Alleged promoter Carmen Tormino announced last week he's taking his annual motorcycle rally and moving it to Buffalo because some here felt that staging wet T-shirt contests across a narrow side street from a church wasn't such a good idea.
We say, don't let the door hit you in the backside, Carmen.
The story behind Tormino's disastrous "event" is an interesting one, involving as it did many of the city's biggest players. He had been in negotiations with Niagara Falls Redevelopment to stage the rally on land the developer owns across John B. Daly Boulevard from the Seneca Niagara Casino.
That site would have put the festivities far from any homes, churches or schools. It would have made sense, in other words.
Enter former mayor Vincenzo V. Anello, whose antipathy for NFR was well known. He offered Tormino free use of a municipal parking lot in the city's North End, free security courtesy of the NFPD and free fencing put up around the site by the city's department of public works.
Anello then waived the need for an insurance certificate required by law to stage such an event and, to sweeten the deal even further, clownishly volunteered to perform a "biker wedding" as part of an entertainment package that also featured the aforementioned wet T-shirt contests.
Predictably, those living in the quiet residential neighborhood became concerned. Rev. William Nelson-Loefke, pastor of the North End's Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, is no prude, but the thought of running a gigantic outdoor biker bar featuring lewd entertainment across the street from where he's trying to run a daycare center and Sunday school struck him as a bit much.
Nelson-Loefke voiced his concerns in some of the local news media, and Anello responded by having the church raided by fire marshals, who reported finding numerous violations. No one could remember the last time a church was raided here.
Prior to the event, Tormino predicted that 35,000 or more bikers would descend on the city, but after it was over the cops said the actual number was less than one-tenth that. And numerous vendors called the offices of the Niagara Falls Reporter in the rally's wake to say they had yet to be paid by Tormino and to ask if we knew where he was.
As much as Niagara Falls needs festivals and other attractions, we don't need ones like this. So good bye, Carmen, good riddance, and good luck to the people of Buffalo.
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||Jan. 29 2008|