For the past couple of weeks, I have written about the importance of not relying upon others’ opinions, whether it was a stock or whether CNN’s program was a whitewash. I recommended that you look at the original source the CNN program or SEC reports that companies must file. A review of Rabbi Schonfeld’s column indicates a third reason you should look at the original source.  If you look at the original document, you can see what is fact and what is opinion.

One of the problems we have is the media’s blending opinion with fact and the public’s lack of understanding of the difference between fact and opinion. I will not give a legal definition but instead give an example. The list of items found at Mar-a-Lago included 11,179 documents designated as declassified, 18 top-secret, 54 secret, 31 confidential and 48 empty folders with classified banners, and 42 empty folders that state on the outside return to staff secretary/military aide. The list of what was found, including its classification and the number, are fact. The significance of the documents including the impact on Trump’s running again for office is opinion. Sometimes you have a combination, where there is an opinion that lists its factual basis. For example, one side may say that the disclosure is bad for Trump since 11,179 documents is a significant number and that the documents included top secret, secret, confidential and empty folders. The other side would say no big deal, the majority of the documents, namely 11,179, were declassified. The facts in the statements are the number, the designation of documents, the empty folders, and that the majority of the documents were declassified. The opinion is their interpretation of its significance.

Now on to the main article. I wanted to fly somewhere this summer with no success. Instead, my wife Beth and I went retro, taking a driving vacation. We went to Niagara Falls, which Beth had never been to. The last time I had been to Niagara Falls (as a child), air travel was not so common, and Herman’s Hermits were a popular group. In other words, in the mid- to late-1960s. It is a good time to go to the falls this time of the year. The New York State Fair in Syracuse is held during the last week in August until Labor Day, which is on the way to Niagara Falls. It is only a three-dollar admission fee per person and five dollars to park. You can spend an entire day there. There is a lot to see. One of the many live shows featured Peter Noone from Herman’s Hermits. There are various demonstrations, animal races and other animal competitions, and a circus. You can even watch a cow give birth. It is a traditional agricultural fair with a significant section of rides that cost extra. There is so much to do that you do not need to go the rides to fill up the day. The day we went, it was not so busy because rain was predicted. It did not rain until the afternoon, just as the concert was ending. Although we ended up getting soaked, it did not put a damper on the outing.

We continued to Niagara Falls. I expected a mob scene, with problems finding parking. The information I read said the paid lots by the falls fill up very early. So we decided to park in Whirlpool Park, which was free, about 3.8 miles away from the falls and enjoy a hike along the Niagara River. Almost no one was on the path to the falls until we got close to them. We also walked around Goat Island, the north portion of which had the falls. Goat Island, except for the area by the falls, was relatively empty. In total, we walked about ten miles. To my surprise, it was not too crowded by the falls. My theory is that in many locations, school starts the last week of August. Thus, the number of tourists is reduced.

Niagara Falls is not just one waterfall. To see all the falls, you have to go to Goat Island. Although some people say that the view from the Canadian side is better, we stayed in the United States. We also avoided taking the maid of the mist. It was enough for me to get soaked at the fair. I also would have had to take off my glasses and then I wouldn’t have been able to see anything anyway. I found it funny that the passengers on the boats from Canada going toward the falls wore red rain ponchos and the Americans wore blue. I guess Canadians are Republicans and Americans are Democrats.

I had no problem davening with a minyan and being able to stay near the shul. We stayed in Dewitt, a suburb of Syracuse. There is a motel a mile away from the shul. The shul had a minyan for all three davenings. We did not stay in Niagara Falls. Instead, we stated in Amherst. There were plenty of hotels to choose from, since the shul is near the north campus of the University of Buffalo. They also had minyanim. The walk to the shul was only half a mile. Although we did not end up going to Rochester as planned, it’s good to know that there is also a shul to daven in there. If you look at the godaven website, you can see a list of places that have minyanim.

On the way back, we ended up meeting friends from our bungalow days in South Fallsburg who were up in the country. We would like to have gone to Sam’s Point, aka Ice Cave Mountain, but it was closed due to a fire. So, we found another place to hike. Not much had changed in the Catskills since I was last there.

There are plenty of places to see in New York without having to take a plane. I would do take this trip again at this time of year. The New York State Fair and Niagara Falls are a good combination. 

Warren S. Hecht is a local attorney. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.