"Oh, you're from Buffalo? I bet you spend all of your time in the City."
No, no I don't.
If you're from Buffalo and you've ever been outside of the country, even outside of the state for that matter, I guarantee you that you've heard this before. For some reason, everyone outside of New York State is confused as to exactly how small of a state New York really is. I know plenty of people who have spent their entire life in Buffalo but still haven't made it to New York City.
And that's because, while in the same state, they aren't all that close.
Buffalo lies at the terminus of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario to the far west of the state, while New York is in the southern most portion to the east. While it may appear that the two are somewhat close, the 400-mile drive between the two takes just over six hours.
It may seem like a stretch but commuting between the two isn't the most direct. If you're coming from Buffalo, the fastest way to drive is taking Interstate 90 to Syracuse and then Interstate 81, to 380, to 80, before crossing the George Washington Bridge. On a good day you could possibly make the drive in about five and a half hours, but generally it's six or more. Traffic is slow and the drive takes you pretty far out of your way. It would be so much more convenient if there was a direct shot, cutting through the heart of the state, but unfortunately there isn't.
To put this into perspective, the drive between Buffalo and New York City is equivalent to a drive between New York City and Virginia Beach, or even Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Even Portland, Maine is a shorter drive at only five hours. You'd be better off heading to Toronto since it's less than two hours away.
So, the next time you're visiting family or friends outside of the area, don't hesitate to give an education lesson. By no means to do I condemn those who aren't brushed up on their geography, I just think it's important that they understand for when they come to visit that they probably won't be visiting Buffalo and New York in the same trip unless they fly.