I previously mentioned that I keep an extensive Google Doc where I collect all the interesting Buffalo links I come across. Things to do, places to visit, recurring events, and restaurants in which to dine.
I also collect general articles about the city. Some of them are just funny (like GQ ranking Buffalo #25 on their list of The 40 Worst-Dressed Cities in America), but the articles I’m most drawn to are written by people who live in Buffalo and want to tell us why, or people who visit from somewhere else — possibly with a presumption that they won’t like the area — and end up being completely surprised.
In the future, I plan to provide links to interesting articles about Buffalo on a weekly basis. However, right now I’d like to point out the articles I’ve saved (all written in the past few years) that helped convince me this is the place I want to live.
1) Where the Urban Dream Life is Going Cheap: What could possibly make someone want to leave New York and move to Buffalo?
In my first blog post, I pointed out this article as planting the seed about moving to Buffalo — it sparked an interest in all the research that followed. While I knew my then-boyfriend (now my fiancé) was from the area and had an interest in moving back one day (at an unspecified date in the far-off future), we had never discussed it as a definite option until I read this article.
“I found [Buffalo] appealing for a different reason: not for how similar it is to New York (which is not very), but for how different. New York will always offer you the singular opportunity of testing yourself against the best, of sharpening yourself against the city’s fabled grindstone. Hopeful people will always scrape together their savings to come here, to split a one-bedroom apartment with five other people, whether that’s in Greenwich Village (then) or Bushwick (now). But New York, for all its mythology, is no longer a frontier. Buffalo is a frontier. And when you think of the actual frontier, you’ll recall that no one ever packed up and moved West to a gold-rush town because they heard it had really good local theater. They moved looking for opportunities. They moved for the chance to build a new life for themselves.”
2) Buffalo, You Are Not Alone
This is a plea that less-popular cities shouldn’t be allowed to wither away.
“This new generation of urbanists sees these cities with fresh eyes. They see the decay, yes, but also the opportunity — and the possibilities for the present and future. To them this is Rust Belt Chic. It’s the place artists can dream of owning a house. Where they can live in a place with a bit of an authentic edge and real character. Where people can indulge their passion for renovating old architecture without a seven-figure budget. Where they have a chance to make a difference — to be a producer, not just a consumer of urban life, and a new urban future. Above all, these people, natives or newcomers, have a deep and abiding passion and love for the place they’ve chosen — yes, chosen — to live.”
3) The Idea of Buffalo
A Buffalonian who had moved to Boston decides to come back home. (When I read it, I told Paul it’s something I could see him writing one day.)
“For the city of Buffalo to expand and bloom into the cherished idea of Buffalo, it simply needs to restock itself with its own displaced residents, ambitious Buffalonians who’d like to return for a stake in realizing this city’s potential.”
4) Buffalo, New York: The Best Maligned Place
A former Buffalonian writes about his favorite places to visit.
“For years, I’ve tried to tell people that there is more to Buffalo than snow storms, failing sports teams and wings. Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tim Russert and Mark Twain lived in Buffalo at various times. Buffalo was the 9th largest city in America in 1900 and Delaware Avenue, one of the city’s principle thoroughfares, once had more millionaires than any other street in America.”
5) Reinventing Buffalo
A writer from Preservation Nation finds more than he expected during a visit to the city.
“During my visit, I saw examples of creativity and hard-won preservation battles. The singer Ani DiFranco rehabilitated a huge Gothic Revival stone church completed in 1876, turning it into a multipurpose venue with state-of-the-art geothermal heating. A team of developers converted the abandoned Larkin Soap Company site into the mixed-use Larkin District and persuaded a major bank, First Niagara, to become the anchor commercial tenant. Thanks to heroic grassroots efforts by groups such as the West Side Community Collaborative (WSCC), some of Buffalo’s residential neighborhoods are coming back after decades on the skids. Since 2001, with no budget and no paid staff, WSCC has rallied residents to paint abandoned homes, mow vacant lots, and drive away drug dealers. Residents bought several abandoned lots and converted them into a thriving garden center and bakery by helping to form a cooperative; more than 700 members invested $100 each.”
6) Buffalo: Renaissance City
“[W]hat is frequently overlooked in media outlets’ representations of Buffalo are its rich, livable and architecturally stunning neighborhoods, its vibrant arts community, its progressive resurgence, its diverse population and its undeniable resilience.”
7) Defensive Buffalo
Bruce was born in Buffalo, as was his mother and grandmother. He’s proud of his city.
8) To Buffalo and Back Again
Five guys from Erie, PA drive up to Buffalo, thanks to an invitation from a PR guy who works for Visit Buffalo Niagara.
9) Companies Find Success in Recruiting from Western New York’s Expatriate Community
The key question for the Buffalo region “is how to connect the expatriates who want to return with the local job opportunities.” Paul is in this exact situation right now.
10) How I Overcame My Prejudice Against Buffalo
A Toronto journalist spent a weekend in Buffalo. Admitting to previously making fun of the city, he ends up seeing the error of his ways.
11) Thankful for Buffalo
The blog Lovin’ on Buffalo is a relatively new find for me but I enjoy following along. Krystal recently wrote a great list with her Favorite Things of 2012, but I also liked the post she wrote in 2011 with the top 10 things she’s thankful for about Buffalo.
“My summer calendar fills up fast. Once the Allentown Art Festival hits in mid June, there’s something going on in Buffalo every single weekend, and many week nights. From Taste of Buffalo, to Thursday in the Square, to free concerts half the other nights, to Bisons games, you have a chance to do something fun with family and friends every week. What’s even better is that the majority of them cost nothing to get in!”
12) Moving Home: The New Key to Success
In the article, they discuss Buffalo’s attempt to capture boomerangs with initiatives like Citybration, “a four-day public expo aimed…at encouraging former residents to give the city another shot.” (I want to attend this!)
“Boomerangs — people who move away from a place and then later move back — make up over 37 percent of in-migration to U.S. metro counties.”
13) Best Cities to Relocate to in America
Buffalo is ranked #2. Why is that?
“The cost of living is 14.4 percent below the national average, and the average home price is $119,700, well below the national average of $171,700. [...] The unemployment rate in the region is 8.3 percent, below the national average.”
14) The Impulsive Traveler: Buffalo, N.Y., and its Greatest Architectural Hits
A Washington Post travel writer visits sites such as the Guaranty Building, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Niagara Square, Parkside (an “Olmsted-planned neighborhood of lovely green boulevards and Queen Anne homes”), the Darwin Martin House (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), and the Richardson Olmsted Complex.
Paul and I saw the outside of the Richardson Olmstead Complex (formerly known as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane) the first time I visited in September 2011 — there was extensive rehabilitation happening at the time, so it wasn’t possible to get too close. It’s an amazing building and I’d love to see it again (preferably from the inside).
Do you know of any awesome Buffalo articles that I’m missing?