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers in programs in 136 countries on six continents.

Sister Cities International helps advance peace and prosperity through cultural, educational, humanitarian, and economic development efforts, and serves as a hub for institutional knowledge and best practices to benefit citizen diplomats. Sister Cities International empowers individual citizens to become diplomats and represent their community and their country in new and meaningful ways.

We also strive to strengthen the sister cities network through strategic institutional partnerships, grants, programs, and support for our members. We motivate and empower private citizens, municipal officials and business leaders to conduct long-term, mutually beneficial, sister city, county or state relationships.

But why have them if you are just going to collect them like figurines for the living room shelf?


Four pictures tell a four thousand word story about Buffalo’s heritage.

Four pictures tell a four thousand word story about Buffalo’s heritage thanks to the Library of Congress and my cousin Bill.  Bill by the way lives in Shrewsbury, England UK.  He had received an email from a friend who had sent him several dozens of images that had been restored by the Library of Congress from the turn of the 19th century.  Within that group of almost 100 photographs were four from the City of Buffalo.

I thought I would share them as they are great images of a City that was an economic giant 110 years ago and was the 8th largest U.S. city as a result.  The will be no more comment the pictures like all pictures tell their own tale.  Hope you enjoy.

Labor Day Parade - Main St. (1900)

Labor Day Parade -
Main St. (1900)

Unloading ore from "Whaleback Carrier (1901)

Unloading ore from “Whaleback Carrier (1901)


"Looking up Main Street .Steamer North Land at Long Wharf " 1905

“Looking up Main Street .Steamer North Land at Long Wharf ” 1905

Buffalo 1905a

 “Jack-Knife Bridge, City Ship Canal, foot of Michigan Street ” 1905

Are ropeway systems the future of people moving within the city of Buffalo?

Are ropeway systems the future of people moving within the city of Buffalo?  There is seems to be growing interest in aerial ropeway transportation to the Buffalo waterfront and beyond.  To this point conversation has  centered around  pictures showing existing short distance systems in operation around the world and in the United States.  They are touted as being efficient,  attractive, inexpensive, quiet, energy-saving  and scenic.

What gets neglected has been totally ignored in the conversation is the 800 pound gorilla in the room – WIND.

According to Cheektowaga (#35), Amherst (#36), Buffalo (#37) and Niagara Falls (#38) make its Top 101 windiest city list.  All 3 have an average speed of 11.8 mph.   Where monthly stats exists, i.e. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,  the months of November, December, January, February and March would have a major impact of local cost single ropeway transportation as the average wind speed rises to 12.6, 13.1, 14.0, 13.3, 13.1 miles per hour .  Additionally NOAA identifies something we know already, particularly those living along the Lake Erie shoreline.  This area’s prevailing winds arrive from the Southwest, South-Southwest, or Westerly direction, blowing laterally across the shoreline and major roadways.

This means that anyone inside an aerial gondola along the waterfront would not be moving into the wind or with the wind at their gondola’s back.  You would be buffeted by the wind.

There is a very busy tram system in operation serving Roosevelt Island in the middle of the New York City’s East River.  A blog titled Roosevelt Island Online recorded post from people who were on the tram during a windy day:

Very windy day on Saturday. gcris tweeted:  Roosevelt Island Tram. Nothing scarier than being suspended on 3 wires on windy day above the East River.

Roosevelt Island 360 reports on a message he received from a passenger on Saturday’s Tram:  Today’s ride (02-19-2011) was HORRIBLE. People were screaming inside. Due to high wind the cabin was swinging terribly. I’ll never take the tram during windy days. I was scared to death!  I spoke with a Tram Operator on Sunday who was on duty Saturday. The Operator told me that the Tram handled the high winds fine on Saturday.

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC), the Tram:  Operates in all weather conditions except for lightning and winds over 50 miles per hour.

I hope your Tram ride was uneventful and that there was no screaming during the journey over the East River.

The Roosevelt Tram was constructed in 1976 and refurbished in 2010 at a cost of $25 million for its 3,100 foot length.  That is $8,064.52 per foot.

Another problem with the ropeway was discovered in a study prepared for Portland State University in Portland, OR.  This city has a Ropeway in use.  The study found that with current technology, the longer the Ropeway the less the passenger load and the less frequent number of cars in use.  Length causes diminishing returns and increased cost.  You can read that study here:

Finally, the fastest cable ropeway in operation is the 2.1 mile long Genting Skyway at Gohtong Jaya, Malaysia.  Wikipedia has this to say:  “At the maximum speed of 6 metres per second (21.6 km/h – 12.96 mph), the 3.38-kilometre (2.10 mi) journey up the mountain peak takes approximately 15 minutes, depending on the weather.”

