Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.
February 12, 2007 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Help me not be buffaloed by Buffalo.

I'm about to accept a position in Buffalo that I and my beloved are very bouncy about, which leads to several queries.

Neighborhoods. I've read the auto-free guide, but that stops in 2000. What's the current sense of University Heights or the area around UB south campus more generally? Howsabout Riverside? We're not fans of gunfire and robbery, but at the same time that's emphatically not code-talk for "no brown people visible from the window." Where else should we be looking, or not looking?

Commuting. I'll be working at UB, so ex ante we're mostly looking in Parkside, U-heights, north Buffalo, and the north towns. But I keep seeing what appear to be good deals around Cazenovia Park and in the south towns. Is commuting from south Buffalo to Amherst going to really chap my ass in winter, or is it not a big deal?

Houses. Here in Denton, I have a decent sense of the market: $100K gets you a fine place with a few compromises, but not necessarily where you want it to be, $90 will get a house with at least one thing you really don't like or that really needs fixin', and less than about $85 for a house means that there's at least one potentially lethal problem with the house. So how does that work in Buffalo? Where's the line between a house that's basically fine, but will have some compromises in it, and one that's just plain fucked-up in one way or another?

So do y'all have Swiss Chalet there, or will I and my favorite Canadienne need to trek to Fort Erie or NF, ON for that?

Decent video rental places?

Any recommendations for a skid-school for a rank newbie at winter driving?

Any other words of wisdom? What do we need to do to make this city be home?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe to Travel & Transportation around Buffalo, NY (42 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: They have Swiss Chalet, although I hated it the only time I went. :-)

Near South Campus the white and black areas are actually pretty starkly divided along Main Street, with the predominantly white side a lot nicer. I, a white guy, lived about a block into the mostly black side and had no problems except two bad hit-and-runs on my parked car. Then again, I spent most of my life in the DC area, so Buffalo wasn't going to trip many danger sensors for me. A block or two further west or south looked markedly worse and, iirc, was statistically worse for crime.

Amherst and Williamsville are absurdly safe (and absurdly white and a lot of the UB faculty live there) while just a few blocks from South Campus in Buffalo proper it can get a little shady.

There is a single subway line that goes to both campuses so if you're worried about driving, you might want to live near it. Plowing is prompt and excellent, btw, and the snow is generally snow rather than ice or freezing rain.

I never really went down south of the city, so I can't say anything about that.
posted by callmejay at 12:45 PM on February 12, 2007

Oh, and they have several blockbusters and I'm sure other places as well. There's also a great and cheap chain of 3 theaters that shows artsy movies hard to find elsewhere.
posted by callmejay at 12:46 PM on February 12, 2007

Check out Amherst. Like callmejay says.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:53 PM on February 12, 2007

Indeed, I'm from Amherst, and my grandparents and a bunch of family still live there. I'll vote for that too.
posted by SirOmega at 1:00 PM on February 12, 2007

Response by poster: Howzabout Kenmore or Tonawanda town?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:05 PM on February 12, 2007

Response by poster: And thanks, BTW.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:05 PM on February 12, 2007

Best answer: I live in Buffalo, have most of my life...
So, here goes.

University Heights is a college neighborhood. If you don't mind that, you could be happy there. It's affordable, that's for sure. However, crime there has been going up, and I personally feel old walking around there (I'm 27). I, personally, wouldn't live there. Not for fear of the "brown people", but because frat boys puking on my lawn doesn't do it for me.

North Buffalo is near the Heights, but a lot nicer, as is parkside. If you have a family I'd say North Buffalo or parkside is your best bet.
I wouldn't want to drive from South Buffalo to Amherst, but commutes are shorter here. The southtowns are also known to get a lot more snow.

