U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New York > Buffalo area
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 08-08-2013, 12:20 AM
 
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
114 posts, read 233,176 times
Reputation: 181

Advertisements

I am a Masters degree student at the University of South Florida in Tampa. I am researching places to earn my PhD, and I posted here last year concerning UB and the local area, but I'd like to ask more about the culture of the area in general. UB's PhD program stands out to me most out of all the programs that I have researched. That, coupled with the area's seemingly low cost of living, make it an extremely attractive option for me to finish my studies.

I am a cultural studies (American Studies) student. I know, stupid liberal arts degrees. But I'm passionate about my field and I'm pretty dang good in it, so I would like to pursue a career related to American Studies, be it in academia or the corporate world or a non-profit.

That being said, I am also a trained meat cutter at a well-regarded grocery chain in FL (Publix). While earning my PhD I'd like to work at a place like Wegman's to keep my skills sharp and maybe earn some money while locking myself up to complete a dissertation.

Would it be hard getting into Wegman's? Yes I'm sure it won't be the best paying, but in Florida you're lucky to make $10/hr at a retail/service job or at entry-level corporate jobs, and the rental market really makes it impossible for young, single people to afford to live here.

Also, is housing really that affordable, or is there a catch? I live in St. Pete and I've looked up crime stats and all of the areas in or around Buffalo seem to be safer than where I live in St. Pete. To put some perspective on it, paying $600 a month will get you a tiny studio in a decent-ish (aka student and retiree populated) area of St. Pete, where rent in Buffalo seems significantly cheaper. Here we also pay around $150 a month for cable, and around $150 for power. Water/sewer/trash are normally included with rent.

Furthermore, I was looking into moving to Niagara Falls to take advantage of their Live NF initiative. I know that is a decent commute from Niagara Falls to Buffalo, but is there a public transit option? Living in the SunBelt, I've become sick and tired of traffic on 8-lane roadways and I would prefer to take a train to school/work if possible (it's not possible down here). Is Niagara Falls really awful? Once again, I'm not some sheltered suburbanite hipster who wants to boost his street cred.... I've lived in cities with crime and I consider myself a successful city dweller. Different races don't bother me. I don't travel into blighted neighborhoods alone nor late at night, I don't mind the loudness that comes with city life, etc.

Lastly, what is the entertainment scene like in Buffalo/Niagara? What are some cultural things that I should be aware of coming from Florida? I do love sports, so I'll be sure to go to a Bills game (even though I'm a Jets/Bucs fan), but how is the local music scene? How are the eateries and bars? I'm into good, hometown food. I don't need gourmet mayo on my sandwich. I don't need ultra chic seating at my bar. But I don't really like canned food that I could make at home on my nights out. Pretty much a "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" kinda guy if any of you are familiar with that show.

What are some things to do besides eat? I love music, nature-y stuff, art museums, historical tourism, etc. once again, I could care less about posh places.

Thank you all for reading my extended post. I am certain many of you are wondering why somebody would leave a paradise like Florida for the tundra of WNY, and I must say that I love my state and my city. I was born in Orange County, NY, however, and recently I have felt compelled to return to my home state. I find that Tampa and Buffalo are similar in that nobody wants to love their city. I promise if I move to Buffalo/Niagara, I'll take my civic pride with me and learn to love what WNY would have to offer!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 08-08-2013, 05:50 AM
 
877 posts, read 1,449,717 times
Reputation: 1102
Personally, I've lived in Buffalo since 1990 and I love it. From the way you describe your interests, Buffalo seems like a good fit. The summers TOTALLY rock and and people say that this makes up for the winter. However, I love the winters and the more snow the better because I like to get out with my kids to go sledding or skiing. Niagara Falls (from what I've heard) is a bit rough, but I am sure there are plenty of livable places. The population has been dropping in NF proper so there are likely to be many abandoned homes, etc., but you can also find stuff for very cheap (just don't pay too much because the prices aren't really stable yet). If you are going to be studying at UB North Campus, then yes it is a bit of a hike and I can't think of many easily accessible public transportation options from the falls so you will most likely be driving. However, the traffic into UB isn't really that bad. For rents in Buffalo you can find a good sized (1500 sq ft) 3 bedroom place for about $750 (not including utilities). I don't know the market for smaller places. I don't suspect becoming employed as a meat cutter will be too difficult, however, I can almost assure you the pay is likely closer to $9/hr. However, if you're smart about it you can find inexpensive accommodations. You may want to consider the cities of North Tonawanda and Tonawanda as alternatives. Depends on what you are looking for. Most of the "cultural" stuff will be happening in Buffalo proper. The toughest part will be the gainful and steady employment. Once you have this locked in, everything else is smooth sailing.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2013, 06:28 AM
 
223 posts, read 676,342 times
Reputation: 257
WNY has lots to offer. You'll find the area has more "good places to live" than not, it really depends where you're working & going to school. Summers are awesome and winters can suck however the last 2 winters have been so mild we wonder if it's a sign of the Apocalypse!! People are super friendly here and the cost of living is pretty cheap. Wegman's is always rated one of the best places in America to work and it's a great place to shop as well!

Hopefully you'll make the decision to come to WNY and see what so many of us already know!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2013, 10:34 AM
 
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
114 posts, read 233,176 times
Reputation: 181
I should add that hopefully I won't need to work, as most PhD programs come with funding and teaching positions. That being said, cutting meat is fun for me and a useful trade to have, so I wouldn't mind doing it a few days a week for extra cash.

Thanks for the quick replies already guys!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2013, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 8,277,283 times
Reputation: 13779
If you're going to be studying at UB, you probably should just live around the Buffalo area, although I second Genoobie's suggestion of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda (which are sort of between Buffalo and Niagara Falls). UB's South Campus is right inside the northern city limits and has good access to rapid transit, both the subway and buses. There are also shuttle buses between the North and South Campuses. Furthermore, don't worry about traffic because compared to many other cities, we don't have much. Except in rush hour, driving is not much of a hassle because our roadways were built to handle much more traffic than there is today.

Yes, housing is cheap. Genoobie knows rents better than I do. Here's also a site that does apartment complexes: Buffalo Apartments. There are many others sites, too, but this one features some of the newly renovated places and higher end rentals. Campus Manor is very close to UB's South Campus as well as public transportation. I think the thing that you have to be most concerned about is utilities, specifically heat. Renting an apartment in an old, drafty, uninsulated house/building could break your budget during the winter. Ask to see heating bills for your apartment or you can call National Fuel Gas to find out what the previous tenant paid (do NOT rent a building with electric heat in the Buffalo area).

In addition to Wegman's, you might want to consider working for Tops Markets. They are unionized and pay probably pay better than Wegman's.

There are tons of things to do in the Buffalo area, from AAA baseball, NFL football, and NHL hockey games to free concerts down by the waterfront to partying on Chippewa Street into the wee morning hours to Shakespeare in the Park. Big time arena acts come to the First Niagara Center. Buffalo is filled with remarkable 19th and early 20th century architecture, and has some important museums/art galleries/historic sites in and around the city, most notably the Albright Knox Art Gallery. You can cross country ski in Delaware Park, ice fish in the Small Boat Harbor, golf at numerous public courses or catch some rays at Isle View or Beaver Island. Buffalo has a couple of nature preserves right within its borders: Tifft Farm and Times Beach plus the Reinstein Woods in Cheektowaga. Erie County has a wonderful county parks system including Chestnut Ridge, Emory, and Sprague Brook among others.

If you need a big city fix, Toronto is less than two hours away.


Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-09-2013, 07:48 PM
 
Location: West Village, Buffalo, NY
69 posts, read 178,120 times
Reputation: 168
It's great to hear you're considering UB and living in the Buffalo area.

Other posters have covered some of your main topics, so I'll try to cover some of the others.

I'm intrigued by your description as a "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" sort of guy. Buffalo is honestly filled with places like that. Old taverns, diners, bakeries, butcher shops, etc. Buffalo is full of late 19th and early 20th century neighborhoods (some of them gorgeous, some of them pretty shabby) and with those old neighborhoods come quite a few family businesses that have just kind of been there forever and never closed. In addition, Buffalo has been kind of ignored by the national retail chains for the last 30 or 40 years, so we have every type of store that you usually find as a national chain (ie. hardware stores, garden shops, grocery stores), but they are local stores or small local chains.

Also, linda_d is right, we don't really have any traffic in the Buffalo area except for a few minutes during rush hour, so driving wouldn't be so bad. Parking at UB North Campus (where your classes would be) is a mess, though. On the other hand, we actually have a pretty good public transportation system (service is really only good within city limits, though), so it would be an option. The transit system is based around one subway line that runs from downtown to UB South Campus and then UB provides a shuttle bus that runs from South Campus to North Campus.

