After spending most of a lifetime here on the Niagara Frontier, nothing out of the Cataract City should surprise me anymore. I mean, this is a city where corruption is shrugged at and it’s sometimes hard to know who to root against when a political brouhaha flares up.
But I still managed to be shocked when I read that Mayor Paul Dyster’s Tourism Advisory Board is about to urge spending city funds on pole-dancing GoGo girls, a “lingerie show” and a VIP gentlemen’s lounge.
That’s after the promoter of an event being called the “Dream Toys Show” pitched his “economic development” plan to Niagara Falls officials. The article also notes that the Dream Toys Show will feature a “children’s play area with bounce houses.”
Maybe they should invite James McKinney.
Look, ol’ Hobbes is no prude. I mean, you can’t spend your formative years just across the Rainbow Bridge from Lundy’s Lane and not have a somewhat jaded view of adult entertainment. And, honestly, I found myself laughing far more than cringing when the swingers descended on Grand Island. (Not that I plan to ever stay at the Grand Island Holiday Inn ever again, mind you.)
But this article is really disturbing.
Now, in any other city this side of San Francisco, such a proposal would be laughed out of town. But the event’s promoter, Carmen Toromino, has already secured the venerable Niagara Falls Convention Center for his smut show, and the Tourism Advisory Board seems close to urging a green-light for public funding:
“Such a draw would be a welcome sight downtown during one of the slowest times of the year tourism-wise, said board member Vince Mameli.“‘I think there’s going to be a lot of money flying around,’ said Mameli, who was among those encouraging Toromino to bring the show to Niagara Falls.“In the past year, the city has allocated $175,000 to sponsor or support various events, festivals and concerts. Tourism Board Chairman Jerry Genova chose his words carefully when asked Monday if he supported making a financial contribution to the Dream Toys Show.“‘I’m not in agreement with all of what will be going on but I think you always have to look at things across the board before drawing a conclusion,’ he said. ‘You have to see the process through.’”
And this is the city that needed everyone else’s casino money to fix its streets.