At the moment, supporters are in love because they see this as a novel waterfront experience and are selling that notion without looking at the whole picture beforehand.    I hope that the instead of promoting an attractive notion, some serious research be done that provides the most reliable method of mass people moving based on cost, speed, reliability, and weather related shut down before going any further.

Ropeway systems may be the way to go.  And then again, it may not.

Some interesting facts about the Erie Canal.

Some interesting facts about the Erie Canal include the fact it impacted America and America did not construct it.

1.  President Thomas Jefferson ( of Virginia) would not aid in the construction of the canal and called it nothing short of madness.

2.  President James Monroe (of Virginia)  vetoed legislation that would help in the construction of the canal saying it was unconstitutional.

3.  When the Erie Canal opened in 1825 it  cost $7,000,000 to construct (about $4,000,000,000 today) and was paid off in less than 10 years.

4.  The United States paid $7,200,000 for the  586,000 sq. miles that is Alaska in 1867.

5.  Dirt and Rubble removed during the construction of the canal was used as land fill around New York City.

6.  At the end of its first full year of operation, 13000 canal boats transported 40,000 settlers westward from Albany.

7.  At the end of its first full year of operation – 562,000 bushels of wheat – 221,000 bushels of flour – 435,000 gallons of  whiskey – 32 million board feet of lumber – totally about 185,000 tons of cargo moved eastward towards Albany on the Canal.

8.  The terminus of the Erie Canal in Buffalo was called the Erie Basin.  The terminus of the Erie Canal in Red Hook Brooklyn was a man-made harbor for canal boats called the Erie Basin.

9. By the time tolls were removed from the canal in 1882,  $121 million dollars in revenue went to the New York State  treasury.

10.  Dewitt Clinton, father of the Erie Canal, died in 1828.  He left his family in financial trouble.  He managed Erie Canal finances extremely well and he was unable to match that astuteness in his personal life.

Incidentally, the Erie Canal, renamed the New York State Barge Canal, is the only major inland waterway in the United States that has never been  maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the taxpayers of the United States.

Finally, according to the  2007 Internal Revenue Services spending statistics, the Commonwealth of Virginia is the beneficiary of more U.S. government spending than 46 U.S. states.  But, why hold a 200 year old grudge?

The dual Peace Bridge connecting Buffalo USA to Fort Erie Canada will never be built.

The dual Peace Bridge Connecting Buffalo USA to Fort Erie Canal will never be built was the theme of my 2004 Masters Degree  in Education project at SUNY College at Buffalo in 2004.  I received my Masters.  I assume my findings were worth the paper they were printed on.  By 2004 the debate over the bridge was about ten years old.  Here we are nine years after my project and nineteen years after the idea was announced and the bridge still not has been resolved.

The problem then, as it is now, there are too many conflicting interests in involved in the decision-making process.  Fort Erie has 74 acres of land available for bridge services,  Buffalo has 18 acres.  Fort Erie has 30,000 residents – Buffalo 260,000.  The bridge in Fort Erie will no expand into a residential neighborhood in Buffalo it will.  Bridge traffic in Fort Erie bypasses its small central business district in Buffalo it passes right through it.  The U.S. under-staffs the bridge crossing the Canadians don’t.  The bridge is vital to Fort Erie economy (jobs) in Buffalo it is not.  The list goes on and now the Governor of New York and  Canada’s Counsel General have gotten involved and demands that people be replaced are invoked.

It is a mess.

It is time for everyone to grow up get serious and do what should have been done 20 years ago.  Settle the issue.  And here is how it must be done and done ASAP.

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and keep doing it

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until it is resolved.

Peace Out!


Tourists from South America visit Lockport Locks.

I work for Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises during the summer tourist season .  Yesterday’s Memorial Day tourist season kickoff saw a large group of tourists arrive from South America to take the cruise.  Last year I had the opportunity to be with groups that came from Puerto Rico, Colombia and Spain.

This large group of tourists included a number of families with young children.   Sadly I don’t speak Spanish.  A few of them spoke English, including their guide.  What a super friendly and pleasant group of people.   They appeared to be enjoying their visit.  Unfortunately, they all arrived by bus from NYC where their vacation began.  Too bad there is not much of an effort to entice the big tour operators to begin their foreign visitor tours via the Buffalo or Niagara Falls’ airports, heading to NYC from here instead of vice-versa.  If tourist groups could be enticed to spend just one extra day in the area it would be a big plus for the local economy.


