Back in December, the Washington Post published a completely arbitrary list of what was in for 2014 and out for 2013. In addition to ridiculously passé things such as Russia and food stamps, Austin was also considered “out” for 2013. In its place? Buffalo, Mother-f’ing New York.
Oh, how I laughed!
How could Buffalo, New York, the city where a person’s umbilical cord freezes instantly upon exiting the womb, be the new “it” city?
Being from Upstate New York and having been to Buffalo several times as a child, I was confused by this tomfoolery. As far as I knew, Buffalo, much like where I grew up, was a sad city far past its prime. It was where dreams go to die in four feet of snow with a mask covering its frowning, pale face.
So, as punishment for erroneously poo-pooing Buffalo, the powers that be decided to strand me there over the holidays. I was traveling back to Austin by train, bus and car- ANYTHING TO AVOID THOSE FLYING DEATH TUBES!!!- and I found myself stuck for one night in Buffalo due to the weather. Tired and cold, I thought that I was going to have sleep in the bus terminal overnight (remember Adventures in Babysitting?), but an acquaintance-now-friend came to my rescue and let me crash on his couch.
And for the 14 hours I was in Buffalo, I became a believvvver. A buffaliever, if you will. A believuffalo. Though comparing Austin to Buffalo is like comparing a heat-stroked apple to a freezer-burnt orange, they both have their individual charm and equally deserve recognition. The most notable difference between the two cities is that Austin has been highly discovered by both citizens and developers over the past ten years. Development is rampant and the economy is booming. Buffalo, on the other hand, is seeking and encouraging development in order to boost their economy. Because of Buffalo’s infrastructure, architecture and culture, it has ample grounds for a renaissance.
If you’re into architecture and urban planning, Buffalo will make you concrete in your pants. Start by watching this video about how Buffalo is one of the nation’s best designed cities.
Are you crying yet?
If you were a lazy ass and didn’t watch the video, Buffalo was designed by the brother of an architect on the team that designed D.C., and the city has a unique radial layout that created beautiful neighborhoods unlike most other major cities in the U.S. Buffalo also has a park and parkways system inspired by Paris, France, that boasts close to 30 green recreational spaces (there is nothing really hipster about radial grids and parks, but let’s face it, I just use the term “hipster” to talk about cool cities that I love).
The video also goes on to discuss the city’s adaptive reuse of the Larkin Soap Factory (see below) and the Buffalo architecture by the “trinity of American architecture:” Frank Lloyd Wright, Henry Hobson Richardson and Louis Sullivan. The aforementioned Larkin Soap Factory included a gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright administration building that was torn down! See the photo of it here.
I’ll admit that I was crying like a weak child by the end of the video. Because I’m from the Rust Belt (I grew up in a small, economically-depressed town two and a half hours southeast of Buffalo), I have a strong attachment to the majestic cities that now sit like outcasts in the shadows of cities, say, like Austin. But that is soon to change!
My friend, a native Buffalonian who returned to his city a few years ago, lives in the historic Allentown Neighborhood, a vibrant area filled with historic architecture, mom-&-pop businesses, coffee shops, music venues and beautiful parks filled with public art. Read this Allentown blogger’s views on the neighborhood he lives in to get an idea of how cool the area is. If you blindfolded me and dropped me in Allentown, I would think I was in New York City.
I was told that The Old Pink is a good dive bar to check out in this neighborhood, and we stopped in Cafe Taza, a hole-in-the-wall whose less than ten seats inside and out lends well for making new friends and conversation.
Elmwood Village is another area popular with diverse communities, and the Wikipedia entry for Elmwood Village states that Cole’s, a neighborhood restaurant and bar, was one of the first gay-friendly bars in the U.S. during the 1920s. This neighborhood, filled with many of Buffalo’s popular Victoria homes, was also named one of the best places in the U.S. by the American Planning Association.
Allentown during the winter via me
Allentown during not-winter via Skyscrapercity
Since Buffalo was at one point one of the top ten most populated cities in America, it now has the slight characteristics of Detroit, speckled with gorgeous, vacant architecture (a.k.a. ruin porn). As my train rolled into the station the night I was stranded, I noticed a giant, dimly-lit Art Deco compound out on the horizon. I asked my friend what it was, and he told me it was the Buffalo Central Terminal, built in 1929. Abandoned in 1979, the building has had an interesting life in the past four decades, one filled with owners stripping it of its beauty and selling pieces off and a passionate community buying those pieces back and hoping to restore the looming beauty. There is talk about making the building suitable for public use in the near future, and several commercials and videos have been shot here.
Buffalo Central Terminal via Neal Urban
Buffalo Central Terminal via Wikimedia
A similar story goes for the mammoth Richardson Olmsted Complex, otherwise known as the Buffalo State Hospital. Designed by Henry Hobson Richardson (mentioned above), this building was also abandoned in segments over the past few decades and work on redeveloping the area as a hotel has begun.
Buffalo State Hospital via Kingston Lounge
Buffalo State Hospital via Structurehub
A good example of what Buffalo can do with its abandoned buildings is Larkin Square. The former home of the Larkin Soap Company, this Downtown area now boasts food trucks, concerts and community events.
Ok, ruin pornographers. I have one last drool-worthy architecture to gush about: Buffalo’s grain silos. Part of what made Buffalo a thriving city during the 1800s and early-1900s, these abandoned stalwarts are now used for rock climbing, kayaking and paddle boarding and art shows. Check out this Atlantic Cities article on plans to create an illumination show at the silos.
Buffalo is a walkable city, but as my friend tells me, it wasn’t until recent that it became a bike-friendly city. Bike lanes are starting to pop up more and more from the help of citizen action and Go Bike Buffalo. Due to the intricate parks and parkways system mentioned above, there are several green spaces for citizens to walk, run, bike and play in. The cost of living is relatively low, with one bedroom rentals averaging around $779 and two bedroom rentals averaging around $1116. For those who want to get out of the city often, you’re an hour and a half drive to Toronto, and there are direct train rides and buses to New York City. From what I’ve gathered, Buffalonians love their city, and they want to see it succeed. Many natives are moving back, bringing their unique ideas with them. Buffalo is changing, and there is too much going on to even write about here (read about plans for their Erie Canal waterfront). Maybe the change is not quick, but as we’ve seen from Austin, quick is not always the best answer. This city is bubbling with the energy of something new just around the corner.
So, what about that giant, snow-covered elephant in the room? Yes, Buffalo can be very cold, but who really cares? The man-made weather apocalypse is coming soon anyways; why not live in an interesting city while you still can?
What to check out:
Buffalo Rising– blog/news source
Elmwood Village– neighborhood
Silo City– news on the grain silos
Buffalo Architecture Tour
Update: New friends over at Buffablog pointed out that there are some great bands to check out in Buffalo. Here is their link on the top ten songs that came out of Buffalo in 2013!
I grew up in Orchard Park, a suburb of Buffalo and attended college in Buffalo. I currently live in Austin and find it hard to believe BFLO is “in” now. However it is ironic…
Downtown Buffalo crime has increased, the economy is in rough shape and not too long ago Buffalo was one of the fastest shrinking cities in the US.
All that said I do still have family near Buffalo and I’m a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan. So, I really hope there is a Buffalo renaissance. Let’s go Buffalo!
Crime downtown has increased? Please cite… I’ve worked downtown, at night, for the past 3 years and the area has only become safer and more developed.
Crime has decreased, re-check your stats
I haven’t lived in Buffalo since 2001, so my opinion is dated. That said, I don’t think my post warranted all the negative responses.
Please try an use social media constructively.
How were those responses negative? Obviously your stats were wrong because they were from 2001 and that was 13 years ago! They used SOCIAL MEDIA CONSTRUCTIVELY and corrected you….you belong is Texas…
Your message is very dated, and was dead wrong, which is why you get negative responses. All things considered I think the responses were pretty kind.
Yeah go downtown late and night and try to feel safe losers.
“Please try an use social media constructively.” would include getting your facts right to begin with. I also thought they were pretty easy on you since you were dead wrong. I would think that not propagating falsehoods would be using social media constructively.
Russ, You just got fuggin’ burned brah! Buffalo Renaissance!!! BILLS WIN THE BOWL IN 2017!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
was downtown for 10 minutes last week and heard no less than 5 mother f and 10 yo.s
And you thought bad language was a problem? Go to Texas and Georgia and you’ll hear gunshots.
This has to be one of the most inane posts I’ve ever read. Where are you getting this notion that crime in downtown Buffalo has increased? In actuality, violent crime is down throughout Buffalo, including downtown. It’s hard to take seriously the opinion of someone who a) never actually lived in the city (OP doesn’t even border Buffalo) and b) appears not to have returned to the region in quite some time. I think if you came back you might be pleasantly surprised. Buffalo is indeed on the rise.
