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COMMENTARY

Bruce Andriatch: Amherst needs a motto. Here are some ideas.

Amherst is in the market for a motto, which raised at least two questions: a) Why doesn’t it have one? and b) Why does it care?

But its mottoless status is understandable. How do you sum up such an unusual place in a few words? Geographically speaking, it's huge: more than 53 square miles. And parts of it have no seeming relation to other parts. You have the quaint and charming village of Williamsville – Motto: We’re quaint and charming – but you also have huge retail corridors and areas notable for office parks and light industrial developments.

And what to highlight? Its history? Its status as the second largest municipality in Erie County? All the Canada geese?

I’ve lived in Amherst for 18 years so I know a little about life here. That’s why I feel qualified to offer the following suggestions.

Amherst: Plenty of free parking available.

Amherst: Where most of the people who say they live in Williamsville really live.

Amherst: Sure we get snow in the winter, but not nearly as much as other places. (We’re looking at you, Hamburg.)

Amherst: Because there’s no such thing as too much development and open space is overrated.

Amherst: Our houses are not sinking anymore … as far as we know.

Amherst: Ten fire districts, no waiting.

Amherst: You know that water tower where you get stuck in traffic every morning? That’s ours.

Amherst: Home to the part of the University at Buffalo that everyone thinks was a mistake.

Amherst: We don’t like to bring it up, but yes, O.J. Simpson once lived here.

Amherst: Where all the rich people used to live before Clarence was a thing.

Amherst: Home to Getzville.

Amherst: An anagram for hamster.

Amherst: Home to the first McDonald's in New York State and, like, 4,000 Tim Hortons.

Amherst: A small-town feel, but big enough to have two Targets.

Amherst: So what if we named our town after the guy who introduced smallpox to Native Americans. Who are you to judge?

Amherst: Maybe not THE safest town in America, but definitely safe-ish.

Amherst: First alphabetically in a list of Erie County towns, if you don’t include Alden.

Amherst: No U.S. presidents are from here so you can’t hold that against us.

Amherst: Just because we live here doesn’t mean we automatically know where Eggertsville ends and Snyder starts.

Amherst: For some reason, most of us don’t bother to lock our houses or car doors.

Amherst: At this rate, we’ll have more apartment complexes and student housing than people in a couple of years.

Amherst: 20 minutes from everything, if you hustle.

Amherst: Home to Ellicott Creek and Tonawanda Creek, but we’ll be darned if we can be sure which is which.

Amherst: Avoid Niagara Falls Boulevard and Transit Road on the weekend. And during morning and evening rush hour. And some midafternoons. You know what? Just avoid Niagara Falls Boulevard and Transit Road.

Amherst: You don’t have to live here to get pulled over for speeding, but it doesn’t hurt.

Amherst: Not only is our town bigger than both Tonawanda and Cheektowaga, it’s much easier to spell.

Amherst: This all used to be farmland.

Of course if none of these ideas are right, there is always one other obvious way to go:

“Amherst: The town with no motto.”

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