Share, , , Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest, StumbleUpon

Print

Posted in:

The Idea of Buffalo

Posted by Mike Farrell:
This past Sunday, displaced Buffalonians in cities such as Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Charlotte, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Washington, D.C., and Manhattan gathered at tavern tables, stared at flat screen television sets, and engaged in a pastime that’s become as comforting as a Bills win (albeit amid a Bills loss). Over an afternoon full of Labatt pitchers and plates of chicken wings, they talked about how much they miss Buffalo–and how they wish they could come home.
There are a variety of culprits they’ve determined responsible for keeping them from returning home, the same problems cited by wandering locals for decades. There are absolutely no jobs; the politicians are corrupt; downtown crime is rampant; the city schools are terrible; the winters are unbearable; economic development is lagging; there’s just not enough exciting things to do in the dilapidated region. Yet still, despite this laundry list of complaints, natives gravitate to foreign pubs on NFL Sundays to seek out allies who want to wax poetic about their birthplace and roots. Buffalo is the greatest place on Earth, but they’ll never move back.
Because they can’t.
Was I in any of these cities on Sunday to hear these conversations? No. But, for the last 11 years, I was leading them from a variety of barstools in Boston, Massachusetts. I even spent three years of my life writing a novel about the internal, vexing struggle many removed western New Yorkers feel either every day–or once they’ve had a dozen beers. But, there’s this prevailing and, for some reason, acceptable stance that the young adults trolling around the streets of Denver or Philadelphia are there not because they want to be, but because Buffalo has given them no other alternative. Our downtrodden homeland of burned-out warehouses and weed-strewn boulevards has brutally cast its young into the arms of better jobs and restaurants and transportation and nightlife available in other cities. This account may very well be true in some cases. In others, though, this exaggerated depiction might just be an excuse held by sentimental individuals who’d rather cherish a romantic idea of Buffalo elsewhere than invest inconvenient effort toward building Buffalo into the thriving city it could become.
Once again, I’ll state that I waltzed around as one of these sentimental souls for over a decade. I spent countless nights getting drunk on memories while leaning back against the misconceptions removal from my roots afforded me. I’d convinced myself I couldn’t move home. Sure, I loved South Boston and my life there, but that wasn’t why I was living there. And, sure, my wife is from Boston; my graduate school is in Boston; my job as a sports reporter for the Boston Herald was in Boston; and both rock clubs I tended bar at were within Boston’s city limits. But, these weren’t the reasons I was really in Boston. No way. When I swiveled around on those rickety barstools on Portland or Causeway Street, I truly believed the real reason I lived in Boston was because Buffalo’s failures made me stay in Boston.
The longer you’re away from Buffalo, the more cherished (and distorted) your idea of it can become. It can become as romanticized as your past, with details and descriptions changing to suit whatever feeling you want to have about it. If you’re from the Southtowns, you’ll talk about Blasdell Pizza like it’s a panacea for depression; if you’re from the Northtowns, you’ll talk the same way about La Nova. You’ll remember Buffalo winters as ivory mosaics, and summers as yellow-hued embraces. You’ll reminisce about the Bills dominance in AFC championship games, then find some optimistic angle to explain away their four crippling Super Bowl losses. And, the longer you’re away from this city or region, the more likely it is that this idea you’ve created will become so comforting that you’ll never dare shatter it by ambitiously merging the idea with the risk-filled reality of returning.
This was something I had to consider last spring, back when I was presented the unexpected chance to replace my idea of Buffalo with the actual reality of Buffalo. My wife was accepted into SUNY Buffalo’s Urban Planning graduate program, thus delivering the opportunity to decide on a transition back into the actual day-to-day experience of my hometown. Over the years, I’d grown to cherish my concept of Buffalo. It got me into peaceful exchanges with friends and screaming matches with strangers; it kept me up nights and depressed me through days; it incited nostalgia and anger, one after the other on a rotating basis. But, somewhere underneath my contrived idea of this city was an understood reality, one every nomadic native knows very well. It bounced around my head as I sat in Boston bars; it gnawed a hole in my stomach as I sat in Cambridge coffee houses. For the rest of my life, regardless of where I lived and worked and breathed, I knew one simple truth: Buffalo was attached to me. With all its beauty and blemishes, it’s the only place I’ll ever be able to genuinely claim as mine.
Eventually, I accepted this truth and decided to leave the idea behind. In July, I packed a Budget truck and came back to Buffalo.
Now, this isn’t the part of the essay where I transition into a section that details how the streets of Buffalo are paved with gold. It’s not Xanadu; it’s a city with the same economic and social problems that most of the country’s urban centers face. This also isn’t the part of this piece where I tell you Buffalo is just as electric as Boston; it isn’t. It doesn’t have the overt hipster glow of Brooklyn or Portland; it doesn’t feature the balmy temperatures of Tampa; and it doesn’t offer the financial opportunities of Washington, D.C. I could try to regale you with tales of Buffalo’s famed “livability,” its underrated Thai food, or the luxurious comforts of the Metrorail. I could gush about the Wrights, Richardsons or Olmsteds, or I could inform you about the low, low prices of homes or apartments for you and your family. All of these items are fantastic, but I won’t waste your time with them. You’ve read about them all and, apparently, you don’t care. You’re still somewhere else, another city’s resident who wears his Sabres hat to the supermarket. You’ll rationalize your exiled existence with complaints about the Buffalo’s job market or other maladies, and you’ll find your local Bills Backer bar for another Sunday of lubricated longing.
But, on one of these upcoming Sundays–just as the Cowboys or Dolphins raise your anger to hallucinogenic levels–maybe you’ll reach the point that I reached, one where you can no longer deny the intrinsic connection that silently nags; a clear moment when you’re finally sick of complaining about inaction when the opportunity for action is within your grasp. Maybe you’re a cook in Texas who wants to open his own restaurant; maybe you’re an artist in Queens, looking for affordability and the embrace of a supportive community; maybe you’re a burgeoning entrepreneur who’s sick of his stagnant career and wants to start his own business. Or, maybe you’re just lost and searching for the regional identity you left behind. Thriving cities across this country expand by welcoming disconnected transplants from characterless regions. For the city of Buffalo to expand and bloom into the cherished idea of Buffalo, it simply needs to restock itself with its own displaced residents, ambitious Buffalonians who’d like to return for a stake in realizing this city’s potential.
And maybe you’re one of these displaced residents, one who’s ready for a change. One of these days, you’ll come back here for a weekend. You
‘ll walk through the Bidwell Farmers Market or stroll through Delaware Park. You’ll drive over the cobblestone streets around the Erie Canal Terminus or ride your bike into Niagara Square. You’ll stare at the fascinating art deco facade of City Hall or the intricate exterior moldings of the Lafayette Hotel, and you’ll notice signs of urban development not seen in these parts for decades. Then, you’ll stand in the middle of this lakefront landscape you once called your own, and suddenly, the idea of joining this city’s resurgent march will make an incredible amount of sense to you. You’ll return to the city that’s been harboring your hesitation before packing for Buffalo, that seven-letter word on your birth certificate.
When you get here, you’ll knuckle down, network, and find a job because you have to, just like you would have to in any other city. It’ll be a risk, but finding a job in any city these days is perrilous. If you can’t find something accommodating, you can tap into the experience, ingenuity and independence you’ve developed elsewhere and add your own business to the Queen City landscape. Whatever the case, you’ll become a contributor to a cause we’ve all been born into; one that slips through our veins and beats our hearts; one that only Buffalonians seem to understand. And, when you find yourself living the realities you once spent Sunday afternoons pining for, you’ll realize yet another Buffalo-related truth: Becoming a cog in this city’s revival is a lot more fulfilling than praying for its resurrection from a neighboring state’s barstool.
After years spent praying, I finally left the barstool and came home. You can too.
(Author’s Note: This entry was finished while listening to Dan Auerbach’s “Goin’ Home”. And yes, I purposely waited until I was almost done to listen to this obviously appropriate song.)