I did actually live in the city while attending Buffalo State College. Happy to see Buffalo is rising. Sorry to hear you thought my opinion is silly or stupid.
Sounds like you have not actually visited the city in quite a while. Buffalo is totally different than it was just 10 or even 5 years ago.
Crime is significantly down throughout the city. I’ve never had a problem downtown, even after stumbling out of the bars at 4 am in the morning. Most of the crime seems to be people who cannot control their alcohol and start fights nowadays.
People are actually starting to move downtown to live now. Allentown, Elmwood Village, and North Buffalo are hot neighborhoods to live in. The entire Westside is gentrifying. There are actual shops and restaurants opening up on Grant Street again. Even the near Eastside and Lower Eastside is seeming some drastic improvements.
People are moving back into the city and actually want to live there.
The economy is improving. Buffalo actually led the nation in Real Estate appreciation from 2008-2013 thanks to a strong housing market.
The economy is diversifying. Besides a strong financial, education, and debt collection sectors, the city is a growing hub for internet marketing, call centers, data centers, and Bio-med.
The state is spending a ton of money on economic revitalization. Already there has been an announcement of a Green Energy Campus on a former brownfield anchored by 2 California tech companies and bringing an initial 850 jobs.
There also has been investments in Nano-technology, Material Informatics, and Advance Manufacturing.
Just this week it was announced that IBM will be bringing 500 jobs to the city.
Seriously, just come back to Buffalo and walk around downtown. You’d might be amazed at just how much development is going on right now.
Nobody expected this, but its happening. THe signs are right there: with a ton of historic buildings being rehabbed and construction cranes being raised all over downtown.
“I grew up in Orchard Park, a suburb of Buffalo and attended college in Buffalo. I currently live in Austin and find it hard to believe BFLO is “in” now. However it is ironic…”
Translation: I moved out of my family’s affluent suburban home and decided to light out to Austin, where the hipster websites said was the ‘IT” place. It’s just not cool living in an affluent suburb of a city like Buffalo. I’m sick and, frankly, apoplectic that now that I’m here in Austin the hipster media are now saying Buffalo is the ‘IT’ place. I’ve spent all this time refining my understanding of Irony and wearing store wares and this happens. It’s so hard being cool.
“All that said I do still have family near Buffalo and I’m a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan. So, I really hope there is a Buffalo renaissance. Let’s go Buffalo!”
Translation: “I still hate Buffalo and I really don’t want to move home…because that wouldn’t be cool. Although I hate WNY and all this talk about Buffalo as a cool place is triggering my IBS, I still need to conclude this post on a positive note. So that I will remain cool. Go Bills!
Brilliant. Sincerely, I stand and applaud you.
Dear Decoder Ring,
Your translation is inaccurate but still amusing.
To all you nay-sayers I have these things to say: Stay away so our commutes will remain easy and tickets to anything will remain available. Stay away so our neighborhoods stay affordable and open space stays open. Stay away so it keeps taking me only 45 minutes to get to awesome skiing and my slip fees for my sailboat on the lake – 10 minutes from home (on my bike!!) still only cost me $750 a year. Stay away so it won’t take me longer than 20 minutes to get to the airport from downtown. Stay away so the taxes on my second home at the beach won’t go up. If you live here and hate the winter then please MOVE away, you wussies. I’ll take your spot in line.
This makes absolutely no sense. If you want you actually care about your city and want it’s economy to grow, you should WANT people to move here. Good thing all Buffalonians aren’t as rude as you.
Well said, Please. Buffalo is a great secret. It’s so easy to get around and everyone is so positive and friendly. We don’t need the negative energy of the naysayers. Buffalo abounds in architectural treasures, rich history, and the most wonderful people. Please, let’s keep it that way.
Buffalo might be a great city if it was not for the fact that it is in NY. Like Russ, I lived in Western NY most of my life. It will take a heck of a lot more than putting a rotary every few miles and telling conservatives that NY is not a place for them to get that area anywhere near a place I would want to live.
Buffalo also runs one the the largest Tweed rides outside of London, # 1 says Bicycle magazine. The bicycle is a ever growing theme to many summer, spring, fall, events and a growing number of winter events. A generous smattering of urban farms are growing produce for many of the local conscious restaurants and public. Look out Utica, Buffalo is on the GROW.
im a buffalo native grew up in cheektowaga. ive been in living in austin for the past few years. its nice to see all the changes happening that should of happened like 40yrs ago. i plan to move from atx back to buffalo in the next year or so.
Buffalo is a shithole
your name is Pete? fuckin loser
Ive lived here my whole life. Ive worked for the city for ten years. Buffalo is a phoenix rising out of its ashes. I do say that I hate the weather though. One extreme to another. Summers hot as hell. Winters can bring feet of snow. Fall is the best in my opinion.
Hey..for all you naysayers…as Dorothy said…”there’s no place like home”..remember that when yr stuck on an 8 lane highway commuting an hour to work each way..or when you’ve relocated and can’t find a neighborly area to save your life…PS..name me a place there isn’t crime!!
I moved away a year ago. I miss it 🙁 I however am not sure about it becoming a good biking city. I until the last three months I lived there commuted only by bike or bus. The roads by my two apartments where never plowed, I ussually had to walk until I got to a suitable area or tried to early and fell on my ass.
Great article. Buffalo, NY is indeed a renaissance waiting to happen. I am honestly convinced (through personal experience and constant discourse with friends) that Buffalo has become a safer city to be in. As many of US’ metropolitan areas see crime, I don’t think this is the biggest problem we have to endure here and the weather isn’t brutal if you have long johns and a nice wool cap/ LAYERS? We are a city of grandiose beards, good neighbors and soon to be the hockey mecca of America + superbowl champs of 14-15? 😉 We’ve been in a depression for so long that any sort of enhancement of economy is bound to make the majority ecstatic.
Although….we do have to consider where the lower income inhabitants of Buffalo,NY will have to move to when things are uprooting within this decade. For this may cause some us to be in some deep shit if we are not careful. We do not want to pay 2000 beans for a damn closet ex. BROOKLYN, NY… So the initial wave of high-modernist planning should vastly include mixed income apartments in the housing market. Affordability and investing 24/7. Lets go GOTDAMMIT>>>>WE”VE BEEN WAITING TOO LONG.
Your comment echoes similar thoughts for here in Austin. Austin is a fantastic city; however, it’s becoming so popular, and with the developers/city not necessarily doing the best job at creating mix-use, that it’s no longer becoming affordable. I see this happening in the neighborhood I live in. East Austin was the neighborhood where the city pushed African-Americans and Latinos earlier in the 20th century, and now we have expensive housing and high-end eateries. How can the older generation who was pushed here afford such places? Gentrification is inevitable, but cities and citizens need to be cognizant of how it affects everyone.
Honestly, this article does an amazing job of being FULL OF BULLSHIT. Allentown in the winter-time?? are you kidding me? has got to be the worst place i could imagine of going. THE PINK IS A GOOD BAR? I realized that you were a fool after that. There is a difference between spending one night on a street, and knowing what ACTUALLY GOES ON THERE. Did I mention the cold? How about the fact that the first picture you posted of “allentown in the wintertime” is about one street over from where someone I know got his HEAD SMASHED IN BY A WRENCH during a random mugging? Make no mistake, this area of buffalo is not a warm and friendly place. The Allentown area of Buffalo is grime extreme. If you want fake cocaine you’re in the right spot though. Good luck with getting the city to be a place that a normal person would actually wanna visit. I will say its a mecca if you wanna be a grimey hipster though.
I didn’t state this in the article, but since I grew up near Buffalo, I’ve been several times prior. I also have many friends who live there and enjoy living there. I’m sorry you didn’t have a good experience.
I am in no way a person who hates cold, or a person who needs sun, but the cold this winter is not even close to ok. Unless you are an avid snowmobiler or a super snowboarder then what is the point of putting up with it?? I understand that buffalo has POTENTIAL but there is no way that its being reached in any way shape or form! and ya know what i give a lot of credit to the people trying to make it nice (and maybe i will be back when it is) but there is just absolutely no money here! Buffalo is a city of “lets make the best of it” and while i applaud your character, buffalo hardly has anything going for it at all. Just look at North Buffalo….amazing neighborhoods, gorgeous houses….but where are the people? certainly not on Hertel…. It’s not the grey skys that make it depressing here its the notion that its not a TINY little dinky place with about 4 or 5 differenet social circles MAX and everyone knows everyone! i personally cant stand not being able to go out and see 100 people i would prefer not to see. Theres just no OPTIONS here. And again i applaud a lot of the small businesses doing cool cultural things but its just too rust belt for me in the end.
As a person who spent the first 20 years of her life in Upstate New York, and who still has family there, I completely understand where you’re coming from. The cold weather only amplifies the economic depression which only amplifies the cold weather. But compared to other Upstate New York cities, Buffalo is really trying, and I think it’s making incredible progress. I think young people are staying there or moving back and seeing what potential it has. That’s what cities need!