The problem with Niagara Falls is the complete incompetence and corruption of its city government. It has been declining for decades and shows no sign of letting up, but it is getting to be so small (less than 50,000 people now) that it is more desolate and decayed nowadays than really dangerous. That said, there just isn't really much left there from its glory days - a few aging hotels and a lot of boarded up storefronts. I wouldn't really recommend living there unless you have a good reason to (the Live NF program, for example, which does seem pretty cool.) Niagara Falls doesn't really have much public transit - no connections to UB, for sure.

The entertainment scene is surprisingly good for a small city. Lots of good local musicians and there are tons of concert series (free and not) throughout the city and the burbs, especially in the summer, some of them bringing in some pretty big acts. Great food and bars, too. Also, as linda_d said, we're two hours from Toronto, so if the act doesn't come here, they definitely come there.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-12-2013, 11:22 AM
 
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
114 posts, read 233,176 times
Reputation: 181
Thanks for the great responses and advice guys! ladlm, thank you for addressing issues with Niagara Falls. As long as I'm not moving into a warzone, I don't really mind urban blight.

I'm not sure how much you all know about St. Pete, but up until about 5-8 years ago this city was considered "God's Waiting Room," both for being dangerous and because many retirees lived here and contributed little else besides property tax and medical bills to the local economy. But it took a few groups of people to get together and really help turn St. Pete into, in my opinion, the best urban environment in Florida.

Unfortunately this uplift has made the city quite hip, and therefore working students such as myself barely scrape by due to the rise in housing costs (and lack of rise in wages for the most part).

It's really the opportunity to contribute to the potential rebirth of a city that has me really excited about Buffalo and/or Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls' homebuying incentives and Live NF initiatives seem almost too good to be true or to pass up, but Buffalo seems like a great place!

One of my main topics of interest in my research is urban living and neo-urbanism, and it seems like WNY could be a living labratory for that sort of research and civic participation.

I'm glad to hear that most chain stores haven't infiltrated WNY. While I shop at WalMart for things sometimes like everybody else, I certainly prefer mom-and-pop type places if I can help it. It seems like your food scene is great there!

Once again guys, thank you for the great responses. If you have any more advice, please lemme hear it!

Oh... One more thing! Since I'm coming from FL, I've only driven in snow on vacation once... How long does that add to your daily commute and morning routine? Is the snow really that bad up there? Thanks again guys!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-13-2013, 05:45 AM
 
223 posts, read 676,342 times
Reputation: 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by powellmacaque View Post
Oh... One more thing! Since I'm coming from FL, I've only driven in snow on vacation once... How long does that add to your daily commute and morning routine? Is the snow really that bad up there? Thanks again guys!
Snow never seems to be a huge problem. Because we're use to it here in WNY most towns know how to clear it pretty quickly and most people know how to drive in it. It might slow you down a bit but it's also slowing down everyone else too. You may want to add 5 or 10 mins to your commute time depending on how far you go but it's never a game-changer (unless it's so bad you stay home but then your commute would be 0 and that may happen once a winter if you're lucky!)
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-13-2013, 12:30 PM
 
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
114 posts, read 233,176 times
Reputation: 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepin4us View Post
Snow never seems to be a huge problem. Because we're use to it here in WNY most towns know how to clear it pretty quickly and most people know how to drive in it. It might slow you down a bit but it's also slowing down everyone else too. You may want to add 5 or 10 mins to your commute time depending on how far you go but it's never a game-changer (unless it's so bad you stay home but then your commute would be 0 and that may happen once a winter if you're lucky!)
Haha that's good to hear. Unfortunately Floridians aren't so adaptable. Even though it's extremely flat here and it rains every single day, drivers still forget how to drive in even the smallest of rain showers . It's good to hear that those in WNY aren't as clueless behind the wheel.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-13-2013, 01:43 PM
 
223 posts, read 676,342 times
Reputation: 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by powellmacaque View Post
Haha that's good to hear. Unfortunately Floridians aren't so adaptable. Even though it's extremely flat here and it rains every single day, drivers still forget how to drive in even the smallest of rain showers . It's good to hear that those in WNY aren't as clueless behind the wheel.
LOL!! Unfortunately not everybody up here can drive in the snow but as long as you slow down you'll be fine. Another tip is pay the $$ and get snow tires. Some places like Dunn Tire will mount snows and store your summer tires for you and then in the summer they'll swap them out and store your snow tires. It makes it almost hassle free. We have one 4WD vehicle and the other is front wheel drive and with snow tires on it it's been fine every winter.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:




Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New York > Buffalo area
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top