Prices range wildly for homeowners depending on where you're looking.
We're talking 35K on the East side for beautiful condition, to $300K or more in Allentown or some parts of the Elmwood Village. (we're talking 6 brd fully restored Victorians there).
The Elmwood Village (roughly Forest to Bryant, between Delaware and Richmond) is a beautiful area. Allentown is a bit less "trendy shop" and more, um, alcohol oriented. But again, still very nice. It's also a historic preservation district, so we have some of the best examples of Victorian architecture in the US.

As for housing value... hm. I'm a renter, so I'm not a HUGE help, but I do know 100K can buy you A LOT of very nice house in most areas. We have some of the cheapest housing in the US. I'm hoping to buy before I'm 35 and only plan to spend about 70 (but I want a fixer-upper, so YMMV)

I think there's a Swiss Chalet in the burbs, on Niagara Falls Blvd. Not sure if it's still around, though.

We have the video chains- Blockbuster and Hollywood. The local chain, DVD Dot, is gone. Mondo Video on Main St near UB is an independent store specializing in arthouse and indie film, they also have classic porn, old educational films, that sort of thing. They're awesome.

Winter driving is so not as bad as everyone says, seriously. Get good all-season radials, you'll be fine. Most people don't have snow tires unless they have to go to the country a lot.

Buffalo's a vastly underrated city. I have a 1500 square foot 3 bdr flat in a disgustingly trendy neighborhood and I pay half what my sister does for a place the size of my kitchen in Boston. I love my neighborhood (Allentown), there's some great places downtown, if you're a fan of theater you'll we've got a lot of that, too.

Last call is 4 am, and we mean it. (seriously, don't try and keep up with the locals there, we're professional drinkers).
Don't bother trying to get hockey tickets this season, they're basically sold out until playoffs.

Links of interest:
Buffalo Rising

If you want feel free to drop me a line kellyhelene AT gmail DOT com
posted by Kellydamnit at 1:07 PM on February 12, 2007 [2 favorites]

callmejay, the subway doesn't go to the campus in Amherst.
It runs from downtown to the South campus, in the city.
posted by Kellydamnit at 1:08 PM on February 12, 2007

ROU, will you be teaching at UB? I ask because I have a friend who will be teaching there next year - in graphic design. I'm gonna send him the link to this thread, as I imagine he has the same questions...
posted by Slothrop at 1:09 PM on February 12, 2007

Best answer: University Heights is pretty safe if you use common sense, although most of the houses in the area have been converted into student-quality apartments. You might also want to consider Kenmore (Delaware/Colvin area) in addition to North Buffalo -- it's not too far from either campus, it's safe, and there are many nice, well-maintained older houses on charming tree-lines streets, if that's your kind of thing. Snyder and other areas northeast of South Campus would be good to check out too. South Buffalo and the south towns (Hamburg, East Aurora, etc.) tend to get hit hard by snow, so I'd reconsider looking there if you're at all skittish about winter driving. UB virtually never closes, not even for blizzards. Also, callmejay is mistaken about the subway -- it does not go to North Campus; just South Campus from downtown. There are buses that run frequently between the campuses but they are slow.

Also, I'd personally avoid Amherst/Williamsville/Clarence -- I grew up there, and although it's safe and the schools are good, it's also soulless and full of insufferable nouveau-riche types.

$150K should get you a decent house pretty in most areas.

Buffalo and its suburbs have pretty much all of the major chain stores, and if you've never experienced the wonder that is Wegmans, prepare to be amazed. I miss Wegmans...

It's actually a neat little city, and I'd be more than glad to unload my knowledge of it on you if you have any questions -- my email is fuzzybroccoli [at] yahoo [dot] com (don't ask...). I'm also a UB alum if you have any university-specific questions.

Congrats on the new job!
posted by AV at 1:13 PM on February 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

ROU_Xenophobe, what are you looking for? The neighborhoods vary wildly here.
Do you want urban or suburban, new builds or old, that sort of thing... We might be able to give you a better idea of where to look if we know what kind of neighborhood you want.
posted by Kellydamnit at 1:14 PM on February 12, 2007

Whoops, that should be "pretty decent house," don't know how I messed that up!
posted by AV at 1:15 PM on February 12, 2007

Best answer: I have lived in Buffalo for 13 years.