You’re entitled to your opinion, but I can’t say you’re convincing me its an informed one. Much of the country had a brutal winter this year, so it’s not like Buffalo is unique in this regard. Have you paid attention to the progress taking place in Buffalo over the last 5-10 years?
Your example of North Buffalo is misinformed. North Buffalo is one of the most in demand neighborhoods in the city. Real estate values in Hertel and Parkside have been skyrocketing. You ask ‘where are the people?’ but there is practically zero vacancy in North Buffalo. The Hertel strip has emerged great walkable neighborhood center that has lots of shops restaurants, cafes, etc.
Dear Lauren or Laura (too lazy to scroll back to the top),
I love this post this article you wrote and I love you.
Agreed. Buffalo has all the problems of a large city (even though it isn’t)–crime, violence, rudeness, an old boys club elite, etc., but with very little to do. Most people who live here have few or no goals other than working at a fast food joint and getting drunk on weekends. The environment’s extremely conservative–backwards in fact. Not a good city for women, minorities or creative, progressive people.
The author of this article is from an affluent suburb–not the city itself. Growing up in Buffalo can really hold you back in life. It’s a place filled with apathy and few people willing to address the problems and improve the conditions of the city. For that reason, I doubt things will ever get better for the people unfortunate enough to have to live there. Blacks in particular are very disenfranchised and racial tension is rampant.
Apparently, though, the city has the money to hire a good PR agent. Rather than spend money on cleaning up the city, they just hire people to say good things about it. Another example of how messed up this city is.
If you’re a racist/sexist/classist who doesn’t like to be challenged and is afraid of new ideas then move to Buffalo. You’ll feel quite at home there.
I’m not sure if you mean me when you say “the author of this article is from an affluent suburb,” but I can tell you that I’m not from the suburbs of Buffalo nor am I affluent. In fact, I was raised by a single mom who made less than $20,000/yr, and I’m from a very small farming town.
When was the last time you were actually in Allentown?
Things have significantly changed in this neighborhood in just the past ten years. In another ten years it is likely all the artists and hipsters who currently live wont be able to afford to anymore (though Grant street seems to be shaping up to be a good replacement).
Crime is significantly down in Allentown. Bar brawls have become much more rare.
You’re right the Pink is not a “nice” bar. Its dirty, dark, and grimy. That is why people are attracted to it. Its cheap, non-pretentious, and has an awesome crowd past 2 am in the morning. Its not a bar for everyone. Maybe you’d feel more at home at an expensive bro-dude bar on Chippewa instead…
Seriously Allentown is awesome. Great legendary indie music venues, great restaurants, and an eclectic assortment of shops and galleries. Its gritty-ness adds to its charm…much in the same way it did in Greenwich Village before it gentrified.
hahahah not even CLOSE nice try though. the 2am pink crowd ok…. right. or the chippewa crowd…. riiiiight.
You’re ‘that guy’ aren’t you. Haters gonna hate.
not even close. buffalo just plain SUCKS. no wonder the population is falling like the buffalo sabres ranking
I’ve been in Allentown recently and I’d disagree. Every city has its bars and nightclubs. As a musician, I would never move to Buffalo. It’s a creative wasteland. The “arts” community is an old boys club, like the rest of the city. The only people who like Buffalo are the wealthy who live in million dollar homes in Elmwood Village or Delaware Park. Just about everyone else in the city lives in poverty or near poverty.
But what’s really disturbing about Buffalo is that virtually no one cares. there are very few people trying to make things better for the people who actually live in the city. The rich people in Del. Pk just keep whining that the population’s decreasing and they want to bring more people into Bflo. Far from being an “in” happening city, Buffalo is one of the poorest in the country with a population that’s decreasing very rapidly. Oh, and try being Caucasian and interacting with blacks out here. They HATE white people. And really that says it all. I didn’t expect it to be, but Bflo is one of the most racist cities I’ve seen.
So if you’re a racist…well, here’s your city. It’s mostly haters (of blacks, women and poor people) who live in Bflo.
You seem to be pretty stupid, Not Stupid. You definitely represent a dying breed of Buffalonian, one who is eternally negative and has no ability to see the light. I currently live in New Orleans, but I often tell people that Buffalo is as cool as anywhere in the country and that if anyone is looking for a change, then Buffalo should be at the top of their list. This article is well done, especially considering that Hipstercrite was only there for a day.
Thanks, Luigi. I think I may update in my post that I’ve been to Buffalo before. I grew up nearby, but I hadn’t been back in many years.
I’ve been to NOLA many more times recently, and I have to say that both NOLA AND Buffalo are some of the more interesting American cities for architecture!
Yes, both cities are amazing for architecture. I actually grew up in Elmira, but I have always loved Buffalo. I actually read the Buffalo news everyday because it is that interesting of a city to me. I think that it’s a great place to invest and N.Y. finally has a governor who appreciates the importance of Buffalo. Cuomo recently pledged a billion dollars to jumpstart certain initiatives in buffalo and that gesture should not go unnoticed. But, the key to all of this positive momentum is that the people of Buffalo changed their attitudes to being more positive; there was a negativity that was pervasive for a long time. That was why I had to call out Not Stupid, because attitudes like his/her are harder to find. Next time you are in New Orleans, shoot me an email, and I will let you know of some things to do that you may not know of otherwise.
I grew up about an hour north of Elmira! Will let you know next time I’m in NOLA. Are you on Twitter?
not on twitter. Just check my email that i used to sign in. Definitely get in touch though. I’m a great underground guide and I know of some other people you should contact.
Yes complain about weather….it’s cold or hot everywhere but guess what humans deal with it…..it doesn’t stop the interaction of people. Buffalo is warm & friendly, if your not going out looking for a fight. and by the way, you’ll find the real stuff in Allen hahahahaha. dude your just a prick, I come across plenty here in underprivileged DC
yes you are stupid
Great article! Thanks for the nod to our glorious city! PINK=GREATEST DIVE BAR ON EARTH. The cold, grime, weird scene, and occasional but unfortunate muggings in the side streets only prove it’s a real dive bar and not just as fake as the cocaine from the weird guy outside of (which why would you trust that dude?). The local music scene could use some help lately, but some would argue that point. It’s all preference on that one.
exactly, if youre a dirty weird hipster that thinks he is cool for being so grungy then yea, its a great bar! if youre a normal person however its laughable.
I will right now pledge $100.00 on a Kickstarter campaign to get you the money to move out of Buffalo some community at least a five hours drive away.
“…out of Buffalo TO some community…”
I get the impression Not Stupid is in Buffalo hating it. Not Stupid should move. I did, with my husband and kids, TO Buffalo four years ago, from that other Austin, Brooklyn. Buffalo aside, it feels good to reboot. I think Not Stupid would benefit by one, I guess somewhere where there’s no global warming/erratic weather extremes… I hope he writes from there to say where that is. Buffalo not aside, it’s really exciting to be here right now. It feels kinda like Brooklyn used to.
exactly, i hate brooklyn too.
I’ve been living in Texas for 7 years and I’m moving back to Buffalo next week. Couldn’t be more excited about it too! And Buffalo has many great things that Austin does not and can not have, so it’s pointless to compare the two.
THE Buffalo Joe?
Buffalo really isn’t that special and its actually kinda annoying seeing articles about how wonderful buffalo is, like “city of good Neighbors” lol really? I’ve lived several places and people in Buffalo are shady and whinny. deep down, (very deep down) I do love Buffalo but these articles trying to prove how glorious Buffalo drive me nuts because its not that great! The people need to accept that, until they do nothing will change. It irks me because Buffalo can be such a cool fucking place
and BTW why is that nerd Byron Brown still mayor? did they ban voting booths in the city?
I’ve lived in the Elmwood Village all my life and I have to say with the upmost respect, you are a fucking moron.
“City of Good Neighbors” has nothing to do with how cool our city is. That nickname stems from how generous the residents are to those less fortunate around them even though, comparatively speaking, they’re hardly better than the ones they’re helping. The charitable community in Buffalo is massive and is just a part of how Buffalo’s past five years have been much different than the past 60-70 before.
But good try.
Are you just jealous that your city is not being talked about as much as mine? Because I have lived here all my life and I don’t plan on moving anytime soon. But maybe you should if your jot happy with how much publicity your city is getting. Or here’s a better idea… Don’t read about buffalo. Your a fucking moron.
Not true. Buffalo actually lacks the charitable/nonprofit groups that many other cities have. In fact, the apathy of residents in Bflo is one of the most noticeable things about the city.
This all coming from the guy that refers to himself as Jesus Christ. Stuck up much?
I moved back to Buffalo from Athens, Georgia in 2002. The changes I have experienced in this city since then have been nothing short of miraculous.
