Thursday, June 21, 2007

Buffle off to shuffalo

In Buffalo on a short business trip (and as a result unable to accept an invitation for a sneak preview screening of Michael Moore's Sicko in Hartford on Wednesday), and while it's nice to be in the hometown of the fiery chicken wing, it's easy to observe the struggles of reviving a city center.

One can hardly make definitive conclusions based on a few hours in town, but it's pretty clear that three oversized stadiums downtown, a light rail line, interesting architecture, and a beautiful lake, do not a revival make.

The streets seem empty of people at all hours of the day and evening (and many of the people you do encounter seem to be struggling as mightily as the city itself). There appears to be very few people living downtown. There are quite a few restaurants. Some busy. Some not. It is a Wednesday night, but there's a ballgame at the minor league stadium.

Many of the multi-story, lovely old buildings are clearly empty, though some are undergoing renovation.

The huge Bethlehem steel mill on the edge of town, and the edge of the lake, lies empty (a mixed blessing to be sure), and the auto plants are suffering the fate of costly oil, and little foresight.

Someone here said, "It's a great place to live if you can figure out how to make a living."

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