0141. Reentry shock after two days in Canada... (USA 068--new)
Buffalo Travel Blog› entry 19 of 49 › view all entries
Can you believe it? I actually have reentry shock after being in Canada for two days!
After visiting 5 Canadian cities without seeing the least sign of urban decay anywhere, I cross the bridge to Buffalo, New York. Right near the bridge I park my car and head towards downtown on foot.
Immediately I notice something really odd about the neighborhood: on the right side of the street are sparkling, brand new houses--clearly a bit urban renewal project. On the left side of the street are old houses at various levels of decay... Now why would the city renew one side of the street and not the other?
I got it! I got you figured out Buffalo! Hah!
See, the houses on the right are immediately visible to Canadians crossing over and taking the freeway.
That's it! We Americans are embarrassed about the state of our cities and we don't want the Canadians to see what we're really like! So we've got to put up a nice little façade for them... Hilarious!
Now once I reach downtown, it became clear that Buffalo was truly a great city at one time. Here the skyscrapers are not just buildings--they're elaborate works of art. It seems that back in the old days Buffalo was trying, trying so hard to look as cool as it's bigger brother, New York City...
And when you realize that the city has half the population it had 70 years ago and that pretty much all industry packed up and left a long time ago, you've got to admit that Buffalo has weathered all that pretty well.
While parkbenching in front of the gigantic city hall a Buffaloian stops by and started complaining about everything from the lack of jobs to the salt used on the roads in the wintertime.
"But I still love this city" he says...
But after seeing Canada, I can't help but wonder if maybe things could've been different here in Buffalo--and scores of similar cities... Here, Big Industry can create a huge metropolis in just a couple of years--and then a few decades later, just shut down and leave the city in shambles. I guess that's capitalism... but maybe it didn't have to be that way. Canada’s growth has been much more slow and steady—no big boom, so no real bust either way. And quite frankly, looking at the contrast between Buffalo and, say, Hamilton, Ontario, I’ve got to say that I like the Canadian model better.
All due respect to folks in Buffalo... but it sure is funny that you guys feel you've got to try to look good for the Canadians...