Speaking of Winter…

September 11, 2008

Do a Google search for “Buffalo Economy” and you’ll get about 7,680 hits.  Do a Google search for “Buffalo Winter” and you’ll get 9,170 hits.  “Buffalo Snow” gets 15,800 hits.

My company has tried in the past to hire from outside Western New York, and with one exception failed in its attempts.  The number one reason given:  The prospective employee doesn’t wish to put up with the grueling Buffalo winters.

When Harvard’s Dr. Ed Glaeser wrote his infamous article about Buffalo, the one statement that irked me the most was this:

January temperatures are one of the best predictors of urban success over the last half-century, with colder climes losing out—and Buffalo isn’t just cold during the winter: blizzards regularly shut the city down completely.

That bald-faced lie has become a national truth, but as anyone who spends their life here knows, Buffalo has been “shut down” due to snow all of 5 times since 1977, and one of those was in October!  The winters here may produce white stuff in quantities more (94″) than Boston (42″) or New York City (28″); but it rarely has a paralyzing effect.  Contrast that with New York City or Washington, D.C., that effectively does shut down whenever more than 2 or 3 inches fall.

Then there’s Flagstaff, Arizona. It gets more snow on average – 100 inches – than we do.  No one notices.

While we grumble about our lousy economy here, the Google trend – if that means anything – indicates that nationally our weather is more of an attention-getter than is our economy.

I think we should glorify our winter and turn it into a festival to beat all festivals.  A mid-winter Mardi Gras celebration to beat all Mardi Gras celebrations.  Free transportation to Holiday Valley and Kissing Bridge, then to the casinos, a view of the Falls, all-night parties at the convention center, fireworks, ice winery tours.  All we need to do is to make sure there’s enough liquor to last a few days, just in case everyone gets stranded due to weather.