I host a low-budget local cable access show called “Buffalo Good”. Here’s an interview I did with local activist/developer named Sue Chelowa.
Hello. I am not even going to entertain the poster with the incredibly ironic name.
We live not 400 yards from Allentown. We are from the area have lived and travelled all over the country and Europe. My wife and I feel safe at any time of the day or night. We even go for walks and leave our doors open. Crime happens everywhere, and in an urban environment you have to really be aware of your surroundings.
We bought our current “cottage” 3.5 years ago and if you do research on this area our real estate value is growing the fastest in any area of WNY. We can’t imagine being anywhere else.
As far as the weather – yes this winter has been tough…on everyone. Last winter I used a shovel twice. If we want to go out and it’s cold we can take a cab and get anywhere we want to go in this city for well under $20.00
Sorry if you have a bad vibe about the city. It is a great place with a ton going on. Driven by very passionate people with the creativity and financial means. Your negativity towards us holds no merit.
p.s. I am well into my 40’s and love The Pink! I take all my out of town friends there. They get it…
We all have a place that we feel we “belong.” Buffalo has the benefit of not only fostering a strong sense of belonging – you don’t have to be “weird” or cooler than cool to feel like you belong in Buffalo but it’s also fine if you are – but also of being located in a state with progressive policies so residents aren’t arguing about issues from the 1960’s like the folks in Austin have to do. There’s still a lot of opportunity in Buffalo. We bought our 4,500 sq. ft. house in the city near the waterfront for $35K to renovate. Austin is great, but it doesn’t have that affordability factor opening up to people who want to re-realize their work lives by not being stuck in a big mortgage. I often find some of Buffalo’s harshest critics are the suburbanites who didn’t grow up in the city, and likely weren’t allowed to go there by their Parents, but lived in the metro area. As I’ve once been told – “Don’t go running your mouth about things you know nothing about.”
Well said, Emily!
Thanks so much for this article. I moved to Buffalo from Chicago three years ago, and I did it because it was the only place I could find a job at the time (ironically). I never expected to like it, but over time it really grows on you. The cold can be annoying, but it’s not as cold as Chicago, so it doesn’t bother me – you get used to it, just wear lots of layers. I agree, Allentown is an incredible neighborhood – it’s full of amazing 19th century architecture with great coffee shops, restaurants and galleries. Downtown has gone through a lot and had a near death experience in the 90s and 2000s, but even over the last few days when it’s been ridiculously cold, I’ve seen a lot of people walking around, so there is life. While it’s still a cheap place to live, I read yesterday that Buffalo had the 8th highest growth rate of people in the 20-29 age group for any major US city over the last few years, so it definitely is starting to gentrify. It’s physically not a very big city (dense, but small) so I worry it might get real expensive real fast if it really takes off, which could be bad. For now though, it’s an awesome place to be for arts and architecture. I love watching all the grand old (often abandoned) buildings come back to life. There is definitely an old guard of Negative Nancys that always tries to put a damper on things, but they are slowly getting drowned out by more hopeful voices.
Look up pearl street brewpub… and the pan american brewery …
Nice read. Shared your link on Facebook. For a one-night strand, you got some decent detail in. It’s funny how an outsider’s perspective who takes a snapshot is different than what the resident who deals with the day-to-day grind sees. One thing you should research while you slam the city of Buffalo (and rightly so) for snow, though, is how much sun Buffalo gets every year. The city’s ranking in terms of how many sunny days Lake Erie provides might surprise outsiders. It earns the city another nickname: Miami of the North. And I’m not kidding about that. Combined with the natural fresh water provided by the Lake during the 7-8 months it’s not frozen solid, Buffalo is only waiting for projects to take advantage. It took 50+ years to happen, but smart people finally came along.
Moved back to Buffalo from Charlotte 3 years ago…best decision we have made. Buffalo has culture, architecture, great parks and an easy way of life. We started snow shoeing for fun and exercise and love winter now. I work in healthcare and had multiple job opportunities. We live in a walkable neighborhood. Our kids play in the snow and ride their bikes with other kids in the neighborhood. It is a community here.
Talk about an echo chamber. 99%+ of the readers and commenters are from Buffalo or close by. Talk about insular navel gazing and re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic! Meh!
Only echo chamber I hear is the one between your ears . . .
I moved to Buffalo from Austin in ’94. I loved Austin and I love Buffalo. Even in positive articles like this, winter is presented as a negative for some reason. In Buffalo, winter has to be celebrated! There are at least 6 ski resorts within 2 hours, hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails, snow shoeing, outdoor skating and more. If you live here and don’t do something outdoor in the winter, it’s the same as living in Austin and not going to Barton Springs on a hot day (BTW 90’s in the summer are rare – 100+? Maybe once in 20 years). We have plenty of great live music, great restaurants, culture and pro sports. Plus, you can get anywhere in 25 minutes. Also, Shiner Bock is finally available here! Don’t all of you come racing up here though – we don’t want your traffic – that is unless you can open a restaurant that serves decent Tex Mex which we desperately need!
It’s actually NEVER gotten over 99 degrees in Buffalo proper. Not this we’re not likely to hit 100 some summer soon.
Try El Palenque on Niagara Falls blvd. I lived in San Diego for years, ate plenty of good tex-mex there and judge El Pal best in the area, hands down.
Also gotta echo your sentiments re: winter activity. There’s lots of fun things to do year-round here. I wouldn’t go back to SD, CA if you paid me…take away the sun and sand and you’re left with nothing really.
I second El Palenque. Also Don Patron’s (weird name but good food). And I heard about a new Cuban restaurant that opened up in Allentown! I came here from Miami, and have loved living here. The people are warm and friendly. Helpful especially in the bad weather. I learned to wear layers very soon and have been outside daily during this current winter, with no problems! The music scene in Buffalo is wonderful. Jazz (check the Albright Know Art Gallery in the summer), Classical (a world class orchestra!) Many Community Symphonies and Bands (American Legion Band of the Tonawandas National Champions for years and years), Theater, Alternative rock, Shakespeare in the Park, Ethnic Festivals every weekend during the spring, summer and fall. Winter Sports. I can go cross country skiing or snowshoeing in Delaware Park in the middle of the city. Takes 8 minutes to get there from Amherst (northern suburb).
I grew up in Orchard Park and moved to Buffalo when I was 23 and have lived on the Westside for almost 30 years.My husband of 25 years and I bought a home 10 years ago near Grant Street in an ethnically diverse neighborhood that has more than doubled in value.Shops and restaurants are popping up on and near Grant that are giving us hope for the neighborhood.You can afford to do things in Buffalo that only the rich can do in other cities.This city has character and heart and also has poverty and despair as all cities do.Buffalo is a great place rich in history and is also looking toward a hopefull future.
After years living in NY, LA, Chicago, even London, now living in Buffalo and we’re STAYING! Quality of life here is so high — great arts and culture, live music, green space, sports, activities that you can actually get tickets for. Affordable, beautiful, and when we get snow there are plenty of plows and salt to keep us going when other areas are crippled:). Well named City of Good Neighbors!
Great article. I’m guessing that Not Stupid is a troll and purposely being obnoxious, but who knows.
As for the cold, I never understood why Buffalo has a rep for being so cold. Has no one ever heard of Chicago? Or Minneapolis? Or Milwaukee? All are colder in winter but somehow don’t automatically give people shivers.
not trolling, just stating an opinion of someone who doesnt hump every little thing about buffalo for no reason.
Definitely trolling, right on cue
Great article! We left Buffalo in 1998, but visit at least once a year. We were sad to leave in 1998, but I think Buffalo has improved a lot since then. I especially love how there are more businesses on Grant St. and the new restaurants in Black Rock. Last summer, I flew up for the weekend, just to visit the garden walk and it was glorious! I would definitely move back to Buffalo if the opportunity comes along. We live in Virginia now, which is supposed to be so great because of its mild winters, Blue Ridge mountains, etc, but I hate it here and the summers in Virginia are just as uncomfortable as the winters in Buffalo.
Moved to Buffalo about five years ago (originally, a New Yorker), and love it here. There is an enormous amount of art and culture here for a city of its size, and the built environment is incredible (it’s wonderful to see so much of the historic architecture still standing….and getting a rebirth).
The startup scene needs work, as do the politics. However, the populace is truly making a noticeable difference here. I believe I may be a “lifer”.
$779 for a 1 bedroom?! My dad’s 3 bedroom apt near Hertel is still $500! And how did this article leave out the most awesome City Hall on the planet?
That’s awesome for your Dad. I was going off what Apartment Ratings averaged. I’ve heard your City Hall IS amazing!
Check out the Electric tower, Liberty Bank Building. So many beautiful old-school buildings. The $779 is for nearer downtown, but that is still pretty darn good for a one bedroom. You can still find even better buys in the University distraict (just north of Hertel).
