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AUGUST 03 - AUGUST 11, 2015

The Niagara Falls Reporter’s Top 20 Reasons Why Niagara Falls is Not Gaining Ground

By Mike Hudson

AUGUST 03, 2015

David Letterman was famous for the Top 10 lists he did on his long running television talk show, comical answers to silly premises such as “Top Ten Least Popular Broadway Shows” or “Top Ten Least Popular Exhibits at the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

And Paul Simon made rock and roll history in 1975 with the release of his smash hit, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”

Quite honestly, we here in the newsroom of the Niagara Falls Reporter were trying to come up with a list of reasons why the city shouldn’t be abandoned to the elements, the crooked politicians, the gangbangers and the predatory “developers,” all of the things that combine to make daily existence in the Cataract City the depressing, angst inducing bad dream it can often be. We wanted to be like that page on Facebook, the one with all the pictures taken before Paul Dyster was mayor, called “The GOOD Things About Niagara Falls New York.”

But we couldn’t. In all honesty, we just couldn’t.

Once we got past “the falls themselves,” it was impossible to come up with a Number Two. Oh, you could say the subs at Viola’s the pies from Pizza Oven or the osso buco at the Como, the food in general, but lots of places have great food and the standard fare in Niagara Falls isn’t all that different from the standard fare anywhere.

Even if you did praise the food as Number Two, what would Number Three be?

We pondered out dilemma and finally it occurred to us. It would be way easier to come up with a list of reasons to leave Niagara Falls than to wrack our brains trying to find reasons to stay.

Still, Letterman’s “Top Ten” seemed a bit short. And honestly, Simons “50 Ways” seemed a bit excessive. So we settled on 20.

Twenty Reasons to Get the Hell Away From Niagara Falls!


By her own admission, Harriet Tubman never set foot in Niagara Falls. But Mayor Paul Dyster believes she's such an important figure in the history of our fair city that he's spending hundreds of thousands of your dollars erecting a statue of her and dedicating a public park to her memory.

Reason Number 20: Harriet Tubman.

“The Moses of Her People,” Tubman is known to have led at least 19 individuals away from places where they found themselves enslaved by an economic and political system that had clearly run its’ course. Although there is no reason to believe she ever set foot in Niagara Falls and only anecdotally told someone she’d passed through on a train one time, it is our firm belief that, were she here today, she would advise her people and anyone else who would listen to get the hell away. The city Council recently authorized Mayor Dyster to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a Tubman statue to be placed outside his new, $44 million train station and “Get the hell away!” seems like a suitable inscription for the monument’s base.


Like Harriet Tubman, Jimney Cricket is a beloved character from the past with No connection to Niagara Falls. While Dyster hasn't proposed erecting a statue to Jimney, he did use your money to build a cricket field!

 Number 19: Cricket Set to Become New City Pastime.

On the Opening Day of the Babe Ruth Little League season this year, Mayor Dyster told league officials that at least some of the baseball diamonds that have stood for more than a half century at Hyde Park would need to be eliminated so that he could build a cricket field there. They thought he was joking but it turned out that he wasn’t. Most cricket enthusiasts in Western New York are highly educated professionals hailing from India, and Dyster figured that by building their field of dreams he might be able to finagle more than a few rupees out of them as a heretofore untapped reservoir of campaign contributors. Baseball fans and hundreds of families whose children play Babe Ruth League ball were not amused after the Niagara Falls Reporter broke the story.


Whole neighborhoods of abandoned houses like this one line forgotten streets in all sections of the city. Dyster says the city's too broke to tear them all down!


Number 18: Zombie houses

Well over 700 houses and former businesses throughout the city sit vacant and abandoned and the chances of anyone living or working in them again are slim and none. Slim just left town, and Dyster’s efforts at demolishing these public safety hazards over the past eight years have not even kept up with the new abandonments. A few years ago, two children were killed after apparently starting a fire in an abandoned house on 19th Street, and just last month, an abandoned house of Willow Avenue was used by a serial killer to dump the dismembered body of one of his victims.


