Author: Dan Schwartz
I recently ran into my friend Rocky on his way to a local media appearance.
“The past is the future!” pronounced Rock. “Haven’t you heard about the new plan to revitalize Western New York?”
“I almost can’t wait to hear it,” I said looking at my watch. “Aren’t you kind of late?”
“That’s okay, I’ve already been on three times today. Anyway, rumor is they’re going to reopen Bethlehem Steel! Remember how when we were kids you didn’t have to go to college? You could just go to one of the steel plants and voila! You got a split-level, two cars, and a boat. You could send all your kids through college. I tell ya’, Western New York is going to go boom!”
“Well, good luck with that Rock. I gotta be…”
“And that’s just the beginning! In phase two, we’re going to bring back all the department stores. A M and A’s is going to reopen in the old A M & A’s store on Main Street. Then there’ll be Hengerer’s and Hens and Kelly, and Sattler’s! and Berger’s, and The Sample Shop opening in all those half empty malls and plazas. Think of what this will do for the restaurants! Women of a certain age will be able to get out their gloves and pillbox hats and wear them to lunch right in the department stores again! Then they could catch a matinee at Shea’s or the Hippodrome.”
“If they saved those gloves and pillbox hats with the veils. If…”
“If not, they’ll have to buy new ones! They’ll be back in style again. That’ll help the economy, too!”
“I don’t know. People like to eat at fast food joints, now.”
“We’ve got all that that covered. We’ll invoke eminent domain and confiscate all of them. We’ll turn them into Freddy’s Donuts and Decca and Your Host Restaurants!” There’ll be jobs, jobs, jobs for kids of all ages! Nobody’s kids will have to leave town anymore just to find work.”
“I dunno, Rock. We need a new football stadium and a new convention center and…”
“You’re missing the whole point. Just as the President is making America great again, we’ll make Buffalo great again, Everything old will be newer than new! Just as he’s bringing back the coal industry, we could rebuild the Central Terminal. We could use all that coal, and make Buffalo the second biggest railhead in the country again. We could even bring back the Crystal Beach Boat!”
“There’s no Crystal Beach Amusement Park anymore.”
“The Canadians could rebuild it! Try to keep up!
“Heck, then we could even attack Canada. Refight the War of 1812! This time we’d be sure to win!”
“Then we could have a new stadium.We could rebuild War Memorial Stadium just as it was only better back on the corner of Jefferson and Best!”
“Rebuild the old Rock Pile?”
“Better than ever!”
“That won’t be too difficult…”
“We’ll reopen the Chez Ami! The Park Lane! The Town Casino! Victor Hugo’s! The Crystal Ballroom at the Statler Hilton! All the kids will be going there to dance and listen to the strains of Glen Miller! The Dorsey Bothers! Guy Lombardo and his Orchestra!”
Before I could express my doubts, our friend Rocky was skipping off to his next appearance singing,“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and “Stardust” at the top of his lungs.
Dan Schwartz, J.D., Ph.D. and teaches at Buffalo State College