Mike Farrell recently started The Farrell Street Blog – an educated ramble on topics such as sports, music and his return to the mean streets of western New York. He may also mention things about his novels “Running with Buffalo”, or the yet-to-be released “When the Lights Go Out.”

Photos: queenseyes (clockwise from top left) – Buffalo Pond Hockey Committee, Horsefeathers Market, Oktoberfest at Canalside, B-boy Festival

Share, , , Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest, StumbleUpon

  • harveyagarrett

    “Becoming a cog in this city’s revival is a lot more fulfilling than praying for its resurrection from a neighboring state’s barstool.”
    Amen!

  • Travelrrr

    Funny-I just lived in Boston for three years and they were, in no uncertain terms, the longest years of my life. The city is dichotomous to Buffalo: tons of money and cold, impenetrable people. Also, cuturally-speaking, I don’t think Boston holds a candle to Buffalo’s thriving arts scene.
    I like that you don’t buy in to the automatic, smarmy “Buffalove” attitude-truth is, it is a tough, tough town. War torn. And, anyone who paints it differently is in denial.
    However, it has great bones and good people and more has happened in the last five years, to turn around the city, than in the past 50. What I am most impressed by is the civic engagement–people care again.
    Job creation and solid, progressive political leadership (state and city) are now needed.

  • Kziv

    Love this! I just moved back to Buffalo with my husband and our baby daughter from NYC, after about 15 years of saying I want to come back. I was absolutely the buffalonian sitting with other buffalonians waxing poetic about our hometown, frustrated that lack of jobs wouldn’t allow us to return. Finally my husband and I decided to risk it and just come. We see buffalo as a real community with roots where we can build our family, and we are eager to invest in this wonderful place. Yes, the city isn’t overflowing with jobs, but there ARE jobs out there, especially for people who have gathered useful skills outside of Buffalo. Since we have moved we have convinced two other friends and their spouses to come back too. We are all thrilled to be here and to be part of what seems like a fresh, new, young energy that wants to keep moving this city forward.

  • JSmith

    “There are absolutely no jobs; the politicians are corrupt; downtown crime is rampant; the city schools are terrible; the winters are unbearable; economic development is lagging; there’s just not enough exciting things to do in the dilapidated region.”
    All of these things are lies people tell themselves to justify living where they are. At best they are glimmers-of-truths that are probably just as true about the place they are living in. I think people should be honest with themselves. If you like Boston better than Buffalo, that’s fine with me. Live your life there.
    I’m not really interested in changing the minds of people who have been away from Buffalo for decades and believe these things. I would like my city to become as good as it possibly can be for the people who live here, and that will naturally attract newcomers.

  • brownteeth

    Mike,nice essay! (It’s keith brownteeth btw). All the reasons you cite for moving back here are exactly what drew me back. Thanks for your realistic and candid insight. You ought to come by the house soon for some cocktails. Kethmas party 2k11 perhaps? Cheers!

  • AKBuffalo

    Great perspective, Mike, and glad to hear we have another ex-pat returning to Buffalo!
    My girlfriend (now wife) moved to Boston last year for a temporary job assignment. I must have made 30 trips to Boston in that time, and I absolutely love Boston.
    Everything I want Buffalo to be is what I found in Boston. The T was an adventure, we just got on and explored a new stop every visit. The local restaurants, shopping, and ability to walk endlessly through the Public Garden and around a bustling downtown were all highlights and things I will always long for in the city I call home. But if you want the true Boston experience, your pockets have to be pretty deep. And some of the people I spoke with were truly the most insincere people I’ve ever met.
    We’ve been back in Buffalo together since July, and I started to realize that Buffalo will never be Boston, but the experiences I’ve had in Buffalo are so much more unique and genuine than Boston. Boston has size and, I’m presuming, leadership that has allowed it to continue to thrive. I think Buffalo has suffered at the hands of poor leadership.
    All I know is the next time some rowdy passengers on the T grill me about why I live in Buffalo, I can respond with a more authentic answer. Buffalo is not Boston, but Buffalo’s strength and what will be it’s greatest catalyst, is its people. We are genuine, hard-working, and determined to succeed. We are building our own city, one that we can be proud of for years to come.
    If only we could get Mike’s Pastries to set up shop here, my life would be complete!

  • AKBuffalo

    Great perspective, Mike, and glad to hear we have another ex-pat returning to Buffalo!
    My girlfriend (now wife) moved to Boston last year for a temporary job assignment. I must have made 30 trips to Boston in that time, and I absolutely love Boston.
    Everything I want Buffalo to be is what I found in Boston. The T was an adventure, we just got on and explored a new stop every visit. The local restaurants, shopping, and ability to walk endlessly through the Public Garden and around a bustling downtown were all highlights and things I will always long for in the city I call home. But if you want the true Boston experience, your pockets have to be pretty deep. And some of the people I spoke with were truly the most insincere people I’ve ever met.
    We’ve been back in Buffalo together since July, and I started to realize that Buffalo will never be Boston, but the experiences I’ve had in Buffalo are so much more unique and genuine than Boston. Boston has size and, I’m presuming, leadership that has allowed it to continue to thrive. I think Buffalo has suffered at the hands of poor leadership.
    All I know is the next time some rowdy passengers on the T grill me about why I live in Buffalo, I can respond with a more authentic answer. Buffalo is not Boston, but Buffalo’s strength and what will be it’s greatest catalyst, is its people. We are genuine, hard-working, and determined to succeed. We are building our own city, one that we can be proud of for years to come.
    If only we could get Mike’s Pastries to set up shop here, my life would be complete!

  • The Boss

    I love WNY but probably would have tried to move, if just for a while but I can’t walk away from my excellent job and cheap mortgage. So I’ll just continue to sail, ski, hike, run, bike, fish, attend theater and pro sporting events here and use my extra money to travel the world.

  • The Boss

    I love WNY but probably would have tried to move, if just for a while but I can’t walk away from my excellent job and cheap mortgage. So I’ll just continue to sail, ski, hike, run, bike, fish, attend theater and pro sporting events here and use my extra money to travel the world.

  • Freddy Olms

    Suburban sprawl is on its way out. Former boom towns are now turning to ghost towns and the milk and honey of the Sun Belt is drying up. After years of a mass exodus from the Great Lakes, it feels like maybe the trend is starting to reverse. Southern cities are getting hotter and drier, and as the cost of transportation gets more expensive they are becoming less sustainable. We are on the verge of a new era in which people start to move back to the underpopulated post-industrial cities of the Great Lakes and away from the reality of the promised land of “good weather” and opportunity.
    As a natural beneficiary of this trend, Buffalo needs to capitalize on this by providing incentives for entrepreneurs to start businesses here. We have cheap real estate already, we need tax incentives and a friendly political environment for new businesses. Most of all, Buffalo needs investment. We need venture capital and state funding. We need wealthy people and everyday people alike to invest in this city because they believe in this city.
    The growth and investment Buffalo has seen in the last five years is not a coincidence. It is the beginning of a movement. It is a movement that has the potential to bring back all the Buffalo expats and even some Sun Belt natives who are disillusioned with their homes. It is our responsibility to capitalize on this movement. Our time is finally here.