I am from Buffalo,now live in Austin,I Slove how he says at the end,sure its cold but who cares….you should cARE CUZ THERE AINT SHIT TO DO ,DRUNKA EVERYONE I KNOW HAS HAD THIER CAR BROKEN INTO AND BEEN MUGGED,FUCK bUFFALO!!
Were you drunk when you wrote this? Obviously you’re not an English teacher. Go sober up.
I agree that Not Stupid is actually extremely stupid, besides the fact that s/he cannot form a grammatically correct sentence.
I’ve lived in Allentown for 30 years and raised my family here. My kids are beneficiaries of growing up not just in an urban environment, but a spectacular one that is also the largest residential historic preservation district in the country. They are informed, tolerant, and proponents of social justice. They know how to be neighborly as well as helpful, conscious citizens. They’ve thrived in an environment that is beautiful, as well as extremely rich culturally and architecturally. The area is steeped in a history that is much appreciated by any intelligent person with a pulse. They are now of college age, and their friends are envious that Allentown is their home, due to the “cool factor.”
Allentown is a rich tapestry of diverse people, which adds immeasurable value to its charm. No cookie cutter existence here. On top of all of that, our home has appreciated 375% in value since we’ve had the privilege of owning this beautiful gem–that’s a solid and steady gain 12.5% per year. I’ll take it.
I have to say, I live int the Finger Lakes and drive all over central and western NY for my job. I also had friends in Brooklyn in the 1990s and also see the similarities to Buffalo now. Buffalo is absolutely beautiful and every corner has somehing interesting. Residents are friendly and proud of our vreat city. The Bills fit right in since they are always on the cusp of not losing the game but no one ever notices or cares about their efforts. Buffalo and Rochester are two great towns in upstate and worth looking into.
Thanks for your post! I think a lot of naysayers are either people who wanted to get out and didn’t get the chance to experience something else to have a good comparison (which would help them to understand what a gem they have) OR they are trying to protect their gem from overdevelopment (personally I’m worried that by the time I have money to buy something there, the prices will be through the roof from the development snowball) OR they never liked Buffalo, left, and don’t want it to be given credit for things that have changed that they left it over.
As I keep reminding people anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line…you live in the North. In the winter, it’s going to snow and be cold. This is nothing new. Start acting like it. 🙂
Everyone has a unique experience. Bad things happen even in the least likely of places so to judge a whole city by those incidents would be unfair.
Buffalo is doing big things and I’m glad it’s being recognized for it. As for the “city of good neighbors” – it’s dead on. More people would acknowledge you, smile, or say “hello” there on the street than anywhere I’ve lived (except for Costa Rica, where I literally knew everyone in my tiny town). I’ve been told multiple times that people from Buffalo are the nicest people they’ve ever met. Maybe it’s because we take advantage of the warm months to be around other humans after we’ve actually had time to MISS people in our igloos, but whatever the case, I’m proud to say I’m from Buffalo even though I needed to get out to see the world.
I’ll be back 😉
Buffalo is awesome. I’ve lived in North Buffalo my whole life, right off of Hertel. I have many friends from Toronto and NYC who consider moving here for the music and arts. Buffalo is definitely imbracing the hipsters, and we were doing it before it was cool!
And the music… Shuteyes is the truth!! Real HipHop re-emerging from the rubble of the nickel Shuteyes.bandcamp.com
What a great article.. I moved to buffalo from the NYC area 13 years ago to attend UB. I never left and never will. I am in love with this city. And all of the talk is true, it is only getting better.. and those rental figures, while still cheap compared to a lot of the country actually seem high. you can rent stuff in decent neighborhoods cheaper than that!!
My husband was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. He came down to NJ to get a job in NUC because he couldn’t find work after graduating from SUNY Buffalo, but that’s just geography. His heart is in Buffalo, and now, this Jersey girls heart is there as well. We bought a place up there so that we can go up whenever we want. We do have a lot of family there still, but we like to stay a while, and go up often. People who don’t like Buffalo don’t KNOW Buffalo! So they get snow, big deal, so does 3/4’s of this country. I actually like snow, and enjoy shoveling. Move next to us, and we’ll shovel you out!
Oops, NYC, not NUC
I have many stories about why I live in Buffalo but the most important reason is the water. Our water is the best that ever came out of a faucet. Especially during the winter months. Cold clean and abundant. Not like LA where they fight for bottled water, not like Dallas where the water table has been fracked. Not like alot of cities that have chemical companies destroying the water table. In New York State there is no fracking. I bought 3 homes here and gave 2 away to my children. Why? Because housing is inexpensive. Schools are great, the environment is fabulous and the foods are out of this world. We have more than 125 different ethnic enriched palatable food groups to satisfy any critic. PLEASE DON’T COME TO BUFFALO! You’ll never want to leave if you do and that would be fine with us. Just that if you do leave, our secret would be out and everyone would want to move here.
You sentiment is a common phrase heard here in Austin: “Don’t move here!!!” 🙂
I’m a military brat and veteran. Been all over the world including Austin. Be assured I’ll never visit again. You have terrible water, tornadoes, drought and rednecks galore. Oh and even people like you that have a hard time writing ENGLISH.
Dan, I wasn’t saying that to offend you! I was trying to say that there are similar feelings here (something I often feel myself). There is nothing bad about what you said! Sorry if you took my comment the wrong way. 🙁
I apologize for my abruptness in this matter. I did take your comment the wrong way.
And I wasn’t telling YOU not to move here. What I was trying to say is that Austinites feel very much like you. We have so many people moving here and a coming motto/bumper sticker etc. is “Don’t move here!” It’s often aimed towards Californians, sadly.
I recently went to Los Angeles to visit my son. They definitely have a terrible water problem due to the drought and Oil Industries/fracking. A problem that causes bodily harm if one uses the water provided by the City Water authorities. What surprised me the most was buying bottled water and reading what was on the label. On the labels of several water bottles were the words, Manufactured and bottled by: Texaco, Sunoco, Gulf, Exxon. Not only do these companies monopolize the Oil industry but they control the water bottle industry in California. Unfortunately, many of small towns in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina have fallen into the Oil industries trap of easy money. Many of these towns now have to put up with sick and dying children.
Interesting article. I grew up in Buffalo and left at 21. Lived in Atlanta for many years and thought it was time to move back home. Buffalo has great people and is so beautiful in the summer. The housing stock is to die for. We were lucky to restore a lovely Victorian in Allentown. We left though after 4 years. Allentown has 2 sides. The wrong and the right side of Delaware Avenue. We were on the wrong side. The bars and social services concentrated in our area were awful. Not to mention the drug trade at the corners. I do understand that there is change in that area and I am glad to see it happening and hope it continues.
Our biggest problem was one many people on this blog would not have though. We are a gay couple. Yes, gays can now get married in Buffalo and not here in Atlanta were we high tailed it back to but that is were the positive ends. Gay life in Buffalo has to be one of the worst in the country. I don’t mean the people themselves so much but the options. One really awful dirty nightclub and a few seedy bars on Allen. Fugazi was the only tolerable gay bar in the city (I hear there is one new bar that is nice now….the funky monkey). We missed the many options that a larger gay mecca such as Atlanta has to offer, the restaurants, bars, patios and clubs not mention the plethora of indoor and outdoor events. The more successful gay men we knew in Buffalo rarely even go out due to the lack of options. The bars there for the most part are filled with basically looser drunks. We also found that many younger educated gay men who are upwardly mobile had plans for other cities down the road.
I believe Buffalo has many desirable options for people who want to live there gay or straight. But so do other cities depending on what one wants out of life.
We just preferred a growing city with more options career wise as well as a very active outdoor city.
I do not regret my time in Buffalo but am glad to be back in my city of choice. Sometimes going backwards is not always the right thing to do.
Martin, As a Buffalo native and a straight guy who is desperately wishing to move back (not viable at this time due to illness) I returned “home” this past summer for a long weekend with my GF, her brother and his partner. The whole drive home they raved about how gay friendly everyone was. As much so as in LA where they live. So if there is not enough “options” for gay men would it not be incumbent on them to create them? Sort of a build it and they will come.
Many encouraging testimonials here. Proud to say I was raised on the East Side, have traveled extensively the last 20 year for work and I am proud to remain in the area, raising my family. Nice article, Hipstercrite. There is one beautiful part of Buffalo & WNY that is rarely mentioned…how many cities, outside of those on the west coast, can boast the beautiful sunsets settling over Lake Erie? Few outside of Bflo and the west coast get to see the amazing sunsets we do with our location on the east side of a major lake or ocean.
Too many great things in Buffalo to list today in the short time I have, but I will mention, I can’t say enough superlatives about the Pink Flamingo. It’s not a place to take your grandmother from Orchard Park, but for my $, it’s a great place. Been going there 30 yrs and from the staff to the music to the decor to the steak sandwich, I wouldn’t wish a single change.
