A Tale of Two Parties

I went to two parties this week, and while both were held in magnificent, beloved Buffalo landmarks they couldn't have been more different. The Buffalo Spree "Best of Buffalo" party was a stylish affair held in one the city's most elegant spaces - Sheas. For any out of town readers, Sheas is a glorious old movie palace that has been restored and converted into Buffalo's premier performance space. It hosts concerts, comedians and touring versions of Broadway shows (Syracuse folks: it's basically the Landmark Theater but much bigger and maybe a tick less extravagent). But back to the party. Spree invites the various winners of the food categories to set up a table at the party and serve their very best hors d'ouevres and drinks, and guests move gleefully from table to table and sample the offerings. The food is uniformly delicious, and since much of it is also very rich, it's not hard to leave the party with a full stomach. The Real Dream Cabaret won a Spree "Best of Buffalo" award last year, so we performed at last year's party and were invited back for this year's as well. Our makeshift costumes and shabby demeanor stand in stark contrast to the slick restaurant displays and chic guests, and I find myself wondering, as I often do, who are these people and where are they the other 364 days of the year? Saturday night was the 80th Birthday Party for the Central Terminal, the iconic former railroad hub on the East side (sorry Syracuse folks: there's not really anything comparable in Central New York). I was eager to attend as I'd never actually been inside the building before, and I spent a big chunk of time Saturday afternoon charging my camera battery and making sure my memory card had plenty of space. I knew the building was in sad repair, but when I finally saw the soaring grand concourse I was shocked at just how far gone the building is. It was heartbreaking. The party didn't help, either. Most of the attendees were older than me, and they clearly had some connection with the terminal when it had been the center of Buffalo's transportation system. I knew they were seeing the surroundings as they were decades ago, not as they are now, and it just made me sad.

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