Archive | May, 2005

Buffalo Works!

31 May

So today, I finally figured out where the train station is downtown. I’ve actually seen it before but it didn’t reall register because I envision Union Station in DC or Grand Central in NYC
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….yeah that is like the size of a personal storage space.

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Notice anything different?

Apparently, AMTRAK is sooooo popular, that they feel no desire to replace the sign to inform the 5 or 6 people who use the station.

But I guess the good part of having such a small train station is, lets say, the old old old one on the East side
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was serving its purpose instead…incoming visitors might get a little more freaked out as they enter our city. Imagine coming to a city you’ve never visited before only to see a handful of people inside a large public transportation area.

Feeling Gloomy Like Any Good Buffalonian

31 May

“Example”
Today I was talking to my friend who is going to attend UB next fall (I am a VERY good recuiter in the Maryland region), him and his family are from Ukraine and mostly only know the DC area when it comes to America. Despite this his mother has expressed deep concern and doubt about her son living in Buffalo. I quote his mother when she says “You know, downtown Buffalo is REALLY depressing. REALLY depressing.”

See, people who have never even been to Buffalo know that our city is a mess. So what if WE know that we have nice architecture and that we USED to be the city of the millionaires
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who American icons such as Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Frank Llyod Wright once called home? What is so sickening is that City Council is perfectly content with the status quo, and must recieve some sort of gratification in knowing that the city continually collapses. I want to vomit when I hear Masiello talk as if he has fixed all of the few problems the City has. It makes me more sick that he was mayor for so long. I have my doubts about Mr. Brown, mostly because so many people have jumped on the bandwagon without knowing much about him at all. He seems to not be an ounce like Griffin or Masiello, and thats a very good thing. I just hope that he is able to turn this city around.
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Sometimes, I don’t know how to feel. The city has improved in appearance over the last 15 years,
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there is some sort of life downtown with new lofts filling up, and there are always people who love Buffalo and want to see it get better. But then the same things happen, money becomes a major issue for everything, the local government has no credibility amongst its own people, and then some think that a new major project (Bass Pro) will turn the city around. For the optimists out there…do you REALLY think that a sporting goods store will turn the city around?
That is a rhetorical question.

Higgins & the Waterfront

31 May

Brian Higgins has done more for Buffalo’s waterfront in the past 10 years than just about everyone. So when Higgins has something to say about it, people ought to listen.

Governor Pataki doesn’t think so, however.

Higgins wrote a letter to Pataki and others, suggesting the creation of an independent waterfront development corporation. It’s a good idea that might actually get something done. It beats having Joel Giambra suggest a casino for the outer harbor, which he was against before he was for it.

All work at the Erie Canal terminus has just about stopped, and it’s a 6-year old project. Higgins is frustrated – and rightfully so.

It’s time to wrest control of the people’s waterfront from the dysfunctional, slow NFTA, as well as from our do-nothing Governor.

Amazing Race 1

31 May

Coming to DVD September 20th.

Oh, yeah.

Kids vs. Madmen

31 May

Erie County Legislator Elise Cusack (who is pregnant and was accosted last week by a crazed Joel Giambra in a dark and dank parking lot), is not running for re-election.

She’d rather be with her kids than deal with madmen.

Not Linda Lovelace

31 May

This guy says he’s Deep Throat. W. Mark Felt was number 2 at the FBI at the time. Woodward & Bernstein aren’t saying.

Furrin Languages

31 May

I actually grew up speaking a different language at home, and learned English mostly off of the TV. But I don’t speak that language in my home now, so I get pretty rusty when I’m away from my parents for extended periods of time, and my dad – ever the perfectionist – does not hesitate to correct me.

You know that scene in Life of Brian where the Centurion gives Brian a Latin lesson whilst Brian is trying to write “Romans Go Home” in graffiti? Kind of like that.

So this story from Cate at Jak Skamtar about her recent difficulty ordering ice cream in Swedish made me smile.

When abroad, I always try to negotiate minor transactions in the native language. I know enough German and French to get by, and I can do stuff in Italy like excuse myself, order food, and (if really brave) ask for directions.

But it’s all good so long as I get out what I need to say, and there is a predictable response, of which I can understand about 60%.

When I get a question back, or an unpredictable response, I stand there like a deer caught in the headlights and plead either for God’s sweet mercy, or to instantly re-gain some of the brain cells I squandered in college so that I can understand how to respond in a semi-intelligible way.

Usually, I just revert to: “parlez-vous Anglais / sprechen sie English / parlate Inglese”.

Solo

30 May

Apparently, you can walk alone.

More about what this nonsense is about: here.

And a huge HT to Figmo for actually getting a picture of this guy, and for the email.

Parking

30 May

The prolific and always-relevant Figmo at Buffalo Rising expands on my post about parking lots.

Certainly parking in downtown Buffalo will need consolidation and modernization. And that will be in parking ramps. And those parking ramps don’t necessarily have to be fugly. (Did you see they ripped down the horrific ramp between Franklin & Pearl across from the Hyatt? Good riddance.)

He points to one stunning parking garage in Virginia as an example.

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Parking can be both utilitarian and aesthetically proper. Parking does not have to equal blight. Figmo’s right. Now we have to change the minds of people in Buffalo who matter.

All of this type of thing could be handled with good zoning regulations and strict enforcement. Instead, we have what seems to be no zoning regulation and lax enforcement of those that do exist.

Non

30 May

French voters rejected the EU Constitution, which must be ratified by all member states to become law.

The reasons are varied, and differ from what you might think. But there will be a reassessment of what the EU is and should be, and it probably spells the end of the whole idea of a United States of Europe, and will instead continue on as a very tight customs union with benefits.