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APR 14 - APR 21, 2015

Facebook Provides Trip Down Memory Lane for Falls Residents

By Mike Hudson

April 14, 2015

Main Street in Niagara Falls used to be lined with retail merchants. People remember them fondly.

On Friday night, teenagers and families alike would go to the drive in and catch a movie. Now consigned to the Ninth Circle of Facebook fan pages.
A company called Nabisco used to be headquartered here. They made a great cereal called Shredded Wheat and employed hundreds of people. They shut down their factory and quit the city a decade ago.
NFPD Officer Bill Szabo organized bicycle rodeos for city children back in the Sixties and Seventies. Those days are long gone.

"Does anyone remember….?"

Some of the saddest words that can be written. Words that hearken to lost times, lost traditions, lost places and lost people.

They are also three of the most frequently used words on the Facebook page entitled "The GOOD things about Niagara Falls, New York."

Anyone remember the big blue whale in LaSalle?" Mary Grochala asks. "I think it was a car wash?"

"Willie the whale," Fran Curcione responds.

"I think it was kiddy corner from Dairy Queen," Emma Hofmeyer states.

Others write into say that her assessment of the car wash's geography was correct.

Below Ms. Grochala's post is another, somewhat lengthier and sent in by Joel R. Paradise.

"Although as kids we didn't realize it at the time, we were very fortunate to have a person like (Niagara Falls Police) Officer Bill Szabo," Paradise wrote. Back inthe 60's and 70's (maybe later) he would make the rounds to all of the elementary schools each Spring to stress the importance of bicycle & pedestrian safety and thedangers that cars can present. Forty-five-plus years later I can still hear him say: "NEVER walk between two parked cars". He also made possible the bicycle rodeosthat were held each spring at all of the elementary schools."

To accompany his nostalgic remembrance, Paradise posted a photo, dating no later than the mid-1960s, of Officer Szabo and his young charges.

With more than 155 Facebook "likes" and 50 comments, Paradise's stroll down Memory Lane struck a chord.

"Red light stop... Yellow light no... Wait for the green and then you go," quoted Mark Novelli.

"I remember him at 17th street school- and the bike rodeos in the City Market! Great memories,"wrote Angela Mecca.

But Richard DeMunda summed up the tone of the posters and the page itself in his posting.

"Yes, those were the days!" DeMunda wrote.

Apparently they were. The most striking thing about "The GOOD Things About Niagara Falls, New York" is that, with a few notable exceptions like Frankie's Donuts, allof them ceased to exist sometime prior to 1980.

"Where were you in the Blizzard of 1977?" James Fasciano wonders.

"Back in the 70's there were 2 quality steak houses. John's Flaming Hearth and my favorite Pete's Market House," Nick Spacone opines.

"How many people remember Pizza Oven on 19th and Niagara?" Laura Taylor Rager asks.

"On the way going to Pacific Avenue School I stopped at Martha's penny candy store everyday and bought candy, who needed lunch. She had the best candy and then itreally was only a penny a piece," Christine Dowling recalled. "My favorite at the time were the Boston Baked Beans."

Clearly, for longtime residents here, the city of Niagara Falls is really two places. There's the one that existed 40 and more years ago, where jobs were plentiful,big blue whales dotted the streetscape and happy children stopped off for penny candy on their way home from school.

Quite a difference than the Niagara Falls of today, where cops are too busy chasing gun toting, hopped up hoodlums to host bicycle rodeos, half the population is onwelfare and children must deal with the proliferating population of dangerous registered sex offenders hanging out in front of the candy stores.

It's a different place all right. And not a better place.


Back in 1982, the Garage was a swinging night club where you could see a band every night. It closed years ago.






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