Weekly Feature

2011-07-28 / Editorial

Spindle items

Lancaster/ Depew Editor

WRONG, BOSS — I’ve been fortunate enough to like everyone I’ve ever worked for, present company included. I love my boss. I love his wicked sense of humor. I like the culture he’s created here. I like that he hired me.

But I take exception to his column in the July 21 Bee in which he said the Queen City trumps the Flour City.

(A note to readers thinking me disloyal: While I have settled nicely in Buffalo, I will always have a fondness for the city of my birth.)

So here’s my rebuttal.

My boss and I had similar paths, both growing up in Rochester and its suburbs, attending Catholic school. His high school, once all-boys, was a block away from my all-girls school, so we have a friendly rivalry about that.

But apparently, this expatriate has abdicated his love for his hometown. Perhaps the bright lights of Buffalo’s professional sports teams have blinded Mr. Sherman’s recollections of his former city.

My boss, for example, says Rochester’s residents don’t have “delusions of grandeur” and are content with being a “second-tier city.”

Sure, we may be known as the best minor-league sports town, but we have plenty of delusions of grandeur.

That’s exactly the mindset that has made Rochester successful. The city doesn’t settle.

Buffalo, my boss argues, should, when it comes to expanding the Peace Bridge.

“As long as we continue to dream big but temper our goals with reality, we will succeed,” he writes.

If Rochesterians had been content to be realists and accept the status quo, think of all that wouldn’t have been.

The city has a history of being progressive, a place where trailblazers in temperance, suffrage, abolition and religion gathered. People like Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, William Lloyd Garrison, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Isaac Post pushed society’s limits in Rochester.

My hometown has been able to reinvent itself, from mills and farms (The Flour City), to nurseries that stocked gardens across the country and the internationally known Lilac Festival (Flower City); as the birthplace of the consumer camera and Xerox copies (The Image City); and now the home of renowned universities, an acclaimed medical center, museums and internationally known companies.

My boss touts a new bridge connecting Buffalo with the province of Ontario as something this city can brag about, a shot in the arm of confidence it desperately needs.

Let’s be pragmatic, Buffalonians. Isn’t a bridge just a way to get from point A to point B? Are all those Canadians really going to spend that much time in Buffalo?

Rochester recently rebuilt a bridge, naming it after Anthony and Douglass. It’s beautiful, particularly when it’s illuminated at night. It’s eased traffic congestion.

But, let’s face it, it’s a hulk of metal. Is a hulk of metal that noteworthy? There has to be something — other than cheaper sales tax — that makes people want to travel over one.

Perhaps those motorists will cross it and get on Interstate 90, head east and visit Rochester.

I recommend it.

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