By Lucas R. Watson, Assistant Features Editor
Beginning off as a small fur trading post on “Buffalo’s Creek," the land we know as Buffalo has been settled repeatedly by various groups — firstly by the Wenro and Seneca peoples, and then by British settlers. This city follows much of the history of the United States, with the War of 1812 having been fought on our doorstep and the town having been burned in the march towards Washington, D.C., by the British forces. Buffalo was then chosen to be the Erie Canal's western terminus, thereby solidifying Buffalo's future notability for ages to come. The expanse of rail built Buffalo from just a port city to the most prominent grain depot in the world, trumping cities such as Odessa and Chicago. Yet, since the 1950s we have largely fallen into obscurity, only appearing when it comes to our hopeful sports teams or our treacherous weather. Nevertheless, there is a strong beating heart in this city. Ambition is felt among many residents along with the feeling of being a forgotten underdog. You may see the phrase “Keep Buffalo a Secret” on your journeys around the city; it stems from a mural on the 800 block of Main Street downtown. Why do people resonate with this simple phrase? Buffalo is a city unique to itself—with a rather unconventional name, for starters, as well as winters that rival those in Alaska, architectural feats and masterpieces by the three great American architects only seen in one other city (Chicago) and so much more. We are the home of chicken wings and a unique style of pizza, a blend of pizzas from Chicago, Detroit and New York, and we are home to a vibrant waterfront where something is always happening at the lake's edge, from cruises to concerts, festivals and attractions. In the last 10 to 20 years, Buffalo has seen a revitalization from the deepest depths of economic depression, and we have a growing economy and booming industries. Buffalo is beginning to be regarded as a medical, technological, and tourist hub on the Great Lakes. We share many characteristics with other cities on the Great Lakes and the famed “Rust Belt.”
Yet people continue to say, “Keep Buffalo a Secret.” We should be proud of our city, the second largest city in New York State, The City of Good Neighbors and the home of the Buffalo Sabres, the Buffalo Bills, the Buffalo Bandits and the Buffalo Bisons. Since the 1840s, Buffalo has been a shining beacon of hope, opportunity and prosperity upon the Great Lakes. Now we are seeing this light again.
At Canisius, we have the unique opportunity to be directly in the heart of several neighborhoods: the Hamlin Park Neighborhood, The Cold Springs Neighborhood and even the Elmwood Village and Parkside Community. We are the only institution that has access to not one, but two NFTA Metro Rail stations on our campus: the bus which runs up and down Main Street as well as another one that runs up and down Delevan and is situated right next to the Scajaquada Expressway. We are an institution interwoven into the communities we are located amongst and with connections all across the city.
I encourage every single one of you to explore even if you are from the region. There’s always something new to see — trust me. I surprise myself even today when I see a hidden gem I didn’t know about before. And suppose you’re not familiar with the Buffalo area, I recommend simply exploring. Start with some destinations you seem interested in, such as galleries, social venues, and shopping centers. I cannot recommend Canalside, Allentown and Elmwood Village enough. There is something for everyone; I can guarantee it. From antiques and metal concerts to wrestling, dance clubs and everything in between. If you feel lost or unsure where to go, ask classmates from the area or even locals. We’re not the City of Good Neighbors for nothing!
To those coming to Canisius from afar, welcome to Buffalo. We’re happy to welcome you to our hidden secret of a city. To those coming to Canisius from the local region, Let’s give Buffalo a shot again and embrace this city we call home.