  • Freddy Olms

    Suburban sprawl is on its way out. Former boom towns are now turning to ghost towns and the milk and honey of the Sun Belt is drying up. After years of a mass exodus from the Great Lakes, it feels like maybe the trend is starting to reverse. Southern cities are getting hotter and drier, and as the cost of transportation gets more expensive they are becoming less sustainable. We are on the verge of a new era in which people start to move back to the underpopulated post-industrial cities of the Great Lakes and away from the reality of the promised land of “good weather” and opportunity.
    As a natural beneficiary of this trend, Buffalo needs to capitalize on this by providing incentives for entrepreneurs to start businesses here. We have cheap real estate already, we need tax incentives and a friendly political environment for new businesses. Most of all, Buffalo needs investment. We need venture capital and state funding. We need wealthy people and everyday people alike to invest in this city because they believe in this city.
    The growth and investment Buffalo has seen in the last five years is not a coincidence. It is the beginning of a movement. It is a movement that has the potential to bring back all the Buffalo expats and even some Sun Belt natives who are disillusioned with their homes. It is our responsibility to capitalize on this movement. Our time is finally here.

  • Rand503

    I moved to Washington DC in 1987 and have been here ever since. HOwever, we still have a family home that I need to take care of, and so I am in Buffalo about every other month or so, and my contacts there have grown deeper than when I actually lived there. I keep up on what’s going on as well.
    I haven’t moved back because the economic situation is poor, and for my field, Washington has much greater opportunities, even though it is far more expensive to live here. Keeping half a foot in Buffalo I believe allows me to avoid the Idea of Buffalo as described so well here.
    What I tell people is that Buffalo has plusses and minuses, just like any other city. Everyone knows the minuses, but the plusses are numerous. Basically, the quality of life is superlative — the cultural, the weather in the fall, spring and summer, the festivals, sports teams, family oriented events, arts events and so on.
    I say that I travel around the country and the world, and visit cities that are touted as the “best places to live,” or work, or be single. I vet these cities beforehand and while I’m there (because I want to see what fun stuff I can do in my off time), and I can safely say there is more going in Buffalo on any weekend than any city of it’s size, and often cities that are larger.
    So whether to move back to Buffalo shouldn’t be a sentimental move, but a move because you want to better your life. Whether your life will become better is something that you have to think hard about and requires a great deal of self-examination. I find, however, most people are not interested in self-examination; rather, they want validation of the choices they have already made. To move back is an admission of many things that people don’t want to admit, that maybe the move out of Buffalo was a mistake, or that their life isn’t so great in Tampa or Denver. And so they invent little fictions about Why It’s Impossible to Move Back. And frankly, once you reach a certain age, inertia kicks in and you just don’t want to make a big move even if you want to. Staying put is always easier than making a huge change in your life.
    I don’t blame people for any of that. All I would like them to do is take an honest appraisal of Buffalo, recognize it isn’t perfect (no city is), it has tons of faults, but there are many good things about it, and many good things that other cities simply don’t have. That doesn’t mean your choice of city is bad or that you have to announce to the world your life is screwed up. But these issues carry a ton of emotional baggage, and it is often very difficult to separate the baggage and be objective about the city.

  • Freddy Olms

    Great essay Mike, and congratulations on taking the big step of moving back home. Good luck!

  • Freddy Olms

    Great essay Mike, and congratulations on taking the big step of moving back home. Good luck!

  • Rand503

    Couldn’t agree more, Freddy. The city NEEDS VC investment and other forms of growth. And I agree that as global warming continues, Buffalo will be more viable.
    But I really question whether our city leaders WANT this growth. It’s been a pretty cozy bunch for the past several decades — everyone knows everyone, everyone sits on everyone’s Board of Directors, the spoils keep going to the same people. Why would they want new blood coming in? it’s better to keep the city down and out because they have found a way to profit from the situation, whether it is elections that blame everyone else for the poor economic performance, or the endless government handouts and tax benefits used to “create” or “retain” jobs that only really benefit the developers and real estate barons, or the bureaucrats that just want to collect a salary without doing much of anything substantive.
    If our leaders really wanted growth, they would have tried decades ago. My experience, and I know several, is that their are either too lazy, too incompetent, or too corrupt to desire any serious change in the status quo.
    I think they support little people who accomplish little things (and I think that how they view people who start up a Garden Walk or rehab a house on the West Side). These are feel good things that everyone likes, but it really doesn’t change the economic picture. But if any of these projects seriously started to change the economy in a way that would threaten their status quo, you will see them do everything to squelch it. The last thing City or County Hall want is a generation of leaders that would challenge them at election time, and the last thing a developer wants is another developer as a competitor.

  • Rand503

    Couldn’t agree more, Freddy. The city NEEDS VC investment and other forms of growth. And I agree that as global warming continues, Buffalo will be more viable.
    But I really question whether our city leaders WANT this growth. It’s been a pretty cozy bunch for the past several decades — everyone knows everyone, everyone sits on everyone’s Board of Directors, the spoils keep going to the same people. Why would they want new blood coming in? it’s better to keep the city down and out because they have found a way to profit from the situation, whether it is elections that blame everyone else for the poor economic performance, or the endless government handouts and tax benefits used to “create” or “retain” jobs that only really benefit the developers and real estate barons, or the bureaucrats that just want to collect a salary without doing much of anything substantive.
    If our leaders really wanted growth, they would have tried decades ago. My experience, and I know several, is that their are either too lazy, too incompetent, or too corrupt to desire any serious change in the status quo.
    I think they support little people who accomplish little things (and I think that how they view people who start up a Garden Walk or rehab a house on the West Side). These are feel good things that everyone likes, but it really doesn’t change the economic picture. But if any of these projects seriously started to change the economy in a way that would threaten their status quo, you will see them do everything to squelch it. The last thing City or County Hall want is a generation of leaders that would challenge them at election time, and the last thing a developer wants is another developer as a competitor.

  • meg.devine

    You’re absolutely right on with this one! A year ago, my husband and I were living in Philadelphia and saying things like, “Eventually we’ll move back to Buffalo … if we’re ever able to find jobs.” And someone would always laugh and say, “So you’ll be in Philadelphia for the rest of your lives?”
    Then we had a baby and we actually started to look for jobs, and something great fell into my husband’s lap within a month. All of a sudden “eventually” was “now.” As comfortable other-city Buffalonians, the mental transition was kind of weird — we had to stop defending Buffalo as an idea and start deflecting a constant barrage of snow jokes. But it was also really exciting. We were really jazzed to bring home the perspective we’d gained by living elsewhere.
    And sure, we miss Philly’s Reading Terminal Market and the countless amazing BYO restaurants and tons of downtown shopping, and all kinds of other things. But we’ve found Bistro Europa and the Lexington Co-op and all the proud local shops on the Elmwood Strip, and we’re finding more favorites every week. Plus, we can get to the zoo in about five minutes, instead of waiting on the Schyulkill Expressway for 45 minutes in stop and go traffic just to travel the five miles from our house. Bottom line, we’ve discovered that actually living in Buffalo has proven to be way more satisfying than it ever was to talk about it. We don’t have a single regret.
    Maybe we’ll grab some of these other enthusiastic commenters and form a recruiting committee that infiltrates “Buffalo” bars in our old non-Buffalo stomping grounds …

  • Buffalogni

    How are cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC mentioned in this posting suburban sprawl? And what evidence do you have that cities like Atlanta and Memphis are emptying?
    Hey, I love Buffalo too, but let’s not go overboard.

  • grad94

    welcome back, mike, and thanks for your inside view on ex-pat psychology. it would seem that there’s a huge sour grapes vineyard flourishing in the sports bars of our large metropoli.

  • grad94

    welcome back, mike, and thanks for your inside view on ex-pat psychology. it would seem that there’s a huge sour grapes vineyard flourishing in the sports bars of our large metropoli.

