On Jan. 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s representative, Empire State Development’s Sr. VP Sam Hoyt appeared in Council Chambers at Niagara Falls City Hall to deliver an encapsulated version of the “State of the State” speech performed by Cuomo on Jan. 9 at the University of Buffalo’s North Campus.
At the front entrance to the large chambers, where the business of the people is conducted every other Monday, on the bench next to the door, was a stack of single-page, fold-out glossy brochures headlining “NEW YORK STATE EXCELSIOR EVER UPWARD – Advancing the New York Promise” above images of the Greater Rochester International Airport and JFK International in New York City, as well as a newly-constructed Second Avenue Subway in Manhattan. At the bottom of the brochure, in bold letters, is “Andrew M. Cuomo” and “Governor”.
After Hoyt’s seminar, we grabbed a couple of the handbills on our way out the door.
Inside the slick brochure are numerous bullet points extolling the accomplishments of the governor and outlining his goals for the future, from “Invest $750 million in Regional Economic Development Council awards, which have created or retained 210,000 jobs statewide since 2011,” to “Establish Hate Crimes Task Force charged with investigating and deterring incidents of bias and discrimination” and “Modernize and transform airports across the state, from New York City to Syracuse to Plattsburgh.”
Before relegating the Cuomo pamphlet to the top of the three-foot-tall stack of similarly over-produced glossy hand-outs from state government that chronicle the numerous hearings, open houses and public information sessions that have been held over the past 20 years on Robert Moses Parkway removal, we took a quick glance at the back cover of the brochure which, as you can see from the image accompanying this article, shows a map of New York State comprising a collage of people’s faces. Supposedly attached to the map is a yellow Post-It with a scribbled message from “Andrew C!” which says, as you can read, “New York State holds the torch high! “Give me your tired your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free (with apologies to Emma Lazarus)… I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Scientists say that there is a special place in the brain for facial recognition, a cognitive function they sometimes refer to as “grandmother cells.” According to Wikipedia, grandmother cells activate “when a person “sees, hears, or otherwise sensibly discriminates” a specific entity, such as his or her grandmother.” In other words, our brains are predisposed to recognize familiar faces in a crowd.
So imagine this reporter’s great surprise and delight when, in the course of a cursory scan of the map of the state of New York on the back cover of Cuomo’s glossy brochure, his eyes zeroed right in on a tiny image of none other than Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster amid the sea of anonymous faces!
While the image measures little more than a quarter of an inch square, and didn’t lend itself to being effectively enlarged, it’s unmistakably Dyster, pictured in the center of the state somewhere in the Adirondacks hundreds of miles from Niagara Falls.
During our weekly editorial board meeting here at the Reporter, we were trying to decide which category Mayor Dyster fits into most precisely, in Gov. Cuomo’s estimation.
Is Dyster tired and poor, or just talented at creating more of the same here in the city of Niagara Falls as a result of his policies and “leadership”?
Maybe he’s one of the “huddled masses”? Or do you think Dyster is struggling to “breathe free”?
Whatever the case might be, we know one thing for sure. Somebody in the governor’s office sure has a sense of humor.