Although paddle boats and Blue Bikes are the most eye-catching additions to Canalside, the Queen City Bike Ferry is an underrated gem: it promotes biking, exercise and exploration. (And it's different than the Queen City Water Taxi used previously for Outer Harbor concerts.)
Here's a video, submitted to The News by its creator, Mike Ciancio:
If you haven't seen Mark Sommer's report on new activities along the waterfront, here's a quick breakdown of how the Queen City Bike Ferry works.
Visitors can drive -- or bike -- down to Canalside's Commercial Slip, adjacent to Liberty Hound's patio area, where a red-and-yellow boat scoops up passengers, bikes in tow (bring your own, or rent a Blue Bike for $15/hour), and escorts them 650 feet across the Buffalo River in roughly seven minutes (depending on boat traffic, which is amusing to think about). The cost is $1 each way.
What does this short trip allow you to do? From the map below, a slew of new areas are accessible to explore.
Times Beach Nature Preserve: The serene, city-owned ecological zone houses 240 species of birds (!), serving as a migration stronghold. For the public, it's a quiet place with a great view.
Buffalo Main Lighthouse: Believed to be the oldest Buffalo building that remains in its originally location -- it dates back to 1833 -- the Buffalo Lighthouse also boasts a Facebook page and some glorious shots on Tumblr.
Wilkeson Pointe: Replete with pedestrian paths, sand volleyball courts and picnic benches, Wilkeson Pointe is more than just a cool place to watch the Fourth of July fireworks. It even has its own Facebook page!
Buffalo's Outer Harbor: Known as the site of Funtime After Dark's summer concert series, the Outer Harbor -- which may conjure hazy nostalgia from nights at The Pier -- is a large rectangle of land with an unobstructed view of Lake Erie. Expect more attractions to appear here as access gets easier.
If you're particularly aggressive, explorers can continue to Tifft Nature Preserve and even stop in at Dug's Dive -- for the final summer in its current location.
The Queen City Bike Ferry runs from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and then 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, through Labor Day. The ferry accepts cash only and exact change is necessary.
Email Ben Tsujimoto, who thinks "Commercial Slip" is a funny term, at btsujimoto@Buffnews.com