With my job, I move with a diverse group of folk when getting out of the office. The ones in the office are pretty cool too, but the nature of what we do has you mixing with a number of different publics. One of my favorite on-going collaborations is with the good folks at Visit Buffalo Niagara. The former CVB took a lot of grief from internet wags about their “Buffalo: For Real” slogan and that is unfortunate because it doesn’t really touch on the big picture of this weirdly, wonderful pace we call home. They do tremendous work getting people to come see the place, but something struck me in watching the various reports, tweets, stories leading up to the premiere of “Buffalo:Unscripted,” the documentary about life here.
A lot of folks here don’t venture beyond their own self-inflicted boarders a lot and you need to play tourist in your own backyard now and again. There is a lot happening, but sometimes you have to be curious enough to go get lost. It’s been on my mind a lot as we try to find the right mix to get folks to come see what we’ve been up to at my place of employ.
Wanderlust is in invaluable thing. My folks still live in the house that I grew up, but that neighborhood is shifting and the bulk of the landed immigrants are younger than me and more than once I’ve heard the comment about “Coming all the way out from the city.” Like to get to Clarence from where I reside in the city, you had to stop in Cheektowaga for rest and provisions before completing the journey.
The key to seeing the big picture is to know some things and not care about others, and to occasionally try something new for the heck of it. Stride into Gigi’s on the east side and you know what evil, what torture, what torment you’ll face? A breakfast that will make you wonder where it’s been all your life. I don’t know how many trips I’ve taken down Niagara Street on various missions over the years, but had to remind myself to go explore Squaw Island on a early September afternoon. It was a left turn worth taking.
Between Buffalo: Unscripted and the National Preservationist Gathering, there is a upshot of feeling that we do indeed have some pretty good stuff around in these parts. What I take away is the feeling that people are looking around a little more, which hopefully means less of “I haven’t been there (zoo, museum, fill in attraction here) in years.” And, you know, hopefully, you start with the Zoo, just sayin.”
So, I hope the preservationist conference attendees go back to their homes and talk about what they found, but hopefully the resounding energy of discovery can translate into somebody from Hamburg curious to see the evolution of Canalside or at least lunch at the Niagara Cafe, or gasp, even a little christmas shopping on Elmwood or Hertel. And then maybe dinner in Blackrock!