From BN360 member Andy Kucserik:
I think it’s often easier to complain about what’s going wrong than it is to celebrate what’s going right. I know I’ve caught myself doing the former more often than I’d care to admit. I also think Buffalo takes its fair share of criticism, whether it’s for sports, weather, or economy. Recently, however, I had a chance to spend time with a group of Buffalo Niagara 360 professionals touring Buffalo’s storied waterfront on an early Saturday morning.
My motivation for joining the tour was simply to break down some of the stereotypes I’ve formed in my own mind about Buffalo over the years. I’ve lived and worked in Buffalo my whole life mainly because I have very strong family ties to the area. And while I’ve traveled to many great places, Buffalo has always been the community I call home. So every time I hear that Buffalo is nothing more than an arctic rust pot famous for losing championship games and a waterfront that hasn’t changed in decades, it quickly sets my gears in motion. I find myself saying “we’re not the only city that gets snow,” “we have more sunny days than Orlando,” “we support our teams through thick and thin, win or lose.” Eventually, you wonder if you’re the only one who cares, given that things have been slow to change.
You could call me cautiously optimistic when I first heard plans for waterfront development. But on this cool spring morning I found myself wandering around in awe through the Commercial Slip, the Naval Park, the boardwalk, all of which will soon become part of the larger Canalside project. Suddenly, I could visualize the potential the area has. I started to feel like a part of something more than what I’m supposed to feel as a Buffalo resident. I felt pride and excitement. I felt like someone was listening to all those complaints, even if they were silent protests of things gone wrong in Buffalo’s past. It was like someone was reading the collective minds of this community and actually doing something about it. Our hosts, Dave Stebbins and Peter Cammarata of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, were great guides, with a clear commitment to Buffalo and a focus on economic prosperity.
I’ve often wondered if there’s a sense of insecurity about who we are as a city. I hear it when I talk to people everyday. And yet, I think we’re on to something that will break down that mentality, something that we’ll call our own, through our own hard work and dedication, something to be proud of as a whole.
I think it’s also easier to give up when it’s too tough, but I sense a “movement” in this community pushing for excellence. I’m a firm believer that Buffalo is on the precipice of reclaiming some of the glory of the yesteryears, and it’s nice to see things happening for a change. Say what you will you about rusty grain elevators and unused manufacturing plants, but just know that Buffalo is rich in history because of the commitment of generations before us, and will certainly be rich in history because of us. We’re only just beginning.
I guess I believe we all create our own destiny, but it’s nice to see so many people working together for the greater good. Shouldn’t that be what people talk about when they mention Buffalo? All it takes is a little change in mentality, and an opportunity to get reacquainted with Buffalo. I bet you’ll be surprised at what you see. I was, and it’s called progress.