When you think about Buffalo, ask yourself who we are, and who we want to be. Those are the questions that Griffin Jones is asking. Griffin is the guy who continually poses the questions about our past, as they relate to our future.
Right now, as I type this, I’m hanging out in NYC. I just spent the entire day scoping out various neighborhoods – Madison Square, Chelsea, SoHo, Greenwich Village, Upper East Side, and Midtown. It was a great day. We walked part of the High Line, which was very touristy. We shopped in SoHo – all my favorite go-to stores are gone, replaced with super pricy and highly recognizable names. We walked all over the city, on the watch for the day’s fashions, before realizing that spotting a glamorous outfit was far and few between. The only thing that we really found far above Buffalo was the food – the restaurants. But then again there are so many options that I suppose there is a seriously unfair advantage that a city like NYC has over Buffalo. As for NYC, the fashion appears to have has fallen off a bit, the architecture is still as stunning as ever, anything remotely quirky and cool is disappearing and heading to Bushwick, and even Bushwick is becoming trendy and touristy.
NYC has been changing since day one. Now it’s changing faster and faster than ever. Then again, 8.5 million people live in NYC, and appear to be mostly happy if they can afford it. If they can’t afford it? Or if they aren’t happy with the changes? Then what?
Cities change, for better or for worse. Buffalo is changing relatively quickly. Obviously we are nowhere close to becoming a city like NYC (for better or for worse). But with the influx of refugees, the renewal of Downtown, the enhancements along the waterfront, and even some disillusioned NYC folks relocating to Buffalo, we should be prepared to accept the fact that this city is heading for some changes, like it or not.
Getting back to Griffin, he’s interested in hearing about what Buffalonians feel about the state of the city. How do we like where we are. Where do we want to be? Do we like our Rust Belt grit, or are we eventually going to shed it like snake skin? Do we want to have trendier neighborhoods? Do we want to retain the family friendly atmosphere of Larkinville? Will developers change the face of Elmwood and Hertel, as they have posed?
Griffin’s latest video is more about the changes that the refugee communities bring to Buffalo. For me, this is just one part of the question that he poses.
I’m happy that certain things in Buffalo are changing. No matter what happens, I hope we remember that we are unique to our own brand, and as we adapt to the present, our refugee and immigrant communities help keep our general MO down to earth.