Manly Friendship Ends After Tulip Dispute

By Dodie Fingerton

Published May 17th, 2015

ALBANY— Two tough and seemingly heterosexual general contractors from Albany have decided to end their 25-year friendship and a popular local spring-blooming perennial appears to be the culprit.

Paulie Ahmarone and Michael Buffoonio are no longer best “buds” after a pleasant conversation on the subject of tulips escalated recently into a hostile war of words.

“We was at the Tulip Fest and I axed Mikey which tulip he thought was the most delightful,” said Ahmarone, a 25-year veteran of Bologna Construction where we works as a heating and cooling specialist. “So he says, 'The Sweetheart Tulip.' So I says, 'Whadd’ya nuts? Stop with The Sweetheart Tulip.’ And then he says, get this, 'The Sweetheart Tulip is the most delightful tulip. End of story. You got a problem with that?' Then I says, 'Yer damn right I got a problem with that.'”

The 44-year-old Ahmarone went on to call Buffoonio’s opinions “ill-considered,” adding that when it comes to “delightful” tulips the debate begins and ends with the ‘Tubergen's Gem’ variety.

“They got these rich-red outer petals with sunny yellow inner ones. They look particularly handsome in bright sunlight, all opened up and shit. What's not to love?”

Ahmarone went on to call his ex-chum a “loser who has nothin' goin' for him.”

Buffoonio, a 46-year old stonemason and Class-A structural damage and repair contractor, did not take kindly to Ahmarone's words.

“Paulie's a jackass,” Buffoonio said of his friend whom he met while laying pipe on a state contract back in 1989. “There ain't nothin' lovelier than ‘The Sweetheart.’ It's a creamy ivory flower tipped in bright white. That he does not appreciate this, in my humble opinion, is troublesome.”

The Tulip Festival — which has been held annually in Albany since 1949 — began after Mayor Erastus Corning sent a request to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to designate a specific variety of tulip as Albany's official flower.

Since the blow between Buffoonio and Ahmarone, neither man has extended an olive branch to the other.

“I got nothin' to say to that guy no more,” Buffoonio said. “He's dead to me.”

Meanwhile, Buffoonio wasn’t the only one Ahmarone had in his crosshairs.

“Queen Wilhelmina, “Ahmarone said, “was a moron for picking the 'Orange Wonder.’ Ain't no way in hell that's the prettiest tulip.”

On that, Buffoonio agreed.

“It's rare and it's pretty, but it's got nothin' on The Sweetheart. End of story.”


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