Last week, the Buffalo News published an article documenting that teens find the Elmwood Village and Hertel Avenue “hip”. An encouraging write up from a teen’s point of view that gave both neighborhoods some great free press. I’ll take that any day.
Just a few short years ago, Hertel wouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence as the Elmwood Village – whether it was a teen, adult or senior citizen talking. But clearly, things have changed and we now have a legitimate debate on which area is better.
Truth is, they’re tough to compare as they host a different demographic and present a different image. If I had to brand the two, I would dub Elmwood as the hip part of town, but I’d call Hertel the cool part of town.
Elmwood is fashionable, trendy, artistic and maybe even a bit pretentious.
It’s a mature neighborhood filled with eclectic personalities, densely populated (arguably overcrowded), but without a doubt a vibrant and lively locale. Some of my absolute favorite places in all of Buffalo happen to be in the Elmwood Village. Cecelia’s and Blue Monk top the list; I love Urban Threads for clothes and Bidwell Parkway in the summer is has an unbeatable vibe.
I love Elmwood. I just don’t want to live there, nor do I like it better than Hertel. (This is a blog about Hertel, what did you expect?)
Hertel is the down to earth side of town, with similar offerings minus the hipster counter-culture. People start families and buy furniture and home decor here, but they also enjoy similar amenities in terms of dining, fashion and nightlife.
The Italian influence still remains with places like Johnny’s Meats, Caruso’s Imports and Lombardo’s still going strong. The revitalized North Park Theatre is a gem that few areas anywhere can boast. And Mes Que has become WNYs only true soccer outlet. Something for everyone, but still somehow the appeal is different from Elmwood.
A trend worth pointing out however, is the one that has long established neighborhood shops opening an additional location across town (Spot Coffee, Village Beer Merchant expanded to Hertel, Joe’s Deli added an Elmwood location). This movement confirms both areas are in fact places to be, and we should be thankful the city has two distinct destinations like these. But the rivalry between the two will only intensify as Hertel continues to grow and further develops the loyal following the Village has.
P.S. I have somewhat of a hard time giving the Elmwood Village ownership of Albright Knox, the History Museum or Burchfield Penney. Yes, I know they are physically located on the street Elmwood Avenue. But I view those treasures as a section all their own, separate from the Village. But if they can take credit for them, Hertel is going to take credit for Delaware Park and the Buffalo Zoo. Call it a draw.