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Why Does Buffalo, NY Exist?

Updated on January 27, 2010

I have more than a passing acquaintance with The Queen City. Not only were all my school nights signed off by Irv Weinstein on WKBW 7 News, but I attended the postmodernist scatterbrained scattering known as SUNY's Amherst Campus where it never ceased to amaze me how the planners never figured that in a town where you can get six feet of snow on any given day between October and April that it might not have been the best idea to place the buildings so far apart that you could comfortably house several football stadiums in the frozen tundra between them. Your next class is in 10 minutes in the next building? Is your snowmobile warmed up?

But then again, that's Buffalo for you. Borne of a hardy Eastern European heritage where overcoming adversity is a pleasurable pastime, Buffalonians look on with a doe in the headlights stare at anyone who dares suggest that Buffalo is ranked only slightly above Vladivostok or Rovaniemi as a great place to live, so why don't they pack up and move away.

Oh, okay, Vladivostok and Rovaniemi don't have an NFL team. But given that the residency of the Bills is reliant only on the continued pulse of a 91 year-old owner, Buffalonians had better get used to showing their biometric passports whenever they want to see the Toronto Dollar Bills play from now on.

Once the Bills leave Ralph Wilson Stadium to disappear under lake effect squalls never to be seen again, then exactly what will be the reason why the lights are kept on in Buffalo? It is a city that has already had half of its population flee with all the ardour of Haitians heading over the hills from the devastated Port Au Prince. Actually large swaths of Buffalo resemble the Haitian capital today... minus the palm trees. If you thought the desolate cityscapes of Detroit were fascinating wait until you take a tour of The Butt End Of The Rust Belt. Half of downtown Buffalo makes the Motor City's Packard Plant ruins look like the Waikoloa Beach Resort. No wonder that conventional knowledge states the only people left in Buffalo are the ones who are "too poor or too stupid to leave."

"Buffalo's a great place to live," the ruddy cheeked, red-nosed Buffalo Boosters will tell you chomping down on their third Beef On Weck and gulping a Genny. That definition might be a bit suspicious as Buffalo has six months of bring your brass monkey inside cold with feet upon feet upon feet of snow piling up (southtowns anyone?) in-between four months of dreary drizzling rain, and two months of stifling Amazonian-humidity blast furnace heat that wilts any carbon based life form into a fetid puddle.

So what does Buffalo have in the refuge of the great indoors? Great restaurants? No. Culture? No. Arts? No. Museums? No. Theater? No. Nightlife? No. Any of those offerings in Buffalo are dwarfed by any given South Dakota cowtown. The only great thing that Buffalo has is an airport that takes you the hell away from it.

Buffalonians, come to your senses. Get a bunch of Cat D9s, flatten the city, and turn the urban area into farmland and vineyards. Your neighbo(u)rs across the Niagara River are making a killing with their wines. At least Buffalo would once again produce something of value to someone. Then all the Buffalonians could sit at the TGIF terrace in Tampa enjoying the sunshine, some "Buffalo" wings, and a nice glass of wine which originated from the soil where a completely useless, pointless, hideous, and pathetic excuse for a city once sprawled.

Buffalo: A gigantic waste of mortar and asphalt. Plough it under now.


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      ml 4 years ago

      Buffalo, NY exists because there are a lot of people who don't like being challenged, are incapable of abstract thinking and are ignorant and bigoted. And those people need place to live too. Everyone has a right to a place to live. And we need all kinds of people in this world, don't we?

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      ml 4 years ago

      What's irritating to me is that there are so many problems in Bflo and no one seems to care. There's just so much ignorance here--racism, sexism, classism--just a backwards mentality. And if you even try to talk about problems, like this is one of the poorest cities in the country, the population in the area is decreasing at an alarming rate, there's tremendous economic inequality--white ppl live in mansions in Delaware Park & Elmwood Village while blacks live on the East Side, immigrants on the West Side, poor whites on the South Side, etc., you're accused of being "negative."

