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Old 02-07-2009, 09:27 PM
 
Location: Now in Houston!
923 posts, read 2,412,923 times
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Default Is Buffalo "Midwestern"

Just wondering what others think about this question.

I was born and raised in Buffalo, but moved to another part of the country, and I've realized that Buffalo really is Midwestern in many ways. Residents (and me) speak with a Midwestern accent which is nearly identical to Chicago or Detroit. But culturally there are definitely Midwestern characteristics that cause Buffalo to have more in common with Ohio, Illinois and Michigan than the East Coast.

Please understand, this is not meant as a negative statement in any way. Quite the opposite, in fact.

This Midwestern tendency was really brought home by this funny little book I saw in Barnes & Noble called I Love Ranch Dressing - And Other Things White Midwesterners Like. My wife and I found so many funny "Buffalo" things in there we had to buy it.

Examples:
Saying "pop" not "soda"
Finished basements with bars or "rec rooms"
Wedding receptions at the VFW
Above-ground pools
The auto industry
County fairs
Christmas letters
Small market baseball teams
The Weather Channel
Talking about the weather with strangers
Bragging about affordable housing (or being horrified at the cost of housing everywhere else)
Fake flowers
Polkas
Illegal fireworks
RVs and trailers
Child-related car decals or bumper stickers ("my child is an honor student..")
Theme bathrooms
For the older folks: Sayings like "jeez", "cripes", "p.o.'d" and "b.s." plus "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!"

These items were things from our own upbringing we thought were very funny and relevant because you don't see or experience them in NYC.

PS: My wife decorated our bathroom with a roses theme. My sister has fish and my mother always had swans
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:36 PM
 
5,265 posts, read 10,240,099 times
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Buffalo and Rochester are both definitely more similar to the great lakes/upper midwest than the cities in the "BosWash" corridor. Buffalo isn't very similar to Columbus, Ohio or Peoria, Illinois culturaly; but it is very similar to Cleveland, Todedo, Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee. It's really a "Great Lakes" thing. Which is why Buffalo and Rochester have that "midwestern" feel to them because they are both on one of the great lakes; while Syracuse (while they still have that nasaly accent) doesn't seem to quite have that great lakes feel. I think there could be an argument made that Cleveland, Chicago, and Milawukee have more in common with Buffalo, Rochester, and Erie, PA than they do with interior midwestern cities like Columbus, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Peoria. Bascially its the "Great Lakes" that has a stronger cultural influence on its cities than the fact that they are technically in the "midwest" or "northeast".
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:47 AM
 
3,235 posts, read 4,990,570 times
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Out of the northeast, Buffalo is probably the most midwestern out of them all, but when compared to the midwest, its nothing alike. There is a similar accent in Detroit or Chicago but it ends there. Most of the midwest does not have that accent.
After spending a good deal of time in the midwest working, I can tell you that its much much slower out there compared to Buffalo. Many areas also seem put an emphasis on religion.
I don't really understand that list. Things such as above ground pools, finished basements with bars, Xmas letters, triple A baseball, bumper stickers are found everywhere.
The weather channel? Weddings at the VFW? Trailers? Theme bathrooms? Polkas?
These things are foreign to me. In Rochester I don't know anybody that fits these categories. Can't think of too many people in Buffalo that have those things either.
I'd say a place like Buffalo is in its own category.
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Boston, MA
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I would say Buffalo is at a crossroads of culture, i.e. between Midwest and Northeast but with a stronger Midwest influence. The blue collar, industrial culture akin to Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago is definitely there but I also experienced cultural similarities to Boston and other New England cities every time I visit as well. I really don't think we are all that different.
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Now in Houston!
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Quote:
Bascially its the "Great Lakes" that has a stronger cultural influence on its cities than the fact that they are technically in the "midwest" or "northeast".
You're right, there is a subset of Midwestern culture centered around the industrial Great Lakes cities of Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Akron, and Erie PA. But Buffalo still has a lot more in common with a place like St. Louis than a place like Boston.

Quote:
I also experienced cultural similarities to Boston and other New England cities every time I visit as well. I really don't think we are all that different.
I think the most obvious similarities with Boston are probably in rooted in Irish Catholic traditions, plus rabid enthusiasm for spectator sports.
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:27 PM
 
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Don't take this the wrong way. (I'd much rather live in the Buffalo area over many other places in the US). The suburbs I been to outside Buffalo have the blandness and the flatness very similar in feel to parts of Ohio and Michigan.

I know most people in Rochester don't like being compared to Syracuse , but the Rochester area vibe and feel are more similar to the Syracuse area than to the Buffalo area IMO.

Here's how I see it. The Albany area has a New England vibe. The Buffalo area has a Midwestern vibe. And both Rochester and Syracuse have a unique vibe not found anywhere else in the country.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:14 PM
 
Location: Buffalo-Rochester
260 posts, read 637,680 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I'minformed2 View Post
Buffalo and Rochester are both definitely more similar to the great lakes/upper midwest than the cities in the "BosWash" corridor. Buffalo isn't very similar to Columbus, Ohio or Peoria, Illinois culturaly; but it is very similar to Cleveland, Todedo, Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee. It's really a "Great Lakes" thing. Which is why Buffalo and Rochester have that "midwestern" feel to them because they are both on one of the great lakes; while Syracuse (while they still have that nasaly accent) doesn't seem to quite have that great lakes feel. I think there could be an argument made that Cleveland, Chicago, and Milawukee have more in common with Buffalo, Rochester, and Erie, PA than they do with interior midwestern cities like Columbus, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Peoria. Bascially its the "Great Lakes" that has a stronger cultural influence on its cities than the fact that they are technically in the "midwest" or "northeast".
I agree Have lived in Rochester and Buffalo and extremely informed and in touch with both communities, I CAN SAY, I CAN SAY. Rochester and Buffalo have a lot more in common then different. Everyone I bump into that I talk to and tell I am from Rochester they always say it is like the same city. I must agree. I think Rochester is just a little better kept.

No Buffalo is not midwest. Buffalo and Rochester both have a unique feel to it. Yes I will fight over this haha. We are WNY and great lake cities!
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Columbus, central city
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I consider Buffalo, Cleveland, and Erie, PA, to be Great Lakes regional cities. Buffalo has a lot in common with Cleveland.
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Moose Jaw, in between the Moose's butt and nose.
4,416 posts, read 4,207,960 times
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Interesting question, WNY may be it's own distinct culture, however, I would say based on observations, it's more like Cleveland, Chicago, Indianapolis, as opposed to Boston, NY or Philadelphia.
Funny, though, based on all the rudeness I saw there, I laughed when folks called Detroit a midwestern city, I thought it was rude like NY.
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:20 PM
 
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I have always maintained that Buffalo is a Midwestern city. Remember, there wasn't that much settlement west of central New York until the Erie Canal - the Canal funneled thousands and thousands of people into Western New York and the Midwest at the same time, so the cultural heritage is the same. That's why the accents are similar.

Also, look at the topography. Western New York is more Midwest-flat than New England-hilly. Straight roads are the norm rather than the exception.

Buffalo is far more similar to Chicago and Cleveland than it is to New York and Boston.
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