Buffalo, New York

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Buffalo, New York
City of Buffalo
Buffalo Panorama 2015.jpg
Sheas.jpg FNC2015.jpg
Erie County Hall 2012.jpg Goldome.jpg
PeaceBr.jpg BfloCityHall.jpg
Flag of Buffalo, New York
Official seal of Buffalo, New York
Nickname(s): The City of Good Neighbors, The Queen City, The City of No Illusions, The Nickel City, Queen City of the Lakes, City of Light
Location in Erie County and the state of New York.
Location in Erie County and the state of New York.
Buffalo, New York is located in USA
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York
Location in the United States of America
Coordinates: 42°54′17″N 78°50′58″W / 42.90472°N 78.84944°W / 42.90472; -78.84944Coordinates: 42°54′17″N 78°50′58″W / 42.90472°N 78.84944°W / 42.90472; -78.84944
Country United States
State New York
County Erie
First settled (village) 1789
Founded 1801
Incorporated (city) 1832
 • Mayor Byron Brown (D)
 • Common Council City council
 • City 52.5 sq mi (136.0 km2)
 • Land 40.6 sq mi (105.2 km2)
 • Water 11.9 sq mi (30.8 km2)
Elevation 600 ft (183 m)
Population (2013)
 • City 258,959 (US: 73rd)
 • Density 6,436.2/sq mi (2,568.8/km2)
 • Urban 935,906 (US: 46th)
 • Metro 1,134,210 (US: 49th)
 • CSA 1,213,668 (US: 44th)
Demonym(s) Buffalonian
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
ZIP code 14200
Area code(s) 716
FIPS code 36-11000
GNIS feature ID 0973345
Website www.city-buffalo.com

Buffalo (/ˈbʌfəl/) is a city in Western New York and the seat of Erie County, located on the eastern shores of Lake Erie at the head of the Niagara River. As of 2014, Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state after New York City with 258,703 residents, and the metropolitan area is the 45th largest in the United States.

Buffalo experienced significant growth in the 19th and 20th centuries as a direct result of the Erie Canal, railroads and Lake Erie, providing an abundance of fresh water and an ample trade route to the Midwestern United States, while grooming its economy for the grain, steel and automobile industries during the 20th century. Since experiencing an economic downturn in the latter half of the 20th century, Buffalo's economy has transitioned to sectors that include financial services, technology, biomedical and education.

Residents of Buffalo are called "Buffalonians". Nicknames for the city of Buffalo include "The Queen City", "The Nickel City", "The City of Good Neighbors",[1] and less commonly, the "City of Light".[citation needed]


The city of Buffalo received its name from a nearby creek called Buffalo Creek.[2] Captain John Montresor makes reference to 'Buffalo Creek' in his journal of 1764, which may be the earliest recorded reference using the current spelling of the name.[3] There are several theories regarding how Buffalo Creek received its name.[4][5][6] While it is possible that Buffalo Creek's name originated from French fur traders and Native Americans calling the creek Beau Fleuve (French for "Beautiful River"),[4][5] it is also possible that Buffalo Creek was named for the American bison, whose historical range may have extended into Western New York.[6][7]


Early history[edit]

Bird's-eye view of Buffalo in 1873
Steel production at Bethlehem Steel on the shores of Lake Erie, 1973

Prior to the Iroquois occupation of the region, the region was settled by the Neutral Nation. Later, the Senecas of the Iroquois Confederacy conquered the Neutrals and their territory, c. 1651.[8]

In 1804, Joseph Ellicott, a principal agent of the Holland Land Company, designed a radial street and grid system that branches out from downtown like bicycle spokes.[citation needed] Although Ellicott named the settlement "New Amsterdam," the name did not catch on.[9]

During the War of 1812, on December 30, 1813,[citation needed] Buffalo was burned by British forces.[10]

On October 26, 1825,[11] the Erie Canal was completed with Buffalo a port-of-call for settlers heading westward.[12] At the time, the population was about 2,400.[13] The Erie Canal brought about a surge in population and commerce, which led Buffalo to incorporate as a city in 1832.[14]

Women workers leave the Republic Steel plant, with open hearth furnaces in the background.

