The past couple of weeks, I have been trying hard to find reasons to love the suburbs of Buffalo, NY. Buying a home has been on my mind for a while and since it is such a big move, I wanted to make sure I didn’t rule out an area before assessing the pro’s and con’s. I’ve never really liked the suburbs, and country living would be nice but I HATE commuting for work, so I just always assumed that the city was it.
But it’s really hard (read: expensive) to have a big home with a huge yard in the areas of Buffalo that I love. So, I started looking at towns like Amherst and Hamburg and tried hard to find the pros. I started fixating on things like housing costs, yard sizes, and (mostly) what’s in those areas.
Not surprisingly, this research still didn’t sway my opinion of the suburbs. You pretty much have to drive to get to just about anything, the mega-wide intersections aren’t really pedestrian-friendly, and they lack the allure of dining out/going out options like we have on Elmwood, Hertel, downtown Buffalo, and Allentown.
And despite all of that, I still tried to find a reason to like the suburbs. The idea that “kids flourish” in the suburbs fueled this desire.
But then yesterday, I was able to comfortably just erase that idea from my mind.
I took Mark on a small “walking tour” of parts of the west side that I grew up on. Took him past my old high school (arguably one of the most beautiful high schools in WNY), my elementary/middle school (Native American Magnet School!), homes I remember visiting friends at, and the series of community gardens that were once corner stores I frequented.
And while we took that stroll down memory lane, I saw changes in the neighborhood that looked promising. Grant Street’s reemergence isn’t happening as fast as I think it could, but I definitely see some improvement (and I can’t believe Gercio’s is still there!).
I also saw a lot of what I love the most in life – diversity. The west side has a large refugee population, people from southeast Asia and Africa. And of course, the large population of Puerto Ricans and probably the largest contingency of Native Americans outside of the reservation in the area. During our short hour-long walk, we definitely heard quite a few different languages spoken and saw different styles of dress.
And all of this to me is just so much more important than a large yard. When you live in the city, Delaware Park is everyone’s shared yard anyway.
Does living in the city have some cons? Of course it does, but the pro’s outweigh them.
It just means we’ll have to be extra cognizant later in life to take extra long family hikes, frequent park trips, walks, and camping weekends so that we, and any future Mini-Me’s, are acquainted well with nature!
And just so I don’t completely come off as a complete suburb-hater, here’s a list of pro’s that some of them do have!
- Amherst has El Palenque and Clarence has La Tolteca, which are pretty much my favorite “Mexican” restaurants in the area. It may or may not have something to do with the margaritas at both places. (Though Don Tequila is now on Allen – and I still haven’t been to Cantina Loco, for shame.) Amherst also has Red Pepper, which is pretty much the best pho spot in WNY.
- I will not argue that most suburbs generally have better school systems. Not all of them, but definitely some are better than others.
- Hamburg was close to being a happy middle-ground for me only because it’s close enough to Buffalo and close enough to the Cattaraugus territory.
- Every other Wegman’s in the area just flat-out trumps the Amherst Street location, especially in the prepared foods section. And I love me a Wegman’s trip.
- Every single suburb of Buffalo does not have to deal with Buffalo Parking Enforcement. Thankfully, we have off-street parking, but if we didn’t, ugh – nightmare!
- The Regal in Cheektowaga is so much better than in Buffalo. Granted we go to the movies like once a year, but when we go, we like the chairs that rock back and forth.
- The downtown BAC has to be the worst BAC in the area (but I’ll still go there because it’s here)
- They don’t have Byron Brown, the Common Council, or Carl Paladino on their school board.
- SNOW REMOVAL IN BUFFALO SUCKS. I can’t emphasize that enough.
I’m so happy I came to my senses about this. Mark was totally on board with staying in the city. He prefers country living, too, but it just doesn’t make sense considering this is where we work (and he hates driving almost as much as I do). And he lived in the suburbs (Kenmore) and just prefers Buffalo now, too.
I am proud to be a Buffalo gal!