Nov 3, 2014

Mathis and Castellani Art part of a stay at Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls USA

There were several reasons John and I wanted to visit Niagara Falls USA.  First of all we wanted to see Johnny Mathis at the Seneca Niagara Casino.  When people hear the word “casino” they think of gambling and rightly so but there is so much more to today’s casinos. The accommodations are usually the best the area has to offer.  Guests can count of upscale rooms, excellent restaurants and entertainment plus, in many cases, added benefits like spas, swimming pools and other activities all under one roof.

The Johnny Mathis show was sold out.  Mathis was born in 1935 and he is still singing up a storm.  I was impressed because he started singing and never stopped for an hour and a half.  It was one great song after another. Mathis is one of the most successful recording artists of the 20th century. John and I knew all the songs and were surprised at how many we knew but forgot that Mathis made them famous: “Wonderful! Wonderful!” “It’s Not For Me to Say,” “Chances Are,” “The Twelfth of Never,” and so many more.  It was a great a trip down memory lane. We had planned to have dinner at the Seneca Niagara Casino but because of the Saturday night crowd there was a long waiting line.  We should have made reservations.
I wanted to go to the Noodle Bar.  Instead we went to Morrie’s Express and bought deli sandwiches and a delicious carrot cake which we took to our room where we enjoyed our late repast while looking out at the view of the Niagara Falls area. Tip: Ask for a falls view room.  The higher the better.  There is a spectacular fireworks display every Friday and Sunday Night at 10 pm but it was Saturday so we had to be content with just a great view. 

The other reason we wanted to visit the Falls area was to visit
Niagara University and the Castellani Art Museum to check out their Underground Railroad display called “Freedom Crossing.”  We had stopped by several years ago but it was Monday when museums are usually closed. The art museum has a nice collection that includes the works of such famous people as Picasso, Miro, Dali, and Warhol.  And, the best part is it is free.  The founders, Mr. and Mrs. Armand Castellani were in the grocery business which grew, merged and expanded to become Tops Markets. The Castellani collection and the museum have also grown to become a modern art gallery.  One section is
devoted to the Underground Railroad in the Greater Niagara area. During the 1800s, many fugitive slaves came through the area crossing into Canada and freedom.  They used the Suspension Bridge and the Niagara River to make the crossing. They traveled by boat, rail, and some even swam. The Interpretive center at the Castellani, while not extensive, tells the
story of the movement in the Buffalo-Niagara area and the people who risked their life in the name of freedom. On display are historical documents from a nearby Quaker Meeting House and actual shackles used in slave auctions. One picture shows Harriet Tubman, the “Moses of her People” who often escorted fugitives across the Suspension Bridge of which only fragments are remaining today. There are several associated sites nearby including the Freedom Crossing Monument on the bank of the Niagara River in Lewiston that was dedicated in 2009.