If the old adage is true that misery loves company, Buffalo may be looking for a few new friends. Our neighbor to the west was recently dubbed the 8th most miserable city in America by Forbes magazine.
So, what does it take to be miserable?
We compiled our rankings by looking at the 150 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., which meant those with a population of at least 378,000. We ranked those metros on nine factors: commute times, corruption, pro sports teams, Superfund sites, taxes (both income and sales), unemployment, violent crime and weather.
Maybe a few of our readers can speak to the commute time and corruption. I've heard nothing especially damning about either. As for pro sports teams, there's really only one way to describe the past few seasons of the Bills and the Sabres: implosive. Taxes? Let's not even go there. Unemployment and violent crime... Can't say.
As for weather, the Buffalo News recently ran a piece by columnist Bruce Andriatch who wrote about one city resident who was so furious over having to shovel out his driveway yet again only to get re-buried under dirty snow plowed back onto the apron as soon as he had finished that he quite literally threw the shovel at the snowplow! We saw the grass and mud of the real solid ground the other day for the first time in over a month. And we just averaged the coldest January on record in my lifetime. So weather... yeah, not the greatest. Of course, many of us consider it a character builder. Until we start throwing shovels, that is.
Forbes has this to say of Buffalo:
If you like snow, Buffalo is your place—to the tune of 90 inches a year, more than any other metro area that has a million people. Buffalo's population has been steadily shrinking since the mid-1990s.
We want to know what this means for Batavia... Are we an island unto ourselves? Or will we get caught up in the whirlwind of misery that is Buffalo? Or would you side with columnist Donn Esmonde and look at this as a glass half full and even take umbrage with the ranking?
Honestly, I never found Buffalo all that miserable. I kind of like the city, in fact. They've got a great art museum, for starters. Plus, there's something appropriate to the times in the grey grunge atmosphere of the downtown. But that could be the gritty Upstater in me. Born and raised in blizzards and recessions. Child of potholes and missed field goals.