Tonawanda News

Columns

February 22, 2013

Back when we weren't afraid of the dark

Tonawanda News — Things are different these days. Of course they are. They’re supposed to be.

Another specimen in the “what we’ve gained, what we’re missing” canon was evident to me, one just-past-midnight early morning, when I noticed my car and I were the only visible things moving on Sheridan Drive. Oh, there’s nightlife, somewhere; certain bars in certain neighborhoods are busy and the town’s Greek restaurants remain open, but there was a time urban Western New York didn’t know what time it was.

I’ll now use a phrase a lot of readers have never heard: third shift.

Harken back to the days when this was a manufacturing hub, a place where people built stuff, and in periods of heavy demand, which was all the time in some industries, factories and offices and labs always had the lights on and working around-the-clock was a 24/7 endeavor.

That meant service industries kept the same schedule. Men and women who got out of work at 2 a.m. often sought a place to eat, so restaurants accommodated them. Breakfast was available whenever a customer wanted breakfast. Steak and mashed potatoes at 7 in the morning? No problem. 

The area’s surprisingly liberal bar-closing schedule (to wit: 4 a.m.) is a remnant of those days. You might want, need, a beer at three in the morning because you got out of work at two in the morning.

It was not that long ago the avenues Delaware, Sheridan, Hertel and others were busy places after midnight. We post-adolescents tend not to live that way, these days, and I miss it.

Among the things we can do late at night are the pumping of gas and the visiting of ATMs. There is essentially no shopping, and little eating, available. Only on special occasions do movie theaters offer 11 p.m. or midnight showings.

Text Only
Columns
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo