What I learned about Buffalo in 2011

Buffalo's Lafayette Square during a Thursday in the Square performance

As we wrap up the year, everyone is becoming nostalgic about what this year has meant to us and what we’ve learned as a result of making it to another New Year.

What did I learn this year?

Let’s preamble this by saying I was born and raised a Buffalo/City girl. My family and heritage are based down the 219 in Salamanca, NY and I wouldn’t say I don’t have any familiarity with country life, I just don’t have a lot. But there’s been this big empty space of the unknown between the city limits of Buffalo and there. Excluding Niagara Falls, where I’ve been at least once a year since I was born (that’s 22+ times and counting, especially since my sister lives there now), Buffalo is all I can really say I know around here.

There’s Vidler’s in East Aurora where my parents used to take us on long car rides when we were younger. Becker Farms, but I don’t even know where that is. I took a canal ride down in Lockport once when I was a kid. And most ventures into the abyss beyond Buffalo were centered around car rides where  the outside resembled more of a fast flip book of pictures.

I’ve gone to school in Buffalo my whole life, from N.A.M 19 to Lafayette, Canisius to Buffalo State. All of my jobs (minus the one I took this year) have been in the city limits and always on the bus route. Even my parents feeble attempt to get me into church was in Buffalo, right down the road from where I live now. My first two years were spent roughing it on the mean streets of the East Side. Totally kidding! The East Side isn’t scary and it certainly wasn’t a bad place when I lived there. Then I spent 6 or so years in North Buffalo to the last 11 years I’ve spent in the EV (Elmwood Village).

Pshh, I lived in the EV since before it was the EV.

But I just got my first car in August 2010 and spent the ensuing miles riding between the former HSBC and my house. A sweet little 10 minute car ride down the 33 and I was home. I wouldn’t have bothered with a car if my internship didn’t call for later-night hours.

But then this last semester, I’ve been forced to travel locally. I’ve been to more countries than I have smaller towns in this area. My internship with Time Warner Cable forced me to travel to West Seneca. I don’t even think I’ve come near West Seneca before. That was until I went scouring the town in search of food and found that, holy shit, I’m actually really close to everything.

Then I took a game day position with the Bills and I’m finally exploring the Orchard Park region. I’ve been to the McKinley Mall once with Mark and before this job, I wouldn’t have been able to find it if you pointed it out on a map.

An interview and a 5K race lead me to the East Aurora region where I saw Vidler’s and an array of other shops and some pretty cool parks I’d be interested in checking out again.

And that’s really it, but it was a lot to me. Sound absurd? Well, it sounds absurd to me when I hear about people only going into Buffalo for Sabres games and when Broadway comes to town.

So, I preach how everyone should be introduced to the beauties of Buffalo, especially in regards to food and events. I’m interested, what else should I check out in the abyss that is the Buffalo suburbs and surrounding regions? I’ve heard talk that this Barbill place in East Aurora is good. Some Mongolian Buffet in Hamburg. And I want authentic places, people. I don’t want to hear about your favorite Subway seeing as I have one down the street and it’ll save me a half of tank of gas to get it. (I love Buffalo and how everything is within walking distance– less when it dips below 35 degrees.)

And I’ve kind of gotten to know the Kenmore/Amherst area pretty well so I’m just going to disregard that area.

Suggestions? Comments about how much of a city-snob I am? (Ahem, I’m not. If I was, I wouldn’t be asking for advice.)

Let’s go.

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