August 30, 2006

Hell’s Northern Annex

“I’ve lived in Buffalo for 38 years and I’ve never heard gunfire.” Thus spoke Newell Nussbaumer, an organizer for Buffalo Old Home Week, a festival aimed at attracting warm bodies to the beleaguered upstate New York locale. Not, we must say, a ringing endorsement.

In the August 28 number of The New York Times one can find David Staba’s article “Alumni Reunion Is Staged To Burnish a City’s Image.” Mr. Staba reports on a revamped Buffalo Old Home Week, an attempt to stop the shrinkage of one of the fastest shrinking cities in America.

Now, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade—though you’d be stupid to have a parade in Buffalo—but we happen to think that Buffalo, New York deserves to die. In fact, it possibly begs for a killing.

A few of our editors—let’s just call them “Chip”—spent some time in Buffalo recently, and we must say that we wouldn’t spend 38 years in Buffalo without gunfire: Stuck in that dank hellhole, we’d shoot ourselves long before then.

According to Mr. Staba’s report, the “city’s reputation suffered because of the assassination of President William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition here in 1901….” Uh, sorry Mr. Journalist. That has absolutely nothing to do with it.

After all, President Kennedy was shot in Dallas, but that hasn’t made that city a laughing-stock. And Kennedy was killed far more recently than the murder of McKinley, for crying out loud.

So, let us inform Mr. Staba of why Buffalo is slightly more depressing than an Ingmar Bergman film festival—and far less cosmopolitan. First, we must not forget the weather: It’s miserably cold, horribly windy, and snows quite often.

Even worse, from October to April, the sky in Buffalo is completely overcast. Not just overcast: More than half the year, Buffalo is home to a “The Gods Must Be Angry” sky. It’s like London without any of the vibrancy and culture.

Further, as a cultural center, Buffalo’s moribund. Sure, it’s home to a good art museum. But that’s about it. It used to be a haven for avant-garde classical music (Lucas Foss, Morton Feldman), but now it’s completely dried up. The Buffalo Symphony plays nothing but standard fare for the blue-haired ladies in the audience.

Have you ever been to downtown Buffalo? It’s a complete horror: Boarded up stores, suspicious ne’er-do-wells, urban decay. Talk about a disaster. Even Niagara Falls is a dilapidated mess.

Perhaps the name of one of Buffalo’s most famous citizens will prove our point once and for all: Timothy McVeigh. If you ask us, his lawyers should have used the area he grew up in as part of his defense.

Posted at August 30, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack