Buffalo, NY is dark and depressing. But it's also kind of glamorous in a sort of post-industrial wasteland way. Walking down Main Street is almost like being in a ghost town, every other storefront is empty and deteriorating, with cobwebs and broken furniture and decadent goth debris in aesthetically pleasing sepia tones. Buffalo is a good city for goths. I don't know if it's still around, but up until a couple years ago at least there was this club called the Continental, and it was the only good place to go dancing. Small and seedy and predominantly goth-metal-industrial, but since there was really nowhere else in town to go (usually) you'd get some interesting non-goth sorts as well. And the dj's would play old new-wave upstairs and trashy bands would play downstairs. People would really dress up to go there. There was this one girl I used to see there, she had this big beautiful afro and she'd always be wearing long flowing ragged dresses, that seemed to have waving tentacles and appendages attached to them. She'd dance and fling herself around and eventually the dress would come off - and there'd be another one underneath it! Equally as long and flowy and appendage-laden. This would happen a couple times throughout the night. And it always surprised me. I couldn't understand how she could make them fit, she didn't look all bundled up when she had them all on at once. The Continental usually stayed open until 4 in the morning, almost five sometimes, and then the dancing would stop and the kids would go over to this Greek diner on Elmwood Ave. and have breakfast.
Elmwood Ave. is about as close as Buffalo gets to hip. There's usually a couple good vintage clothing stores, though most of them tend to go out of business after a short while. Home of the Hits is the best record store in the city, but they have mostly cd's and not very much vinyl at all. But there's a guy who works there named Eric, and I went in once and asked for LiLiPUT (this was before the reissue came out) and the Razorcuts, and he told me that I'd never find that stuff in Buffalo (it's hard to find almost anywhere) but that he had a bunch of 7"'s by both of those bands and that he'd tape them for me. I thought that was great. The first time I was there was probably when I was about 16 or 17, like in 1990 or 1991, and he was working there then, and he was still working there the last time I went back, which was in 1999.
Buffalo has beautiful architecture. Besides the Frank Lloyd Wright houses and the Guarantee Building, the whole city just has a lot of cool buildings. And rent is cheap. No good bands ever come play there, and when I lived there I was depressed and lonely, it's hard (but not impossible) to find much in the way of interesting and intelligent youth culture. But I imagine that it would be a great place to be a young artist if you had a few good friends there to work with, for company and inspiration. Besides being an affordable place to live, there's so much empty, abandoned space that could be put to good use. And the bars stay open longer.