Check out this guide for food in and around Buffalo:

Bill Rapaport's Buffalo Restaurant Guide This is pretty comprehensive.

Kenmore is lovely. It is safe and pretty while, although not totally. Tonawanda can be gfreat in some areas and not so great in others. But nothing too unsafe.

I work on the West Side, and if you want a nice victorian going for a song, look into anything on Richmond. It can be hit or miss, but there are some great houses for sale on my drive to work.

North Buffalo is really my favorite place to live, and I have lived in Amherst, in Allentown, and in the University Heights area (above the old Coffee Bean Cafe, now Shango). It is safe but not "too safe", there are great little bars, the only Target in the city limits, the Wegman's (oh wait till you go to Wegman's...) and a Hollywood Video AND a Blockbuster. And Mondo is awesome.

Just about any of us Buffalonians will teach you to drive inthe snow. It is not at all hard. You just need to pay attention.

Suisse Chalet is on Niagara Falls Blvd., about a 15 minute drive. You will quickly love other food here ore than that, as Buffalo has some fine eating. I know! Who knew? But we do.

Email in profile-- I would be happy to talk to you about anything. I attended UB forever and ever, as well, so I can talk about that, too.
posted by oflinkey at 1:19 PM on February 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

...and the "don't ask" referred to the weird email name, not 'don't ask questions.' Argh, I really am not a moron, I just didn't preview!
posted by AV at 1:20 PM on February 12, 2007

Kenmore is pretty white. Sorry. I am in a bit of a hurry.
posted by oflinkey at 1:20 PM on February 12, 2007

I had NO IDEA how many Buffalo folks there were here! Wow...
posted by Kellydamnit at 1:23 PM on February 12, 2007

Response by poster: ROU, will you be teaching at UB?

Yeah. At least, I'll be blethering at students.

what are you looking for? The neighborhoods vary wildly here.

We know what we want, but also that we won't get all of it. My favorite Canadienne hasn't been in a while, but I was very happily impressed by the town when I was interviewing, even under 20" of snow.

We'd like:

*Older, but not falling apart. Stuff that's ultimately cosmetic like a skanky old kitchen is okay, but stuff that's busted and needs fixing not so much. Probably not new-builds.

*More toward the urban than suburban, but not a really postage-stamp backyard. Enough to put out a couple pieces of dog agility equipment at a time. Or, alternatively, a farmhouse and a couple-few acres out in the sticks.

In a lot of ways, we're willing to go where whatever house happens to have the best compromise between charm, fixed-up-edness, yard size, and convenience is.

We've been having lots of fun at buffaloniagarahomes.com. My favorite is this one house downtown where one of their photos is of someone in bed.

UB virtually never closes, not even for blizzards

HA! As it happens, my interview was 12 and 13 October. And then the 14th and 15th and 16th as well, but at least I had power. A kind soul even drove me to Wegman's or Top's one day to stock up on sundries, and... wow.

Thanks again. I can see why it earned the nick of the friendly city, and hope I can add to that. I or Mrs. Xenophobe will likely be pestering some of y'all over email over the next several months.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:42 PM on February 12, 2007

Response by poster: Of course, a kitchen that's not all skanky and ugly is even better. I mean that we can probably live with stuff that works, but is ugly, if the house has other charms to compensate. But stuff that's just plain busted, not so much.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:44 PM on February 12, 2007

Best answer: *More toward the urban than suburban, but not a really postage-stamp backyard. Enough to put out a couple pieces of dog agility equipment at a time. Or, alternatively, a farmhouse and a couple-few acres out in the sticks.

Parkside or North Buffalo, for sure. Maybe Kenmore, but I've always thought the lots in NB and Parkside were larger for the most part. I think the houses are nicer (more likely to find original woodwork and the like, and bigger), too, but that's a matter of personal tastes.