I went to college in Buffalo as a PROUD resident of another Rust Belt town. So I was very skeptical that Buffalo could be cool, and wow was I wrong! My wife and graduated from college over 5 years ago and despite living in a nice AND affordable Baltimore suburb (our luck is nearly unheard of here on the I-95 corridor between Philly and DC). Even with our great jobs and great living situation we want to move back desperately.
I am ambivalent about these articles and negatives posts. On one hand, I like seeing that people recognize what my wife and I do: Buffalo is an unbelievably great place for relocation.
However, I completely share Dan’s “secret” mentality. DON’T MOVE TO BUFFALO! I want cost of living to stay reasonable for when we move back to raise a family.
[…] Here’s the article from Hipstercrite […]
What a fun article and great comments by so many people. OK – me – from West Seneca (a semi-affluent white suburb), left at 18, lived in San Francisco forever, then all over the world; back in Buffalo every year to visit the family. Just spent a few months there. And I would love to live there, if only 3 things: First, as someone commented above, there needs to be more money to make more jobs to make more people happy and more small business really thrive. Because every time I go back, the game I play while driving down Elmwood is, “Oh, this restaurant that was there, it’s gone, and that one too; and that one…And this one is new, and this one, and this one…I give ’em 2 years.” Too many people want to open a restaurant, and not enough people want to start a business that’s producing something other than food. An economy needs that. And all the bio-med jobs are pretty much thanks to the fact that WNYers eat very unhealthy diets. (OK someone can correct me on that if I’m just spouting crap, but it seems that way to me.) The second thing I’d need is: a job! 🙂 The 3rd thing is to be able to walk into a cafe/bar/restaurant and NOT hear musical hits from 1983 or a giant TV screen with a sports game. Seriously – come one people! But I DO love the feeling in Buffalo, I love the neighborhoods, I love the City Hall, and I love love love my Lexington Food Coop! I will keep scheming on a way for me to move back there with a decent job.
If I’ve offended anyone with my views, please accept my apology, nothing bad meant here!
This is a great article and points out many of the great reasons to live and work here.
Buffalo’s turn-around would be an amazing underdog story. Despite the negativity of a vocal group, there’s a steady march of progress in the city, and I’m hopeful to see what’s going on there. The plans for the silos and canal front, the re-emergence of neighborhoods and signs of life downtown… impressive fete!
I’ve visited the city several dozens of times for work over the last decade, and stay when I can to play, and have always left wishing for a couple more days to explore. I happen to love the snow and the winter activities that come with it, but know it’s not everyone’s thing. While most begrudge the 3-4 months of cold, the springs, summers and falls are simply perfection that are hard to emulate. But why are we Americans so eager to kvetch about the weather anyway, when we put up a tough demeanor about most everything else? Embrace it!
Not enough can be said of Buffalo’s architecture, its tree-lined streets and homes from the late 19th and early 20th century, the walkable communities, and its small-city meets arts and culture feel. To say nothing of the dozens of communities with historic preserved downtowns and stately homes – the Lockports, Dunkirks, Hamburgs and Batavias, such a short drive away. Now that population loss has stopped, slow but steady growth and planning make the city’s future very promising. With some foresight, Niagara Falls, NY may just follow suit.
Buffalonians, you’ve got a lot of well-wishers cheering you on. Much love from NYC.
There are many places in the US as cold as Buffalo in winter, and many more even colder. The change of seasons are gorgeous and the summers amazing. There’s a special pleasure in being cozy warm inide and watching the snow sparkle in the sun outside. If you can’t appreciate it then please don’t bother coming here, and find a way other than trashing Buffalo to help yourself feel superior.
I’m originally from the Falls but my old neighborhood is in shambles so I always stay in downtown Buffalo when I visit and I love the walkability of the city. As far as that promo video goes, I did notice notice there were NO WINTER SCENES! LOL!
Lemme start by dealing with the crime issue. While the crime rate has, as it has in most places, declined over the last decade, you’re much more likely to be a crime victim here in Buffalo than there in Austin even though Austin’s population is more than two and a half times Buffalo’s. The most recent FBI figures place Buffalo 13th in the nation in term of crime rate in cities with a population of 200,000 or greater. Crime and poverty are inextricably linked and Buffalo is a poor city, often rated second or third poorest. Keep in mind that it is an urban area and, consequently, requires a certain amounts of street smarts to stay out of trouble. I don’t wish to blame a victim but in the case of Not Stupid’s friend who was assaulted, one has to ask when and where did it happen and what was he doing there then.
The rebirth of the Allentown neighborhood can by typified by the story of a good friend who several years ago ignored the strong advice of his real estate agent and purchased a huge Victorian there. It was at the time in sad shape as were most of the other houses on the street. He set about restoring it and soon enough, up and down the street, others followed his lead. Now he’s a resident of one of the most desirable blocks in the neighborhood and the value of his property had soared. Even so, by national standards real estate in Buffalo is still dirt cheap.
Like many others who have posted here, I too attended school in Buffalo and later, when the opportunity arose, returned here to raise a family. However in my case, my careen here began when Buffalo was still a major city. Unlike so many I stuck it out through Buffalo’s long decline. Everyone like me knows lotsa people who lost their jobs at least once and lots who moved away and will never return. (Attend an NHL game in any southern or western city when the Buffalo Sabres are in town and half the crowd will be wearing Sabres gear.) From that perspective, I can attest that, at last, Buffalo truly is coming back.
May I suggest that all of you Texans pay us a visit and see for yourselves. Best do that in the summer. When Texans are scurrying from their air conditioned cars to air conditioned buildings escape to Buffalo where those winds off Lake Erie that make our winters so formidable become gentle breezes that make the long days ever so glorious. And plan to stay awhile. In summer Buffalo explodes outdoors with so much to see and do.
he simply found a parking spot to go to allen street at night….
I am a life-long resident of the Buffalo area. I attended Buffalo State for my undergraduate and graduate education. I currently work for a company that runs a thriving, inner-city retail location, but also owns a manufacturing operation overseas with warehouses and sales offices located on Buffalo’s East Side. The upside of Buffalo (for them) is the affordability; the low cost of acquiring property outweighs the drawbacks and risks (e.g. theft, vandalism–and it happens). That said, I am unable to find a full-time permanent position in my field (teaching) and basically do feel that the options for young people in the area are limited. My loyalty for my home is intense, but I did not spend all this money on school to make $30k working in retail the rest of my life, even if $30k is more than enough to survive here. So, for the first time in my life I do feel compelled to look for jobs n other cities and states. My fiance works in a local suburban school district and he is also a “lifer” but one who is a gung-ho believer in this renaissance you speak of. He asks me to be patient and for now I am, but I’m undecided.
PS – The Pink is alright, but I was once actually vomited on by a stranger there.
Buffalo is the greatest city….in upstate NY. I mean if some of you haters think Buffalo sucks then please be my guest and make a visit to Syracuse or Rochester sometime soon.
Awww. Harsh! Now you’re going to get it from the Rochester & Syracuse folks! 🙂 P.S. I’m from near Syracuse.
The fact remains, if you tried to mirror/recreate the architecture and historical significance of an earlier day in another location, you simply could not.
It is disappointing that people grow up there, go to school in blfo only to leave, I did this in 1984 and moved to Boston MA. I truly wish that the systemic problems inherent to Buffalo could be washed away, however that will only come with higher paying jobs, and a political change in the landscape within the city.
It is a great place with ethic diversity, and great food, but horrible sports, I have the marks being a bills fan in pats land to prove it. Going downtown is still an adventure after dark,
There are some extremely evident structural changes going on all over the city, and it’s being fueled by this attitude that change CAN happen. It’s really the epitome of mind over matter, the people who truly believe that this city has a significant chance to revitalize in any sense of the word, are finding a way to make things happen, and it’s contagious. Not just from the small, various groups of rust belt hipsters that find their way to restore good vibes, but from bigger names and establishments too. So, if you think this article is nonsense, refuting each and every thing this person is trying to convey, get out and stay out, we don’t want your pessimism. I’m definitely a believer in this renaissance, because I’m seeing the change in attitude and what results, it’s a beautiful Cinderella story of a post-industrial wasteland finding it’s new niche.
Hipstercrite, Thanks for the visit and the article. While there is definitely a degree to which we want to keep Buffalo our secret we’re pleased that others are discovering it.
I’ve hear it said that the only people who don’t like Buffalo are those who’ve never visited, and those who’ve never left.
Buffalo is indeed pretty nice. I grew up in Cheektowaga, and now live down near NYC. My husband works in a very specialized field, otherwise we would move to Buffalo in a heartbeat. I miss it terribly, and he likes it there as well (and especially loves the affordability as well as the hockey, as our son is turning out to have quite a talent for it.)
