Quotable Buffalo

When visiting my old stomping grounds of Buffalo last week, I purchased a wonderful book edited by Cynthia Van Ness called “Quotable Buffalo” at the landmark Talking Leaves bookstore and took it back to me to Vancouver and read it twice: Boy, for a “little” book, it is redolent of so much history and culture … and the whole “vibe” of the city I adore. What astonishes is how consistent, over literally hundreds of years, the city’s themes have been. Here’s a favourite:

“If you ask a Buffalo man what is the matter with his city, he will, very likely, sit down with great solemnity and try to tell you, and even call a friend to help him, so as to be sure that nothing is overlooked. He may tell you that the city lacks one big dominating man to lead it into action; or that there has been, until recently, lack of cooperation between the banks; or that there are ninety or a hundred thousand Poles in the city and only about the same number of people springing from what may be called ‘old American stock.’ Or he may tell you something else. If, on the other hand, hyou ask a Minneapolis man that question, what will he do?He will look at you pityingly and think you are demented.” – Julian Street, “Abroad at home,” p. 27. New York: Century Co., 1914

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