Niagara Falls, New York
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2015)|
|Niagara Falls, New York|
Location in Niagara County and the state of New York.
|• Type||Strong mayor-council|
|• Mayor||Paul A. Dyster (D)|
|• City Administrator||Donna D. Owens|
|• City Council|
|• City||16.8 sq mi (43.5 km2)|
|• Land||14.1 sq mi (36.4 km2)|
|• Water||2.8 sq mi (7.1 km2) 16.37%|
|• Urban||366.7 sq mi (949.7 km2)|
|Elevation||614 ft (187 m)|
|• Density||3,955.7/sq mi (1,527.3/km2)|
|• Urban||935,906 (US: 46th)|
|• Urban density||2,663.5/sq mi (1,028.37/km2)|
|• Metro||1,134,155 (US: 50th)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0970406|
|Demonym||Niagarian, Niagara Fallsite|
Niagara Falls (// ny-AG-ra) is a city in Niagara County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 50,193, down from the 55,593 recorded in the 2000 census. It is adjacent to the Niagara River, across from the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and named after the famed Niagara Falls which they share. The city is within the Buffalo–Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Western New York region.
While the city was formerly occupied by Native Americans, Europeans who migrated to the Niagara Falls in the mid-17th century began to open businesses and develop infrastructure. Later in the 18th and 19th centuries, the city began to harness the power of the Niagara Falls' rushing water, which would be used to power factories and businesses, leading to the area's rise in economy, and by the mid-20th century, local businesses were powered by hydroelectric power. As a Rust Belt city, the economy of Niagara Falls witnessed a decline, with globalization heavily impacting the productiveness of local industries.
Despite the decline in industry, the city continues to thrive as a result of tourism associated with the Niagara Falls and the economic support of the nearby city of Buffalo.
Before Europeans entered the area, the area was dominated by the Neutral Nation of Native Americans. European migration into the area began in the 17th century. The first recorded European to visit the area was Frenchman Robert de la Salle, accompanied by Belgian priest Louis Hennepin, who was the first known European to see the falls. The influx of newcomers may have been a catalyst for already hostile native tribes to turn to open warfare in competition for the fur trade.
The City of Niagara Falls was incorporated on March 17, 1892 from the villages of Manchester and Suspension Bridge, which were parts of the Town of Niagara. New York State Governor Roswell P. Flower signed a bill into law forming the city. Thomas Vincent Welch who was a member of the charter committee and then a New York state assemblyman, but more importantly a second-generation Irishman, was there when the bill was signed, and responsible for asking Governor Flower to sign the bill on St. Patrick's Day. George W. Wright was elected the first mayor of Niagara Falls.
By the end of the 19th century, the city was a heavy industrial area, due in no small part to the huge power potential offered by the swiftly flowing Niagara River. There were many industries in Niagara Falls that used the power of the mighty Niagara River. Tourism was considered a secondary niche, while industry was the main producer of jobs and economic backbone.
Ever since the early 20th century, the center of the tourist district was Falls Street, a vibrant street that ran into the main part of the city. Although Falls Street no longer exists in the capacity that it once did, efforts are currently being made by the government and private companies to revitalize and restore what is left of the historic thoroughfare.
The 1950s and early 1960s witnessed an economic boom, as several industries moved into the city to take advantage of the hydroelectric power offered, due to a higher demand for household and industrial products. Paper, rubber, plastics, petrochemicals and abrasives were among the major industries located in the city. This brief period of prosperity would end by the mid-1960s, as the locally owned Schoellkopf Power Project  which later collapsed into the Niagara River, ending an industrial era.
To take advantage of the hydroelectric power offered, New York City urban planner Robert Moses built a new power plant in nearby Lewiston, New York. However, Niagara Falls did not get much of the power created; Most of it went downstate to fuel growing demands for New York City.
The contaminated neighborhood of Love Canal gained national media attention in 1978 when toxins from a chemical waste landfill within the site forced United States President Jimmy Carter to declare the area a national disaster, with hundreds of residents relocating. The Superfund law, which protects people, families, communities and others from heavily contaminated toxic waste sites, was enacted in 1980 in response to the Love Canal disaster.
After the Love Canal disaster, the city witnessed a reversal of fortunes, as labor in Niagara Falls was cheaper to outsource to other countries. Several factories closed, the population dropped by half, and blue-collar workers fled the city in search of jobs elsewhere. Much like the nearby city of Buffalo, the city's economy plummeted downward when a failed urban renewal project took place resulting in the destruction of Falls Street and the tourist district.