The mass exodus of residents fleeing from Niagara Falls has grown so critical that Dyster has extended an open invitation to dangerous sexual predators, other paroled felons and welfare recipients from across the state in order to keep the city's population above 50,000.down!


Reason Number 17: To Get the Hell Away From Niagara Falls: Everyone else is.

It’s true. Since Dyster took office, city residents have been leaving, never to return, at the rate of approximated 1,000 per year. At the current rate, Niagara Falls will have a population of zero just in time for the census of 2060, which coincidentally enough is the earliest that Dyster can expect to see the high speed rail service he’s currently building his train station to accommodate.


Car killer potholes plague passing motorists in a city whose streets are marked by more than 500 orange cones that signal dangerous driving conditions.


Number 16: The roads start getting better as soon as you’re out of the city

Try a little experiment. Point your car in any direction and just start driving. Within minutes of passing the city limits, you’ll find that the ride is smoother, and that the number of potholes, orange cones, loose patches of asphalt and other road hazards you encounter drops steadily the further away you get.


Yes, there’s a serial killer loose on the streets of Niagara Falls though nobody wants to talk about it because it scares the tourists!


Reason Number 15: There is a serial killer here.

You know that guy who lives down the street from you? Quiet, kind of keeps to himself? The last person in the world you would suspect of being…. IT’S HIM!!!!!!!! And he’s got his eye on you!!!!! Get the hell away while you can!!!!


Number 14: All the stuff that’s buried in the ground and floating in the air.

Love Canal, Mount Trashmore and streets underlain with radioactive waste from the Manhattan project combine in a city that is known for high rates of certain kinds of cancers and heart disease. To make matters worse, the “clean steam” spewing into the air 24/7 from several of the heavy industries that line Buffalo Avenue hasn’t yet been officially linked with the unusually high incidence of respiratory illnesses such as asthma and emphysema doesn’t mean that it isn’t linked.



Looking down the barrel of a gun is not unusual in Niagara Falls, which has the dubious distinction of being named the most dangerous city in New York and the 44th most dangerous municipality in the entire country! Just give them the money.


Number 13: High crime

The insane level of crime in Niagara Falls is so completely out of proportion to the number of people living here that it has been ranked as the most dangerous place in the state of New York and the 44th most dangerous place in the entire country. That means you or one of your beloved family members has a greater chance of being the victim of a violent or property crime here than almost any place else, providing yet another reason to go anyplace else.


Nostalgia is a favorite pursuit in Niagara Falls, where the storied past always takes precedence over the grim reality of the present.


Reason Number 12: Too much nostalgia

Because the city is in such bad shape now, and because it was once a prosperous, happy locale within the memory of the many elderly residents who live there, Niagara Falls is long on nostalgia. The most obscure candy store, the smelliest dive bar is recalled in solemn tones by those who firmly believe that nothing else ever known on the entire face of the planet could stack up. Of course, when these places were actually open nobody went to them and spent money, which is why they are now gone.



PU! This place stinks! If you’re unfortunate enough to live anywhere near the city’s Buffalo Avenue Wastewater Treatment plant, and it’s summertime out, Niagara Falls actually stinks. Many East Side residents report that the running water in their homes comes out smelly and the stench that permeates the air can be overpowering.


 Number 11: Penguins are more important than people here

Earlier this year, Mayor Dyster asked the city Council to authorize $150,000 to be given to the Aquarium of Niagara in order to improve the habitat for the penguins held captive there. A little digging by this newspaper revealed that the $150,000 was just a down payment on a proposed $15 million project at the aquarium. Only two public works projects in recent memory, the $46.5 million North Main Street courthouse and Dyster’s new $44 million train station have cost more, and the benefits of those projects to people who actually live here is debatable.

