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The Guide to Buffalo English

"Welcome to Buffalo, where uppers aren't drugs and Texas Hots are Greek."
Last updated - March 2,007


Some general technicalities
Naming City Regions
When referring to general areas of Buffalo, the following designations are used:
North Buffalo ;
South Buffalo;
East Side;
West Side
The words "Buffalo" and "Side" are usually not interchangeable. It is considered incorrect Buffalo English to refer to "East Buffalo" or "West Buffalo," although you'll occasionally hear references to the "North Side" or "South Side."

Confusing the three Tonawandas
There are three contiguous suburbs of Buffalo with "Tonawanda" in their name. This often causes confusion to outsiders normally used to suburbs all having different names. "Tonawanda Township," or simply "Tonawanda," is the largest, a middle class community of around 85,000 residents located directly north of Buffalo. The "City of Tonawanda" is an older, smaller incorporated city located in the north section of Tonawanda Township, where the Niagara River-East Branch meets Tonawanda Creek. "North Tonawanda" is in Niagara County, north of the previously mentioned Tonawanda's, and is an older industrial city of some 50,000 residents.
What is it, Williamsville or Amherst?
Amherst is an affluent suburban town of some 130,000 residents, located adjacent to and northeast of Buffalo. Williamsville is a quaint incorporated village, about two square miles in area, largely surrounded by the Town of Amherst. However, Western New York residents often consider an area far beyond the village boundaries to be "Williamsville," which can be confusing to newcomers. Most places that some think are in Williamsville are actually in Amherst and Clarence, specifically the 14221 Zip Code and adjacent areas along Transit Road (NY 78). Also, the Williamsville School District (including Williamsville North, South and East High Schools) covers the eastern half of Amherst, which makes the whole "Where is Williamsville?" think even more confusing.
The Village of Williamsville is actually a part of the Town of Amherst. In New York State, villages are considered parts of the underlying towns. (Kenmore is part of Tonawanda; the Village of Hamburg is part of the Town of Hamburg, and so on.) Amherst Town Hall is located in the Village of Williamsville. Amherst also provides many of Williamsville's services, such as police protection. While technically Williamsville is a part of Amherst, Amherst is not a part of Williamsville

Unlike residents of other towns, few Amherst residents refer to their home as just "Amherst." More often, a hamlet name will be used, such as Snyder, Eggertsville, East Amherst, North Amherst, Swormville and Getzville. These are not official government entities, although they may be marked on maps. A similar situation exists in the southern suburb of Hamburg, where residents identify closely with the Carnegie, Mt. Vernon, Locksley Park, Athol Springs, Bay View, Clifton Heights, Wanakah, Scranton and Woodlawn hamlets. You can send mail to "Snyder, New York," or "Wanakah, New York," but not "Black Rock, New York" or "Parkside, New York."

There's probably a lot more that I can say about this, but let's move on ...

Decoding real estate ads
There are several uncommon words used to describe homes and apartments in Buffalo. The vocabulary
  • List Defines
  • Flat

Great Links:

Article From the Toronto Star


Buffalo Niagara Visitors Bureau

Buffalo City Life

Buffalo Summer Concert Series - Thursday At the Square 

Buffalo Tours: here come see the city

 Buffalo Entertainment - Artvoice Magazine

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If I had my way, I'd shuffle off to to Buffalo; Sit by the Lake and watch the world go by.
John Fogerty 1985