Tell me about Buffalo-Need answer soon-ish

Buffalo the city (although interesting trivia about the animal will be accepted).

My company has a position in Buffalo that I’m thinking about and just wanted to solicit opinions. Tell me the good, the bad, and the weird. Our kids are gone, so we’re not worried about schools and such. It’s one of those things where I’m not even sure what I want to know, I just want to hear what people think of the place.


Lake affect snow

Does it? :slight_smile:

I grew up there and my parents still live there.

Good: Apparently on the upswing recently after years of stagnation. Low cost of living. Some beautiful old buildings from when Buffalo was an economic powerhouse, from Gilded Age as well as Frank Lloyd Wright. Some culture; big university so there are rock/pop/rap/whatever acts that come through; very good smaller though expanding contemporary art museum. Close to Toronto for weekend getaways to a much nicer city. Not too far from mountains if you like to camp. Wings! Duff’s on Sheridan is the place, NOT the Anchor Bar. Lots of opportunity for winter sports although the nearest downhill ski slopes are not very good. Snow and even storms can be fun if you’re holed up inside with good food and a crackling fire. There are thunderstorms in the summer–not very remarkable, but I live in the west now and I miss them. Lake Erie and especially Lake Ontario on the Canadian side are nice for swimming, sailing, or just picnicking. Niagara Falls.

Bad: The aftermath of storms sucks. Not so much the cleanup, they’re good at that, but the piles of dirty, compacted snow that build up over the winter. In places like big parking lots I’ve seen these last into May (it’s snowed in April!). Main Street runs along a ridge; north of it (where my parents live) is swampy. The water table is very high and I think it’s actually below lake level, so expect mosquitoes and possible basement issues. Summer is pretty short. In winter when it’s not snowing, the sky is often overcast with uniform grey cloud, feels like it’s about ten feet over your head–oppressive. With one or two exceptions, the “fine dining” in Buffalo is laughable. There are some okay midrange places but for really good food you have to go to Toronto. The sports teams mostly suck and probably will for the foreseeable future.

In sum: Better than when I was growing up, I like to visit at Christmas, would never move back.

Buffalo is amazing. I grew up there in the 70’s and 80’s (specifically, in East Aurora), and my daughter goes to Buffalo State College now. I really think winter weather is all relative - I didn’t have one snow day in four years of high school, because the city is prepared and equipped to deal with the weather. And snow can be great, anyway - it’s beautiful, and there are a lot of cool winter sports you can learn (if you don’t already know).

The area is flat, so it’s great for walking, but it does get really windy.

There’s a small “downtown” area, but a lot of the city is really residential, with gorgeous old houses (some now split into duplexes or apartments), wonderful little neighborhoods with great bakeries, gift shops, farmers markets, and independent bookstores, lining wide, sidewalked streets. A lot of wonderful breweries and restaurants are popping up these days. The harbor area is very pretty, lots of sailboats. Canalside has free concerts outside in the summer and an ice rink in the winter. You can take a river cruise/tour out of that area, too.

It’s literally minutes from the Peace Bridge/Canada.

The cost of living is pretty low (although the NY taxes are high), the politics are fairly liberal (less so in the suburbs), and overall it just a sort of hipster city in the middle of getting its second wind.

Let’s not talk about the Bills, but the Sabres are having a pretty good year! No major league baseball, but the Bisons have a nice stadium and they’re fun to watch.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to provide specific answers if I know them. I’m headed there next week to pick up my daughter for Thanksgiving!

Somebody has to say it:

Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Try the wings. I hear they are good.

My wife is a Buffalo Gal, born and raised. There was a time when it was home to a huge manufacturing center and steel production: Pierce-Arrow, Post Cereals, Brylcreem, Bethlehem Steel and many more. The city really took a nosedive, but is back on track in recent years. We flew out there for a visit last year and I was impressed by the positive attitude and the willingness to take chances on worthwhile projects. The new Hotel Henry is a good example; an ambitious project was undertaken to turn the old, abandoned and broken down asylum into a terrific facility. Also, the Canalside area has transformed the old steel plant area into a tourist attraction complete with river boat tours. Many other projects are underway to rejuvenate the downtown area. That’s not to say there aren’t still problems in the poorer communities.

I’ve never lived there but have visited many times and spent a week there attending a seminar.

Cons: winter weather, definitely. Short summers.

Pros: some good local foods and restaurants, like
A good supermarket chain, Wegmans
Good food, wineries, culture across the border in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto

friendly people; we had a problem with our Toyota’s warning lights flashing when we were driving through and stopped at a dealership where they were very helpful. If it had been our local dealership they would have been far less welcoming.

Depending where you’re moving from, you may feel like you’ll get a lot of house for your money; the seminar we attended took us on a bus tour and pointed out big old mansions that were being restored, saying “and those houses go for almost 500 thousand dollars!” Several of us who live in housing markets where that will get you very little had to bite our tongues.

The economy seems to be doing better–20 years ago it looked like a decrepit old Rust Belt city with lots of abandoned houses and factories. A park that was in bad shape years ago, Delaware Park, has been restored, Ia ttended a Shakespeare performance there in the summer.
I heard that there are new jobs being created especially in the biotech sector.

Beef on weck is a good one. And Wegman’s IS a good supermarket chain, which is a weird thing to say–very impressive array of high quality foods both domestic and imported. I stand by my fine dining comment, though, it isn’t to be had.

The waterfront is nice, but try taking a stroll along it in January.

Good Polish food, though. :slight_smile:

I don’t generally go for fine dining, but if that’s your thing and you go up for a visit, give the aforementioned Hotel Henry a try. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant - Something Acres? - but the food and cocktails are great. Walk the halls and take in the art on every wall, the amazing staircase, the cool backstory. Don’t bother staying there, though; the rooms are tiny and overpriced.

And since you mention it, be sure to shuffle off.

No, Wegman’s is the BEST supermarket chain! Get it right!

I can’t contribute too much. My wife is from Buffalo and Buffalonians seem to form a disproportionate amount of my friends, given the size of the city. I’ve been there four times, and enjoyed it every time. It’s a city that speaks to my heart and that I can relate to.

I love kielbasa and pierogis, and there’s good Italian to be had too, mostly red sauce, but good. I don’t consider those big plusses when considering where to move though. Any halfway decent city ought to have those. Wings and Beef on weck are great! …when I visit once a year.

Another nice thing is Delaware Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, whose hits include such parks as Central Park and Prospect Park. If you live in the city proper, great to have…for three months a year.

I’m in buffalo for a few days every month, except dec-march ‘cause I’m not an idiot. Lake effect snow is real and brutal, but mostly only affects certain certain areas, like Hamburg.
They have a very nice downtown waterfront, with some museum ships etc. A number of old industrial plants have been turned into recreation facilities. There are lake beaches. The lake allows for a lot of boating, fishing etc during not-winter.
Outside of downtown Buffalo it gets very rural very fast. So not like some cities with endless planned suburbs.
Trips to Canada will be nice. Niagara is close and has many attractions, including some sort of waterfall. Toronto is a few hours away, and great for dining, shopping etc.
Dining out is trying to develop, but is having difficulties. New and innovative restaurants do open up, but seem to have difficulties making it. There is a large choice of mediocre and slightly better than mediocre restaurants.
For winning sports you may have to drive 3.5 hours. To Pittsburgh, home of the 6-time Super Bowl winning… I may be getting off-track here. Despite some new restrictions on the more exuberant practices, Bills fans have to be near the top in ability to make visiting the game entertaining regardless of the actual goings-on in-game.
Politics range from downtown-left to rural-right, within relatively few miles.
Road maintenance is decent. Buffalo airport is ok, and has some discount airline activity.
Beef-on-weck is an abomination. It is.

In what sense? I mean, I guess I could see it being maybe underwhelming if you’re expecting something else, but it’s just a fantastic roast beef sandwich. Is it the caraway seeds you find an abomination? Otherwise, it’s just a standard, fairly minimalist roast beef sandwich. I honestly would say that my first time at Charlie the Butcher’s, that was the best roast beef sandwich I’ve ever had in my life. And even the fast food weck at Anderson’s was pretty good, much better than a comparable chain like Arby’s.

My first thought at Charlie the Butcher’s was “fuck chicken wings. Now this is food.” Which is odd, as I went to Buffalo the first time (and each time afterwards) to explore chicken wings. Been to both Duff’s, Anchor Bar, Gabriel’s Gate, some random neighborhood pizza joints (I think Casa di Pizza was one), Bar Bill Tavern, etc. And I still think the best things I’ve even in Buffalo were the weck at Charlie the Butcher’s and a Ted’s hot dog.

He probably forgot to put on the horseradish.

As Torontonians, we’ve been to Buffalo countless times . I lived in Amherst for 6 months in the late nineties, so I’ve seen a lot of changes in the city. Downtown is filling back in with restaurants and entertainment . We ate at a little while back and it was great.

Lots of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture like the Darwin Martin House, the Albright-Knox art gallery, and cool neighbourhoods. You also have the Shaw Festival theatre and Niagara wine country just across the border.

Whole Foods just opened a brand new supermarket near Boulevard Mall and Wegmans as previously stated is great.

Can she come out tonight? We can dance by the light of the moon!