      'Cause Buffalo's just a wonderful city, don't ya' know? Right. That's why the population's decreasing.

      There's virtually no culture, just a lot of mediocrity. And if you come here w/an education, skills and a lot to offer you just pose a threat to all that's mediocre. They don't like new ideas here. Sad.

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      Rocky 4 years ago

      I love Buffalo, but it is depressing. Living in Jersey now. I just hated the dreariness and lack of job opportunities.

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      Mark 4 years ago

      You hit the nail on the head. I left....missed " home" and came back when I got out of the army. It took 11 more years for me to realize I didn't want to spend my life miserable, and I didn't want my 2 young children to have a life like that. I left 4 years ago and I hate going back to visit. The corruption and attitude there is terrible.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am from long Island NY and I lived in Buffalo for four years for school this article is spot on.

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      Shellie 6 years ago

      The author of this is entitled to their own opinion. As are the people who post to it..I have lived in Buffalo, and I have noticed, just like every city on Earth, there are good parts, and there are bad parts..Im not originally from Buffalo, or even NY for that. Yes, I do agree that many of the old steel buildings do need to be knocked down..Lackawanna is a huge example for that..But I also noticed that there are some nice events that do come to Buffalo. They do have Sheas theater which does put on some good shows and they also have the Sabres and Bills games, family shows such as Disney on Ice, the Wing Festival, the Taste of Buffalo, the Naval Park, and the Elmwood strip is full of culture. Yes, the winters are horrible there, but come on..Its not exactly Florida..I have also visited Toronto, and it wasn't a bad city..Not exactly anything spectacular like the lights in New York City, but was neat,nontheless..However, the day that I visited they decided to have a parade go right through downtown, and stop the traffic completely, making the drive horrid. I also did get the chance to see some bad areas of Toronto also. I thought it was interesting, when the first thing I was welcomed by in Toronto, was a bum on the side of the road asking for change. I wouldn't discredit Toronto as a good place to live, and nor would I discredit Buffalo, being as though I HAVE lived there and have been to many more places in the city than just the "rustbelt" as the author so kindly called it. But on the other hand, I wouldn't exactly put either place on a pedastool and say they are fantastic places. If I had my way, I would go back to Ohio, to either Cincinnati or Columbus. Both of which are beautiful cities.

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      postpolo1 7 years ago

      Half of what this ass**** writes isn't close to accurate. No art?....Buffalo has one of the best modern art museums in the world and was ranked as the 4th best arts cities in the country! The architecture in the area is incredible. Buffalo is the only city in the US to have major buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Richardson and Louis Sullican No restaurants?... Anyone who visits here will tell you Buffalo has great restaurants! E.B. Greens was just ranked as the 4th best steak house in the country 2 weeks ago! T.O. just twittered that the best restaurants he's ever been to was the Buffalo Chop House. Several national cables shows have recently been to Buffalo to showcase the food. No culture? Again, Buffalo has 14 professsional theater companies. Per capita that's the most in the US! Buffalo also has some of the biggest arts festivals and outdoor plays in the country! No nightlife?...the area has 120 thousand college students, is among the only city in the country where the bars are open until 4am and has has 4 bar and club districts. One of Buffalo's problems is that it parties too much. Anyone that says Buffalo doesn't has nightlife immediately loses any credibility.

      In addition, the Buffalo area in several national surveys was ranked as having among the best quality of life, best place to raise a family and greatest place to retire. Buffalo is also one of the most educated cities in the US and ranked by USA Today as the the 24th "most fun cities" in the US. Buffalo has one of the fastest growing real estate markets in the country and is in the top 25 for job growth. Buffalo currently has more sunny days in 2010 than Orlando Florida and is the sunniest major city east of the Mississippi between June and September, therefore having some of the best summers in the US, which of course is never talked about. Buffalo very seldom sees days in the winter below 0 or in the single digits that other cities around the same lattitude see.

