Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster is and always has been a man who enjoys his beer. Truth is, according to some of the lackluster rock and roll acts he's brought to town over the past four years, he likes his Jagermeister as well.
He's also the patron saint of the Niagara Arts & Cultural Center, which used to be Niagara Falls High School, a valuable piece of real estate that sits at the intersection of Pine Avenue and Portage Road.
So much taxpayer money has been funneled into the dilapidated, mostly empty former high school over the years that the center has been able to hire its own director of marketing, Dyster pal Bob Drozdowski.
Unlike other small-town arts centers, where the annual centerpiece event might be an exhibition or a theatrical production, the NAAC features as its premier presentation a gala event honoring beer.
Dyster, who owns a beermaking-supply store outside the city, and Drozdowski invented the "Art of Beer" celebration six years ago. In fact, they drank a pint to it.
That was shortly after city taxpayers spent a million dollars on upgrades to the former high school, which should have been condemned by the Inspections Department.
"It's going to be a beer-lover's paradise," Drozdowski told a newspaper reporter about last weekend's Art of Beer festival held at the center. It was kind of comical, because the whole city of Niagara Falls is a beer-lover's paradise, one of the coldest and booziest spots in the Lower 48.
People tend to drink a lot because unemployment is so high or the winters are so long. They drink to forget that the streets are so badly paved that the small, largely government subsidized incomes they receive are often spent on vehicle repair, and they drink to wax nostalgic about Niagara Falls, a place that was pretty doggone nice back when a mobster named Stefano Magaddino was running things.
Drinking may be, in fact, the No. 1 pastime here in Niagara Falls, and certainly contributes to the high rate of heart attack and stroke.
Back in November, a razor-thin majority of city voters handed Dyster a second term as mayor here. Maybe they were drunk.
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||March 6 2012|