The Quilted Squirrel

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Seven Great Places to Have a Nervous Breakdown in Western New York

Western New York is perhaps one of the best-kept and often-overlooked secrets of the Northeast. It’s abundant with beautiful vistas and natural wonders, rich with history and local culture, and home to lots of friendly people who love to talk about how great it is. That’s probably why People named Buffalo one of the top 100 reasons to love America in 2019* and why, every year, more and more people are choosing to stay instead of fleeing to higher rents and more expensive nut-milk espresso drinks in other bustling metropolises.

With so much to do and see, planning a day trip or simply an afternoon out can be overwhelming—which is why we’ve compiled a short but handy list of places to go when you just need to have a good old-fashioned nervous breakdown. Whether you plan it ahead of time or find yourself caught off guard by its sudden onset, we hope these choice spots will help you make your next nervous breakdown in Western New York one to remember.

  1. The garden and fountain behind the former Butler Mansion on Delaware Ave. This is a great place to have a nervous breakdown because the sound of the fountain (which runs during the warmer months) will drown out any and all of the following: hyperventilating, dry heaving, intermittent sobbing, existential sighing. It’s also relatively low-trafficked and quite peaceful—good for reflecting on what got you to the nervous breakdown in the first place.
  2. The DMV in downtown Buffalo. Everyone here is probably having a nervous breakdown so a.) you’ll have company and b.) it’s likely that no one will notice. This is because the DMV is a lot like an airport. It’s kind of a lawless place that exists on another plane outside of the earthly routines of time and space. Airports, however, are not exactly great places to have nervous breakdowns unless you want to end up on a watch list.
  3. Mid-morning/early afternoon in the organic produce section of the Tops on South Park Ave in Hamburg. Going to Tops always reminds me of going grocery shopping with my parents as a kid. Times were simpler and the mundanity of it all was alleviated by the hope that maybe, this time, Dad was feeling generous or worn down enough to buy me a Snickers at check-out. There is nothing wrong with reliving these glimmering memories as you, standing in the gently refrigerated produce section, contemplating the rapaciousness of time, reach for a nutrient-devoid greenhouse tomato mid-nervous breakdown. At least it’s organic.
  4. An abandoned grain silo. As they say in Buffalo, all roads lead to an abandoned grain silo. Quiet, shadowy, echoing with the heartache of an entire generation—we love a good grain silo for your next nervous breakdown.
  5. The Erie County Fair. You’d think that a nervous breakdown is best had in private, or at least in a relatively quiet place. But you’d be wrong—that’s why, for several weeks in August, the erratic stimulus of the fair, compounded by the company of menacing carnies, makes the perfect backdrop. There’s something kind of metal about it. Besides, what’s funnier than slowly losing it with a half-devoured corn dog in one hand and a dripping cone of vanilla soft serve in the other? Even you can see the slapstick in that.
  6. Under the butt of David in Delaware Park. David’s stoic watch over the 198 is a constant and so is his butt, chilling in the breeze off Hoyt Lake. That’s meant to be a sort of comfort for you, who, in a moment of mental turbulence, might grasp for something solid—unwavering in both a spiritual and physical sense. Plus, it’s a great view (of the park).
  7. Baggage claim at the Buffalo Airport. Forget what we said earlier about airports being bad places for nervous breakdowns, because baggage claim at the Buffalo Airport is actually a great place to lose it. Just picture it: it’s the wee hours of the morning, you’ve just endured a grueling red eye next to a gentleman who watched nine consecutive episodes of pre-Kutcher Two and a Half Men without headphones on and your luggage is yet to appear on the conveyor belt. You’ve seen the horror of lost belongings dawn on the faces of fellow passengers when their bags haven’t quite reached their final destination. Is it your turn now? Your karma isn’t that good. Maybe this time, the cosmic wheel of misfortune has spun and finally sentenced you to luggage purgatory. You picture your bags—your favorite sweater, your good running shoes—on some foreign conveyor belt in some Pynchonian maze of conveyor belts somewhere in airport limbo. All you can do is stand and wait, lulled into semi-hypnosis by the belt’s slow, serpentine journey as you quietly lose your marbles.

*Disclaimer, Buffalo was ranked 19, after Tiger Woods, goat yoga, Pi Day and the Jonas Brothers (to name a few), but before celebrity cruises, Beyoncé and Tim Tebow proposing to his girlfriend, so we have absolutely no clue what methodology determined this ranking. Our best guess is that it was probably one giant word association drinking game gone very awry. Especially because Tiger Woods ranked AHEAD of Michelle Obama which is a criminally insane choice by the editorial board.

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