Back in the early 1900s, boating was a big deal on Gala Waters (Delaware Lake) in Delaware Park. Families would spend entire afternoons drifting on the waters, as hundreds of people gathered on shore to listen to live music, picnic, and frolic about.
When I was young, there were no boats on the lake, or canoes, or any other personal aquatic crafts that I can remember. The first time that I ever rowed a boat on Olmsted’s Gala Waters (Hoyt Lake) was ten years ago, when the Olmsted Parks Conservancy worked out a deal with the Buffalo Maritime Center to build a small fleet of rowboats, which could be rented for a small fare.
The boats were an immediate success, and today the partnership between the Conservancy and the Maritime Center is stronger than ever. These days, many of the boats are constructed by Buffalo Public School students, who are afforded an opportunity to learn a craft in the process.
On Friday, June 1 (11am), students from the new Riverside Academy #208 and the Academy School #131 will be launching their hand-made wooden boats that were built while participating in Buffalo Maritime Center’s Hand to Hand Program. Everyone is welcome to come celebrate the big day, when the students get a chance to launch their dreams, while the rest of us get a chance to spend some time out on the water.
Gala Waters | Delaware Park | 199 Lincoln Pkwy | Buffalo, New York 14222
Photos courtesy Buffalo Maritime Center