Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Buffalo Is Not New York City.

This started as a Facebook note, but I thought I'd put it up here instead. I know it's not really in line with what I usually write about, but it's my blog and I do what I want, mwahahahahaha. Anyhoo...

It's one of those things I should be used to. It's been happening my whole life. But for some reason it gets to me every time.

When someone asks me if I am from New York I am always going to say NO. Because 99% of the time they mean NYC. Especially now that I am in NYC and I know people are asking if I am from this city.

When I say no I will clarify and say I am from Buffalo. I'm terribly sorry if that confuses you. Yes, it's in New York State. But that's not what you were asking and you know it.

Buffalo is not an extension of NYC. It's clear on the other side of the state, it will take you 8-10 hours to drive there. It is a completely different world that just happens to lie in the same state borders.

I happen to be from the only area of the country (that I can think of) where you can't simply say the state you're from. Which is why it will always go "Michigan" "Arizona" "Florida" "Buffalo" when I am there.

Frankly, I don't have much love for Buffalo outside of Duff's, the Sabres, and the three relatives I still have living there. I certainly don't want to live there again. The thing is, though, where you grow up shapes you as a person. And since Buffalo is so radically different from NYC, I would probably be a very different person if I had grown up here. So it's important to me to make the distinction.

I mean, if you can go from one end of Brooklyn to the other and pass through dozens of different cultures and lifestyles, how could you lump in a city that is 400 miles away? It would be like comparing Savannah and Atlanta, Miami and Tallahassee, San Francisco and Los Angeles, or Tucson and Flagstaff. Not the same.

I like to think I'm a relatively intelligent person. Meaning I am aware of what state I grew up in. I am also intuitive enough to know that when someone mentions "New York" everyone will think of NYC unless they are actually FROM another part of the state.

To imply that being from Buffalo is the same as being from New York is insulting, at least to me. It ignores the characteristic differences between the two areas, and honestly, attempting to correct my answer is demeaning my intelligence. I heard your question. I know what you were really asking. And I answered accordingly.

This might be the kind of thing only I am sensitive to. And I know people aren't going to change. I spent five years in Georgia, and even when I explained Buffalo was nowhere near NYC people still assumed I was going to fit the stereotype of a "New Yorker." But it's something I still fight. I guess it comes with the territory when your home state and its biggest city share the same name.

P.S. Buffalo isn't Upstate either. It's actually Western NY.

I'm done ranting now.

No comments: