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Nick Grew: It’s great to finally see progress on waterfront

My sandal-clad feet touched against the sizzling stonework on the side of Fuhrmann Boulevard. Radiant and smiling faces beamed in the waning sunlight of a perfect Buffalo evening at the outer harbor. Thousands of people, young and older, exited their cars and walked along the newly renovated waterfront region. I turned to my friend and said, “You know what would make the Black Keys concert even better?”

Pete turned to look at me as tiny beads of perspiration dripped from his face. “What’s that?”

“Lloyd Taco Truck,” I stated. Visions of cilantro and cabbage-covered beef brisket finished with fresh lime danced in my mind as a boat with multiple golden-hued sails floated across the serenity of Lake Erie’s water.

“I agree,” said Pete, nodding in approval. His eyes glazed over as he started to daydream as well.

“They do it in other cities,” I replied with a wry smile.

“But that would be forward thinking on Buffalo’s part,” Pete retorted.

“This is very true my friend.”

I continued slowly walking down the boulevard toward the concert venue. In the distance and past the Skyway, which tried to obstruct my view, sat a massive, yellow harbinger of Buffalo’s future: a crane. My heart started to beat a bit faster, and I thought, could Buffalo actually be making strides toward something progressive?

After we passed the security checkpoint, I turned to the right and the familiar green tint of Lloyd Taco Truck emerged. My jaw dropped as the dark shade of the Black Market Food Truck and the pink twist of the Whole Hog came into view as well.

“I can’t believe the food trucks are here,” said one astounded fan as she high-fived her friend. Smiles crossed their faces as they scurried off toward their meals.

“See you,” said Pete as he dashed off to buy tickets to purchase his favorite sandwich.

“I’m going to buy a taco,” I said, as we briefly parted ways.

Several minutes later we returned with our delicious fare in hand. I watched with wide eyes as numerous music fans poured into a site that was once a wasteland of unfulfilled business ventures and mistakes. As I walked toward the stage, I overhead a middle-aged man tell his friend, “The mussels were delicious at Dug’s Dive.”

“I heard that,” the man replied. “I was at the Liberty Hound watching the boats go by.”

I overheard another girl tell her friend, “I just love going to Thursday at the Harbor. Oh, I meant to say Thursday at Canalside.”

I grinned because all around me music and food aficionados were discussing Buffalo and its future. More conversations erupted about a new Peace Bridge possibly being built, the Buffalo Bills hopefully building a retractable dome stadium in the heart of Buffalo, the sublime HarborCenter breaking ground and the resurgence of work at the local casinos.

After the concert, people shook hands, laughed and joked with friends, and spoke about returning for future concerts. They spoke about the progress in Buffalo after years of delirious and frustrating apathy. They spoke about not being like the “other cities” but becoming better than those other cities. They spoke about hope. They spoke about pride. They spoke about the future. They spoke about Buffalo.