Yesterday marked my first visit to Niagara Falls, just one day after the landmark was featured on the The Colbert Report, and one day before Nik Wallenda’s scheduled high-wire escapades described by Stephen Colbert.
Having never visited, the Niagara Falls pictured in my head looked much like waterfalls I’m familiar with: quiet, secluded, clean.
In reality, they’re immediately next to a tourist trap masquerading as a city.
I’m not the first one to notice that the site is not exactly a soothing, natural get-away. From Ken Burns’ documentary Ken Burns: The National Parks – America’s Best Idea, Episode 1, about 23 minutes in:
“European visitors [to Niagara Falls] publicly belittled Americans for allowing such a majestic work of nature to become blighted by commercial development, and offered it as further evidence that the United States was still a backwards, uncivilized nation.”
Thing one: The American side was considerably more natural, and less ‘built up’, than the Canadian side. And Canada has a queen, so it’s obviously the more European of the two. Clearly, the condescending visitors knew not of what they spoke.
Thing two: I’m sorry, my European friends, but have you ever been to the Alps?