Buffalo and me: the hate-hate-love relationship
An exploration of my tumultuous bond between my childhood city and myself
Buffalo is often dubbed “Queen City,” but when I first got here, many years ago, this city was more akin to poverty than royalty.
I first arrived in Buffalo as a 7-year-old, moving from Minnesota and from everything familiar and comfortable to me.
Needless to say, I despised this town from the second the moving truck pulled into the driveway of what would become my home.
Eventually, Buffalo did become my true home, but not for quite a while.
My hatred of this place was founded on the stubbornness of a spurned child – a similar type of stubbornness that appears when children refuse to go to sleep or fight with another sibling – unyielding and one-sided.
Time went on and the childish bias of my boyhood became adolescent scorn in my teenage years.
Nothing escaped the teenage angst of my rebellious youth, including Buffalo. Basically anything that had agency over how or where I lived – I hated and wanted to get rid of.
I was dreamer. I wanted to go to college out in the Bay Area. Jack Kerouac was my hero and I had a proclivity for reading corny novels about adventure and romance.
But, as one can imagine, Buffalo was far-flung from the sunset drives and sunny beaches I saw as my future.
No one could sing about Buffalo’s graces in my presence – I’ll be the first one to admit I was always looking for a chance to talk down the “Queen City.”
Buffalo was truly the antithesis of what I wanted. After all, what’s to love about a dying rustbelt city that has nothing to do or anything worth seeing?
Time has a way of changing perspectives.
It took many years (and brutal winters) before I finally warmed up to the Queen City.
Looking back, I find it hard to pinpoint exactly when my teenage scorn began to turn into an appreciation and dare I say, love, of this city.
It was probably when I attended my first “Thursday in the Square” and saw Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
Or maybe it was when my friends and I snuck into Silo City and climbed to the top of the grain elevators.
Or possibly it was that time when my friends and I spent a perfect day at Hoyt Lake, watching Shakespeare in the Park and eating Mighty Taco, lounging in the sunshine.
Most likely, my reformed opinion was brought on by a culmination of these events – each new day slowly chipping away at my refusal to like Buffalo.
Before I knew it, I could no longer deny it. I actually loved this place.
Now, 14 years later, Buffalo has become a city that will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Beyond the childish stubbornness and teenage angst, I’ve realized that this city helped me grow up in ways unimaginable. This city is a part of me, no matter how much I will fight it.
Buffalo has watched me stumble through some of my life’s first milestones: first move, first concert, first school, first true friends, first girlfriend, first roadie.
And it will probably watch me stumble through a few more, too.