Number 10: The place smells

During the summer months, sanitary sewer sludge ripens in the hot sun at the Wastewater Treatment Plant on Buffalo Avenue, imparting an odor that, depending on how the wind is blowing, can cause you to gag anywhere in a large swath of the city roughly bounded by Portage Road, Pine Avenue and Hyde Park Boulevard.


Reason Number Nine: Too many registered sex offenders

In prison, these guys must be kept apart from the regular inmates, who would kill them, but in Niagara Falls, Mayor Dyster welcomes them with open arms. There is currently one registered sex offender for every 305 residents, a shocking number equaled by no other city in the state. This is one of those quality of life things that keeps people from moving to the city and provides yet another reason the shinking population left there to Get the Hell Away From Niagara Falls!


Number Eight: No jobs.

Well over 50 percent of the people living in Niagara Falls are currently receiving welfare, ADC, food stamps, health care and other benefits from the government. They are largely unemployed. The remaining citizens are for the most part working for the government as school teachers, police officers, health care providers, social workers and the like. Niagara Falls is one of the very few places in the country where a fireman could be considered well to do.

Number Seven: The weather.

This isn’t anyone’s fault and, really, and the weather in Niagara Falls generally isn’t any worse than that of Buffalo, Erie, PA, or Cleveland. It just seems worse because you’re in Niagara Falls.


Number Six: The nightlife.


Number Five: Fat people who seem to think it’s OK to wear their pajamas grocery shopping, to Dairy Queen or wherever.

Obesity is endemic in the Cataract City and many residents seem to believe that covering it up with a baggy T shirt promoting some band that hasn’t had a hit in 35 years or a football team that has yet to win its’ first Superbowl somehow makes it OK. The shirt is generally paired with an equally baggy pair of sweat pants and slip on sneakers that resemble nothing so much as hospital slippers. This “I don’t give a damn” look has been de riguer in Niagara Falls for most of the current century and impresses the tourists all to hell.


Reason Number Five: You’re being ripped off.

According to the state’s Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments, the tax rate in the city of Niagara Falls comes in at a shocking 20.2 percent of actual property value. The restructuring board states that any rate above 7.5 percent is problematic, and the Niagara Falls number is the highest in the state, far outdistancing the competition. In other words, on a real world value property worth $100,000, the Niagara Falls taxpayer is paying what his counterpart in a properly managed municipality might pay on a property valued at nearly $300,000.

Reason Number Four: The most important assets in the city are owned by the state and the Seneca Nation of Indians.

Niagara Falls has two things going for it: the falls themselves and the adjacent downtown tourist district. Many cities, all across the country, have done more with less. We gave the falls away to the state of New York and, a century later, gifted much of the tourist district to the Senecas. What were they thinking? Ask Mayor Dyster, who is in the pocket of the parks commission and has been in public office – as both mayor and a leading city Councilman – as the whole Seneca land grab went down.



Back in 2013, the need for fast tracking the Hamister hotel project was so important that popular former city councilman Sam Fruscione lost his job for even questioning it. Today the hotel still doesn’t exist and many insiders say it never will. But thanks to Mayor Dyster, do nothing developer Mark Hamister got a prime piece of downtown real estate valued at as much as $1.5 million for a bargain basement price of $100,000!

Number Three: The Hamister deal.

Talk about being ripped off…. In the runup to the city Council election of 2013, former Council Chairman Sam Fruscione was demonized by Dyster, Gov. Andrew Coumo and even United States Senator Charles Schumer for asking basic questions about the gifting of a downtown city property valued at $1.5 million for $100,000 to some bum from Buffalo named Mark Hamister, who had never built a hotel before. Hamister proposed building one here and his political connections brought a slime storm down on Fruscione, who was characterized as an obstructionist. The hotel, apparently, needed to be built right that minute. Of course there is still no hotel, and sources close to the situation say there may never be. Hamister, who now has control of the property, has downgraded the project considerably, eliminating retail space, stating that the hotel might be a little box job rather than the splendor palace originally proposed and fessing up to the fact that instead of the 200 jobs he initially said would be created, there probably wouldn’t even be 20.