Most people speak of the weather as a negative, something to endure to get what is otherwise a great city. However, it helps make part of the charm. It gives the folks a shared nemesis, something to bond over, and it truly brings out the best in people. They help each other, and it makes everyone slow down. You’ll never bond more with your neighbors than when you’re in the middle of a driving ban and everyone is outside collectively shoveling out. 😀
What ever you do, don’t watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIXwhJMx0LY&feature=youtube_gdata_player
My dad took a job in the Buffalo area and my family relocated when I was away at college, and it became the hometown I never really had. My husband and I had recently begun making plans to move to the area, because the extremity of the NYC housing market was getting us down (two people in a one-room apartment and nobody even thinks it’s unusual) and because there is so much to love about Buffalo if you actually know the place. We ultimately decided against it because of a minor real estate miracle, combined with better work opportunities here, but we’re both sad about not being part of Buffalo’s renaissance, and enjoy our visits there.
I can not believe someone would ever say Austin is out. No matter what happens to jobs, gov’t there it will NEVER be out. Buffalo will NEVER be in! The NYS gov’t would NEVER allow for that. Yes it has lots of hidden gems and some things to offer but it will never be a fun hip city like Austin, all I have to say is eeorye birthday party in Peace. One of 1st and most memorable experiences in Austin, made me fall in love with the city and stay there for 9 yrs. I beg m y husband to move back and show my son what an awesome city it is!
You no longer live here? I hate to break it to you, but Austin has changed A LOT. The Eeorye’s Birthday Party-type things are going away. It’s still a great city though.
Austin is now a cesspool of homeless tent villages and smells like piss and puke. That’s what a “sanctuary city” will do for a once cool town.
Come here in the summer. Winter is cool…..but the summertime is even more aweosome !!
ShackieChan, Oh, I know! I’m from the Central NY area and I LOVE summertime in NY. I’ve lived in CA & TX, and I’ve traveled many places in the U.S., but nothing compares to the spring/summer/fall in NY. Makes me homesick! The smell of the June thunderstorms & leaves falling in October…love it!
Loved the movie spot – professionally done and makes Buffalo look great (which it is). I’ve lived here all my life of 56 years. I will touch base on Buffalo’s SUMMER’s – absolutely awesome! I fully utilize Buffalo’s best asset, the WATER. I am an avid boater and fisherman. Lake Erie around Bflo is world renowned for fishing, and also dubbed the Smallmouth Bass capital of the world. Winter’s can be tough, but no tougher than most northern cities. I think the Blizzard of ’77 started the bad rap we get – but nobody here cares what others think! LET’S GO BUFFALO!
I’ve lived in Boulder CO and Seattle WA. Both great places. But for overall quality of life I’d take Buffalo any day. The life style i have here would cost 5 times as much in those other cities. Life here is just easy. I’m glad people are finally recognizing that fact and taking pride in a city that has been overlooked for far too long.
I cannot believe the negativity of some of the posts on this story. This story does an excellent job of representing some of the changes going on here. I am native to the area and have not always been a fan of Buffalo, but the changes I see in the last 10 years have shifted my opinion. The Western New York area has some many positive attributes; I can’t imagine living anywhere else. The WNY area (Buffalo and surrounding communities) boast a reasonable cost of living. Our house market did not bust like the rest of the country. Additionally, we have no sinkholes, hurricanes or twisters. Yes, we have snow but that melts and your house is still where you left it. Erie County has a 6.2% unemployment rate and employers are relocating to Buffalo. IBM just committed to bring 500 jobs to a new, 100,000-square-foot, state-owned computer information technology center in Buffalo partially due to the quality of life here. We have professional sports teams, both the Sabres and Bills, A waterfront that continues to be redeveloped and a changing skyline in the city. If you’re not here you really don’t know what you’re missing. And for the few that are here and continue to hate on the area, be part of the solution and consider moving to another area. We don’t need you!
Fun article. But let’s face it, Buffalo is fun to visit but very few choose to live in it except hipsters and those who have to.
Unless you work in healthcare or finance good jobs are few and far in between. We are one of the poorest mid sized cities in the nation. The cold and snow is brutal and you rarely see the sun for 6 months of the year.
I love going into the city for music, art, festivals and our comedy clubs. It’s great affordable entertainment and housing for young people. Where else can you still get a $2 beer. For families not so great. Crime while it maybe decreasing is still an issue, as is for any city, but the failing public schools are the biggest issue.
Buffalo has a ton to offer and things are changing but we got a long way to go. We are all excited and optimistic because nothing got better for 30 years and now a lot has in the past 5.
[…] 1) Hipster City Travel: Buffalo, New York […]
I grew up in West Seneca and have made a lot of trips to the Buffalo area since participating in the diaspora in the 70s. Visited last summer for a HS reunion, and my family took me to along the lake shore, to the downtown waterfront, and around the city, including an art festival on Elmwood. I was really shocked at the growth, the beauty, the energy, the happiness I saw in the eyes of strangers everywhere I went. Whatever changed, it’s working.
You wrote, “it’s place,” rather than its place. Incorrect grammar is not hip.
Thank you, Judith! You are so right! Incorrect grammar is not hip!
Born and raised on Seneca St in S. Bflo. I couldn’t believe how badly that area has changed since the 70’s. Lived in Allentown for many years before moving to MN. I miss Elmwood Ave, Delaware Park and the waterfront to name a few. Fuhrman Blvd looks great but more needs to be done to get the State hospital and the train station refurb’d. It’s too bad Buffalo can’t find a way to convert those silos into condos like Minneapolis did with a section of 8 silos near Lake Calhoun. Money is the issue. I miss the hometown! But glad to see it beginning to rebound.
I have to raise the rent on my tenants: I live in the Elmwood Village, and the total monthly rent for two one-bedrooms (one of which has a dishwasher and a front-loading washing machine and a dryer “en suite” as they say) is just $1000 COMBINED! If I were charging $779 each, I’d be driving a Mercedes with the difference.
(We also have a rebate program for our tenants: If they move into their own house, which they must buy, not inherit, directly from our apartment(s), they get back 5% of all the rent they have ever paid, to use for appliances, furniture, whatever. If the house is in the City of Buffalo proper, we double that to 10%. And yes, we’ve redeemed a 10% offer once already!)
A Buffalo newspaper columnist put it best: If you have a good job here, this place is going to let you (and the kids you’d be able to afford to have) live an exceptionally good, satisfying life.
Winter is fine. It snows. It is cold. Today it is sunny and cold. My driveway gets plowed. I shovel the walk and get some exercise. My neighbors keep the sidewalk open so we can get out for a walk. The snow will melt. There are no volcanoes or hurricanes, or serious tornadoes. We have had three earthquakes since 1972 and hardly any of us noticed, since they were very low intensity. My house is sturdy, well insulated and warm in the winter and cool in the summer (even without the AC on). The soil is rich and I can feed my family with what I grow in the back yard. The winter gives that rich dirt a rest so it produces well during the growing season. The corn grown here is better than anything I have ever tasted in Miami. The strawberries are incredible, as are the various apples. All things being equal, I like winter.
[…] This post originally appeared at Hipstercrite. […]
[…] I wasn’t alone when I moved to Buffalo in January of this year. I have aunts, uncles and cousins galore. My extended family never extended too far so over the years I have heard them talk about the joy (and pain) of going to a Sabres game, the peacefulness of a walk in Delaware Park, and the fun to be had at the Peach Festival in Lewiston. I have also listened to them describe the beautiful sunsets on Lake Erie and the tundra-like ice that forms on the lake in the winter, especially a winter like this one. Even before I moved I knew that the big cats at the zoo can be heard from the backyard of neighborhood homes and the giraffes like to stick their heads over the fence that borders Parkside Avenue. I was also told that if the wind blew just right, you could smell the aroma of Cheerios wafting from the General Mills plant downtown. But more than anything else I heard over and over again that Buffalo is on its way back. It really is. This article nails it. […]
I grew up visiting Buffalo every so often, and remember great summers at the pools, great being close to the Falls, and enjoying great wings before Buffalo wings were popular all over the country. I thought it was a great place. It looks to have great architecture, near the water, and always had a blast visiting relatives there! and the Buffalo Bills were always pretty good.
I think Buffalo seems like a great place! I remember summers visiting relatives hanging at the pool, close to the Falls, and enjoying Buffalo wings before they were popular all over the country. Seems to have great architecture, great art museums and art appreciation, Buffalo Bills, and really nice people. Now if like Austin they come up with a fun music and film festival I will definitely have to come visit!!!!