If you want the sticks maybe something towards Akron or Newstead, which is a reasonable commute to UB.

"Charm" doesn't even begin to describe most houses in Buffalo.
posted by Kellydamnit at 1:55 PM on February 12, 2007

Best answer: It's been 25 years since I've lived in Buffalo, but I loved growing up there. It is a great place to live, provided you have a stable job (the local economy is still in the thank from what I hear). It used to be resoundingly Catholic but I think that's changing (it used to be that apartment locations were described by which Catholic parish they were in!)

Don't worry about the snow; the key is that if the snow gets deep, drive slowly but don't ever stop or you may not get going again! Coming from Buffalo, I found Texas ice storms to be far more trecherous than Buffalo snow. Really. (And I'm in Fort Worth, a stone's throw from you.)

I grew up in Cheektowaga. It was fine when I was there, but it's getting more urban in nature since the Galleria opened and my mom punched out, buying a home in West Seneca. That's probably further than you want to commute, so stick with the recommendations thus far: Amherst, Kenmore, Tonawanda, etc.

If you want to endear yourself to the locals, start reading the SabreSpace forums to learn all you can about Buffalo Sabres hockey (the top team in the NHL right now). Know who the Goose is and why his loss is felt by the team. Weigh in on who to keep when the free agent signings come at the end of the season- Drury or Briere.

I would love to move back there, but my wife's health doesn't do to well in the cold weather. So I envy you! Enjoy your time there.
posted by Doohickie at 2:17 PM on February 12, 2007

Best answer: my interview was 12 and 13 October

Well, it looks like we've already rolled out the welcome mat for you!

"Charm" doesn't even begin to describe most houses in Buffalo.

That is so, so true.

It sounds like, from your criteria, that you'd be happiest in the Parkside area. I had a friend growing up who lived in the Main St./Humboldt Pkwy./Parkside Ave./Amherst St. area, and her house was one of those gorgeous old Victorians that would cost a fortune in other cities: high ceilings, big baseboards, pocket doors, stained glass windows, and a decent (for the city) sized yard. Not sketchy or run-down at all the last time I was there, but I haven't spent a huge amount of time in that neighborhood since she moved a few years ago.

Akron or Newstead is indeed a decent choice if you're looking for some acreage, however a lot of the sprawl from Clarence is heading out that way and the roads there are plowed less frequently during the winter.
posted by AV at 2:58 PM on February 12, 2007

(Sorry if I was wrong about the metro. I could have sworn I metroed to North Campus once, but it was a long time ago.)
posted by callmejay at 3:17 PM on February 12, 2007

Best answer: Update: Given what you want, I think you might like to live off of Hertel Ave. or Parkside. There are even great options there that are not victorian, but more 1920-1940 architecture-- you know the kind where the house is built like a big, gorgeous wooden tank. Many of those are a stone's throw away from one of my favorite bars (and we have a lot of bars), Sterling Place Tavern.
posted by oflinkey at 5:48 PM on February 12, 2007

Response by poster: Oh, I likes me that sort of semi-craftsman style house too, as does Mrs. Xeny.

Thanks! Now to hope that the right place comes available later in spring/early summer...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:17 PM on February 12, 2007

You know, I don't think there's ever been a Buffalo meetup. When you comin' around, Xenophobe? Cause I can smell a reason for a barbecue a mile off.
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:04 PM on February 12, 2007

Response by poster: July or August probably. Depends on when we close on whatever house we eventually get!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:46 PM on February 12, 2007

sacre_bleu, I was just thinking the same thing. Shoot... I didn't even know how many Buffalo peeps there were here.
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:46 AM on February 13, 2007

Best answer: I just moved to Buffalo from Boston MA six months ago. I was expecting that it would be a huge adjustment, because being from Boston my whole life all I ever heard was "Buffalo is a dump." But, we decided that we would at least give a 2 year commitment. It didn't take long for us to find out that it isn't a dump, it's kind of cool. We bought a much nicer house here (Elmwood) than we could ever afford back home, and the neighbors are really great. We love it, and we don't think we'll be leaving anytime soon. I miss my family and friends back home, but I don't ever want to live in that rat-race city again.