      I will admit the city has a long way to go, but it has turned the corner and is seeing development in the past 10 years that hasn't seen for a long time. People are moving back into the city from the suburbs and old building are being redeveloped. People drive through Buffalo like this ass**** and don't bother exploring the area. I can't stand people that write articles that fall right into the typical cliche's and don't bother looking into other aspects of Buffalo that I feel make it one of the best cities in many ways in the US and definetly a great place to visit. It is very frustrating to see bloggers not visiting the area because of inaccurate articles like this.

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      buffman71 7 years ago

      its not what it used to be. kill welfare now. buffalo will be back. welfare is a mistake. too many on the welfare rolls here in buffalo. no one cares. although we have great food, and nice summers. and lots of festivals. oh and the ladies aren't bad either.

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      Jenn From Buffalo 7 years ago

      I have lived in Buffalo for must of my 25 years of life. Yes a lot of the large companies left buffalo. The city is getting worse, but there are bad areas everywehre you go. I come from a middle class family we all have decent jobs. And there is def an oppurtunity for make money if you so desire to do so. Buffalo was booming back in the day, and hope it will be like that again. Yes, I do hate snow, but hey think of all the bugs it I loce the summers, people, and places. I'd rather not be in a large over crowded area all the time. Talk about aggervating. Buffalo is wroth the visit, go check out elmwood,a show, a nice restaurant, and Niagara falls it's breathe taking. Sound to me like some peole just have a bad taste in their mouth.

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      Buffalo Expat 7 years ago

      Come on now. I lived in Buffalo for about 10 years, and I'm obviously not its biggest fan considering the fact that I did eventually move away. But this article is a gross exaggeration of the problems in Buffalo. It does have art (Albright Knox, The Burchfield Penney, and several small galleries for local artists like the College Street Gallery). It has excellent restaurants (Oliver's, Left Bank, Tempo). Buffalo has culture(Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Sheas Performing Arts Center, Irish Classical Theater). There is an entire park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (designer of New York's Central Park), a Botanical Garden, and outstanding architecure including a building designed by Louis Sullivan (considered to be the inventor of the skyscraper). There is a rich history in Buffalo and its former grandeur is evidenced from the mansions on Delaware Avenue, including the Wilcox Mansion which is the Theodore Rossevelt inaugural site. If you hate snow, like I do, then you probably wouldn't want to live there or visit in January. But Buffalo is DEFINITELY worth a visit, and especially in the pleasant Summer months when the weather is actually down right glorious. Go in May or June, and stroll through the Allentown and Elmwood Village neighborhoods, and you will be surprised at how much Buffalo does have to offer. (P.S. Notice I wrote all that and never even mentioned the things everyone knows about like the bar food invented there, chicken wings, or its professional sports teams in the National Hockey League and the NFL.)

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      tee 7 years ago

      lets keep it real- this is modern day GENOCIDE. The drugs and guns are pumped into the city and good paying jobs move out, welfare and ssi are basically the only means of income, coupled with the hunger to be rich = murder and prison. SMH!!

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

      Ah... your rapier-like wit has cut me to the core! Or is it a Sabre? Or maybe a Commander Tom plastic whistle! :)

    • DonnyBoy profile image

      DonnyBoy 7 years ago from Western New York

      Ok, Buffalo and Hamilton then. I'd choose Buffalo if I were from Montreal, even.

      Go Sabres!

      Don't be a re-tread man, take your fisher price motorcycle and drive the speed limit. I can't stand beef on weck, I like a lot of different foods. When you write something with more fact than fallacy I'll gladly vote it up, but 'til then, try something called hummus on a bagel jay's, or don't you know hummus?! Peace to you secondary citizen, in a first class world.

