It's rare to see a hotel in its infancy, and so Buzz was thrilled to be able to glimpse the nascent Marriott downtown by the Skyway across from The News. It's like a new car. No hot sauce spills yet, just the aroma of construction. There is a beautiful pool in the basement, its surface glassy and as yet undisturbed. On the first floor, a mural when you walk in shows what we think was Shelton Square: the Guaranty Building, St. Paul's Cathedral and the turreted Erie County Savings Bank. Nearby is a snack bar – and a real bar, too. There were cardboard boxes of glassware, and no-nonsense bottles of gin and vodka. A sweet sight, on this hectic afternoon! Back in the office, we excitedly told a co-worker what we had seen. She looked out the window to the spot we were describing. She sighed, “So near, and yet so far.”
Back to the Island
Got to love that first trip to Fantasy Island, which for Buzz was Sunday. The Wild West shootout was packed. There was a celebrity sighting: The guy who stars as Beelybones in the pirate show was seen walking into a building's rear staff entrance. Ride attendants, not yet worn down, were zealously shouting long lists of rules and cautions and measuring kids to the millimeter. (Buzz's 6-year-old nephew, Georgie, was thrilled when he was just short enough to get in one more summer on the Red Baron, the World War I-themed Herschell kiddie ride.) Just one thing was missing: the log flume. A staffer said it had been giving them problems. Buzz will miss it, not because last summer we had to walk around drenched after it soaked us, but for sentimental reasons: It was so 1970s! Maybe they can bequeath the remains to the World's Largest Disco.
How sweet it is, the first ice cream cone, and at Adrian's Custard & Beef on Grand Island, Buzz got the kid's-size twist. Funny, only grown-ups ate the kid portions. The kids all had massive cones. (Perry's makes sponge candy ice cream, and that's what our little ones instinctively went for.) At the outside tables, everyone was riveted to a majestic presence: a hawk, perched on the barbershop next door. The hawk was equally riveted by us. And we saw why, when a whole scoop of that sponge candy ice cream ended up on the grass. Clearly, the bird was waiting for dessert.
Let there be summer
Surely we could eat more, and so we headed to Don Tequila in Allentown. It was jammed with like-minded folks drinking margaritas and gigantic beers. We complained about the heat. We always want to be first! And we were not alone. At E.B. Green's, a gentleman asked piano man Jackie Jocko to play “Something Cool.” Jocko complied, and the man, thanking him, said: “I loved this song, 40 years ago.” Jocko gestured magnanimously toward him. “See, now, these people have good taste.”
Opening in a few weeks at Fantasy Island, a ride called Over the Falls. We hear it's for older kids. We'll see you there. ... Buzz loves the idea of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra playing the Erie County Fair. Will they play Aaron Copland's “Hoe Down”? We asked a BPO person, and she said yes. ... The best gigs are the ones that sound like basketball games. With which, the Fredtown Stompers play the Polish Cadets at 8 p.m. Tuesday. The Polish Cadets is at the corner of Grant and Amherst. Last time we checked, there was a huge Sobieski Vodka bottle out front.
“Don't worry. It's going to be fine.”
— Buzz's nephew, 6, reassuring frightened fellow rider on Fantasy Island's Rockin' Tug