Tag Archives: shock horror

Cultural Tourism

28 Dec

A few weeks ago, Assemblyman Sam Hoyt wrote this:

“There’s a lot of ball-dropping going on,” said Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, a Buffalo Democrat. “This is, in my opinion, a crisis in the making.”

Hoyt, in a letter to the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau, expressed concern about a “lack of cooperation” between the Buffalo Sabres, who are hosting the event, and the CVB.

“We can’t do these things in silos,” he told The Buffalo News. “What’s important is to take what little time we have left to make this right.”

The Sabres, who spent more than a year planning the 12-day, 10-team international tournament, reacted angrily to Hoyt’s claims…

…Hoyt said his concern is that whatever planning has taken place is insufficient for an event as large as the World Juniors.

He referred to the 2000 NCAA basketball tournament, when out-of-town fans walked out of HSBC Arena with no clue where to find food and drinks.

“What concerns me is that we have an opportunity to create thousands of Buffalo ambassadors,” he said. “The alternative is we leave thousands of visitors saying, ‘Boy, I saw a great tournament but Buffalo— what a lousy city.’ ”

At the time, some roundly criticized Hoyt for “bashing” the Sabres because of his ongoing feud with Floridian billionaire and Sabres-seller Tom Golisano.  Based on the outrageous & breathless media outrage over a 17 year-old hockey player’s Tweet calling Buffalo a “ghost town” that’s worse than Medicine Hat, Alberta, it seems as if Hoyt was exactly correct.

What, precisely, is a 17 year-old supposed to do holed up in the Hyatt or in the last Adam’s Mark on the planet? He can’t go drinking.  There’s quite literally no shopping.  The downtown mall is an embarrassment. All the stuff a teenager might enjoy is either up on Elmwood or out in the suburbs.

Too bad Mark Goldman’s Ohio Street arts corridor isn’t yet open.  Too bad Etem can’t go watch a laser light show projected onto a rusting eyesore of a grain elevator in subfreezing temperatures.  Too bad there’s nothing – not even a taco truck – at Canal Side for Etem to do or see.

While Allentown merchants banded together to promote their neighborhood to visitors, there’s no easy way to get there if you don’t have a car.  Not everyone enjoys the allure and mystique of grabbing exact change and waiting 20 minutes in the cold for a bus to appear.  A dedicated bus circuit specifically for hockey players and attendees wouldn’t have cost a lot, and would have gone a long way towards showing off the city and helping to entertain a visitor population that isn’t here to get drunk or admire Frank Lloyd Wright’s handiwork.

I realize that it doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks of the city, and that it shouldn’t be a media frenzy at all.  The point here is to bring up the fact that Hoyt specifically foresaw this and asked that planning be adequate to accommodate out-of-towners who don’t have cars and want to do things.