  • osirisascending

    *stands and applauds*
    I tell people here in Minneapolis that you can buy a great 3 or 4 bedroom house in a good neighborhood in Buffalo for well under $200K, and they never believe me… until I show them a Buffalo real estate agency website.
    Then their eyes get big and the question they ALL ask is “how is that even possible?”

  • osirisascending

    *stands and applauds*
    I tell people here in Minneapolis that you can buy a great 3 or 4 bedroom house in a good neighborhood in Buffalo for well under $200K, and they never believe me… until I show them a Buffalo real estate agency website.
    Then their eyes get big and the question they ALL ask is “how is that even possible?”

  • paulsobo

    I wish everyone in Buffalo could come back but they wont be able to until the city/county/state actually want growth.
    The keep ignoring ideas for growth.
    -they ignore ideas for more centers for excellence
    -they ignore combining Route5 and Furhmann Boulevard
    -they ignore replacing the skyway with the Tiff Street bypass
    -they ignore putting the ECC Health Sciences building downtown
    -they ignore uniting all the colleges/universities here to partner with local businesses to forecast what degrees the local area can actually absorb…and most of all what skills/degrees are needed but not being taught.
    -they ignore small business incubator for Buffalo State and Canisius…
    -they ignore removing the Bed Tax from the General Budget and actually using that money to promote tourism and job creation which is what it was intended to do.
    -the companies also want to come but if their not already connected to the area then they are outsiders to the political process to get local, state, federal funds that they would be able to get elsewhere.
    the ideas are there…

  • rb09

    Buffalonians are all over the world and no matter where they are, they maintain some sort of physical or spiritual tie to their hometown.
    Buffalo is unique. It’s like a vacuum, it sucks you in and never lets go.

  • rb09

    Buffalonians are all over the world and no matter where they are, they maintain some sort of physical or spiritual tie to their hometown.
    Buffalo is unique. It’s like a vacuum, it sucks you in and never lets go.

  • https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawneexoasef4gVs18uy5j-ruzVi57WHGGkc

    I am so happy that you wrote this. I share your opinion. All I can say is thank you for writing. Much love and respect. Buffalo for life.

  • https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawneexoasef4gVs18uy5j-ruzVi57WHGGkc

    I am so happy that you wrote this. I share your opinion. All I can say is thank you for writing. Much love and respect. Buffalo for life.

  • alexandra.farrington

    I am proud to say that I, too, am moving back to Buffalo. I have sat on that barstool. I have called my friends during Bills/Sabres games just to hear the roar of the crowd, I have made long, overnight roadtrips just to drive into the city in the early morning. I love this city, and the remarkable thing is, the city of Buffalo is FILLED with people that love it, and that is why people will continue to move back. I have traveled the world and you (or at least I) cannot find that feeling anywhere else.

  • alexandra.farrington

    I am proud to say that I, too, am moving back to Buffalo. I have sat on that barstool. I have called my friends during Bills/Sabres games just to hear the roar of the crowd, I have made long, overnight roadtrips just to drive into the city in the early morning. I love this city, and the remarkable thing is, the city of Buffalo is FILLED with people that love it, and that is why people will continue to move back. I have traveled the world and you (or at least I) cannot find that feeling anywhere else.

  • margaretkfarrell

    Great article Michael!! You’re paving the way for the rest of us to come back!

  • margaretkfarrell

    Great article Michael!! You’re paving the way for the rest of us to come back!

  • onestarmartin

    What a gushy little story. Don’t assume everyone wants to move back, not true. I tried it, so I can speak…. it was OK, but not for me. Glad to be back in the “drying” up sunbelt city of Atlanta which yes has it’s problems at the moment just like every single city in America including Buffalo depending on what “list” you read or story gets published. My lifestyle is far far better than my Buffalo stint. Sure the house on North Pearl was great, cost me a bomb to make it great. But that was not enough to keep me in the city I grew up in. I have many friends living in DC, Atlanta, Chicago and Boston for example from the Buffalo-Rochester area who would never look back. I still read BRO and am happy to see some of the progress being made within the city in the rehab/construction of downtown but the city still has a long way to go to attract people to move back other than the few familys profiled here on occasion. I have had friends visit here the last few weekends who expressed interst in moving to Atlanta and Chicago, so it works both ways. People move, they shift, it’s the American way these days. Put on the spot of course people will say I would love to move home, but when push comes to shove see what really happens when your back is turned and the conversation is over.

  • onestarmartin

    What a gushy little story. Don’t assume everyone wants to move back, not true. I tried it, so I can speak…. it was OK, but not for me. Glad to be back in the “drying” up sunbelt city of Atlanta which yes has it’s problems at the moment just like every single city in America including Buffalo depending on what “list” you read or story gets published. My lifestyle is far far better than my Buffalo stint. Sure the house on North Pearl was great, cost me a bomb to make it great. But that was not enough to keep me in the city I grew up in. I have many friends living in DC, Atlanta, Chicago and Boston for example from the Buffalo-Rochester area who would never look back. I still read BRO and am happy to see some of the progress being made within the city in the rehab/construction of downtown but the city still has a long way to go to attract people to move back other than the few familys profiled here on occasion. I have had friends visit here the last few weekends who expressed interst in moving to Atlanta and Chicago, so it works both ways. People move, they shift, it’s the American way these days. Put on the spot of course people will say I would love to move home, but when push comes to shove see what really happens when your back is turned and the conversation is over.

  • BinBuffalo

    So oddly enough, I was born and raised downstate and CHOSE Buffalo as a place to lay mine and my husband’s roots. I love this city! The good and the bad. It’s just a wonderful place to live. I would not have had nearly as nice of a life where I came from as I do living here. There is so much to offer and my husband and I bought our first home here. We don’t plan on leaving, ever. People do move here despite ALL they hear (my mom still hears from people, “Why did your daughter pick Buffalo?”). I would love it if MORE young people decided to live or move back here. This city does have a lot of growth ahead, and change is happening to bring us up to speed. I LOVE YOU BUFFALO!

  • BinBuffalo

    So oddly enough, I was born and raised downstate and CHOSE Buffalo as a place to lay mine and my husband’s roots. I love this city! The good and the bad. It’s just a wonderful place to live. I would not have had nearly as nice of a life where I came from as I do living here. There is so much to offer and my husband and I bought our first home here. We don’t plan on leaving, ever. People do move here despite ALL they hear (my mom still hears from people, “Why did your daughter pick Buffalo?”). I would love it if MORE young people decided to live or move back here. This city does have a lot of growth ahead, and change is happening to bring us up to speed. I LOVE YOU BUFFALO!

  • davvid

    As an expat living in New York I totally understand the feeling of wanting to return home. But this is just one of several gnawing feelings that I have at this point in my life. Career and love are winning over civic pride at the moment.
    Instead of hoping that expats return we should expand the definition of our community to include them/us. Some have criticized Steel for living in Chicago but who could argue that he isn’t part of the Buffalo community? I saw expat Cory Arcangel’s solo show at the Whitney this summer, he is the youngest artist ever to have one. Expats are a highly motivated and well connected layer of our community. Buffalo should tap that.

  • davvid

    As an expat living in New York I totally understand the feeling of wanting to return home. But this is just one of several gnawing feelings that I have at this point in my life. Career and love are winning over civic pride at the moment.
    Instead of hoping that expats return we should expand the definition of our community to include them/us. Some have criticized Steel for living in Chicago but who could argue that he isn’t part of the Buffalo community? I saw expat Cory Arcangel’s solo show at the Whitney this summer, he is the youngest artist ever to have one. Expats are a highly motivated and well connected layer of our community. Buffalo should tap that.