In 1995, the city government was the defendant in NAACP v. City of Niagara Falls, which named, among others, then-Mayor Jacob Palillo; City Council Members, G. Tom Sottile, Barbara A. Geracitano, Andrew Walker, Henry Buchalski, Michael Gawel, Anthony Quaranto, John G. Accardo; and City Clerk, Elsie Paradise. NAACP charged that the city was violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. At the time, Niagara Falls' government consisted of a mayor, who acted as chief executive, and seven city council members elected at-large. The NAACP further argued that the city had not given enough representation to African Americans living in the city, which at that time comprised 15.58% of the city's population. The court ruled in favor of the city, which kept its system of government.
In 2001, the entire corrupt leadership of Laborers Local 91 were found guilty of extortion, racketeering and other crimes following an exposé by Mike Hudson of the Niagara Falls Reporter. However, union boss Michael "Butch" Quarcini died before trial began, although the rest of the union leadership was sentenced to prison.
In early 2010, former Niagara Falls Mayor Vincent Anello was indicted on federal charges of corruption. Although not related to his political career, Anello, a master electrician by trade, was also sentenced to 13 months in jail for pension fraud regarding a pension from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, of which he is a member.
On November 30, 2010, the New York State Attorney General entered into an agreement with the city and its police department to create new policies to govern police practices in response to claims of excessive force and police misconduct. The city will create policies and procedures to prevent and respond to allegations of excessive force, and to ensure that police are properly trained and complaints are properly investigated. Prior claims filed by residents will be evaluated by an independent panel.
The city has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places. It also has three national historic districts, including Chilton Avenue-Orchard Parkway Historic District, Deveaux School Historic District, and the Park Place Historic District.
Niagara Falls is located at the international boundary between the United States of America and Canada. The city is within the Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area and is approximately 15 miles (24 km) from Buffalo, New York.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.8 square miles (44 km2), of that, 14.1 square miles (37 km2) of it is land and 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2) of it (16.37%) is water. The city is built along the Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge, which is located next to the Niagara River.
Niagara Falls experiences cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers. Precipitation is moderate and consistent in all seasons, falling equally or more as snow during the winter. The city has snowier than average winters compared to most cities in the USA, however less than many other cities in Upstate New York including nearby Buffalo and Rochester. Thaw cycles with temperatures above 0 °C (32 °F) are a common occurrence. The hottest and coldest temperatures recorded in the past decade were 97 °F (36 °C) in 2005 and -13 °F (-25 °C) in 2003, respectively. 38% of warm season precipitation falls in the form of a thunderstorm.
|Climate data for Niagara Falls, New York|
|Average high °F (°C)||33.5
|Average low °F (°C)||16.6
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.72
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2010, there were 50,193 people, 22,603 households, and 12,495 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,987.7 people per square mile (1,153.5 per square km). There were 26,220 housing units at an average density of 1,560.7 per square mile (622.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.5% White, 21.6% African American, 1.9% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 0.8% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.
There were 22,603 households out of which 23.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.8% were married couples living together, 19.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.7% were non-families. 38.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 4.02.
In the city the population was spread out with 22% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 28.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,800, and the median income for a family was $34,377. Males had a median income of $31,672 versus $22,124 for females. 23% of the population was below the poverty line.
Niagara Falls has a number of places of worship, including the First Assembly of God Church, First Unitarian Universalist Church, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church, St. Theresa Roman Catholic Church in Devaux, Reform Jewish Temple Beth El and the Conservative Jewish Temple Beth Israel.
Although statistically lower in crime than cities in Western New York such as Buffalo and Rochester, Niagara Falls still suffers from a higher than average crime rate. In the wake of recent[when?] gun violence, volunteer groups such as the SNUG movement have been mobilized to stop violence in the city and promote positive community involvement in the troubled areas of the city.
Currently, Niagara Falls' main industry is tourism. The city and falls are currently visited by almost ten million people each year, with the waterfall considered one of the United States' top ten tourist destinations. However, the city struggles to compete with Niagara Falls, Ontario, which has a much more vibrant tourism industry and stronger economy.
The city's economy was originally based around the power generated by Niagara Falls' rushing water. This cheap and abundant source of power was the driving force behind the rapid rise of area industry. Around the turn of the 20th century, thousands of immigrants from predominantly European nations such as Italy and Poland came to the area to work the chemical, steel, and manufacturing plants owned by present-day companies such as the Occidental Petroleum company.
The city, which once boasted slightly over 100,000 people at its peak, has seen its population decline by some 50 percent, as industries shut down and people left for the employment opportunities of the South and West. The unemployment rate in the City of Niagara Falls was approximately 10 percent as of October 2010. About 60 percent of residents in Niagara Falls receive public assistance such as food stamps, welfare, unemployment insurance and Medicaid.
