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Life Happens: The city of Buffalo has always been great

BUFFALO — Every so often, I peruse the media to see how Buffalo is doing, compared to other places in the country. I do that because there have been times when a media source like “Forbes” has taken polls on topics such as the top 10 most miserable cities or worst places to find love and print the results for everyone to read.

Not that I, or anyone else, should care what poll-takers think, but it hurts, just a little, when Buffalo lands on one of those lists. Through the years, our poor, beleaguered city has been listed in a few top 10 worst polls. The subject varies: misery, snow, economics and yes, even love lives.

And, yet, the media hasn’t polled anyone who actually lives here. It’s all done by statistics, charts and graphs.

As someone pointed out to me recently, I have never lived anywhere other than Buffalo in the whole 56 years I’ve been alive. So, even though I’ve traveled quite a bit, who am I to compare other cities with my own?

But, who needs a poll? Maybe a city’s statistics can be assessed and found wanting, but a city’s heart is an intangible life force that can’t be measured by outside pollsters and pundits.

As I was searching for arbitrary lists of American cities and how they fare, I stumbled across a few that were unusual. According to this past July, Buffalo is listed as one of the top U.S. revival cities worth visiting.

In addition to recognizing Buffalo’s architecture, the article said that our low cost of living, art galleries and many great restaurants make our city worth visiting.

Buffalo has had all of these qualities for some time; it just took a while for others to notice. The poll also praised Buffalo for having no traffic. To paraphrase my niece when she read the article, “Obviously, they weren’t here at rush hour.”

But, compared to cities like Chicago and New York, our rush hour traffic at least moves forward, even if it is slow. A few bog-downs at a couple of exits is tolerable, compared to times I’ve been at a total standstill for hours, in larger cities.

It is nice that Buffalo is finally being recognized.

Is it really a revival or has it always been a well-kept secret? As far as I can see, we’ve always had the art scene, theaters, universities, great food, the harbor, the music and the Indie reputation. It has just taken the pollsters some time to discover it.

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