  • jtrzewitcowski

    uhhh, maybe it’s becasue Buffalo was the home town for all the malcontents that moved away & a home town is always just that. Chances are that if a guy or girl moved to Boston from Boise they’d wax poetic about Boise after a while. When are we going to realize that Buffalo isn’t some unique spot on the globe. Pretty much every city or town has its own great restaurants, its dives, its hidden gems, etc… Also, I’ll bet a steak dinner that there’s one, one person in the world who moved out of buffalo and never looked back.

  • jtrzewitcowski

    uhhh, maybe it’s becasue Buffalo was the home town for all the malcontents that moved away & a home town is always just that. Chances are that if a guy or girl moved to Boston from Boise they’d wax poetic about Boise after a while. When are we going to realize that Buffalo isn’t some unique spot on the globe. Pretty much every city or town has its own great restaurants, its dives, its hidden gems, etc… Also, I’ll bet a steak dinner that there’s one, one person in the world who moved out of buffalo and never looked back.

  • Frits001

    Interesting concept. That is what the mission of the Buffalo Expat Network is all about.

  • Frits001

    Interesting concept. That is what the mission of the Buffalo Expat Network is all about.

  • BuffaloQPublic

    Kziv (and friends) welcome back!

  • BuffaloQPublic

    Kziv (and friends) welcome back!

  • BuffaloQPublic

    Kziv (and friends) welcome back!

  • PaulBuffalo

    I spent many years in New York City and still consider it my home even though I now live in Los Angeles. The reason is that the moment someone moves to New York City, they are considered and treated as New Yorkers even if they leave. That’s not the case in Buffalo and the parochial sentiments are echoed repeatedly in comments here on BRO: if you don’t live in Buffalo, you have no right to comment on issues. If you don’t put up then shut up.
    Buffalonians like to thump their chests about how much friendlier they are than people in other cities. Sorry, but I’ve traveled extensively and have lived in a number of cities and towns. If you treat people the way you would like to be treated then you’ll find that people are pretty much the same everywhere. If other people are the problem, then the problem may be you.
    Cultural differences exist, to be sure, and I think that many expats just want to go home again so they can simply return to familiarity — even when sentimentality trumps the facts. The problem is that our perceptions evolve and many of us don’t return to what used to exist because we have changed in the process. The human condition is not a static endeavor.
    I was born in Buffalo and grew up in Riverside and even though I now consider myself a tourist when I visit the area, I enjoy the positive news on this website about western New York.

  • PaulBuffalo

    I spent many years in New York City and still consider it my home even though I now live in Los Angeles. The reason is that the moment someone moves to New York City, they are considered and treated as New Yorkers even if they leave. That’s not the case in Buffalo and the parochial sentiments are echoed repeatedly in comments here on BRO: if you don’t live in Buffalo, you have no right to comment on issues. If you don’t put up then shut up.
    Buffalonians like to thump their chests about how much friendlier they are than people in other cities. Sorry, but I’ve traveled extensively and have lived in a number of cities and towns. If you treat people the way you would like to be treated then you’ll find that people are pretty much the same everywhere. If other people are the problem, then the problem may be you.
    Cultural differences exist, to be sure, and I think that many expats just want to go home again so they can simply return to familiarity — even when sentimentality trumps the facts. The problem is that our perceptions evolve and many of us don’t return to what used to exist because we have changed in the process. The human condition is not a static endeavor.
    I was born in Buffalo and grew up in Riverside and even though I now consider myself a tourist when I visit the area, I enjoy the positive news on this website about western New York.

  • bdb203

    What energy company do you work for, if you don’t mind me asking? I work for a local energy co. as well.

  • bdb203

    What energy company do you work for, if you don’t mind me asking? I work for a local energy co. as well.

  • dgoshilla

    I need to stop visiting this site and looking at Buffalo housing listings on Trulia because it makes me depressed!

  • dgoshilla

    I need to stop visiting this site and looking at Buffalo housing listings on Trulia because it makes me depressed!

  • bdb203

    Shhh….We want some progress, but not that much. Don’t want those cheap mortgages disappearing; we’d lose our biggest selling point.

  • bdb203

    Shhh….We want some progress, but not that much. Don’t want those cheap mortgages disappearing; we’d lose our biggest selling point.

  • DOC

    I can’t understand why people keep complaining about the winters in Buffalo. There is absolutely NOTHING anyone can do about it. Personally I find the humidity in D.C. far more oppressive than the cold in Buffalo. Why do people keep comparing Buffalo with D.C. or Boston, or New York? When you do that Buffalo will always seem small, insignificant and unexciting. How about comparing Buffalo with Utica, Binghamton, Toledo, Bangor, and Erie? It’s the same thing, really, only Buffalo will usually come out on top. So stop with all the comparisons that will always be stacked against Buffalo. I’m glad you’re back Mike Farrell but I find your article wordy and self-serving and not even that interesting. The idea of Buffalo, indeed.

  • Kiyarain

    Well, I just cried. 🙂 I agree wholeheartedly with your apt observations of Buffalo pride and what it’s like to live away from Buffalo with a sense of being incomplete. It took me awhile to realize what was lacking in my life experience and it truly is the concept of having a community and being a member of a community striving and fighting for a better future everyday. I would much rather live in a city continually trying to fight its way back to the top than a city that has “made it” and complacent because of it.
    Very well written, you are a very good writer and I am looking forward to following your blog!

  • Kiyarain

    Well, I just cried. 🙂 I agree wholeheartedly with your apt observations of Buffalo pride and what it’s like to live away from Buffalo with a sense of being incomplete. It took me awhile to realize what was lacking in my life experience and it truly is the concept of having a community and being a member of a community striving and fighting for a better future everyday. I would much rather live in a city continually trying to fight its way back to the top than a city that has “made it” and complacent because of it.
    Very well written, you are a very good writer and I am looking forward to following your blog!

  • john.straubinger

    I’ve lived in Boston for over 35 years and I’m moving back to Buffalo in the Fall of 2012. I agree with Mike that Boston is super expensive and very cold and impersonal. Also having a car is a super hassle. If you live in the upscale neighborhoods of Beacon Hill, Back Bay or the South End, plan on paying a couple hundred dollars a month for a private parking spot. Boston has the most aggressive meter maids in the country to enforce its ridiculous parking rules,In some neighborhoods, the parking meters are on from 6 AM to 2 AM the following morning. A weeks worth of tickets easily come close to $200.00.
    What I like the most about the current Buffalo is how much it’s come back since the 1990’s. I started paying attention to Buffalo in the late 80’s and was very discouraged by what was happening in the city in the 1990’s. On the streets of the upper West-side like Ashland, Norwood and most of the others, the landscape was heavily dotted with “For Sale” signs. It was common in this period to see 5 or 6 houses for sale on each block and on each side of the street for that neighborhood. The only house rehabilitation that one could notice were houses with 2 by 4’s propping up sagging porch roofs, And the “For Sale” sign epidemic was in many more Buffalo neighborhoods as well. What really bothered me about all this was when I mentioned all the “For Sale” signs to many of the longtime Buffalonians that I grew up with, no one gave a shit.
    The fact that so many of Buffalo’s citizens do care now about their city and, in such a big way, has made a huge difference in the city. All the rehabilitation projects, be they houses or downtown buildings turning into apartment houses are exciting and encouraging for Buffalo’s future. What’s happening on Buffalo’s lower West side is something that I and just about every Buffalonian I know still there or now an ex-pat find unbelievable. The parks and bike trails that have opened out on the Outer Harbor are terrific and the debunking of the “not-in-our-lifetime-will-the-Buffalo-Waterfront-ever-have-any-development” axiom is another unbelievable plus.
    And for all the sour snowbunnys out there, try spending 17 Xmases in the twin cities like I did when I was married. The temperatures were almost always below zero for most of the days that I was there.

