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The best
Yeah, yeah, chicken wings.

The 'burbs smell like the 'burbs -- but downtown smells like Cheerios! And Total, and Wheaties, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs and more, over at General Mills on South Michigan. Tell us this isn't a slogan waiting to happen: "Buffalo: Smell the Fiber!"

Weddings at Our Lady of Victory Basilica or the Delaware Park Rose Garden.

The view standing at Lafayette Square and looking toward City Hall, a grand urban vista once referred to in a guidebook as "the civic heart of the Buffalo metropolis."

Thursdays downtown: cruise the farmers market along Main during lunch. Buy locally grown tomatoes the size of your head. After work grab a beer, watch the bands. Gawk at the gender of your preference. Dance your feet off at Lafayette Square. All for free.

Having the option of ending a night of cocktails by heading for the back of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, crawling into the lap of the Abe Lincoln statue and settling in for a long, earnest chat with him.

A City Hall that by its very presence seems to say: "Yeah? You and who else?"

Tom Toles' restless mind and fearless pen; Club Marcella and its glorious drag queens.

No one fusses over you after you've given birth like one of the nuns eternally cruising the hallways of our many Catholic hospitals.

The biggest, best truth about Western New York family life: Once into adulthood, nine out of 10 of us discover that despite Sahlen's on the grill, brews in the ice water, kids in the pool and friends around the boom box, the summer cookout isn't really complete until the folks stop by.

What's in our grocery stores? Beer. Walls of it. None of this panty-waist Pennsylvania state store/Canadian beer store nonsense for us.

Eating red meat -- piled high on a salty roll with horseradish, yet -- is still considered good form here.

Doing the same and washing it down with a pitcher of draft with your parish priest is considered even better form. And speaking of pitchers: $7, $8 tops, most places.

The miracles performed daily at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital. And, of no less value: the treasures inside the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

The experience of walking into Shea's for the first -- or fifth or 50th -- time, going to your seat and seeing the lights go down.

The experience of taking an out-of-town pal into a huge Parkside District house, showing off its intricate woodwork, bookshelves, inlaid glass and fireplaces -- and then watching his face as he learns the ludicrously low price.

First cousin to the above: a typical Buffalo flat = six or seven rooms, porch, fireplace, $500 a month. Read this to a friend from New York City. Then put the phone down and uncap a cold one while he finishes weeping.

Don't like the weather? Wait five minutes; it'll change. Friends moving out of town? Wait five months; they'll be back.

Chestnut Ridge Park's massive stone fireplace roars as soon as September and late as April.

Gourmet liquor, wine and drinking-trinket shopping at Premier on Delaware Avenue or Transit Road.

WBEN's Sandy Beach in the middle of a full-tilt, truly fear-inspiring rant. (Equal time: WGR's Clip Smith's unnerving ability to pun endlessly.)

Local TV as source of lovably insipid, albeit unintentional, comedy.

The two unspoken and rather wonderful rules every Western New Yorker lives by: 1) In January, when confronting a car stuck in a drift, one must get out and push. 2) In August, when presented with a sack full of zucchini, one must accept.

Western New York from May to November: sun, lushness, vegetables, fruit, Bisons games as a place to hide from the boss, beach bars, cookouts, "good sleeping weather," shirtless guys playing hoops in Delaware Park, women with their skirts blowing around their legs as they walk up Main, crisp fall air, apple picking, leaf peeping, opening day at One Bills Drive.

Western New York from November to April: building character.

The worst

50-milligram tabs of Zoloft still are not dispensed free to all residents starting in November.

Perhaps you, too, have noticed how, in general, the whole Screwing-Up-as-a-Buffalo-Prerogative thing has ceased to be as endearing as it once was.

Main Street, downtown: world's biggest outdoor smoking lounge.

After 13 years of trying to figure out the timing of those Metro Rail doors -- and failing -- we're beginning to think that maybe it's not us.

After paying state income and local property taxes, sales tax and user fees, we rarely have enough money left to buy we'll-miss-you gifts for loved ones moving to Raleigh-Durham, Florida and points west.

How in God's name does a place like the Guaranty Building go without major tenants?

Wait, we know: Let's get a local government committee together to study that question and then issue a report in, oh, say, 18 months.

Wait, even better: Let's take the entire matter to court. And then, regardless of the verdict, appeal. And after that verdict, blame it all on race relations.

Also, remind us: We're doing what with that waterfront? And when? And would that be before or after we take care of the Aud, exactly?

Speaking of which, total suggestions so far for the Aud: Aquarium. Museum. Parking garage. OK, that's a wrap, thanks everyone, back to sleep.

And look, just raze the Main Place Mall, OK?

As for what lies next door to the World's Most Useless Mall, there's just no genteel way to put this: Wow, that is one butt-ugly convention center.

Y'know, we've all enjoyed it, but to be honest, our 4 a.m. bar-closing time seems to make less and less sense as years (and lives lost to drunken driving) go by.

About our suburbia: Wasn't there a "Twilight Zone" episode where a guy wakes up and can't figure out where he is because every street and store looks exactly the same? And he can't get out? Or was that Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day"? Either way: Amherst. Which reminds us: Could we knock off this !#$% suburban sprawl for a while?

Look, folks, another newspaper in town would liven things up for everyone, trust us.

Boy, it would be great to be able to afford to take your kids to a couple of Bills games and send them to college.

... and drive somewhere just once without hitting construction that a nagging feeling tells you was done this very same time, in this very same place, just last year.

Sometimes we wake up crying in the middle of the night dreaming of a warm glazed doughnut from Freddie's ... we reach for it ... and it is still not there.

How come it feels like the Goo Goo Dolls now treat this place like a tour stop instead of home? They never call, they never write, any time Robbie does stop by Nietszche's for beers now he pays, which is just horribly unsettling. And Johnny ... oh, let's not even go there. All we're saying, you Goos, is: pull a Heather Locklear and let the roots show a little, huh? Show up once in a while. Hang. Something.

Guys, stop that comb-over nonsense. Ladies, ditto that stirrup-pants-and-high-heels look. Especially white ones. In winter. And for the last time: No, no, no Zubaz pants at Shea's on opening night. Please.

We would urge the same about donning shorts and sandals for Mass, but at this point it just seems futile.

Let's get it right: Us picking on us: Yes. Ex-Western New Yorkers picking on us: No. Case in point: Kenmore native Vincent Gallo's "Buffalo 66," a film which, in Gallo's own words, was supposed to be "a love letter" extended to the City of Buffalo, but which came off more like a middle finger extended to the City of Buffalo.

Third-worst day in city history: Aug. 25, 1998. Seven vats of prime microbrew and 160 kegs -- all in all, some 12,000 gallons of beer -- dumped into city storm sewers after the closing of the Breckenridge Brew Pub on Main.

Second-worst day in city history: Jan. 27, 1991. Wide right.

The newly anointed worst day in city history: June 20, 1999. Skate in the crease.