ROU, you're welcome to use my e-mail (in profile) if you have any Buffalo newbie questions, or if you want to know what the current house market is like, or more detail of our last six months.

Everyone else, count me in on the next Buffalo meetup!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:22 AM on February 13, 2007

Best answer: ROU, I too work at UB. I'll try to fill in some blanks for you in addition to the "me too".

First, you want to check out the NFTA website. They run the buses and our singular subway. They have some incredibly corny ads on TV but the service is pretty good.

UB runs a shuttle service between the two campuses (North/Amherst and South/Main). The schedules are online.

For many many years I've taken some form of bus/train to the south campus and the shuttle to the north campus. It's not that bad and a great way to get a lot of reading done. The bus stop on the south campus is between the upper entrance to the subway station and the health sciences library. You can just about throw a stone from one to the other.

As far as neighborhoods go, I would avoid University Heights: it's frat heaven. Too many puking drunks.

If you want a 'city living' experience, look in the Elmwood Avenue area. It's, roughly, bound by Forest Ave on the north, Delaware Ave on the east, Richmond on the west, and North St on the south. Elmwood is rich with small stores, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, the local co-op, etc.

South of the Elmwood is Allentown. It's like Elmwood only smaller, older, and higher concentration of bars. On the one hand there's Mulligan's. From what I understand, it's not that awesome. And the legendary "Old Pink" (Pink Flamingo), a former punk bar that's mostly turned into the place you go when you're a) under 29, b) it's 2am, and c) you want to feel like you're "living on the edge." The members of the latter have rooted out all those who gave it character.

On the other hand, Allentown hosts the lovely Nietzsche's and Allen Street Hardware (former hardware store, now a wine bar).

Allentown is a very diverse community. Arlington Park used to be filled with all the "old" Allentown people, those who would be righteously indignant at Joe Rubino (owner of Nietzsches). Days Park is a mix of families, apartments, younger folks, older folks, and ethnicities.

Allentown is roughly bounded by Main (east), North (north), Virginia (south), and bunch of other streets on the west. A little farther down it becomes the "lower west side" which, for some reason, seems to have a greater hispanic population than other areas. The plus to that is the Tops in that neighborhood has an awesome hispanic food section. And the restaurants down there are great too (Tim's Rendezvous has great creole, for instance).

For what it's worth, North Street used to be the northern boundary of "Buffalo" and the majority of the houses there were built prior to 1900. So they tend to be smaller and on smaller lots. And they are absolutely incredible deals for older architecture.

Much of North Buffalo was built after 1901 (Pan American Exposition). I've lived in the Parkside area (right next to Delaware Park. Again, nice architecture. Bigger houses. Not as much easy access to stuff as Elmwood or Allentown (more of a walk to Hertel Ave). One of the art movie theaters is on Hertel Avenue.

North Buffalo proper is generally anything inside the Amherst, Main, Kenmore, and Elmwood Ave box. A big portion around Hertel Ave was predominantly Italian, so there are some remnant (Italian Festival in the summer, food stores on Hertel). Many of the houses are duplex, usually upper and lower (actually that's the case throughout much of the city). Lots are a little larger but not much. I have a friend who bought a house in N Buffalo and is/was raising chickens in the garage. I've lived in N Buffalo (near Hertel and Colvin) and I can attest that it's a pretty nifty place. Lots of stuff nearby from big grocery stores to a really cool new restaurant (Empire Grill). Hertel Ave is trying to become the new Elmwood.

Kenmore is quite white. As a suburb, most of the buildings are post 1920. My house is on the first street into Kenmore and was built in the 20s. Nice interior detail, big porch, decent back yard, good neighbors. If you live near Delaware Ave, you have access to the "village" portion (great candy/ice cream shop, some good restaurants, farmer's market on Saturday during the summer, etc).

