Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Buffalo - For Real

I just received a video on the City of Buffalo, New York from my aunt. In five gently narrated, beautifully filmed minutes, it imparts a glow and polish on an often maligned rust belt city that also happens to be my home town.

I left Buffalo just before I turned 7, so my early childhood memories are made up of time spent with my family in a modest house in suburban Kenmore and visits to my grandparents' place closer to downtown.

As a kid, I knew nothing of the history of the city, but Buffalo at one time was filled with wealth from its strategic location on the Erie Canal and Lake Erie, fueled by plentiful electricity generated at nearby Niagara Falls. Before so many Americans went west, Buffalo was a real place to be, and the wealthy businessmen and civic leaders built some amazing monuments to the city's prosperity.

The video celebrates Buffalo's "good bones" -- the infrastructure and cultural treasures that make it actually a pretty nice place to live if you like those kinds of urban amenities. There are Frank Lloyd Wright houses (Darwin Martin House in photo), a world-class symphony, an internationally recognized art gallery, beautiful parks, rows of century-old houses and other historic treasures. It looks picturesque and desirable on film.

It's also quite cold in Buffalo, but the video touches on it at the end, showing people playing in the snow, making snowmen, and hinting about being "lucky to be snowed in."

Between the images, the story and the compelling soundtrack, it certainly makes you want to visit. Maybe it's time to go catch up with some family.

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