The Death of a Drive-In
The Buffalo Drive-In closes down tonight after 58 years in business. It's been quite a while since I've tooled down Harlem Road to catch the double-feature, but this stings nonetheless. It's always tough when a piece of your childhood is erased to build medical office buildings. It's also tough when the NY Times writer Ken Belson uses the closing to slam the state of the city's economy: "Closings are nothing new around Buffalo, where steel mills were shuttered years ago and the streets are pockmarked with boarded-up churches and shops." He makes it sound like a ghost town, without providing any evidence to back up this impression. Such blanket statements show a reliance upon received wisdom about the state of the city...which admittedly has its share of problems. In a recently disclosed study, Buffalo is the second-poorest big city in the nation, with a median income of $27,800 (behind only Detroit). But he fails to mention the $3.6 billion in projects that are in the pipeline, or anything that might offset his premise that Buffalo is a dead town. That kind of defeatist attitude is exactly what Bills quarterback J.P. Losman is admirably fighting, starting a non-profit group called Buffalo Lives!, which intends to beautify the city one block at a time. Losman may never be a pro-bowler, but he's the only QB to ever praise Olmstead's park systems in Buffalo.
Back to the movies. I remember seeing ¡Three Amigos! at the Drive-In when I was 6 or 7 years old, and I thought it was the finest work of art I'd ever seen. I must have been eating pizza, or a hot dog, and laughing my ass off at at the singing burning bush. Maybe I missed a scene to go to the bathroom and regretted the instability of my tiny bladder. I'm not entirely sure. But I loved the movie, re-enacted it with my brother, and saved my parents from entertaining me for one night. So thanks Buffalo Drive-In.