South Buffalo was once the home to much of Buffalo's steel and grain industries. There's a big Irish population there. It's my impression that those who could move further out (Orchard Park, West Seneca) did so. The housing stock is older (pre WWII) and newer and you'll find some amazing values. I've had friends who lived in S Buffalo but I've never lived there.

As for the buses... You can get a monthly pass that's good for the core zone (the city itself) or one that's useful to further zones (some suburbs). The city is well-served by buses. Buses run either in/out of the city (Elmwood, Niagara, Delaware/Colvin, Main, et cetera) or across the city (Delevan, Kenmore, Amherst). If easy access to public transportation is important, look at the maps on the NFTA site. Of the places I've listed, Allentown, Elmwood, North Buffalo, and Kenmore have good access. There's a bus that runs up/down Elmwood with good frequency (Elmwood passes through Allentown, btw).

The train from Allentown to the South Campus is about 15 minutes. The bus (which goes up Main) probably takes 30 minutes for the same trip (more stops/traffic). The longest walk from anywhere in Allentown, in the worst weather, to the Allen Station (in Allentown), is probably 10 minutes.

If you live somewhere in the Elmwood area, you'll probably want to catch a cross-town bus to the nearest train station (offhand, there's the Utica and Delevan buses). The walk form Elmwood and Utica to the Utica train station is about 10 minutes on a nice day.

North Buffalo has the Hertel Ave bus and the Kenmore (oh, and Amherst) for access to the train stations. Parkside is near the Humbolt Hospital station.

Kenmore has just the Kenmore Ave bus. On the plus side, it takes you right to the Main St campus.

Finally, home values. You can get a lot of home in Buffalo for $100k. Depending on the suburb, less so. Amherst and Williamsville are decidedly pricier. My home in Kenmore was about $80k and any improvements I've made have been to make it nicer. I looked at a bunch of houses in Buffalo and, like everywhere, there's a wide range.

If you want a guide or need a hand for anything, hit me up. I'm pretty sure my email is in my profile.
posted by jdfan at 12:53 PM on February 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

See also this post comparing Buffalo and Burlington for links to good stuff in Buffalo
posted by jdfan at 12:58 PM on February 13, 2007

Southern Tier in the house!

(Never before have I been proud of that fact. It's a new day.)
posted by waxbanks at 2:41 PM on February 13, 2007

Just piping up to say that Kellydamnit said it all and it is strange that we don't yet know each other in person...of course, this being Buffalo, we probably do!

Also to add, Elmwood and Allentown are the center of the universe for me.

Meetup at Nietzsche's?
posted by Riverine at 4:37 PM on February 13, 2007

Best answer: Another Buffalonian chiming in.

Couple things I'd like to add:

Driving in Buffalo is not like driving in most other cities. Traffic is pretty lite. On a Saturday afternoon I can get just about anywhere in the city or suburbs inside of 15-20 minutes and I never worry about finding parking. Our public transportation system is pretty good, but if you live outside of the city proper (amherst, kenmore, williamsville) it basically doesn't exist.

We've been househunting for about 5 months. To give you an idea of what it's like, first off, no one sells their house in the winter (why it's taken us so long to find one).
We're planning on spending less than $130,000 dollars. We are looking for a 4 bedroom with full basement, kitchen, dining room and 1.5- 2 bath with a garage and a yard. With no improvements needed (move in ready). Right now we're looking in Allentown and Elmwood Village (hard to find as both are "hot" right now) and North Buffalo (parkside and hertel area NOT University Heights the market there is falling). We've looked at some perfectly nice houses that have only been $80 just a bit small.
We have the absolute BEST real estate agent here, if you're looking for someone. He's patient and nice and really wants us happy.
Maybe we'll have a housewarming BBQ this summer!
posted by Formiga at 6:04 PM on February 13, 2007

Also to add, Elmwood and Allentown are the center of the universe for me.

Meetup at Nietzsche's?

I know that feeling... I live pratically at Allen and Elmwood!