Local and state government officials have vowed[who?] to embrace the physical and cultural advantages that the Niagara region naturally possesses, such as the Niagara Gorge, wine trails, historical landmarks, Little Italy, or Niagara Falls itself. These marketing efforts have attempted to move focus away from the city's industrial past to embrace a tourism-based economy. In late 2001, the State of New York established the USA Niagara Development Corporation, a subsidiary to the State's economic development agency, to focus specifically on facilitating development in the downtown area. However, the organization has been criticized for making little progress and doing little to improve the city's economy.
Arts and culture
The city is home to the Niagara Falls State Park. The park has several attractions, including Cave of the Winds behind the Bridal Veil Falls, Maid of the Mist, a popular boat tour which operates at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge, Prospect Point and its observation tower, Niagara Discovery Center, and the Aquarium of Niagara.
Several attractions also abut the river, including, Whirlpool State Park, De Veaux Woods State Park, Earl W. Brydges Artpark State Park in nearby Lewiston, New York, and Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown, New York.
Former sports teams based in Niagara Falls include the Class-A Niagara Falls Sox Minor League Baseball team as well as the Class-A Niagara Falls Rapids. Currently, the Niagara Power, a New York Collegiate Baseball League team founded in 2007 is located within Niagara Falls.
The City of Niagara Falls functions under a strong mayor-council form of government. The government consists of a mayor, a professional city administrator, and a city council. As of 2011, Paul Dyster is the first mayor of the city to be re-elected since 1987.
The city council serves four-year, staggered terms, except in the case of a special election. It is headed by a chairperson, who votes in all items for council action.
On a state level, Niagara Falls is part of the 138th Assembly District of New York State, currently represented by Republican John Ceretto. Niagara Falls is also part of the 60th Senate District of New York State, represented by Mark Grisanti.
On a national level, the city is part of New York's 26th congressional district and is represented by Congressman Brian Higgins. In the United States Senate, the city and the state are represented by senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
Since Niagara Falls is within the Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area, the city's media is predominantly served by that of the city of Buffalo.
The city has two newspapers, the Niagara Gazette, which is published daily except Tuesday, and the Niagara Falls Reporter, which is published weekly. The Buffalo News is the closest major newspaper in the area and once had a Niagara County, NY bureau that extensively covered Niagara Falls and its surrounding communities.
Niagara Falls is primarily served by the Buffalo Niagara International Airport for regional and domestic flights within the United States. The recently expanded Niagara Falls International Airport serves the city with flights to Myrtle Beach. Toronto's Pearson International Airport on the Canadian side is the closest airport to offer long-haul international flights for the Niagara region.
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is the public transit provider in the Buffalo metro area, with hubs at the Portage Road and Niagara Falls transportation centers.
Six New York State highways, one three-digit Interstate Highway, one expressway, one U.S. Highway, and one parkways pass through the city of Niagara Falls. New York State Route 31, New York State Route 104, and New York State Route 182 are east-west state roadways within the city, while New York State Route 61, New York State Route 265, and New York State Route 384 are north-south state roadways within the city. The LaSalle Expressway is an east-west highway which terminates near the eastern edge of Niagara Falls and begins in the nearby town of Wheatfield, New York. The Robert Moses State Parkway is a north-south parkway that runs through the city along the northern edge of the Niagara River and terminates in Youngstown, New York.
Interstate 190, also referred to as the Niagara Expressway, is a north-south highway and a spur of Interstate 90 which borders the eastern end of the city. The highway enters the city from the town of Niagara and exits at the North Grand Island Bridge. U.S. Route 62, known as Niagara Falls Boulevard, Walnut Avenue, and Ferry Avenue, is signed as a north-south highway. U.S. Route 62 has an east-west orientation, and is partially split between two one-way streets within Niagara Falls. Walnut Avenue carries U.S. Route 62 west to its northern terminus at NY 104, and Ferry Avenue carries U.S. Route 62 east from downtown Niagara Falls. U.S. Route 62 Business, locally known as Pine Avenue, is an east-west route which parallels U.S. Route 62 to the south. Its western terminus is at NY 104, and its eastern terminus is at U.S. Route 62.
Two international bridges connect the city to Niagara Falls, Ontario. The Rainbow Bridge connects the two cities with passenger and pedestrian traffic and overlooks the Niagara Falls, while the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, which formerly carried the Canadian National Railway, now serves local traffic and Amtrak's Maple Leaf service.
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Niagara Falls, New York.|
Media related to Niagara Falls, New York at Wikimedia Commons
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Niagara Falls, New York.|