I was born and raised in Buffalo, and have since lived in LA, NY and now Toronto. I have dreams of moving back to Buffalo, starting my own little shop along Elmwood and living a more simple life. So much so that I'm actively looking for real estate. Unfortunately, a recent trip to Buffalo made me incredibly sad, and forced me to question my plans. Read this knowing this took place at 3:00 on a Tuesday afternoon.
I got off the Peace Bridge and landed in the middle of the ghetto. My husband is always uncomfortable once we get off the bridge, but has come to terms with the streets we need to drive through, and tries to get out of the area as quickly as possible. Graffiti stained houses have plywood boarding up windows, and the only people walking the streets have stained clothes, are unshaven, overweight, eating junk food, throwing trash on the ground, and look like they are highly medicated.
Downtown was a ghost town.
We made our way to Elmwood to be just as alarmed, and ultimately frightened. The only people walking around were dressed in clothes either too big for them, or too small. Mostly everyone had a look of incredible depression on their face, and again, looked to be highly medicated (or in other cases - should be medicated), men cat-called women on the street, and what looked like drug dealers stood outside multiple shops. I'm not talking about the east side, I'm talking about Jim's Steakout on Elmwood, Wilson Farms, and the rest of what's supposed to be the best neighbourhood in the city. It's so bad that Wilson Farms puts Pepto Bismol behind locked glass. I must have seen at least a hundred people walking the streets, and only 10 or so looked like they wouldn't fit perfectly in an episode of COPS.
Why does it seem everyone in Buffalo is on drugs? Why is there such little care about appearance? Why are so many people obese? Who are these people walking around? Why were the educated people of this forum nowhere to be found? Why didn't I see police anywhere? Why was I afraid walking along Elmwood in the middle of the day in the spring?
This is the face of Buffalo. It might not be what people on this site want to hear, but it's true. The city is truly scary. Enough about restoring the historic buildings of the city. What is being done to educate the community, stop crime, enhance sophistication, build a cosmopolitan community that's not just gangsters and hunters (a quote from my Canadian husband), and get people motivated to better their lives and community?
I hope someone responds. Unfortunately, until then, we've put our plans on hold.