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Off Main Street: Troy gets in on the Dyngus Day act

‘Troy-umphant’ celebration

Buffalo is widely recognized as having the largest Dyngus Day celebration in the country but, come Monday, a challenger from across the state hopes to steal a bit of the Queen City’s thunder.

The little city of Troy, just north of Albany, at least thinks it can hold its own in the annual post-Lenten merriment of polka-prancing, pierogi-chomping and krupnik-snogging. While Buffalo prepares to launch a 90-minute parade in honor of the holiday known as Smigus-Dyngus and host more related parties than one can shake a pussy willow at, Troy’s celebration is being touted as a big party in a section of the city called “the hill,” complete with a polka band and unlimited kielbasa in a Polish beer garden called the Hill at Muza.

The establishment has partnered with promotional civic outfit Enjoy Troy Co. to create special T-shirts that read “Enjoyski Troyski” aimed at drumming up interest in Troy’s Dyngus Day celebration.

Sounds cute, if a bit, um, gimmicky compared to Buffalo’s more authentic celebration.

Seen on campus

It seems like 1977 was quite a year to be a student at Harvard Law School, according to former Wheatfield town attorney Roberta J. O’Toole, who was on campus then.

If President Obama’s newest Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, is ever confirmed to the bench, that would mean a third of the high court will have been there at the same time as O’Toole.

“Merrick Garland was a law school classmate of mine,” O’Toole told Off Main Street. “Actually, we were in the same section, which meant that we were in the same classes during our first year in law school. I knew who he was, although we were not close friends. And it gets more interesting. Justice Stephen Breyer was my administrative law professor. Both Garland and Breyer were really nice people, which is not always the case with Harvard Law professors or students.”

O’Toole, who now practices law in Buffalo, said her Supreme Court connection continues. “Chief Justice John Roberts was a first-year student when Garland and I were in our third year. I don’t think anyone in the news media has mentioned that Garland and Roberts attended Harvard Law at the same time. I hadn’t realized that Roberts was on campus at the same time that I was until I took a look at my law school yearbook.”

Other future political stars were there, too. O’Toole said Barney Frank, the future Massachusetts congressman, was in that class, and had already served as a Massachusetts state legislator while he was in law school. And Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, was a third-year law student when O’Toole and Garland were in their first year.

It’s the lawyers’ world. We just live in it.

Hitting a wall

Was Donald Trump a Pink Floyd fan?

Consider these back-to-back lines sung by Roger Waters in “Mother,” from Pink Floyd’s monster-selling “The Wall” album:

“Mother should I build the wall? Mother should I run for president?”

Did the album, which was released in November 1979 when Trump was 33, have any influence on the 2016 Republican presidential front-runner? His people did not respond to a media inquiry. A search of songs played at Trump’s campaign rallies, however, failed to reveal any of the band’s tunes. It seems doubtless that Waters would have been apoplectic had Trump tried, given comments he made about the billionaire real estate developer to Rolling Stone.

Trump is “the epitome of anything that might be considered bad,” said the British rocker.

Waters added: “He is pig-ignorant and he always was and he always will be. He lives in the illusion that he’s admirable in some way. And obviously for somebody like me, he stands for everything that is not admirable in American society.”

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions by Thomas J. Prohaska and Mark Sommer. email: