Nowhere to Go but Everywhere: Buffalo!

No, I’m serious. Buffalo!

My appreciation for Buffalo, like any appreciation the average person might have, I would assume, started by accident. My wife frequently spends her breaks at one conference or another, traveling near and far to learn more about physiology, teaching, or both. Usually she goes by herself and has a grand old time talking nerdy and taking advantage of hotel amenities. Occasionally, however, the whole family travels with her and takes advantage of being a new place to check out local flavor. For some reason lost to the depths of time, we decided to tag along to Buffalo once.

I'm so terribly sorry, western New York. You don't deserve this pain.

Not for this reason, of course. I’m so terribly sorry, western New York. You don’t deserve this pain.

We had planned on heading over to Niagara Falls and showing the kids the majesty that is the Canadian side, and we did that. But we were surprised to find ourselves actually having fun in Buffalo as well. We explored the waterfront, we ate at some fine local fare (we didn’t eat meat, so the chicken wings were out. I hear they’re somewhat popular, however.) We went to the excellent Museum of Science and explored a little history and science action. It was a great time. I know Buffalo isn’t a fun place in the winter- as a resident of upstate New York I can attest to the fact that none of New York is exactly winter wonderland- but there are four season here. Three are awesome.

It is a perfect of example of what I call the Pittsburgh Principle. Pittsburgh is a great town- good food, nice people with odd accents, lots to do. But no one cares. No one outside of the immediate area says “Ooo! Let’s go to Pittsburgh!” You’d be laughed out of the recommending-stuff-area. It just isn’t done, because our image of places like this- primarily small industrial cities- is tied to the past. We think of Buffalo as the rust belt city of the 70s, not the modern town it is. And sure, some aspect of that image is accurate. There are rusty old factories and abandoned areas of the city. There are places maybe not to set down a blanket and picnic. But there are tons of gorgeous places and fun things to do. Lake Erie is an awesome backdrop, and anytime not winter is wonderful for walking.

All this leads to a bizarre situation in which my daughter constantly asks us to move to Buffalo. She loves it. She’s perhaps the only seven year old in the world who’s favorite city is Buffalo, but there you are. When we moved to Ohio for a year, she was really upset it wasn’t Buffalo. I tried telling her we were not too far from Lake Erie still, but geography doesn’t work on kids. They’re immune.

So, visit Buffalo! Nod sadly at all the Bills paraphernalia! If you eat meat definitely eat the wings! Tell them you are affirming the truth of the Pittsburgh Principle! They’ll definitely appreciate that!

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