  • john.straubinger

    I’ve lived in Boston for over 35 years and I’m moving back to Buffalo in the Fall of 2012. I agree with Mike that Boston is super expensive and very cold and impersonal. Also having a car is a super hassle. If you live in the upscale neighborhoods of Beacon Hill, Back Bay or the South End, plan on paying a couple hundred dollars a month for a private parking spot. Boston has the most aggressive meter maids in the country to enforce its ridiculous parking rules,In some neighborhoods, the parking meters are on from 6 AM to 2 AM the following morning. A weeks worth of tickets easily come close to $200.00.
    What I like the most about the current Buffalo is how much it’s come back since the 1990’s. I started paying attention to Buffalo in the late 80’s and was very discouraged by what was happening in the city in the 1990’s. On the streets of the upper West-side like Ashland, Norwood and most of the others, the landscape was heavily dotted with “For Sale” signs. It was common in this period to see 5 or 6 houses for sale on each block and on each side of the street for that neighborhood. The only house rehabilitation that one could notice were houses with 2 by 4’s propping up sagging porch roofs, And the “For Sale” sign epidemic was in many more Buffalo neighborhoods as well. What really bothered me about all this was when I mentioned all the “For Sale” signs to many of the longtime Buffalonians that I grew up with, no one gave a shit.
    The fact that so many of Buffalo’s citizens do care now about their city and, in such a big way, has made a huge difference in the city. All the rehabilitation projects, be they houses or downtown buildings turning into apartment houses are exciting and encouraging for Buffalo’s future. What’s happening on Buffalo’s lower West side is something that I and just about every Buffalonian I know still there or now an ex-pat find unbelievable. The parks and bike trails that have opened out on the Outer Harbor are terrific and the debunking of the “not-in-our-lifetime-will-the-Buffalo-Waterfront-ever-have-any-development” axiom is another unbelievable plus.
    And for all the sour snowbunnys out there, try spending 17 Xmases in the twin cities like I did when I was married. The temperatures were almost always below zero for most of the days that I was there.

  • Lemmy

    As a city resident, kudos on a great article! Glad you moved back, and are honest about what you found when you got here.
    Also, you were great as BJ Hunnicutt in “M*A*S*H”. Wayne Rogers couldn’t carry your lunch.

  • Lemmy

    As a city resident, kudos on a great article! Glad you moved back, and are honest about what you found when you got here.
    Also, you were great as BJ Hunnicutt in “M*A*S*H”. Wayne Rogers couldn’t carry your lunch.

  • https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkLN5jEJVn7ly5GdZXCg0kqoNnOy5FYJ4M

    I think you just convinced me to stay here! Thanks for the article 🙂

  • PaulBuffalo

    You’re right, ChristieLou. I’m not moving back to Buffalo because of the bed tax. That’s a deal breaker for me.

  • PaulBuffalo

    You’re right, ChristieLou. I’m not moving back to Buffalo because of the bed tax. That’s a deal breaker for me.

  • NotFromBuffalo

    People complain about the weather, but the weather is not an issue. Minneapolis and Montreal and much colder, and Montreal’s average snowfall is only about 10 inches less than Buffalo.
    And look at Utah. They brag about their snowfalls.

  • NotFromBuffalo

    People complain about the weather, but the weather is not an issue. Minneapolis and Montreal and much colder, and Montreal’s average snowfall is only about 10 inches less than Buffalo.
    And look at Utah. They brag about their snowfalls.

  • DeanerPPX

    Agreed. Unless you can stand the oppressive heat, humidity and smog, summers in Georgia mean 6 months confined indoors for the air conditioning (plus 2 months of rainy, icy winter). At its worst, Buffalo winters are only 4 months.
    Would I take the south with its ‘perfect weather’ of only being able to enjoy the outdoors for two months in the spring and two months in the fall? Or Buffalo which gets 8 straight months of enjoyable weather? (and the winters can actually be fun, too!)
    Buffalo has neither the snowiest nor the coldest winters, just the bad reputation. Nobody talks about how great the rest of the year is.

  • whatever

    You’re right, some people have criticized him for living in Chicago – but doesn’t that usually seem to be a reaction toward his often nagging-scolding style of discourse and his heavy criticizing of some WNYers who choose non-urban areas here?
    As a counter example, you’ve mentioned quite a few times being in NYC and I’ve never noticed anyone on here ever criticizing you in the slightest for that. I think that’s almost universally how it goes on here – expats aren’t generally bashed for having moved – nor should they be, of course. Many of us who aren’t yet might become expats some day.
    I think it’s pretty much just him that kind if criticism happens to on here. Sometimes it’s silly, but there’s an ongoing context to it.

  • whatever

    You’re right, some people have criticized him for living in Chicago – but doesn’t that usually seem to be a reaction toward his often nagging-scolding style of discourse and his heavy criticizing of some WNYers who choose non-urban areas here?
    As a counter example, you’ve mentioned quite a few times being in NYC and I’ve never noticed anyone on here ever criticizing you in the slightest for that. I think that’s almost universally how it goes on here – expats aren’t generally bashed for having moved – nor should they be, of course. Many of us who aren’t yet might become expats some day.
    I think it’s pretty much just him that kind if criticism happens to on here. Sometimes it’s silly, but there’s an ongoing context to it.

  • colleenmikula

    Great article!! It’s so true. As an entrepreneur, I see that the energy of the city comes from alot of small businesses working together!
    This is a community that always comes together for it’s neighbors, corny but true.
    I agree with the corrupt polotics,and weather but will diagree on the restaurants and night life.
    Buffalo has great restaurant!

  • crashkeller

    I love this article and it really hits the right points, both from an ex-pat perspective and for returning residents. There are some great assets out there that love this city, but no longer reside there. I had actually mentioned the “Come Home to Buffalo” idea to Tim Russert, shortly before he passed away.

  • crashkeller

    I love this article and it really hits the right points, both from an ex-pat perspective and for returning residents. There are some great assets out there that love this city, but no longer reside there. I had actually mentioned the “Come Home to Buffalo” idea to Tim Russert, shortly before he passed away.

  • davvid

    If Steel’s tone is really the issue, the criticism should be about that and not his residency.
    I agree with you that there probably isn’t very much resistance to expats participating in Buffalo affairs. Still we haven’t really come to the point where we discuss community as something separate from place. When I read the title of this article I hoped that it might be about embracing “Buffalo as idea” as part of the new nature of the city.
    If we really wanted to take this concept to an extreme point we could imagine an expat seat on the Common Council.

  • davvid

    If Steel’s tone is really the issue, the criticism should be about that and not his residency.
    I agree with you that there probably isn’t very much resistance to expats participating in Buffalo affairs. Still we haven’t really come to the point where we discuss community as something separate from place. When I read the title of this article I hoped that it might be about embracing “Buffalo as idea” as part of the new nature of the city.
    If we really wanted to take this concept to an extreme point we could imagine an expat seat on the Common Council.

  • SBU

    Go BONNIES!!!!

  • SBU

    Go BONNIES!!!!

  • digitalhecht

    As one of the Queen City Diaspora (who proudly dons his Sabres jersey with a few hundred others whenever the blue and gold roll into town-San Jose), I agree with you about the idea of Buffalo. I see this same idealization (or amnesia) in fellow diasporans. But I suspect that many stay away for the one thing that all the blood, sweat and toil can never change: The weather. I guess I’m lucky my wife is a native Californian. She tells me regularly that she wouldn’t last one week of winter. Regardless, go Sabres.

