Today, for the eighth year running, the mayors of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Ft. Erie met in the middle of the Peace Bridge and dropped the big red “boom ball” to kick off the opening of Boom Days.
This year, I had a unique vantage point: from the water. Buffalo’s landmark (and working) fireboat, the Edward M. Cotter, was the water-level piece of the celebration. Heading from its dock, nestled near the Michigan Street lift bridge (and the Swannie House), down the Buffalo River and into the Black Rock Channel, the Cotter gave its passengers an outstanding view of Buffalo’s working waterfront.
Unlike some previous years, there was no remnant ice in the water, and the weather was simply outstanding.
When it was time for the ball to drop, the Cotter got in the action, shooting arcs of water from its powerful deck nozzles. This gave the passengers the unexpected treat of an extra shower and rainbow.
The big red ball took off downriver so fast, it was hard to keep it in sight.
It was especially cool to see so many people out on the Bird Island pier, seemingly so close to the boat as to be able to carry on a conversation.
A group of lucky students from Belgium was also along for the ride, creating an outstanding memory of their time in Buffalo.
Boom Days is Buffalo’s unofficial rite of spring, but it also marks the beginning of ecological and environmental activities in earnest.
On tap this weekend, in addition to Boom Days, are the Shoreline Sweep, organized by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, with thousands of volunteers expected at three dozen cleanup sites around Buffalo and Erie County. The signature site this year will be Broderick Park, where elected officials will be speaking about the future of the park, and historic re-enactors will be celebrating the Underground Railroad heritage of the site.
Many thanks to the excellent folks of the Buffalo Fire Department and the Edward Cotter for an excellent outing.