“Saving” the antiquated Maid of the Mist tour boat ride at the base of the Falls was great for Jimmy Glynn, who owns the franchise, but awful for the taxpayers of the state of New York, who lost out on $100 million with the deal. Hornblower Cruises, operating from the Canadian side of the mighty Niagara, is currently taking more than 70 percent of the tour boat business, but they didn’t have U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Paul Dyster telling them how saving Glynn’s operation was crucial to future development.


Reason Number Two: The Maid of the Mist

In a simply stunning move, the troika of Dyster, Cuomo and Schumer threw away potential $100 million to appease longtime political insider and Buffalo Niagara Partnership honcho James Glynn by refusing to allow open and competitive bidding for the tour boat concession below the falls. After an investigation by this newspaper and the Canadian government revealed that Glynn’s relationship with Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission was completely crooked up, his Maid of the Mist contract was rescinded and, after bidding, awarded to Hornblower Tours, which clearly provided a better attraction. New York built Glynn new docks, reversed its’ decades old policy of saying that whoever had the Canadian contract must also have the American franchise and even defended their decision to toss out Hornbower’s offer to pay $100 million more than Glynn in court.

And Reason Number One For Getting the Hell Away From Niagara Falls? Paul Dyster.

Paul Dyster has been a top figure in Niagara Falls since the beginning of the century. First elected as a city councilman in 2000, and then as mayor in 2007 and 2011, his reign of error has been nothing short of disastrous for the city and its’ people. He’s got the political juice to keep getting reelected though, and the cash. He spent $100,000 on each of his past two election bids and may double that this year. It is a truism that people get the representation they deserve, and --- for the past eight years anyway – the people of Niagara Falls apparently deserve Paul Dyster. If only because they keep electing him.







Cricket Now Proceeding Apace in City Dyster Cuts Ribbon and Plays an Inning of the Grand Sport of the Imperial British Raj he Brought to the Falls
Buffalo Niagara Cricket Club More of Buffalo than Niagara
Questions Somebody Should Ask the Mayor About his Cricket Field?
It’s a Mystery How the Dyster Administration Gets Away With it Riddle us This, Mayor Dyster
From Planned Parenthood, to “Sexy” Actors, Grandinetti’s Facebook Shows Councilwoman Driven
Grandinetti Gets Dyster Order to Cool Facebook Activity Till After Primary
Chilton Avenue a Bit Safer Today As Pescrillo’s Financial Woes Worsen
New PEF Leaders Sworn In, Commit to Fair Contract and Strengthening the Union
County Cited for Eight Violations in Shaw Bldg. Asbestos Case
Niagara Frontier Loses Out on Legal Pot In the Same Way it Loses Out on Everything
Dyster Fumbles Attempt to Defend Hamister Hotel Deal in TV Interview
Dyster Has the Numbers do the Residents Have the Will?
The Niagara Falls Reporter’s Top 20 Reasons Why Niagara Falls is Not Gaining Ground
Dyster Waterfront Record Deplorable, Will Cause Lasting Damage to City
Only in NT: Canal Fest Parking and Other Recommendations
Ceretto Makes Headlines for Spending $11 more Than Assembly Competition
ECC Facing Second Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit
Red Cross Needs Niagara Blood Donors
Niagara Catholic Welcomes New Administrators
More Roads Added to the Paving List
A Message From Carl Paladino The Clock
Sen. Schumer, Comedian Amy Schumer Call for (Even) More Federal Control of State Gun Laws
The Doctor's Son Can
Memorial to Expand Primary Care Services, Open New Medical Office on Military Road
Gunfight, Bank Robbery, Kidnapping, What’s Next? - Part 2
David Nail to Perform FREE (with gate admission) at the Erie County Fair
City Hall Jokes

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Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina