Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Shuffled Off

My friend Adam Sternbergh has written this really fantastic piece for New York magazine about certain New York residents who ended up packing it in and setting up along the glistening shores of...Buffalo, NY.

It's a wonderful, even-handed article that moves beyond the Buffalo-as-punchline thing into the reasons why people might leave the city and why in the world Buffalo might seem like a suitable alternative. My perspective on this isn't as skewed as you might think. I moved back here in June after a great year in New York, and the last couple months have been...not that great. Which isn't entirely Buffalo's fault; it can't measure up after a year in New York (particularly a year where everything about New York was fresh and new and exciting), but who would expect it to? I'm psyched about moving back to Brooklyn, but as a Buffalo native, it's always going to be in my heart. I am always going to be a total Buffalo homer, and if it ever really makes good on the promise that's there (honest, it is), it's a place I'll always consider as a destination.

I love this city -- I'm ambivalent about it an awful lot, but the love side of it is fierce. Adam's article hits on a lot of familiar points with me. The commitment to drawing the creative community to the city is beyond encouraging, and I loved the shot of the artist's studio in the old abandoned church. That's downtown Buffalo for you: lots of pretty architecture that's completely empty right now, so why not fill it with artists and musicians instead of nothing? There's honesty there, too. The crappy Thai food (uh...guilty), the sad little "beach" along Lake Erie, the 47th-place "tolerance" rating (depressingly tough to argue against), but there's also that eternal Buffalo optimism that reminds me so much of my dad. My dad who called me during the pre-season football game two weeks ago to tell me the Bills were going to the Super Bowl this year. And if Buffalo's actually becoming a viable destination for New Yorkers...hell, maybe they just will.

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