Within the last month, Buffalo Rising has received a couple of heartwarming letters that we thought that we should share.
The first one was sent by George in response to a negative ‘note’ that we received that claimed that Buffalo would never rise…
Reading your note from ‘Artie’, I felt I had to respond. As an outsider – someone not from here…
Ode to Buffalo – In February 1999, I was in my mid-20’s and visited Buffalo for the first time. It’s a long story, but my wife and I were looking to get out of CT and experience something new and she had already visited once and loved it. Being a hockey fan and lover of architecture – I immediately fell in love with the city. It even snowed every day I was here, but as far as I could tell, people got around like it wasn’t a big deal. Needless to say, we moved here three months later.
We started out on Bryant and then our first house on Norwood and now a house on Richmond. Where I grew up in CT, I could never dream of affording the homes I lived in and despite a crappy job market at the time, we were both able to find employment and get by comfortably with nice perks like Sabres season tickets, and plenty of time at the museums, zoo and going out. In CT, I was working two jobs and could barely keep up with rent payments. Buffalo has been so good to me in so many ways. Here is my quintessential Buffalo story, the first week I moved here, I went to the gas station to buy smokes – made my purchase and the clerk started talking to me, asking me how it was going. I looked at him and shot back ‘What do you want?’ Because see, where I’m from we don’t interact with neighbors or clerks like that. We all go about our business mostly ignoring people we don’t know. As I soon came to understand, that’s just how Buffalo is. Maybe it’s the long winters and the fact that we have to dig each other out of the snow sometimes, or perhaps we’re just far enough west of the coast that we’ve left behind some of that – ‘we’re each in it for ourselves’ mantra. I really don’t know, but it spoke to me. In a way, it’s how I define Buffalo… in a sense it changed me.
I’ve watched my adopted hometown go from a place with good bones and a mantra of “Well, there’s always next year.” To a place reaching for its potential. HSBC – no longer means – Holy Sh!t Buffalo’s Cold, but Holy Sh!t Buffalo’s Cool. While the pace of change can be maddeningly slow, it’s in the right direction for sure. You can spend the whole summer going to mostly free events and being entertained – you don’t really get that many other places – from the movies at Canalside, to Movies in the Meadows, Larkinville, Canalside generally, Slow Roll, Silo City and the Outer Harbor, the Albright-Knox on Fridays or concerts just about anywhere (to mention a few)… Buffalo has it and it’s only getting better. The promise of Solar City, the Richardson complex, further build-outs at Canalside, the Children’s Hospital complex, the Medical Campus and the growth of development outside Hertel and Elmwood village is just amazing to see.
Of course we need much more – Central Terminal (new news on that), the Peace Bridge, better schools, better looking new construction, a purpose for Seneca One (new news on that), more diversity and inclusion in the new growth of the city, and what is going on at the Statler? Etc, etc. That’s where we collectively need to continue pushing these issues and not accepting the status quo.
Sadly for me, with an aging family back East it’s time for me to leave again. Of course I’ll visit and keeps tabs via BR, but my time has come. Perhaps, someday, I will return… for this is where my heart is, this is where I grew up, this is where I learned how to be me. So for now, I leave, but will always call this place… Home.
The next note to BRO was sent by a woman named Deb M who has spent her whole life Buffalo, and despite some rough times is now loving the changes that she is seeing take place:
I am new to the Buffalo Rising site and I love it. I have learned so much about what’s new in Buffalo and reminding me of what’s old. I look forward to reading the posts and have made a list of all things I want to do this summer. Thank you for the updates on all the new construction going on. My husband gets excited when he sees the high-rise cranes. We are both in our early 60’s and never thought we would see this in our lifetime. We frequently go down to Canalside as well as the entire waterfront. We get so excited that our beautiful city is coming alive again.
As a former Republic Steel worker, my husband and I refused to leave Buffalo. We loved our city and the people so much. It wasn’t easy during those early years, but we made it through. We enjoy driving past the Solar City. The sinking feeling we used to have as we drove by the empty Republic Steel property is gone. A renewed energy (pardon the pun) is within us. New industry is moving in and we no longer reminisce where the guard shack was or the parking lot where I waited to pick him up from work with my babies in the car or where the building was where he worked. We live in the present and look forward to the future of what’s to come for our children and grandchildren. Sorry for the schmaltz. Thank you so much for this site.
Lead image: Larkinville