Illustration by Doug Davis

By Susan M. LoTempio

As I write this, there’s a thick layer of ice outside my window, covered by several inches of snow. Getting around in this kind of weather is treacherous, if not impossible, so I telecommute to work and stay safe and warm inside my home. Unless, of course, the power goes out. A few “weather days” can be welcome breaks from the daily grind, but what really gets me down is the lack of sunshine between October and May, which leads me to ask for the 999th time: Why do I live in Buffalo, N.Y.?

Buffalo, the center of a sprawling region at the western end of the state, represents the best and worst of America. Its suburbs are thriving: Million-dollar mansions are going up, weekend traffic is horrendous as everyone heads out to shop, and the school districts are the best. Buffalo, the city, is a different story.
Last year it was ranked the second poorest city in the nation, just behind Detroit; it is steadily losing population; its school system is a mess, and crime, drugs