Borussia Dortmund, a missed a German marketing opportunity.

Borussia Dortmund, a missed a German marketing opportunity.    There was a two week buildup to the biggest football (soccer) match of the year on the European football calendar.  It  took place at London’s Wembley Stadium. Two German clubs, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich were competing in the finals of the European Cup Championship.

This was the first time two German clubs had ever faced each other in the European Championship match.  The match was played in London between  the two German clubs in front of   86, 298  spectators.  The match was sadly was won by Bayern Munich 2-1 over Borussia Dortmund.  It was the last match for Bayern’s 68-year-old manager, Jupp Heynckes, who is retiring and will be replaced by Pep Guardiola for 2013-14.  It had a worldwide television audience,  was well-played, fast paced and dramatic event of  David vs Goliath proportions.  Bayern Munich has a global following, has won five European Cups and  is loaded with money.  Borussia Dortmund on the other hand had won the title once (1997), plays in the largest football stadium in Germany, is on the rise, and is the eighth largest city in Germany five steps below Munich at number three.  Borussia Dortmund is also the only publicly traded club on the German stock market.  It is a people’s club.

Borussia DortmundSo how did Buffalo miss a marketing opportunity?  Buffalo and Dortmund are Sister-Cities.  They have been Sister-Cities since 1972, that is 41 years.  The  Buffalo Mayor’s office did not send at comment of support to the mayor of Dortmund.  The local media did not contact the Dortmund media about the match.  The local business community offered no congratulations, support or encouragement.  Even after the match, the Buffalo News and local television stations gave the score but never made mention that there was a Buffalo connection to the event.  The sports “reporter” on WGRZ  read the results and made no effort to find a way to pronounce the name of  Dortmund’s  goalscorer, İlkay Gündoğan (Il-kay Gun-do-gan).  We are a multi-ethnic community, what does he do?  He made a joke about it, how professional.  Ilkay is German born of Turkish heritage and Buffalo has a Turkish Sister-City – Yildirim-Bursa.

I believe the problem is that the Sister-City program is off little interest to Buffalo’s public and business communities.  No one knew Dortmund was a  partner.  Some may find this accusation absurd.  For me knowledge and using that knowledge, including sporting events, to  get our community in front of  people in a positive light is invaluable.  The USA and European Union are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement.  We should be preparing for it by developing increased contacts with our long time sister,  or twin as many call the arrangement, Dortmund.

Buffalo has ten Sister-Cities, three in Europe – Dortmund, Germany – Lille, France and Rzeszow, Poland.  I have a feeling we have do a poor job promoting and discussing these relationships  in the interest of  public, cultural, business, trade and travel opportunities.

Buffalo’s “MetroRail” offers more bang per mile than most LRRT systems.

Many locals bitterly call it the train to nowhere and yet Buffalo’s “MetroRail” offers more bang per mile than most LRRT systems.  Western New York is controlled by suburban driver.  You can easily find them at supermarkets, strip malls and gigantic malls.  They endless circle the lots looking for a parking space directly in front of the door they want to enter.  They will drive to the nearest store to buy milk even if it is within walking distance.  Then they will complain about the price of gasoline.

They are all the folks that have vociferously fought against the introduction of Light Rail service into their communities.  They don’t want the “noise” and they don’t want the “city” people popping in.  As a result Buffalo’s 6+ mile LRRT is a City of Buffalo system only operating between downtown and the northeast Buffalo campus of the University @ Buffalo.

Despite their opposition over the years to MetroRail expansion, these same people are the first to derogatorily call the system the train to know what.  How shallow and unthinking can they be.  As other similar sized communities grow their routes Western New York does not.  And that is very sad.  For those who live near the MetroRail is has become a welcome convenience.  As the sixth shortest LRRT system in the United States, the fifth smallest city with a rapid transit system, the Buffalo MetroRail is the fourth most heavily used system of the 32 in existence.  Everyday 3,109 people per mile use the “Train to Nowhere” just behind San Francisco at 3,511, Houston’s 4,987, and Boston’s 7,946.

It really is time to put the detractors and naysayers in their place and expand the route’s.  The silent majority will use the train if it becomes available.  I know I do.  It is cheaper to park at the University and ride the train to a downtown event than it is to drive downtown and pay for parking.

