I made the trek to Thursday in the Square for the first and probably only time this year last week for George Clinton and Parliment/Funkadelic. This had been one of the more stressful work weeks in recent memory. A few things went right Thursday. I signed a couple sponsors for the Zoo, and thought I deserved to kick back a little. A few years ago, the geniuses at Buffalo Place, in an effort to sell more stuff, made the TATS concerts all ages. That resulted in some folks being there for the music, but more were there to say they were there. That is an affliction with many Darien Lake shows in my memory.
Nice part about the Clinton show is that it kept the posers to a minimum. The inherent groovyness of a P/Funk show brought more folks down for the music. There were a lot of folks who thought those outdoor chairs had a place. It was a great vibe. It was very crowded, but people were very respectful and careful, looking out for one another. This doesn’t happen at your typical Thursday in the Square program. Nice to see. After strolling to get a good view for “Flashlight” and “We Got the Funk,” I was a happy guy, thinking fondly of how I got my son pumped up for school by “We Want the Bus, gotta catch that bus.” I think they played for almost 3 1/2 hours, but around 8, I had my fill.
I walked down a little down by the M&T building and grabbed a snack from one of the vendors, where I had a great view of old artvoice banner featuring Steve Christie that is hanging from the former Bon-Ton store. He last played for the Bills in the late 90s, so the banner has been sitting up there for a decade plus, which is good guess as to how long it has been since the store had any kind of tenant. Taylor’s? what folly. You look a little to your left and gaze full into the depression that is Main Place Mall. One of the windows even had a cynically placed “Good Bye” in their window from the last merchant to close there.
Renewed optimism and intense fatalism within a few hundred feet of one another. There have been a few prospects for the Bon-Ton store. One of the charter schools was interested in the building, until the then Masiello administration kaboshed that, scared that that might actually bring people downtown, admittedly little people, but they are usually driven by bigger people. I think the mayor was holding out for another terrific project like our thriving Bass Pro store due to open half past not bloody likely.
Perhaps Buffalo Place and the Mall owner should get together a little more, because whatever the existing plan might be, that stuff ain’t working. You’d think some restaurant type would be interesting in even making some summer bucks off that long patio that works around the south end of the building.
They keep waiting for some magic bullet, one big project to make all the difference, while the bicycle ice cream dude gets persecuted for waiting to sell me a dreamcicle. Look at Elmwood, Hertel and select sections of Main St. It’s the little things that flower into big things. Making the smaller tasks easier to do can add up to the big projects. I don’t want to live next to Bass Pro, but it is nice to know I can walk to Zillycakes.