  • whatever

    ” the criticism should be about that and not his residency”
    True, and I’ve noticed some such as pampinform and burch have tried to point out to him at length the issue of his tone and often childish style of argument.
    But substance is involved too. Even if he argued in a more respectful way, some of us with more regionalist attitudes might still see a big inconsistency in him repeatedly saying people who live in say Clarence or similar WNY towns are harming Buffalo by choosing to live (or work, shop, worship, etc) say 10 or 20 miles away from the city line… and writing that stuff from over 500 miles away.
    I for one don’t make Chicago the main focus of comments to him, but once in a while I mention it in passing just because of that inconsistency or because he seems like such a… [trying to think of a polite word – just plug in the words some of you use about Collins or Paladino]. It’s perhaps lame of me to ever mention it since it could imply I’m criticizing expat views in general, which I’m not.
    “imagine an expat seat on the Common Council”
    That’s an interesting idea, and not without some precedent.
    I can’t say whoever you all would elect would probably be worse than who we usually do, so I’m open to letting you guys elect an expat to 1 of the 9 seats. Who knows, the Council might even like the idea if representation means they’d be allowed to somehow tax you all.

  • whatever

    ” the criticism should be about that and not his residency”
    True, and I’ve noticed some such as pampinform and burch have tried to point out to him at length the issue of his tone and often childish style of argument.
    But substance is involved too. Even if he argued in a more respectful way, some of us with more regionalist attitudes might still see a big inconsistency in him repeatedly saying people who live in say Clarence or similar WNY towns are harming Buffalo by choosing to live (or work, shop, worship, etc) say 10 or 20 miles away from the city line… and writing that stuff from over 500 miles away.
    I for one don’t make Chicago the main focus of comments to him, but once in a while I mention it in passing just because of that inconsistency or because he seems like such a… [trying to think of a polite word – just plug in the words some of you use about Collins or Paladino]. It’s perhaps lame of me to ever mention it since it could imply I’m criticizing expat views in general, which I’m not.
    “imagine an expat seat on the Common Council”
    That’s an interesting idea, and not without some precedent.
    I can’t say whoever you all would elect would probably be worse than who we usually do, so I’m open to letting you guys elect an expat to 1 of the 9 seats. Who knows, the Council might even like the idea if representation means they’d be allowed to somehow tax you all.

  • The Kettle

    Whatever> “[trying to think of a polite word – just plug in the words some of you use about Collins or Paladino].”
    Defeated? Lousy campaigner? Unwanted by a convincing amount of registered voters?
    Not sure how that would apply to Steel.

  • The Kettle

    Whatever> “[trying to think of a polite word – just plug in the words some of you use about Collins or Paladino].”
    Defeated? Lousy campaigner? Unwanted by a convincing amount of registered voters?
    Not sure how that would apply to Steel.

  • ForestBird

    I returned only because of some family situations. Where I live now (guess by my handle) is about 7 times more dangerous than Brooklyn (Buffalo’s safety rating is 5/100, while Brooklyn’s is 37/100). While this site, the Buffalo News, and their conspirators in the real estate business lie about “the West Side coming back!”, I’m trying to figure out how to escape without losing all the cash I’ve poured into my 1907 money-pit. Suckers are out there, but I don’t want to take advantage of them.
    Worst decision of my life: buying property in Buffalo.

  • ForestBird

    I returned only because of some family situations. Where I live now (guess by my handle) is about 7 times more dangerous than Brooklyn (Buffalo’s safety rating is 5/100, while Brooklyn’s is 37/100). While this site, the Buffalo News, and their conspirators in the real estate business lie about “the West Side coming back!”, I’m trying to figure out how to escape without losing all the cash I’ve poured into my 1907 money-pit. Suckers are out there, but I don’t want to take advantage of them.
    Worst decision of my life: buying property in Buffalo.

  • whatever

    lol, well Arm, I’m pretty sure I’ve noticed CC has also been called a few things other than those by some people…
    but from among your set there, isn’t “lousy campaigner” apt to some degree for both of them?

  • whatever

    lol, well Arm, I’m pretty sure I’ve noticed CC has also been called a few things other than those by some people…
    but from among your set there, isn’t “lousy campaigner” apt to some degree for both of them?

  • whatever

    forestbird>”this site, the Buffalo News, and their conspirators in the real estate business lie about “the West Side coming back!” …”
    Huh?
    Have BN or BR claimed the Forest/Bird portion of the West Side is coming back? Isn’t the portion about which they’ve said that roughly 2 miles south of there?

  • whatever

    forestbird>”this site, the Buffalo News, and their conspirators in the real estate business lie about “the West Side coming back!” …”
    Huh?
    Have BN or BR claimed the Forest/Bird portion of the West Side is coming back? Isn’t the portion about which they’ve said that roughly 2 miles south of there?

  • Bernie Tolbert

    Great article. I first left Buffalo in 1981 as a result of a job transfer. I came back twice as a result of being reassigned to my employer’s (FBI) Buffalo office. After retiring in 2001 and taking a job in New York City, I retired again in late 2010. In August of this year I returned to Buffalo for many of the same reasons mentioned in your article. I too wanted to be an active participant in helping to make things better in Buffalo. I’ve traveled all over the world and lived in several cities in the U.S. but there’s something magical about Buffalo that is a very powerful magnet. I can’t think of a place I’d rather be and look forward to my “new life” being back in Buffalo. I can’t get enough of this place!

  • Bernie Tolbert

    Great article. I first left Buffalo in 1981 as a result of a job transfer. I came back twice as a result of being reassigned to my employer’s (FBI) Buffalo office. After retiring in 2001 and taking a job in New York City, I retired again in late 2010. In August of this year I returned to Buffalo for many of the same reasons mentioned in your article. I too wanted to be an active participant in helping to make things better in Buffalo. I’ve traveled all over the world and lived in several cities in the U.S. but there’s something magical about Buffalo that is a very powerful magnet. I can’t think of a place I’d rather be and look forward to my “new life” being back in Buffalo. I can’t get enough of this place!

  • NBuffguy

    I meet former Buffalonians all the time in Baltimore. I can’t think of even a single one who ever said he or she wished to be living in Buffalo again. Usually what I hear is that people are happy to have family and friends still in Buffalo because it’s nice to go back for a visit. And they almost always add, “in the summertime.”

  • NBuffguy

    I meet former Buffalonians all the time in Baltimore. I can’t think of even a single one who ever said he or she wished to be living in Buffalo again. Usually what I hear is that people are happy to have family and friends still in Buffalo because it’s nice to go back for a visit. And they almost always add, “in the summertime.”

  • whatever

    Bernie for mayor!
    (somebody had to say it)

  • MrGreenJeans

    People who’ve bought on Parkdale and Potomac were quoted in the BN article, so it’s not just about the area around Symphony Circle. This imaginery “boom” is still the cynical dream of real estate agents & the flippers who are grabbing West Side properties at the moment.

  • MrGreenJeans

    People who’ve bought on Parkdale and Potomac were quoted in the BN article, so it’s not just about the area around Symphony Circle. This imaginery “boom” is still the cynical dream of real estate agents & the flippers who are grabbing West Side properties at the moment.

  • C.K. Dexter Haven

    This has been an interesting and active forum. Regarding the comment above, I’d like to add that during the ebb and flow of one’s life, you never know what changes will confront you. Until recently, I would have never considered a move to Buffalo – not for a second. But here I am preparing for such an event. Why would I want to leave California after a lengthy stay or anyplace else? Never say never.
    My thoughts somewhat mirror the comments of Bernie Tolbert and others. I’ve been around and I’ve looked around at other cities, but there is something special about Buffalo. It’s not for everyone understandably, but I like the vibe going on and want to be a part of it.