In 1845, construction began on the Macedonia Baptist Church, an important meeting place for the abolitionist movement.[better source needed] Buffalo was a terminus point of the Underground Railroad with many fugitive slaves crossing the Niagara River to Fort Erie, Ontario in search of freedom.[citation needed]

During the 1840s, Buffalo's port continued to develop. Both passenger and commercial traffic expanded with some 93,000 passengers heading west from the port of Buffalo.[15][better source needed] Grain and commercial goods shipments led to repeated expansion of the harbor.[citation needed] In 1843, the world's first steam-powered grain elevator was constructed by local merchant Joseph Dart and engineer Robert Dunbar.[16] "Dart's Elevator" enabled faster unloading of lake freighters along with the transshipment of grain in bulk from barges, canal boats, and rail cars.[citation needed] By 1850, the city's population was 81,000.[14]

20th century[edit]

At the dawn of the 20th century, local mills were among the first to benefit from hydroelectric power generated via the Niagara River. The city got the nickname City of Light at this time due to the widespread electric lighting.[citation needed] It was also part of the automobile revolution, hosting the brass era car builders Pierce Arrow and the Seven Little Buffaloes early in the century.[17] President William McKinley was shot and mortally wounded at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo on September 6, 1901.[18] He died in the city eight days later[19] and Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in at the Wilcox Mansion as the 26th President of the United States.[19]

During World War II, Buffalo saw a period of prosperity and low unemployment due to its position as a manufacturing center.[20][21][better source needed]

With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1957, which cut the city off from valuable trade routes; deindustrialization; and the nationwide trend of suburbanization; the city's economy began to deteriorate.[22][23] Like much of the Rust Belt, Buffalo, home to more than half a million people in the 1950s, has seen its population decline as heavy industries shut down and people left for the suburbs or other cities.[22][23][24]

Modern history[edit]

Like other rust belt cities such as Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Buffalo has attempted to revitalize its beleaguered economy and crumbling infrastructure. In the first decade of the 21st century, a massive increase in economic development spending has attempted to reverse its dwindling prosperity. In the early 2010s, growth from local colleges and universities continued to spur economic development.

Buffalo from Lake Erie, c. 1911.

Geography and climate[edit]

Buffalo is located on the eastern end of Lake Erie, opposite Fort Erie, Ontario, and at the beginning of the Niagara River, which flows northward over Niagara Falls and into Lake Ontario. The city is 50 miles (80 km) south-southeast from Toronto. Buffalo's position on Lake Erie, facing westward, makes it one of the only major cities on the East Coast to have sunsets over a body of water.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 52.5 square miles (136 km2), of which 40.6 square miles (105 km2) is land and 11.9 square miles (31 km2) is water. The total area is 22.66% water.


Skyline of Buffalo, looking east from Lake Erie.
Aerial view of Buffalo's skyline. At center is the Robert H. Jackson United States Courthouse and the Art Deco Buffalo City Hall, with the Buffalo City Court Building to the right. On the far right is One Seneca Tower, formerly the HSBC Building.


Elmwood Village
2001 image of the Niagara Peninsula, Niagara Falls and Buffalo from NASA's Terra satellite.

Buffalo's architecture is diverse in style, with a collection of buildings the 19th and 20th centuries.[25] Most structures and works are still standing, such as the country's largest intact parks system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.[26] At the end of the 19th century, the Guaranty Building—constructed by Louis Sullivan—was a prominent example of an early high-rise skyscraper.[27][28] The 20th century saw works such as the Art Deco-style Buffalo City Hall and Buffalo Central Terminal, Electric Tower, the Richardson Olmsted Complex, and the Rand Building. Urban renewal from the 1950s–1970s gave way to the construction of the Brutalist-style Buffalo City Court Building and the One Seneca Tower—formerly the HSBC Center, the tallest building in the city.[29] Modern architecture since the 1980s includes office buildings such as the Robert H. Jackson United States Courthouse and the Key Center North and South Towers.[citation needed] Prominent architects include Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the Darwin D. Martin House. Grain elevators were invented along the Buffalo River in 1842, and the city maintains one of the largest standing collection in the world.[citation needed]

