May 4th, 2021

Klinger

Tell it, TO the....M&T?!?

(Yes, this commercial's still in my head over 40 years later:P)

As mentioned in passing the other day, we closed our refi at a downtown law office yesterday afternoon. After the appraisal agitas and a considerably shorter pile of BS documentation than in others we've done, we cleared and got in and out in under half an hour. Because it's a refi, it is subject to a Truth In Lending Act mandatory three-day "rescission period" for us to change our minds. This dates to the bad old days of Friendly Finance Companies sending salespeople door-to-door in the 60s and tricking harried husbands and high housewives into toxic mortgages.  Those tricks are long gone, but the three-day period remains holy and sacred and holds up every disbursement of funds.  I've commented before, and did at the closing, that in all my years I've never EVER seen a borrower exercise this right.  The paralegal closing our loan said SHE'd never had one in 17 years.  So naturally a coworker instantly recounted a tale of one who rescinded one on that very day- sawing off her nose to spite her face and kill a deal with a way better interest rate than we got because, reasons. 

Eleanor also commented about the couple after us bringing their kids to the closing: I was fetching the car and didn't see them, thus my picturing toddlers; but they were teenage kids, so I was instead picturing Mortal Kombat on iPads or something. What I wasn't expecting was what someone brought to a closing at MY office today: a dog.  Yup, a pug-sized English bulldog terrier, complete with Little Rascals Petey black eye, sitting in mommy's lap as I passed by. After they left, I asked our closer how it went. He walked all over the documents and tried to give me kisses, but at least he didn't pee on the mortgage.

For confidentiality reasons, I did not take pictures of him. But I'm here to post other pictures, not tell such tales.

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The first photo from yesterday was of what, for me, was the most striking sight coming off the inbound 33 into downtown Buffalo proper, for perhaps only my seventh time in nine months: seeing this tall building in a single bound:



That structure is what, in my brain, will always be known as downtown Buffalo's Marine Midland Plaza, built as and still remaining Upstate New York's tallest building, and formerly home to one of Buffalo's once-biggest private employers (if not THE biggest after the steel mills closed).  The bowtie logo of the bank's international HSBC holding company replaced the sailing-ship Marine logo in 1999, and the new image went up atop the tower on all four sides of its 40th floor not long after.

Then  a decade or so ago, the bank exited Buffalo retail banking, though a still sizable workforce remains and they've even reopened a couple of branches here. The HQ, renamed "One Seneca Tower" by an acquiring foreclosing bank after HSBC got out of the ownership business, emptied of all of its tenants; one of my old workout buds was one of the last ones out the door a few years ago.

Now, a very ambitious developer- who's also working on restoring the past glory of the Statler, the Boulevard Mall, the entire Town of East Otto and hopefully the Sabres- has made major moves to reinvent this tower.  It acquired a rust-colored paint job over the summer, has begun a mix of major and smaller business tenants and residential spaces, and, just recently, has rebranded atop its height -replacing the logo of H (for Hatfield)-SBC with the logo of the M (for McCoy)&T Bank he has signed as its biggest tenant.  For decades, these two Buffalo-born banks had been pitting their colors- the one's blue-then-red against the other's M&T Green- and it's startling to see the new name where the old ship and bowtie once stood.

I've had (and have recounted here) a love-hate relationship with Marine and its successor for over 40 years. They housed my first-ever checking account, financed much of my education and both of my/our first new cars, forced their way back into my life when they acquired the bank I moved to in the early 90s, then traded me to the first of a series of banks for draft picks and a bag of nickels, the most recent of them being the one we just refinanced out of.  I fully expect they will reacquire either Key or M&T and then I will know I have definitely died and gone to Finance Hell.

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Then there was the other sight of the afternoon, closer to home when we stopped at the liquor store for some celebratory grape:



Those dumpsters hold the last remnants of the dear departed Chuckie Cheese. I also wrote about their local demise some time back.  All exterior traces of their location were scrubbed within weeks of their July 1st shutdown, but the location sat, sad and empty, all these months until that trio of triage arrived sometime between last Friday and yesterday afternoon. I assume this means the corporate landlord has somebody lined up for it; pity, because I'd hoped to see if we could turn it into one of the soon-to-be-legal weed lounges in our fair state.  They could have left the ball pits, video games, all the munchies and soda machines and of course the singing animatronic rodent.

A friend was hoping that Chuckie's unplugged corpse was among the contents and was ready to go dumpster diving to bring him home.  I replied, I’ll give you a boost and stay on the lookout, but with that deadly combination of high-fructose corn syrup and paper tickets, I’m afraid you might just spontaneously combust.

So far nobody's blown up real good:) This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1634015.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.