Home Sweet Home
I was talking about choosing a new house with someone at work the other day and I said how nice the location of my house is compared to some others. All things considered, our neighborhood is in damn near a perfect location. Almost everything I'd ever need is within walking distance, and I can ride my bike to damn near everything else. I can walk (within 15 minutes) to: Grocery Store, Hospital, Doctor, Dentist, at least 6 Restaurants (probably more than 10), 2 Pharmacies, 2 Day Cares, Post Office, Bank, Bakery, and various other stuff like toy stores, butcher and even the WNY AAA headquarters. Notably missing from the "walkable" list is a big box retailer, and any kind of hardware store. The "bikeable" list brings all those into range. Within about a 15 minute ride there's 2 small hardware stores, a Lowes, Target, about 30 more restaurants, another Wegmans and a million other things in a suburban shopping mecca.
What more could I ask for? It's a little loud. We're about 1/2 mile from the big roads, so it's not bad, but a little more distance wouldn't be bad. Of course a little more distance would really increase travel time, so I think it's a good compromise. It would also be better if we didn't have to cross 6 lanes of busy traffic to get anywhere. It would also be better if we were a little closer to the thruway. We're about 4 or 5 miles and several rather busy traffic lights away.
I honestly can only think of one or two better (realistic) places to live in all of Western New York. I think we made a good decision when we chose our neighborhood. My first choice would be the Village of Orchard Park, which wouldn't be realistic because my drive to work would be over an hour. Everyone dreams of a house on the lake, but we can't afford that.
There's probably about 300-400 houses in the 8 or so square miles that I'd call our neighborhood. We're boxed in by 4 major roads, and our house sites in about the middle. Head West and the houses get larger and larger until they're 5,000 sq foot mansions with tennis courts. Head to the East and the houses are generally smaller. Our side of our street has lots that are about 3x as deep as most others for some reason. The houses aren't bigger, they just have deeper lots.
But of course a neighborhood is more than houses, it's also the people that dwell within. Most of the houses to the West were built in the mid to late 1960s, a couple streets appeared in the 1980s as well, but the entire area was filled by the early 90s. 30 years ago this was a neighborhood of Doctors and Lawyers. They're still around, but their kids are gone, and they're quickly moving out. We're becoming a neighborhood of teachers, managers and librarians. It's also an incredibly diverse neighborhood.
Looking south from our house: 90+ year old woman from Italy, next door to her an old man I know nothing about, next to him a single guy about my age, across from him are 2 houses of people about our age. Next to them is an older African American couple.
Directly across the street is a 80 something year old widow. Next to her is a couple just a little older than us. He just got laid off from a local factory, she cleans houses. They're afraid they're going to have to sell the house. Next to them is an older couple that has not one, not two, but 3 Mercedes.
Looking North is the mysterious Russian immigrants who own a Russian restaurant. They don't own the home but are apparently renting it from a relative or something. I only got the story second hand, so I don't know what's really going on over there. But we never see them, so I don't care much. Next to them is a could about our age, young kids, she's a teacher he manages an office "Super Store".
Looking East (backyard) is an African American women who'd probably about 60, just retired. Next to her is a Doctor, he's from India, she's not. The house on the other side might be empty, I've never seen a light on or anyone there.
The neighborhood is changing quickly. There's probably about 12 houses for sale, and I'd bet double that number have been sold in the almost 2 years since we moved in. Most of the new folks seem to be solidly middle class, most of them have young kids.