Light Rail Systems
Rank – Daily Boardings City Daily Boardings Route Miles Daily boardings p/mile
1 Boston 222,500 28 mi 7,946
13 Houston 37,400 7.5 mi 4,987
3 San Francisco 160,100 45.6 mi 3,511
20 Buffalo 19,900 6.4 mi 3,109
2 Los Angeles 203,400 70.4 mi 2,889
15 Minneapolis 31,500 12 mi 2,625
12 Phoenix 46,000 20 mi 2,300
29 Tacoma 3,168 1.6 mi 1,980
4 Portland 115,400 59.4 mi 1,943
5 Philadelphia 113,900 60 mi 1,898
8 Denver 65,300 35 mi 1,866
16 Seattle 29,800 16.9 mi 1,763
9 Salt Lake City 60,600 35.3 mi 1,717
7 San Diego 87,700 53.5 mi 1,639
21 Charlotte 14,800 9.6 mi 1,542
11 Sacramento 49,600 36.9 mi 1,344
6 Dallas 103,100 85 mi 1,213
10 St. Louis 52,500 46 mi 1,141
17 Pittsburgh 27,600 26.2 mi 1,053
19 Jersey City 21,426 20.6 mi 1,040
23 Newark 10,075 9.9 mi 1,018
18 Baltimore 29,200 30 mi 973
14 San Jose 33,800 42.2 mi 801
26 Norfolk 5,200 7.4 mi 703
24 Cleveland 8,900 15 mi 593
27 Memphis 3,300 6.7 mi 493
22 New Orleans 10,000 21.5 mi 465
25 Oceanside 8,500 22 mi 386
30 Tampa 600 2.3 mi 261
32 Kenosha 300 2 mi 150
31 Little Rock 340 2.5 mi 136
28 Trenton/Camden 4,273 34 mi 126
Source: American Public
Transportaton Assoc.



Press Release:


Refurbished floors and replaced sconces will be unveiled at Hard Hat Tours in May

BUFFALO, NY – May 13, 2013 – A brighter look will greet visitors to the former rail terminal following a couple of projects planned for this week.

The terrazzo floors of Buffalo’s Central Terminal will shine once again courtesy of a local facility services company.

Pro2 Facility Services will thoroughly clean the 90 year old floor in the main concourse and apply a special restorative process to one section that will return Pro the shine that hasn’t been seen in decades.

“The 30,000 square foot terminal’s terrazzo will be machine cleaned, which will uncover the unique design lost over the years due to oxidation,” states Ken Casseri, CEO of Pro2, “the floor’s brass caning will be highlighted while the aggregate colors that once glistened will re-appear . What will really be dramatic, though, is the visitors’

entrance, where we will apply a product that will completely make the floor come back to its Roaring ‘20’s splendor!”

Casseri’s company is donating the services to the Buffalo Central Terminal Restoration Corporation, caretaker, owner and restorer of the iconic building.

Coinciding with the floor rejuvenation will be the installation of six new replication sconces. Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 71 Retirees have been working on the lighting fixtures that were removed fromthe building during its devastating abandonment in the 1990’s.

“These same men were nominated by Buffalo’s Young Preservationists and will be honored with a Preservation Award for their skill and work on these fixtures on May 31st at Kleinhans Music Hall. We will install the sconces Saturday, May 18th and hope to have them lit in time for our inaugural Hard Hat Tours starting Sunday, May 19th,” explains Terminal Corporation Executive Director Marilyn Rodgers. “Between the Main Concourse terrazzo being cleaned and groomed, the entrance lobby terrazzo reconditioned by Pro Squared, the Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 71 Retirees replication of six additional Main Concourse sconces, and our Building Committee installing the sconces, visitors will witness even more of what travelers from the 30’s saw when they stepped foot inside our beloved Terminal,” concludes Ms. Rodgers.

Buffalo Central Terminal Hard Hat Tours are scheduled on May 19, June 2, June 9, July 14, and September 15 and last about one hour with overlapping tours between 11am– 4pm each day. Hard Hat Tours will vary from date to date and the visitor will be able to view behind-the-scenes renovations and work as it progresses throughout the season. All visitors must wear hard hats in the building during these tours andmay wear their own Hard Hats if  desired. Hard Hats were donated by Emedco and Allied Building Supplies. If the visitor desires to purchase their hard hat at the end of the tour for $25 they will receive a 100% tax deductible donation of $25. Hard Hat Tour Tickets may be purchased in advance by going to

Pro2 Facility Services is headquartered at 1780 Wehrle Drive, Suite 102 in Williamsville, NY. Their phone number is (716) 810-0200. Their website is