07/18/2012 07:49 am ET | Updated Sep 17, 2012

Maria Diakos Loves Buffalo

A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, Maria Diakos is a Buffalo-based lawyer with a practice emphasizing real estate, contracts and small business law.

Dear Buffalo,

You have been the subject of ridicule since Vaudeville performers first started telling stories about being snowed-in while staying in your hotels. Yes, it gets cold. Yes, you haven't had a major league sports championship. Yes, you are a bit out of the way. But you have a lot to be proud of: U.S. presidents, Nobel prize-winners, astronauts and all manner of notables have called you home.

So have I.

When people introduce me by saying I'm "from New York," I promptly point out that I am from BUFFALO, New York. I joke that you can take the girl out of Buffalo, but you can't take the Buffalo out of the girl. You will always have my heart.

You are lovely by design, with beautiful parks by Frederick Law Olmstead. Buildings include those of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. You have neighborhoods established by specific ethnic groups whose cultures still linger in your heart. The West Side Italians, the East Side Polish, the North Buffalo Jewish, the Kaisertown Germans and the South Buffalo Irish all left their mark on you and continue to contribute to the local cultural mosaic. You have museums and culture that are highly regarded. You are in a fantastic geographic environment sitting at the eastern end of Lake Erie along the Niagara River, not far from the western end of Lake Ontario. While it is the cause of "Lake Effect Snow" (our old friend L.E.S.), it also keeps weather milder, earning you the title "Miami of the North."

You celebrate just about everything with festivals! There is the Greek Festival, the Italian Festival, the Lebanese Festival, the Serbian Festival, the Allentown Arts Festival, the Friendship Festival (celebrated on both sides of the border), the Juneteenth Festival, and so many others. All these and more celebrate your heritage and your love of one everyone. Not to forget, you have a winter festival that unfortunately has been cancelled once or twice for lack of snow. Yes, you read that correctly!

If you are a partier, you are also a true connoisseur. Blessed with a climate that creates the most delicious produce -- apples, cherries, strawberries, corn and tomatoes -- you have restaurants everywhere with all kinds of food from beef on (kimmel)weck and your famous chicken wings. You go from hotdogs to gourmet and every ethnic group is represented.

Good thing too because your people will not be ignored.

Your people are tough. Buffalonians stick together when things happen and help their neighbors. Buffalonians are proud. We lived through the Blizzard of '77 together, the Surprise October Storm, Wide Right, No Goal, the shut-down of the steel mills, the closing of factories, the demise of the grain elevators, and yet we are -- for the most part -- happy and philanthropic, always ready to get behind a cause whole-heartedly. Our shared cause being, of course, you.

No matter how far away I am from you, you will always be part of me and I will always be a part of you.

Love always,