Day 29: Niagara Falls Is People

Lots of people. 

Recalibrating Our Capacity for Crowds

After a month in off-season resorts and tiny, remote towns, we’ve become accustomed to a slower pace and a more personal dynamic.

In Farmington (Maine) and blink-and-miss-it Vergennes (Vermont) and even the regional bustle of North Conway (New Hampshire), nobody is anonymous. Make no mistake: we like our anonymity and seek it often, but when, for the last four weeks, we’ve chosen company or commerce, we’ve also enjoyed the accompanying interactions. In these places, people greet you when you pass and chat you up if you linger.

A Thin Patina

Niagara Falls isn’t like that.

When crowds get as big as they do at Niagara, individuals disappear. They become obstructions to your view or to your progress, given as much respect as an inconvenient column. Throngs pour through tiny egresses and then spill forth and splash wide, treating any who tarry the same as the Niagara River treats the dolomite caprock it has failed to erode since glaciers first exposed it 10,000 years ago: with complete indifference. The social patina has worn through, leaving colony behavior behind.

Bustling Throngs at Niagara Falls
Stop-motion of so many people

The city’s patina has worn through as well. Despite patchwork renovations, the toll of two centuries as a tourist attraction leaves even the nice Canadian side embarrassed and threadbare.

The majesty of the falls can’t be denied. But the city around it does those falls no justice.

There Were Waterfalls

They were really pretty. Here are some pictures.

Niagara Falls Panorama
Falls panorama from Canada side

Gulls of Niagara

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