WNY is opening
What did we learn?
The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park has reopened; kayaks can once again be rented at Canalside.
PHOTO BY JEAN-PIERRE THIMOT
Restaurant terraces are crowded with diners, kids are running through splash pads, and the animals at the Buffalo Zoo are once again receiving admiring visitors. Western New Yorkers have ventured out from their home imprisonments and embraced summer.
Not so fast, though. As states that reopened indoor facilities prematurely quickly learned, COVID-19 doesn’t give up easily. Mask-wearing is still the law in New York State and prolonged physical proximity to others can still be dangerous. The past four months have been scary times—and scary times can come again.
On the other hand, the limitations brought on by the pandemic weren’t all negative. Many things we did to stay healthy and make the time go by are activities we probably should have been engaging in anyway.
Without gyms to attend or enforced office hours, many WNYers took to the streets, on foot or on bikes. Explore Buffalo offered self-guided architectural tours; people downloaded those tours and walked them. Others followed their own routes on long walks through the city, enjoying landmarks they’d been taking for granted or had never seen up close. This is something worth doing all year round, without a health crisis.
According to a King Arthur Flour spokesperson, “Everybody in America has got a sourdough starter right now.” Sounds about right, judging by the proud bakers who have shown off trays of bread, bagels, and rolls on Facebook. There may be less time as schedules get busier, but home food preparation—made with fewer ingredients and without additives—is one of the things that can keep families healthy and interacting.
We celebrated WNY’s natural beauty
County Executive Mark Poloncarz offered an interactive map of all Erie County parks, encouraging walkers and hikers to explore the lesser-known county holdings and avoid the crowds at such places as Delaware Park and Chestnut Ridge. For years, Spree has been featuring underappreciated natural sites like Erie County’s Franklin Gulf and Niagara County’s Rollin T. Grant Wilderness Park, as well as long-time favorites Reinstein and Tifft. If new beauty spots have been discovered, it’s time to keep a list for continued reference.
For many, the benefits of a more sheltered existence made the detriments easier to take.