Please never come to buffalo no one here wants you
You’re rude and this will do nothing but create more negative bullshit stereotypes about buffalo. It is my city, where some of my friends and family are, and where I have grown up and love. So maybe you should educate yourself and actually experience a place properly before you write an article about how you are the grand wizard of geographic trends in America. You know NOTHING about buffalo so stop acting like you do because you’ve visited a few times
Thank you for your comment. I don’t pretend that I know everything about Buffalo. This is simply a travel guide. P.S. I grew up near Buffalo, so I am fairly familiar with that neck of the woods. Have a good day!
I seriously want to shoot myself over Buffalo being an “it” city. “It” is not and quite frankly “it” is a city that tries to hard to be cool. Buffalo is competing for recognition and it just isn’t the it place young professionals want to move to. And you want to talk about diverse? Hell no what diversity? Lets see german, italian, polish, irish, african american, puerto rican/Dominican. Is that all? Wow thats diversity there. Not. Maybe they are trying and making some improvements but lets be honest this isn’t the place 20-30 years from now that people will be saying we should go there that place is happening cause its not. I mean c’mon there might not even be a professional football team there in a couple of years.
check out my review of #howhipsterisyourcity Mexico City, Mexico http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbE-lYu06rQ&feature=youtu.be
[…] its rounds on Buffalonians’ social media pages in late February came from Lauren Modery’s Hipstercrite blog explaining her agreement with Buffalo being America’s new “it city”. She talked about […]
Did not bother to read the posts….i know the whole deal with lovers and haters ..but are you from Elmira maybe?
Not Elmira, but close!
I am happy to hear that Buffalo is undergoing a renaissance. I lived in Buffalo from 1993 – 2001. My wife and I started out on Linwood Avenue in Downtown Buffalo. I have nothing but fond memories of my time in the city. There were so many hidden treasures in that city. My favorites included The Rendezvous, the Left Bank, Cybele’s Cafe.
I now live in Portland, Oregon, but I have wanted to visit Buffalo again for the longest time. I should also mention that there are quite a few people out here who have ties to Buffalo.
I’d be interested to know how the Black Rock neighborhood has developed over the last decade.
I’ve lived in New York for almost 7 years I moved here from a nice quiet little town in Illinois.. when I got here I was misinformed how vile some people can be. my opinion of New York is less than satisfactory. I’ve found New York to be nothing more than a cesspool harboring parasites of all kinds an shapes crime rate may not be that of Chicago but the justice system seems to work in an unorthodox matter,instead of protecting the innocent it would appear they protect the criminals.. the people that are supposed to protect the city and state are actually themselves the ones destroying it the politicians that raise taxes to fix the roads are actually turning around and spending the money on their own personal gain.. I guess the Hogs get fat in the pigs get slaughtered I respect all of you that love this state who doesn’t care for the place they were born and raised but from an outside perspective your judgement has apparently been clouded people need to open their eyes and sees epidemic this state is under nobody cares about the voice of the innocent when the politicians and the law enforcement themselves are the criminals
try it you will like it!! I am speaking as a SR CIT-\here is a day we had this summer-History boat tour of the grain mills(fascinating) dinner at Dugs dive-At NFTA Boat harbor-great walk at Erie basin Marina-watched a high freighter go by-other days-the meal trucks at Larkin Square(yummy) for the younger crowd-lots of concerts at canal side.also our nearby ski areas are hard to beat.
the downtown is burgeoning with new condos-the existing ones on the water are comparable to the
4/5 million dollar ones in california-chippewa strip fine restaurants-plenty of night life-
[…] and CNBC and small lifestyle blogs like The Gothamist, DesignSponge, Walk Score, Nerdwallet, and Hipstercrite. Buffalo is getting recognized not only for its walkable neighborhoods and low cost of living, […]
[…] Hipster City Travel: Buffalo, New York – Hipstercrite […]
Hmm, nice to run across this.
I’m from Hamburg, and have been living in SF Bay since ’91.
From ’91 through the 2000’s, every year I’d go back a couple of times and sadly hear yet again how this or that factory had closed, the City Council had rammed someone else’s pet project through for some dumb reason or another.
The last couple of years have been quite different, with an exceedingly large amount of interest and development going on. Cuomo has a Buffalo Billion plan going on to help NY increase output, jobs, etc.
This past Jan ’15, doing an idle review of the Sunday papers Business section, and counted no less than ~$1B in medical construction going on downtown and in the greater Buffalo area.
Ad that to Elon Musk’s Solar City 1M SQF Solar plant being built, interest by the Japanese in building a similar factory, and a fledgling biotech industry, and Buffalo seems to some how, be moving in the right direction.
Tired of CA for so many reasons, so moving back the the Buffalo area to build a house and a business. Bills? Nah, not a big sports fan. However the food? solid rib-sticking foods of all types, at all hours, for a good price.
I agree, I grew up in Buffalo, moved away and came back from living in Seattle. In general, not only more disappointing here but even more expensive. HGTV Real estate people are driving up house prices and taxes even more. Tesla is a typical Buffalo, supposed to open last year, it’s still a non-functional semi-empty building. The area around it is a disaster. The money that comes into Buffalo is typically misspent on friends and family of the people at the top and improvements are vastly overrated.
Link for Buffalo weather:
Link for Miami weather:
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say most of you hipsters live in your own fantasy world. You fellas just make shit up for the fun of it, or so it seems. I sincerely hope all of you dipshits raving about how great Buffalo is, move here and explore all the safe areas that are oh so mesmerizing. Stay in North Buffalo though. If any of you were to go into East Buffalo or surrounding areas like Cleveland Hill, Cheektowaga, or Sloan, it might ruin your grand perception of the glorious dying city.
Stay for a bit though, you’ll realize why it’s a garbage city and you’ll leave.
Also, here ya go for all those to lazy to google something
Here’s Here’s some food for thought as well!
Oh by the way that awesome water coming out of your faucet in Western New York is so delicious because it’s full of contaminates from pollution! Crazy huh? And here’s a fun fact, you’re not suppose to eat any fish out of Lake Ontario because the mercury levels are so high! Neato yeah? We got more cancer than you can imagine here in Western New York. Good thing there’s Roswell right there, isn’t that interesting? Go figure. Hurray for you fuck nuts glorifying a city you haven’t lived in all your life. Must be easy on the outside looking in, yeah?
I have lived in all four cities that dot the Thruway, but I’ll hold my thoughts to the the three Western NY ones.
1. Buffalo is the worst. It has redeeming qualities – most notably the architecture, but what ruins it are the people. It’s the most bizarrely cultish place on Earth. People from Buffalo, LOVE Buffalo. Now, you would think this would be endearing, but it’s not. At all. It’s insanity. They will say anything to make this place sound like heaven on Earth. For that reason, and that reason alone, do not trust any of the comments.
Again, architecturally it’s quite interesting, and it’s not as unseemly as some would say, but be prepared to be disappointed if your expectations are based upon what you have heard from “Buffalo people.” I have no idea what happens to people raised there, I assume it’s part of the curriculum in elementary school, but it’s weird. People that are not from Buffalo will typically have a far different view – they’re quiet though, and will probably not talk to you for fear of what will happen if they do not praise Buffalo.
2. Rochester, they also overrate their city, but are not nearly as over the top and obnoxious about it. Rochester is cute enough though. However, the downtown is fairly awful in most sections if you like urban living. They do have a better music scene though, and generally are nice, reasonable people. EXCEPT for their effing strange obsession with Wegmans – which sort of mirrors Buffalo’s obsession with pretending Buffalo is heaven, and always just about on the cusp of eclipsing NYC, Boston, LA, etc…and becoming the greatest city in the US.
Wegmans is nice though, and it’s just a grocery store so who cares. Plus, none of these are real cities, and Rochester is a bit more relaxed than Buffalo. If you’re not in a real city, why take on the hassle of an almost city like Buffalo? No point to it IMO.
Rochester also once had a subway – and abandoned it. That’s pretty spectacular.
3. Syracuse. Eh, this city is blah. Syracuse University is by far the best of the schools on a national stage, but the campus is sort of set back and separated from the city so the impact is negligible. The good people of Syracuse are the only ones that evaluate their city honestly though. They know it’s kind sucky. They know the weather sucks. They know it’s dreary too much of the year. I’ll salute them for that. They tore up most of their city in the 1950s, so they even lack cool areas like Park Ave that are well received in Rochester. And certainly have nothing like Allentown in Buffalo.
Overall, I’d rank them as follows: Rochester, Syracuse (Ugh….), and Buffalo. Which is amazing, because Buffalo should be FAR above Syracuse, but the people ruin it.
[…] and CNBC and small lifestyle blogs like The Gothamist, DesignSponge, Walk Score, Nerdwallet, and Hipstercrite. For many, this mini-trend of upbeat coverage is a source of pride and a welcomed change from […]
No one ever mentions that the tax rate in Buffalo is super high. Years of corruption has squandered all that money. There is also a high crime in any area that the good architecture is located in.