Low Bridge, Everybody Down

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By the time Thomas S. Allen wrote The Erie Canal Song (as the song is most commonly referred to) in 1905,1 the famous canal had already been in operation for 80 years. Allen chose the title Low Bridge, Everybody Down because the canal had just ditched the mules for steam power and he wanted to pay homage to the animal so critical to canal operations.2 That Allen celebrates the mule Sal tells us he’s commemorating a then not-too-distant past. Incidentally, the title wasn’t the only thing about the song that changed over the years, including, ironically, the word “years.” The original lyrics were “fifteen years on the Erie Canal” and  refers to the length of the partnership between Sal and his owner, while the new lyrics are “fifteen miles on the Erie Canal,” referring to how Continue Reading ““Low Bridge, Everybody Down””

The Real Birth of Greater Western New York

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“It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.” – Clemenza, The Godfather

Our story starts approximately 400 million years ago. Back then, Western New York wasn’t really western, it was more northern. And by northern I mean north – as opposed to west – of the east coast, which itself might have been more appropriately called the south coast. Oh, and another thing. We weren’t hanging at a cool 42º North latitude. We were closer to the equator. In fact, we were just south of the equator.1 To prevent further directional confusion, I will Continue Reading “The Real Birth of Greater Western New York”