Although I'm thinking a meetup at the Gate may be better... less noise to talk over.
posted by Kellydamnit at 6:38 PM on February 13, 2007

well, why not have a meetup?
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:28 PM on February 13, 2007

I too am moving to the Buffalo area and this thread is quite helpful. I have three children but I would like to live in the Allen/Elmwood area - any advice?
posted by iwishmylastnamewaswallace at 3:04 AM on February 14, 2007

iwish, get them into either a private school, Catholic school, or charter school.
posted by Kellydamnit at 4:53 AM on February 14, 2007

kelly, what makes you say that? I will admit, I have heard some pretty harsh reviews on the Buffalo public schools...but private and charter schools give me the creeps...
posted by iwishmylastnamewaswallace at 3:11 AM on February 15, 2007

The buffalo city schools are a joke, they're overcrowded, and unless you're talking magnet high schools (ours are, strangely, some of the best in the US. They also require an exam to get in), sub par compared to the national average.
The teachers have been fighting with the school board for years, the school board with the teachers, and the kids suffer for it.

The private and charter schools will ensure your kid isn't, say, pushed into fourth grade over his third grade teacher's objections due to his complete illiteracy because they district doesn't want to educate a kid for an extra year (not kidding, this happened to a teacher friend of mine).

I live across the street from a new charter school in the heart of Allentown. It's the first time in the city I've ever seen actual activity in a school building after classes end. After school programs.... who would have thought!

Granted, YMMV depending on the neighborhood, the schools in areas like Parkside, South Buffalo and the Elmwood Village are going to be nicer than those in, say, the East side or lower West side. But even those don't hold a candle to the suburban schools just outside city limits.
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:40 AM on February 15, 2007

wow, I really appreciate the info - I will start my homework now for next year (my daughter will be in 1st grade). If you hear of any other info or know anybody I could speak with - let me know...my email is on my profile page. Thanks again...
posted by iwishmylastnamewaswallace at 8:52 AM on February 15, 2007

Response by poster: Subquery:

So I'm nosing around the realty webspace and there's lots of good-seeming houses available for almost nothing in Lockport. I mean, stuff like this or this or this.

WTF? I mean, that first one is like the Addams house.

Is it just that Lockport is inconvenient, sleepy, and oh-my-God-kill-me-now depressing, or is there something more concrete going on here? Built on toxic waste or Indian graveyards? Roving bands of kick-murder replicants back from the offworld colonies? CHUDs?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:50 AM on February 15, 2007

Lockport can be all three. Public transportation to/from Lockport is practically non-existent. Well, there's a bus that goes to and fro and, coincidentally, the North campus is the southern terminus.

Which reminds me of another point: the non-crosstown routes usually terminate downtown. If you live in South Buffalo (or East Aurora or most of Cheektowaga or certain other areas) you have to take a bus downtown and then catch the train (or bus) to your other destination.

Back to Lockport. The houses you found are all in older sections (with some great architecture, located near "downtown" Lockport). Lockport is a good 30 minute drive to downtown Buffalo and some folks consider that inconvenient. And the amenities in Lockport aren't that awesome (only one large grocery store, one home improvement store, a Walmart, etc). Parts of Lockport are becoming a new suburb a la portions of Lancaster, Orchard Park, etc (mcmansions, nowhere near the houses you've found).

If you want to live in a kinda small town, Lockport's not bad. The commute to UB is a lot better than from south of Buffalo (freeway jams, etc). If city life is your thing, I think you'll be disappointed. Lockport has a lot more access to "the country" than the city. And many of the farmer's market vendors who show up at the one in Kenmore and the one on Bidwell Parkway are from near Lockport.

I've been living in the country outside of Lockport for almost 2 years now and it's pretty nice. We enjoy the country, the folks we meet, etc.

If you want to know more, drop me a line. Be more than happy to answer any questions, hook you up as best I can.
posted by jdfan at 12:20 PM on February 15, 2007

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