Niagara Gazette — “Mr. Las Vegas” himself gave me a few minutes of his time, answering a couple of questions about what he thought about Niagara Falls these days.
After the interview was over, he shook my hand and wished me well.
I’m not like one of the fans I interviewed Friday — self-proclaimed “Wayniac” Sandi Kaugas — but it was kind of cool nonetheless.
Everyone knows “Danke Schoen” and personally I give Newton high marks for his work in the comedy classic “Vegas Vacation.” Besides, he’s one of those larger-than-life characters.
His bit on Old Falls Street was a bit corny to say the least, but I’m certain nothing like it would have happened downtown in the darker days before they built the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel and razed the Wintergarden. When I got here in the late 1990s, the old convention center was playing host to card shows and monster truck-a-thons.
It may be a far cry from hosting Elvis at the old Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center, but there’s some semblance of progress in there it seems.
Beyond Newton was the feeling on the strip itself.
As I walked back to the newspaper’s office, I couldn’t help but notice the people inside TGI Fridays having a good time. A little further up I saw a collection of what looked like college kids hanging out in Starbucks.
The Christmas lights on the trees and the glow from the casino across the way made me feel like I’ve always wanted to feel more often in downtown Niagara Falls — like there’s some life, and hope.
From veterans to veteran performers to a cheerful feel downtown.
Not a bad day on the job in Niagara Falls.
Not bad at all really.Contact City Editor Mark Scheer at 282-2311, ext. 2250.