<<Home Niagara Falls Reporter Archive>>



I just returned home to Florida after a visit of several days to my former hometown area.

During that time I visited Niagara Falls several times, went to the casino, drove around the area and went "downtown," where I parked the car and visited the "major" souvenir shop and the souvenir stands scattered about the area like an outdoor flea market. The entire falls area is a disgrace! There is no other way to say it.

The entire area is dingy, dirty, unkempt, shopworn. I am unable to find the proper words to describe this "wonder of the world." Sidewalks and streets are broken and actually dangerous to walk upon. The trash at the falls area (especially on the other side of the safety barriers and fencing) obviously has not been picked up or cleaned up for months, if not years.

One cannot drive any of the side streets without hitting the many cracks, potholes and hundreds of pieces of debris in the streets. And the visitors really must enjoy seeing all those crack houses just off the main drag, with the broken windows, unkempt yards, junk cars, etc.

I made it a point to speak with a few of the many foreign visitors who spoke English, and their comments were almost all negative.

I have been fortunate enough to travel many parts of the world in years past and have visited some of the countries represented by these visitors. Most of their countries were much cleaner, well kept and had many areas to tour and enjoy -- historical sites, grand buildings and parks. It was a pleasure to visit. I am speaking of England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, China, Japan, India and more.

Very few of these places were as dirty and rundown as Niagara Falls, and they offered many places of interest -- parks, museums, theaters, nightclubs, etc.

Now back to the Falls. There are very few fine places to dine or shop. The souvenir stands were all full of overpriced junk, most of which came from China and other overseas sources.

Then I had the pleasure of crossing the border to Canada. Clean, neat, fantastic shopping areas, the parks along the falls area were beautiful, with lots of flowers and green shrubs and plants.

One was hard put to find trash and debris in the falls areas. So many fine shops that it would take several days just to see them all, with a fine selection of goods. Great places to relax and have a snack or a drink. And I want to say also that the salespeople in Canada were much more friendly and cooperative.

I had the pleasure once again of dining up in the Skylon Tower. Wow! Fantastic view, and the menu, although a bit pricey, was absolutely fabulous. Their escargot was superior to that I have had many times in Paris.

It would be impossible to estimate the number of visitors who were shopping there in Canada, many thousands vs. the few hundred I saw at those great souvenir stands around the park on the U.S. side, with many millions of dollars being spent there instead of in the United States. Maybe we could tell them about the fantastic Rainbow Centre, or about all that reconstruction that was promised in the Falls some 60 years ago that never materialized.

Maybe we could tell them about the hundreds of empty promises from the corrupt and incompetent politicians in New York who were going to bring in jobs and tourism and millions of much-needed dollars.

Yes, maybe if we told these millions of people who visit annually about all our problems, they might just leave a few dollars in a collection plate, which we could set up down by the border as they cross into Canada!

Don Soos lives in Orange Park, Fla.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Oct. 4, 2011