Niagara Gazette

April 25, 2013

GLYNN: Artpark created as part of deal-making in Albany

By DON GLYNN
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Joseph Perisco, a principal speech writer for Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller’s presidential campaigns, recounts how decades ago Artpark, the cultural and entertainment center in Lewiston, came into existence.

It was all about politics, according to Perisco, a respected journalist and author. It was, in fact, the result of negotiations between State Sen. Earl W. Brydges, R-Niagara Falls, and Rockefeller. At the time, Brydges was the Senate Majority Leader, considered the second highest office on Capitol Hill. Assembly Speaker Perry B. Duryea Jr. of Long Island, completed the triumvirate.

Perisco recalls that Rockefeller was a staunch supporter for a plan to build the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, just up the Hudson River from the capital. It was No. 1 on Rocky’s list then. Brydges, a powerful voice in the Senate, reportedly assured the governor that the Saratoga plan would be approved but, meanwhile, the senator wanted funding for a beautiful park along the Niagara Gorge in Lewiston. Although Rockefeller wasn’t used to people pressuring him in such a manner, he was sensitive to Brydges’ influence in making things happen. He then reportedly said, “Ok, Earl, you get your Artpark and I get my Saratoga Performing Arts Center.” It all sounded much like a deal that was cut, Perisco said. adding that he wasn’t privy to the overall discussion.

That story is told in a new book, “Oreos & Dubbonet: Remembering Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller,” by Joseph H. Boyd Jr. and Charles R. Holcomb.

Forty years later, Earl W. Brydges Artpark — few people today refer to the formal name — is celebrating a milestone as it prepares for another exciting season.

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STOP & FRISK?: There’s no question that all law enforcement agencies acted properly in investigating the two young brothers pulled over last Friday on Elmwood Avenue in Niagara Falls. close to the City Market. It was understandable in light of the massive hunt then under way for one of the suspects in Boston Marathon bombings. Still, the reason for stopping them in the first place is, however, open to debate. When did it become a crime not to make eye contact with the driver parallel to your vehicle? Driver education instructors always warn motorists to keep their eyes on the road. Ironically, too much eye contact can lead to road rage, we’re told. 

Also, when did it become crime to drive a car with Massachusetts license plates? A huge segment of the Niagara tourist market is comprised of visitors from the Bay State. And the fact they didn’t seem to know where they were going is not unusual. After all, consider the signage the average tourist encounters, trying to find the falls. 

By the way, that was the purpose for those two students visiting here — to see the mighty cataracts.

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BY THE NUMBERS: Sign on front door at Applebee’s in the Fashion Outlets USA, Military Road: “Quick Draw Winner, $1,900.”

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DEEP ROOTS: Mike Linenfelser, an advertising salesman at the Niagara Gazette for some 20 years, will be joining Scott Furniture & Interiors, Military Road, next month as a part-time sales advisor. Linenfelser has vast experience in the business, starting with a former furniture store that the family operated for years on Grand Island.

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DRIVING MR. TIPSY: Overheard at Wendy’s, Porter Road: “I was the designated driver that night and this one guy irritated me so much, I dropped him off at the wrong house, three miles away. He was so stiff he didn’t know the difference. When he got out of the car, he even thanked me!” 

Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.