I have lived in the City of Buffalo nearly all my life and have always enjoyed the diversity and the community that Buffalo offers.
As a child, I would often join my parents on their trips to work downtown. I was amazed at the mammoth size of the buildings, the many traffic circles and the sheer number of people in the city during the week.
Throughout high school, I frequently went downtown with friends to attend hockey and baseball games, Thursdays in Lafayette Square and various festivals, such as the Taste of Buffalo and Allentown Art Festival. I also went to the Theater District for entertainment.
After attending St. Bonaventure University in Olean, I eagerly returned to Buffalo and began to frequent the downtown area again -- this time as a member of the work force.
Being older now, I have a greater appreciation for the beauty of the older buildings that reflect our storied past.
Buildings such as City Hall, Ellicott Square, Erie County Hall, Guaranty Building, Liberty Building, St. Joseph's Cathedral, St. Paul's Cathedral, Statler Towers and Niagara Mohawk all recall a time in which quality was more important than quantity. The very layout of the city can give us a tremendous history lesson that calls us to learn, if given a chance.
In harmony with the charm of downtown, I take a walk -- not a drive -- down Delaware, Franklin, Elmwood or Richmond avenues to see the majestic architecture fan out from its epicenter. This extension, which does not stop, continues through the Theater District, Forest Lawn, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Museum and our wonderful parks system.
I recently took a trip to the Pacific Northwest. When asked where I was from, I would proudly tell them, with these images engraved in my head. The people said they had never seen someone so proud of their city. I would respond with a smile and say that Buffalo has a lot more to offer than people around the country think.
What does it take to have every resident of the city, and more importantly the suburbs, to feel this same type of pride?
All one has to do is take a trip downtown, park the car and let Buffalo be the guide.
SHANE STEPHENSON Buffalo