Part 5 – Western New York will take the national spotlight for ‘going dark’

Time to find our place in the sun

I know it’s up to me

if you stole my sunshine

Make sure I don’t get too deep

if you stole my sunshine

master my feet

if you stole my sunshine

Len’s “Steal My Sunshine” may not be an eclipse song, but the moon will steal the sunshine of Western New York in front of tens or hundreds of thousands of tourists on April 8, 2024. Chorus words are a good reminder that you need to be resilient even when things go wrong. Words that our local leaders need to keep in mind.

We have eighteen months to get this right.

What can local leaders do to stay resilient and plan for the best? Here is a non-exhaustive list to consider:

  1. put up – April is usually the start of the season for many road and building construction projects. Nothing spoils the experience of a road trip like long delays through construction zones. If half a million or more tourists are expected to pass, that’s doubling the number of cars on our highways. Consider postponing any traffic-reducing projects until after the eclipse.
  2. manpower – Maybe this week could be considered a holiday week for municipal services like garbage collection? It will free up roads that workers can use as paid volunteers around the community on the day of the eclipse. Speaking of volunteers, it’s time to build a public volunteer database that can be shared among event organizers. Maybe it’s time for a vacation? Not only for municipal employees, but also for tourism, catering and retail. This could be a full participation event before and after the eclipse.
  3. stay – As the eclipse occurs during the low season for local tourism, hotels and motels must prepare for the influx of customers on weekends. We also need a huge boost in private accommodation (Airbnb, Vrbo, etc.). Rental agencies may want to book furnished apartments that are available to them. Realtors may check with their owners for fully furnished locations if they can open for guests on extended weekends. Time to contact the lodging industry to make sure they have plans for the day and make sure there is a review of available private rentals.
  4. dining – From fast food to gourmet food, we can guarantee a full house all weekend. Finding any space at the Anchor Bar or Duff’s will be a challenge, but can we get our guests to do the rest of the Buffalo Wing Trail? Moving them from a national pizza chain to a local pizzeria selling Buffalo-style pizza? Buy them our local favorites and tempt them with local delicacies unknown outside of our area, like our Friday fry (nowhere else can match), weck beef and mozzarella? And finish them off with a melt-in-your-mouth sponge candy experience?
  5. School – Should schools be closed? This can be a safety issue, as during the two and a half hours of a partial or total eclipse, there will be a bus ride home. It can be difficult to ensure that young children wear protective solar glasses when riding the bus from school. It will ease traffic problems and remove buses from the road. Even better, if buses are available, they can be used as shuttles to transport people to prime viewing locations without the traffic problems that on-site parking can create. We also have to take into account that schools will be closed for a day during the eclipse – it’s a matter of complete safety, for unsupervised children without eye protection, all the things kids do… look up into the dark of the sun. Let’s make sure they are informed and protected.

We have eighteen months to solve this problem. New York State and upstate counties on the road to totality need to join forces to fund an ad campaign that will bring people near and far to see one of the longest solar eclipses of the century, and the last in the United States. Twenty years.

Buffalo and Rochester airports have the largest number of flight plans and are likely to be entry points for out-of-state visitors, so it makes sense that we would attract most visitors here.

It would be great to see a national ad with the Bills as the defending champions before the 2024 Super Bowl. It would be great to have two-time Super Bowl champions serve as ambassadors for our local eclipse events.

See part one – is this a curse on our region?

See Part 2 – Motion of the celestial sphere?

Part Three – Sun, Sun, Sun – Will it come?

Section 4 – Is the closing time at 4am? ? ?

Main image: Jason Howell

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