Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happiness Is Elsewhere

I just heard about another young, smart Buffalonian making plans to move out of the area.

While I was reading her blog post, I was thinking, "No! Don't leave! Buffalo needs you." And she's a cool person. With awesome ideas. But this city has sucked her mind and soul almost dry. She probably doesn't see the point in fighting this city and many of its close-minded citizens (& politicians) to make those ideas bear fruit.

And I can completely understand.

I've lived in Western New York all my life (10- years in Buffalo). This place sucks your energy and your motivation and your happiness right out of your soul. Maybe it's the nine months of cold weather. Maybe it's something else. But part of it has to do with the fact that BUFFALO IS NOT A CITY.

Toronto is a city.
Pittsburgh is a city.
Chicago is a city.
Buffalo is just a big town.

The people here believe the more they say "The City Of Buffalo" the quicker Buffalo will take on the personality of a city. But it won't. It's a factory town. And now that the steel factories and grain elevators have left, it's just a town.

Think about it: everyone is separated by two degrees (at the most). There's no Six Degrees of Separation here. There's a pretty good likelihood that you'll meet someone who knows you or a friend of yours. Buffalo is just a larger version of a one-stop-sign town in rural America.

So it's no wonder people are leaving. While the idea that everyone knows everyone seems like a good thing if you're trying to make moves to do something positive, Buffalo still has a small town mentality.

"Why would you want to change what we have here? We like our miserable existence."

And while that may be an exaggeration, it's not too far off the mark.

This town will suck you dry like a hungry vampire. GET OUT BEFORE IT GETS ITS FANGS INTO YOU!

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  1. I think I know the young women you're referring to from Twitter. She seems really cool, and I've been trying to figure out what to say to her that can transcend the fact that I've never actually met her outside of the internets. But it is sad to see smart people who get good things done moving out of here. So much needs improving here. So many buildings stand vacant. The weather is a bitch (that can't be helped). The quality of schools varies wildly by region, the list goes on and on. I guess for those of us who plan to stay, what can WE do to make Buffalo a better "city"?

  2. My wife and I had tried for years and years to try and make Buffalo great. There is SO MUCH potential, but at the same time, just like a small town, it is very clique-y. Getting "in" to a group or organization is difficult and if you do happen to wiggle your way in, many people make it difficult for you to participate. They seem to be afraid to give up their "power."

    VERY frustrating.

  3. It seems hopeless. I know that it is really downer way to look at it, but after 10 years of living in downtown Buffalo, I feel it is hopeless. The Elmwood Village has improved and Allentown has it's ups and downs, but as far as employment and intellectual stimulation, Buffalo feels like a lost cause. I vote for Portland. Oregon.