When Roy Hobbs (played by Robert Redford) hit his home runs in "The Natural," the fictional New York City stadium looked familiar. So did his arrival in New York's Grand Central Station.
The movie's games actually were filmed in Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium, where my father took me as a boy in a vain attempt to get me interested in baseball. To this day, I cannot understand the appeal of that game, despite the fact that all the best sports movies are about baseball.
I loved that stadium, though.
The movie's Grand Central Station was actually Buffalo Central Terminal, where I arrived and departed on some of my most memorable journeys.
I think some old buildings are more precious than some people — in a few cases, a lot more precious — and it broke my heart when I read about that baseball/football stadium being torn down in 1988.
Another Buffalo landmark I remembered when I saw that movie was the Parkside Candy Shop, which, in the movie, was supposedly in Chicago, where Hobbs met his old flame, Iris (played by Glenn Close). In the heart of Buffalo, the candy shop has survived, thank heavens, as has a shell of the old train terminal.
I did not really have a strong sentimental attachment to the former First National Bank building in the heart of Allentown until I saw Wednesday's story in The Morning Call about plans to tear it down to make way for a new building, to be called Two City Center.
The $40 million office complex at Hamilton and Seventh streets will be built by the City Center Investment Corp., developer of the $220 million ice hockey arena complex now being built just across Seventh Street from the old bank building. Actually, it's not that old for somebody like me. It was built in 1955, but that's old for some people.
I have not always been kind in my views about the way the city rammed through its schemes for the arena project, but I did not get upset about the plan to demolish the old bank building (perhaps as early as September) until I got to the part of the story that described its floor plan.
The building, it was reported, "includes a three-story atrium and escalators," which made my heart go pitter-patter, even though I do not remember ever visiting it.
Immediately, my thoughts turned to another building featured in "The Natural." A grand New York City hotel in the movie actually was downtown Buffalo's wonderful Ellicott Square Building, which, until 1908, was the world's largest office building.
That building has an interior court I'll never forget. Fortunately, it is still there.
Also Wednesday, on The Morning Call's website, there was news about a plan to tear down another building, the 1816 Zimmerman house in Maxatawny Township, at Route 222 and Long Lane.
A demolition permit was issued for that property, the story said, to make way for a convenience store and gas station (ugh).
For a quarter-century, that house has represented a beloved buoy along one of my favorite bicycle routes. It may be useless in the eyes of some, but its stone walls have stood proudly intact, with nary a crack, for just under two centuries, and the original portion of the house goes back to before the American Revolution.
It always is comforting when I reach that old house, huffing and puffing. If it can last a little longer, maybe I can too, at least until I pedal my way back to the bike rack on my car parked at the velodrome. There are no big hills between the Zimmerman house and Trexlertown.
Besides, Zimmerman is the German word for Carpenter. What could be more endearing than that?
Happily, a story on Thursday in The Reading Eagle (by Ron Devlin, formerly a colleague at The Morning Call) said the township supervisors have received documentation that may save the house.
A family burial plot on the property may make it a protected historical site.
"The Zimmermans were among the earliest settlers in eastern Berks County," Devlin's story observed.
That was not the only happy part of this week's news accounts.
Wednesday's story about the anticipated demise of the First National Bank building contained a tasty tidbit. "A steak and seafood restaurant, run by the former owner of Melt in Center Valley and Blue Grillhouse in Bethlehem Township," the story said, "has already committed to taking the first floor of Two City Center."
Do you realize what this means?
Within easy walking distance of my office, there will be a snazzy new restaurant — not that the other eateries in that section of Allentown aren't nice, but this is going to be a steak and seafood joint.
The only thing that would please me more would be a new In-N-Out Burger joint at the corner of Hamilton and Seventh. In-N-Out offers my favorite culinary delights in the whole world and now I have to go all the way to Tucson to get a double-double. (There are a couple In-N-Outs around Dallas, but I'm willing to drive the extra 900 miles to avoid that city.)
Anyway, when they build the new restaurant in Allentown, I hope they can include a nice three-story atrium.
Paul Carpenter's commentary appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.