Want to read a powerful article about Buffalo’s great history, its fall to Rust Belt status, and its incredible renaissance in the works… written by a hipster? The article comes from one of the most unsuspecting places – Austin. It also came about by rather funny circumstances. Remember when The Washington Post called Austin “out” and Buffalo “in” (in a manner of speaking)? Well, that comparison caught the attention of an Austin blogger, who immediately laughed it off and simply huffed, “Buffalo, Mother-f’ing New York.”
It turns out that the blogger, Hipstercrite, is originally from upstate NY and decided to dig a little deeper in order to find out how and why The Post opted to publish such unfounded drivel.
It also turns out that the Austin blogger and I share a mutual friend by the name of Jim Cielencki (pictured below at the Erie Basin Marina) who moved away from Buffalo a few years back. When I learned that my buddy was moving I was heartbroken, not because we were that close, but because he was exactly the type of person that we desperately needed to retain. I was heartbroken for Buffalo. He was off to Austin.
At the time, when he was living in Buffalo, he was a young entrepreneur, and an inventor, and traveled throughout the world repping his custom BMX bike parts. Kids looked up to him and I continually broadcasted his videos, photos and news on BRO. Then suddenly he was gone – off to cool Austin. I still remember when he told me he was heading out – I looked at him in disbelief and told him that he just couldn’t up and leave. We needed him. At the time, I could have counted the people on one hand that absolutely pained me to think about their absence, and this guy was one of them. “Austin, Mother-f’ing Texas.”
It was back in April, 2013 that I ran into my friend again (after being away for 3 and a half years). “I’m back,” he told me. “When I moved out there it was different than it is now. It was, what Buffalo is now becoming. It was great to be there, but times change and I needed to get back home.”
Jim’s friend, the Austin blogger, wrote this about his return back to Buffalo – “My friend, a native Buffalonian who returned to his city, lives in the historic Allentown Neighborhood, a vibrant area filled with historic architecture, mom-&-pop businesses, coffee shops, music venues and beautiful parks filled with public art.”
If it sounds like the blogger gave Buffalo a nice plug, it’s because she made an about-face and reconciled with the city that stole away Austin’s “In” status for 2104. How did that all come about? First, Jim did a good thing by becoming an acquaintance of Hipstercrite while out in Austin. Then, as fortune would have it, Hipstercrite got stranded in Buffalo as she was passing through on her way out west, and decided to look up Jim while she was here (instead of crashing in the Downtown bus station). Now tell me that that is not destiny running its course. Before she knew it she was at the mercy of the city that had stolen Austin’s title, and a guy who had returned home just months earlier. The stars were aligning and before long she was learning more about Buffalo than she ever imagined. Ultimately she happened upon the following video and decided that it was time to willingly hand the reins over to a city that she not only empathized with, but now found herself rooting for.
It’s stories like these that get me even more amped up for Buffalo’s future. Thanks to people like Jim who moved away and came back (more from him down the road), and Hipstercrite who succumbed to the forces of our architecture, culture and welcoming citizens. And to the people who continually beat the drum, whether it’s a video production, fixing up a historic home, or simply passing along some good news to a friend who has moved away. For ten years we’ve been preaching about the Rise of this city, from humble rumblings on the West Side to the rebirth of Larkinville. These days there is good news around just about every corner, which is being recognized by believers and non-believers alike.