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Year of Buffalove: Washington Post projects hope

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Predicting next year’s trends remains a chic activity when the calendar turns, and there are few sources we’d trust more than the Washington Post.

In its annual In/Out list—now in its 36th year—the Washington Post surprisingly handed Buffalo a shout-out.

Though the list compiled by Monica Hesse and Dan Zak portends the end of the nation’s cronut obsession—it shockingly hasn’t crossed the borders of Buffalo yet—lying just below the In/Out of ferns/succulents is a motto that reflects the direction of a fast-moving city.

Zak, a Buffalo expat who worked at The Buffalo News as a city desk reporter and obituary writer before heading to the Capitol in 2005, has an obvious familiarity and affinity for Buffalo, but co-writer Hesse said the decision to highlight the Nickel City was more than just a nod to Zak’s native land.

“...We wouldn’t have included it if we didn’t have reasons to back it up. This isn’t the first time we’ve called one city IN and another OUT – a few years ago, we called Portland OUT and Pittsburgh IN, because the latter displayed many of the same crunchy/bicycle/recyclable features of the former – only a lot cheaper and less smug.

This year, we knew we wanted to call Austin OUT, because the intimacy and funkiness that made it popular to begin with seem to have been devoured by the giant SXSW monster. We’d seen several articles in recent months talking up Buffalo as a great place to live, with a blossoming culture scene and interesting community, so we thought we’d herald it as the next place to live for young people of a certain mindset.”

“Those New York Times articles, the sheen of ongoing Rust-Belt reclamation, the businesses opening in the Cobblestone and Larkin districts, the obscene affordability (at least in comparison to hipper smaller cities), various updates I get from Buffalo friends who are doing very cool things (Ben Siegel’s Block Club magazine comes to mind, as does Second Generation Theatre), and honestly, I do believe Buffalo is becoming the Portland of five years ago,” Zak added.

“Wishful thinking? Romantic loyalty? Maybe. But whatever. We make The List.”

While the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” is projected to fall out of favor in 2014—let’s face it, once like Allentown on HGH, Austin has actually suffered a bit—our own “Buffalove” is the new wave, city-centric slogan that may (will?) become commonplace during the coming 365 days.

The meaning of “Buffalove” is self-explanatory: it’s a wildly deep affection for our city, despite its warts, detractors and often laggard nature.

Or, perhaps it’s just a convenient fit because we’re one of the few major metropolises in America that ends naturally with “LO”. (Seriously, try to think of another one. BoiseLove just doesn’t cut it and frankly sounds a little disconcerting).

References to the catchphrase are popping up more frequently—BuffaLove Development is a neighborhood investment project of New York Times-acclaimed preservationists Jason Wilson and Bernice Radle, while the Buffalo Zoo’s BuffaLoveFest [photos] made a splash over the summer in its inaugural year. 

“Keep Austin Weird” boasts a description that, while a little complex and paradoxical, somewhat distills for what the movement stands: “collaborative fission of coordinated individualism.” From my rather stunted intellectual level, I’d simplify that as “striving together for the individual good.”

Given the momentum behind Buffalove—I’d say it has a more favorable start than Buffalo. For Real did—I wouldn’t be shocked to see more local organizations and media implement the term over the next few months.

(Interior photo from BuffaLoveFest is courtesy of Cody Osborne.)

TAGGED: buffalove, buffalovefest, links, trends, washington post

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