Ms. Strand's populist defense of the glorious disorder of the private Niagara Falls Museum is of a piece with her appreciation of the falls as God and nature intended them to be. But just as the five-story museum was leveled by the New York State parks authority and replaced by a parking lot, so have the falls, in Ms. Strand's words, been "manicured, repaired, landscaped and artificially lit, dangerous overhangs dynamited off and water flow managed to suit the tourist schedule." One can't help noticing that the "improvements" Ms. Strand deplores were almost entirely the work of government. Those overhangs were blown off by the Army Corps of Engineers, which has trimmed, blasted, dammed and fortified this natural wonder and its river. State, not commerce, was unable to leave well enough alone.
As an American patriot, I've long been ashamed of the fact that Niagara's greatest attraction, the uncanny Criminals Hall of Fame Wax Museum, rests on the Canadian side of the falls. And as Kauffman notes, we can thank the bulldozers of the vile Robert Moses, among other government villains, for the destruction of "the carnival-barker spirit that once gave the city brass, if not class."