  • whatever

    Greenjeans, is this the BN article you and Forest are talking about?
    http://www.buffalonews.com/city/communities/west-side/article615650.ece
    That’s from a couple weeks ago. Where’s any mention of Parkdale or Potomac in that?
    The only street starting with ‘p’ I see mentioned is Porter:
    “…Sale prices for homes located from Richmond Avenue to the Buffalo River and from West Ferry Street to Porter Avenue have gone from an average of $23,000 in 2001 to $84,000 this year, according to the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors. …”
    Granted, the article’s first sentence is a little too broad, and looking only at prices of houses that sold can be very misleading. However, the geography it refers to is a more southern portion, not at all the big part starting around Ferry and north through Delavan up to Bird then Forest.

  • JSmith
  • JSmith
  • The Kettle

    The price increases, physical improvements, and the glowing commentaries from local residents are very real indeed. Not sure what can be interpreted as “imaginary” from that.

  • The Kettle

    The price increases, physical improvements, and the glowing commentaries from local residents are very real indeed. Not sure what can be interpreted as “imaginary” from that.

  • Jim LaBelle

    Nice piece; I came “home” after 29 years and lived in Dallas, Boston, Minneapolis, Denver, Atlanta, DC and Durham, NC. Honestly, there is nothing those cities have on the Buffalo-Niagara Region – NOTHING. Well, maybe Denver has it all on us, but that’s the exception.
    Jim

  • Jim LaBelle

    Nice piece; I came “home” after 29 years and lived in Dallas, Boston, Minneapolis, Denver, Atlanta, DC and Durham, NC. Honestly, there is nothing those cities have on the Buffalo-Niagara Region – NOTHING. Well, maybe Denver has it all on us, but that’s the exception.
    Jim

  • whatever

    Oh yeah, and that one says this too – even mentioning Bird…
    “Crime is still a threat. The West Side was particularly shaken last month by a shooting at the corner of Richmond and Bird avenues that has left victim Antonio Lynn paralyzed from the waist down.”
    Seems pretty well balanced rather than the marketing piece it was claimed to be.

  • bookgirl

    Amazing essay! I have many friends I wish would come back to Buffalo…maybe reading words like yours will ignite the thought within them and revitalize our city.

  • bookgirl

    Amazing essay! I have many friends I wish would come back to Buffalo…maybe reading words like yours will ignite the thought within them and revitalize our city.

  • onestarmartin

    bullsh*t….where did you get that info from from? I have yet to see one person who sits indoors for 6 months of the summer and 2 in the winter. As I write this I sat on a patio tonight for dinner, what did you do in Buffalo…freeze ur ass off indoors?

  • DeanerPPX

    Where did I get that info? I’ve lived in Atl for 8 years.
    In the summer, people run from their air-conditioned cars to air conditioned buildings as if it’s raining… but they’re just trying to avoid the heat and humidity that will sweat-stain their suits or unset their hair. If you don’t get your lawn mowed by 8am, you run the risk of heatstroke.
    Temps right now can be in the 30s when you drive to work in the morning, and 70s when you go out for lunch. You use both the A/C and the heater in the same day. Forget December and January, when the THREAT of a dusting of snow will shut down the city 24 hours ahead of time if it’s in the forecast (whether it happens or not… people are so unprepared for ice, they won’t go out even if they know how to drive on it because nobody else does and the roads turn into bumper cars).
    I love the outdoors, but have never spent so much time inside as I did in Georgia… there’s only a couple weeks in the spring and fall that are habitable. Not to mention the water restrictions and smog/ozone alerts that are dangerous for pets and animals. Lawns go brown in the winter and then die from lack of water in the summer because 5 million people are drinking out of the same small lake and muddy creek.
    I’m down here taking care of my parents who retired to Atlanta. Both in their 80s, they’re even more susceptible to it than I am. Even though it means them dying or being put in a home, I can’t wait for the chance to move back home and enjoy the Buffalo weather again…

  • DeanerPPX

    Where did I get that info? I’ve lived in Atl for 8 years.
    In the summer, people run from their air-conditioned cars to air conditioned buildings as if it’s raining… but they’re just trying to avoid the heat and humidity that will sweat-stain their suits or unset their hair. If you don’t get your lawn mowed by 8am, you run the risk of heatstroke.
    Temps right now can be in the 30s when you drive to work in the morning, and 70s when you go out for lunch. You use both the A/C and the heater in the same day. Forget December and January, when the THREAT of a dusting of snow will shut down the city 24 hours ahead of time if it’s in the forecast (whether it happens or not… people are so unprepared for ice, they won’t go out even if they know how to drive on it because nobody else does and the roads turn into bumper cars).
    I love the outdoors, but have never spent so much time inside as I did in Georgia… there’s only a couple weeks in the spring and fall that are habitable. Not to mention the water restrictions and smog/ozone alerts that are dangerous for pets and animals. Lawns go brown in the winter and then die from lack of water in the summer because 5 million people are drinking out of the same small lake and muddy creek.
    I’m down here taking care of my parents who retired to Atlanta. Both in their 80s, they’re even more susceptible to it than I am. Even though it means them dying or being put in a home, I can’t wait for the chance to move back home and enjoy the Buffalo weather again…

  • transplant

    I moved here 10 months ago and have had a really hard time meeting any young people. If you aren’t from here people are not very friendly. What else is there to do on a Friday or Saturday night to meet people besides going to a bar? Are there any sports leagues or social organzations to join? Yes, I work alot of hours but do need/want to try to meet new people to hang out with.

  • transplant

    I moved here 10 months ago and have had a really hard time meeting any young people. If you aren’t from here people are not very friendly. What else is there to do on a Friday or Saturday night to meet people besides going to a bar? Are there any sports leagues or social organzations to join? Yes, I work alot of hours but do need/want to try to meet new people to hang out with.

  • TranspoGuy

    Have you thought about an organization like Roaming Buffaloes? They organize hiking and biking trips, etc…
    What about First Fridays at Allentown Art Galleries?
    There are also a ton of volunteer organizations – like The B Team.

  • TranspoGuy

    Have you thought about an organization like Roaming Buffaloes? They organize hiking and biking trips, etc…
    What about First Fridays at Allentown Art Galleries?
    There are also a ton of volunteer organizations – like The B Team.

  • queenseyes

    Transplant, there are some great kickball clubs that are always looking for players. Also hook up with one of the sailing groups. Seven Seas or Sail Buffalo. Do you ride a bike? Try one of the group rides. Where do you go out when you do go out? Have you been to Essex? Or Hardware? Have you scoped out Soundlab for music? What social activities do you like? If you need more info send me an email and I will try to help. Newell@buffalorising.com

  • queenseyes

    Transplant, there are some great kickball clubs that are always looking for players. Also hook up with one of the sailing groups. Seven Seas or Sail Buffalo. Do you ride a bike? Try one of the group rides. Where do you go out when you do go out? Have you been to Essex? Or Hardware? Have you scoped out Soundlab for music? What social activities do you like? If you need more info send me an email and I will try to help. Newell@buffalorising.com

  • alyssaham

    check out the buffalo barn raisers.. http://www.buffalbarnraisers.com
    they are always doing stuff.. that is literally their motto.
    i guess most of the stuff people do that isn’t drinking in bars seems to be underground and maybe difficult to find.

  • alyssaham

    check out the buffalo barn raisers.. http://www.buffalbarnraisers.com
    they are always doing stuff.. that is literally their motto.
    i guess most of the stuff people do that isn’t drinking in bars seems to be underground and maybe difficult to find.

  • nick

    If you’re into playing sports, try this: http://www.buffalosocialclub.com/

  • transplant

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am into sports for sure so I will check these out.

  • transplant

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am into sports for sure so I will check these out.