The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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Glimpse of Malone

Posted by thedarwinexception on November 3, 2006

Malone is a dying town. It’s not quite dead yet, but it’s dying. We need new businesses and a new populace that is willing to staff those businesses. Perhaps the answer lies in rescinding some of the state and federal policies that allow people to draw a paycheck from the government based on the fact that they can reproduce. People need to realize that fucking is not a skill. At least, it’s not a skill that is so rare and noteworthy that it should merit payment from the government once you engage in it. Because once you pay *one* person for the
dubious distinction of being able to fuck, well, where do you draw the line? It’s a bad precedent to set. The State and the Federal government are pimping out it’s citizens. It’s giving citizens the option of quitting their jobs in the community to stay home and reproduce. And you know, Malone just doesn’t need any more teenage mothers. What we do need is people who can refrain from fucking long enough to spend 40 hours a week in some job outside the home. Preferably a bookstore or a dog groomer’s.

Let’s take a little pictorial tour of my neighborhood. We can see some of the blight and decay that welfare, SSI disability, a lazy populace and perpetual unemployment have brought to this community.

At the end of my street is one of my favorite houses in the area. This used to be an elementary school. Then it was bought by a private citizen and turned into a duplex that included a day care on one side and an apartment on the other. Then
the day care closed (I mean, when no one works, there isn’t much need for a lot of day care establishments). Now the building is empty and the owner has restored the building back to a one family home. And that’s one *big* family home. As you walk in the front door there is an elegant wide staircase that sweeps up to the second floor. All of the interior wood is mahogany and black oak. It’s just a gorgeous house. The house sits on a corner lot and has a big front yard as well as a huge side and back yard. (It used to be a school – the
back is big enough to accommodate a playground). Last summer the owner had a sign in the yard that he wanted $50K for the place. I’ll bet the price has dropped, though.

As you walk around the corner, you come to the river. This is the Salmon
River that runs through the entire town, ending up running down Main Street
and splitting in half the residential area from the “depot” area.  You don’t want to live in the depot area. That’s the “nasty” side of town. Although I don’t see much of a difference, actually. The lawns are a little less
manicured on the “depot” side, the houses are a little more weatherbeaten, but
they still have the same architecture and grace that the other houses have. The
yards are a little more likely to be trash ridden, but trash isn’t permanent. I
like the rolling terrain of the depot area, and although the houses are a little
closer together, I personally do not understand the bad reputation this side of
town gets. Frankly, it all looks the same to me.

Along the banks of the Salmon River are old and abandoned factories, warehouses and industrial complexes. These are boarded up, with broken windows and caved in roofs. Several show signs of having been involved in long ago fires, but still stand. Most of them have either “For Sale By Owner” signs or “No Trespassing” signs taped to the
windows and doors that haven’t been broken in by vandals. I have come tot he conclusion that the only business in Malone that would ever thrive would be one that sells “For Sale by Owner” and “No Trespassing” signs, because every other building carries either one or both of these. But there are a lot of opportunities to purchase waterfront businesses here in Malone. You can start with a huge warehouse, or start small with a little food establishment. Any kind of business you would like. They are all available here. Some renovations may be required.

As we continue along the banks of the Salmon River, eventually we come to Main Street, the heart of the city. Main street was once a thriving, bustling place, lined with shops. Now, most of these are closed as well. At one time, the
Flanagan Hotel was the gem of the area, a huge, imposing structure with a large round balcony facade. The building has been at One Elm Street since 1914, but was destroyed by arson on August 21, 1997, a fire which also took the life of one man. Since that time it has sat on Main Street, a constant reminder of the
poverty and hopelessness of the surrounding area. In July of 1999 Governor Pataki commissioned a whole $15,000 grant to investigate the possibility of renovating the hotel, with an eye to possibly using the first two floors for commercial establishments, and the top four floors for residential apartments. In 2004, a new company bought the building – UCC Holding. They promised that they were going to spend over $8 Million dollars renovating the hotel, turning it into an 88 room hotel capable of holding national events. One would hope that this would not include an expanded version of the “Redneck Games”.

As recently as September of 2006, UCC CEO Frank Cositore held a meeting in the village, upping his initial promise of investment to $10.8 million, and expanding his plans to include buying nearby sites for parking, and announcing that renovation would include a restaurant, banquet room, night club and retail
stores in the hotel. Cositore said he will charge between $100 and $120 a night for his rooms, which is higher than rates at existing lodging sites. He will also bring in high-end entertainment to the area, adding that a former boxer is one of his financial investors and that he has an “in” with the promoter who handles two other boxing-title holders.

So let’s hope boxers have lots of discretionary income – and that they read. Maybe one of those retail establishments at the old Flanagan hotel can be a bookstore. Or, alternatively, they could use one of the many existing businesses that line Main Street, but are all boarded up and empty. Any of these structures would seem to be suitable for a bookstore, a computer store, a dog groomer, a shoe store, a clothing store, a hair salon, a retail software outlet, a bakery. But really, let’s hope for a bookstore. I’m sure the author of “Waking God”, who lives and teaches in Malone, would back me on the bookstore idea.

Or even a movie theater. We used to have a movie theater – the “Cinema Plaza”. The “Cinema Plaza” is no more, boarded up and abandoned, as are so many of the businesses in Malone. Now, if you want to catch the latest Mission Impossible thriller, or the next great Academy Award winner, you have to travel to Plattsburgh or Massena. It’s amazing to me that a simple thing like going to
the movies can be an hour drive to and an hour drive back. I hate that. I’d love to have a movie theater here in town, where on a warm summer night you could walk to the movie theater to catch an early show, go to dinner, and walk home. That’s what small towns are supposed to be. A movie theater could also afford the community a central meeting and gathering place, where you could see your
neighbors, say “hi”, catch up as you stand in line for tickets. Any chance to bond as a community can only be a good thing, and it’s too bad that Malone offers so few opportunities for this. It seems to go against the whole “small town” experience.

As we walk away from Main Street, and go back to the residential area, we
start to come to some of the abandoned residential homes, the ones most
likely abandoned for lack of property taxes. These houses have no “For Sale”
Signs, only tattered white documents on the front. This little house doesn’t
even have a front door, and can probably be had for the cost of the back taxes.
When the taxes are less than $1,000 a year, that is a small investment. Although
one would probably have to evict whatever animals have set up residence due to the lack of security. I like this house. I think it looks like a little
gingerbread house. I love the architecture and the facing adornment. Really

And that concludes part one of our pictorial tour. Next week we’ll walk down
the other way and take a look at the Rec park, the old Victorian mansions that
line Elm and Park Streets, and the two shopping centers, which include the new
SuperCenter Wal-Mart, the KMart and Price Chopper. Who knows, we may run into the formerly pregnant thief.


One Response to “Glimpse of Malone”

  1. Fred said

    I was born and raised in Malone, I left when I joined the Navy in 1984. I vist the area every few years and am amazed at the decline of the village. A movie theater would be a gold mine, talk about a captive audience. I knew it was time for Malone to throw in the towel when they tore down the old Franklin Hotel and the best they could come up with was a damn gas station.

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