Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Back at the Watercooler's 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, we’re going to take a look back the the past year at Niagara’s Watercooler. Sure, we have not been around for the full year, but we have been around for most of it. And if you know us, you know that we have a lot to say...all the time. In fact, some people may say we talk too much. Well, in defiance of those people, and in support of all our wonderful readers, we’re going to go ahead a talk about our year anyway.

Niagara’s Watercooler began life as a spark of inspiration between Craig and George when it appeared that they would need a new outlet for all their literary awesomeness. Initially, the Cooler would be a place where Craig could continue his book reviews, and George could do his opinion pieces and movie reviews. So, we had added the ever-popular “Reminiscing” and “Walkin’ Shoes” along with Howie Balaban’s “On the Homefront.” Meanwhile, George added a focus to independent films as well as some music reviews. Some other things stuttered along, and fell by the wayside. It’s been a work in progress with a big learning curve.

We’ve had some pretty popular articles over the last nine and a half months. Our most popular single article was a “Reminiscing” article about the Lockport Mall. Even on our Facebook page, it got more comments than any other article posted there. There were probably more comments on that one posting than all other postings combined.

Our most popular series was George’s series on the big fire at the old Upson plant in Lockport back in August. There was quite a bit of feedback on that one as it was a big story for the whole community. We at Niagara’s Watercooler would like to continue to thank all the fire, police, and other first responders who kept our city safe.

In an election year, politics can be a slippery slope to navigate. I think we’ve definitely learned that over the past few months in this election cycle. We’ve strived, for the most part, to stay out of the morass that is our political landscape. George may have had some guarded words, but we did really try to stay out of it. However, history is a passion and this election was historic in several ways. One of major points of focus was on Hillary Clinton being on the ticket as the Democratic nominee. Because of Western New York’s tie to the first woman to legally appear on a ballot, our column about Belva Lockwood ended up being one of our most visited columns. At one point, it was even given a like on Twitter by the Democratic Party.

Amazingly, our next most visited article generated far more views than I expected when I wrote it. When First Niagara was dismantled and sold off to the highest bidders, no one expected the iconic clock at the corner of Wasburn Street and East Avenue would also be a victim of the new identity. I drove by that clock every day on the way to work. I missed the temperature and time. After doing a little bit of research about the Farmer & Mechanics Bank clock, and later the Lockport Savings Bank and First Niagara clocks, I knew that I personally not let the landmark timepiece fade into obscurity. Thankfully, Northwest has installed a new clock. It’s better late than never. However, they still haven’t actually turned on the thermometer and clock. Maybe in 2017.

Wrapping up our Top 5 in most viewed posts is George’s column in which he interviewed Joe Bob Briggs. Any drive-in aficionado can tell you in an instant who Briggs is. It was quite a coup for George to land the interview. All his hard work paid off with an insightful question and answer with Mr. Drive-In, Joe Bob Briggs.

These were the most popular stories of 2016 for Niagara’s Watercooler. 2017 is poised to be a banner year for our blog, and we hope there are many stories that many of our readers find fun, exciting, educational, and thought-provoking. Since mid-March, we’ve published nearly 400 articles. We’re hoping to add a lot more original content, so stay tuned.

To all our readers who come back each day for our newest creations, thank you. If you’re new to the site, welcome. We at Niagara’s Watercooler wish you all a very happy New Year. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and safe 2017.