Tonawanda News


July 5, 2013

ADAMCZYK: That was then, this is now


Tonawanda News — These days you can rent a college for a conference, a wedding reception or a karate tournament. Colleges public and private overbuilt as the post-war boomers passed through society like a swallowed mouse inside a snake, and now need to turn a few bucks wherever they can. So do teachers trained to lead kindergartens; ask them about plying their skills inside factories to employees in need of retraining, they’ll tell you it’s something of a surprise but they’re OK with it.

The turnover in people, places and things can be so swift it’s hard to remember what was going on, even a few years ago. Just about the time movie theaters became multi-screen multiplexes on former farmland in the deep suburbs, the elegant doll house on Kenmore Avenue known as the Colvin Theater fell to accommodate a seniors’ tower. Some of those who remember that the movie experience came with red velvet curtains, ushers in uniforms straight out of operettas and sweeping staircases leading to graceful balconies, now can compare it all to the modern experience, a shiny disc falling out of a red envelope in the mailbox marked “Netflix.”

We need senior housing more than a night at the movies, evidently. The elderly know how to order movies.

The comfort in all of this is that, here, derelict buildings tend not to last long. The unnecessary is promptly wrecked to build the next thing the community thinks it needs. Those sagging, paint missing old structures can be picturesque but are for municipalities on their way to becoming ghost towns, and citizen, that’s not us.

At Eggert Road and Sheridan Drive, an airport in the Lindbergh days, a barrel-vaulted building stands in a strip mall from the late 1950s, more or less. It was a supermarket, then a church, then an Office Max and is now vacant, ready for whatever comes next. Designed as a place to sell groceries to the aforementioned exploding population of Tonawanda, its builders probably never imagined a need for a suburban church that large (with plenty of free parking), and why on earth would people not in business require all those office supplies?

I do not know which is more exciting to observe, a building coming down or one going up. Each appeals differently to my sense of change and of necessity. Each has its satisfactions.

Ed Adamczyk is a Kenmore resident whose column appears Fridays in the Tonawanda News. Contact him at

Ed Adamczyk is a Kenmore resident whose column appears Fridays in the Tonawanda News. Contact him at

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  • 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

  • Canal Fest, here we come This column should be titled "Roads and Streets." First of all, Meadow Drive is finally open. Although it took very long to be completed, it's beautiful. Riding by the other day brought into focus how many people will use this to cut across town. One less thing for residents to complain about.

    July 12, 2014

  • ADAMCZYK: Homesick for someplace I've never been You stumble over things that make you wonder. I do, at least, and the latest is one of those advertising artifacts from yesteryear that encourage me to ponder what's changed and what never will.

    July 11, 2014