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

      I am no fan of Toronto, but comparing Buffalo to Toronto is kinda like comparing the black hole of Calcutta to Park Avenue. Buffalo and Toronto aren't even in the same dimension, let alone universe. Buffalo is a sad little rustbucket bluecollar pathetic excuse for a town, while Toronto is one of the top 20 most exciting, highly-developed, culturally-advanced, and sophisticated metropolises on the planet. Your comments about the near par Canadian dollar show just what an ignoramus you are. Go back to hiding behind your beef on weck and Genny belly. :)

    • DonnyBoy profile image

      DonnyBoy 7 years ago from Western New York

      I was born in Buffalo,NY

      I grew up in the suburbs of it. It just sounds like there's a lot of disgruntled Maple Leaf fans commenting about what an awful place this city is because you haven't had a decent hockey team represent your city in sometime. I believe there are parts of Toronto getting just as bad.

      Besides, I'd rather not visit Toronto and go on a spending spree with Monopoly money(currency that is enjoying a recessive taste of equality to the US dollar) or Phony Buckskin face dollars, if you will.

      If you feel the way you do that's a shame.

      Why are there Ontario license plates scattered everywhere around our malls and shopping centers?

      At least in Montreal they can't speak much English but they have some pride and won't cold shoulder if your from Buffalo.

      I must say though I really love your music stations, 97.7 is a great relief from the talk shows and crap they load on 103.3 after work, so it's my alternative.

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      Escaped 7 years ago

      I had the unfortunate opportunity to live in Buffalo for many years because of an awful job that paid too well to walk away from. A rarity indeed in Buffalo, but nevertheless, that was my situation. I always laugh to myself when I hear how friendly people are in Buffalo. They often confuse talkative and loud with friendliness. Just slow one of them down on the road or in line at the supermarket and see how friendly they get. Always in a hurry, arrogant attitudes, never an excuse me or a thank you, and no clue what the concept of inside voice is. My 6 and 5 year old children get, but somehow they don’t.

      The museums and arts in Buffalo are mediocre at best. There certainly is no shortage of restaurants, but nothing exceptional. One stroll through most areas in the city will make you depressed enough to kill yourself, and the atrocity that they call Niagara falls (only miles away) is a horrible example of what happens when greedy politicians refuse to relent their opportunistic ways in favor of progress. If you go to Niagara Falls in Canada you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

      The out of control taxation (nearly 10% sales tax), high property taxes, expensive gas and food, and lack of good paying job would drive any reasonable person out of the dump. But try to tell a Buffalo native that and you will be called names and even accused of treason (very friendly.) Closed minded people who refuse to see the big pictures pass on the same attitudes to their children and that’s how the few people that are here are still hanging in there. Content with nothing more than a failing NFL team, low paying jobs and junk food.

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      blackrocker32 7 years ago

      Buffalo actually has some of the best restaurants I've been to on the east coast. And check out the Elmwood Strip in summer....its pretty awesome. And they have plenty of art space and museums. It kind of sounds like the person who wrote this article got dumped by his ugly overweight girlfriend there and that's why he's so upset with this great town. Definitely worth a visit if you're near...the people are super friendly and there are a bunch of sights to see.

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

      2patricias: Your visualization is correct. There really isn't much in Buffalo other than snow half the year. Yuck.

      Shinkicker: Oh, come on, you'd miss an exciting tour of the lovely Bethlehem Steel works in Lackawanna? :)

      sabreblade: Buffalo HAD a reason to exist. It was a major industrial and commercial city once. And yes, even the place of creation of the wings. But what is it today? Just a big, rusting welt on the skull of America. :)

    • sabrebIade profile image

      sabrebIade 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Because if there was no Buffalo we wouldn't have Buffalo wings?

    • Shinkicker profile image

      Shinkicker 7 years ago from Scotland

      The pictures look beautiful, but I think I'll give it a miss this summer :-)

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Pat says - I always visualise a snow plough when I hear 'Buffalo'.

      Your Hub has made us cross Buffalo off our list of places we might like to visit.

      Thanks for saving us from potential disappointment.