Aftermath of a snowstorm in Buffalo
Cherry Blossom trees in Buffalo during the spring



Buffalo has a continental-type climate, which is common in the Great Lakes region. (Köppen climate classification "Dfb" – uniform precipitation distribution).[30][31] The transitional seasons are very brief in Buffalo and Western New York.[citation needed]

Buffalo has a reputation for snowy winters, but it is rarely the snowiest city in New York State.[32][33] The Blizzard of 1977 resulted from a combination of high winds and snow previously accumulated on land and on frozen Lake Erie.[34] Snow does not typically impair the city's operation, but can cause significant damage during the autumn as with the October 2006 storm.[35][36] In November 2014, the region experienced a record-breaking storm, producing over 5 1/2 feet of snow.[37]

Buffalo has the sunniest and driest summers of any major city in the Northeast, but still has enough rain to keep vegetation green and lush.[31] Summers are marked by plentiful sunshine and moderate humidity and temperature.[31] It receives, on average, over 65% of possible sunshine in June, July and August.

Obscured by the notoriety of Buffalo's winter snow is the fact that Buffalo benefits from other lake effects such as the cooling southwest breezes off Lake Erie in summer that gently temper the warmest days.[31] As a result, temperatures only rise above 90 °F (32.2 °C) three times per year,[31] and the Buffalo station of the National Weather Service has never recorded an official temperature of 100 °F (37.8 °C) or more.[38] Rainfall is moderate but typically occurs at night. The stabilizing effect of Lake Erie continues to inhibit thunderstorms and enhance sunshine in the immediate Buffalo area through most of July.[31] August usually has more showers and is hotter and more humid as the warmer lake loses its temperature-stabilizing influence.[31]

The highest recorded temperature in Buffalo was 99 °F (37 °C) on August 27, 1948,[39] and the lowest recorded temperature was −20 °F (−29 °C) on February 9, 1934 and February 2, 1961.[40]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 1,508
1820 2,095 38.9%
1830 8,668 313.7%
1840 18,213 110.1%
1850 42,261 132.0%
1860 81,129 92.0%
1870 117,714 45.1%
1880 155,134 31.8%
1890 255,664 64.8%
1900 352,387 37.8%
1910 423,715 20.2%
1920 506,775 19.6%
1930 573,076 13.1%
1940 575,901 0.5%
1950 580,132 0.7%
1960 532,759 −8.2%
1970 462,768 −13.1%
1980 357,870 −22.7%
1990 328,123 −8.3%
2000 292,648 −10.8%
2010 261,310 −10.7%
Est. 2014 258,703 [45] −1.0%
Historical Population Figures[46]
U.S. Decennial Census[47]
2013 Estimate[48]
Racial composition 2010[49] 1990[50] 1970[50] 1940[50]
White 50.4% 64.7% 78.7% 96.8%
—Non-Hispanic 45.8% 63.1% 77.4%[51] 96.8%
Black or African American 38.6% 30.7% 20.4% 3.1%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 10.5% 4.9% 1.6%[51] (X)
Asian 3.2% 1.0% 0.2%
Population of Buffalo, 1830–2006

Like most formerly industrial cities of the Great Lakes region in the United States, Buffalo is recovering from an economic depression brought about by suburbanization and the loss of its industrial base. The city's population peaked in 1950, when it was the 15th largest city in the United States, and its population has been spreading out to the suburbs every census since then. The demographic change and the impact of such change on the industrial cities of the region, including Buffalo, was significant; based on the 2006 US Census estimate, Buffalo's current population was equivalent to its population in the year 1890, reversing 120 years of demographic change. On the other hand, the populations of surrounding suburbs such as Amherst, Clarence, Orchard Park, Cheektowaga, etc. have increased proportionally as automobile-centric lifestyles developed.[citation needed]

At the 2010 Census, the city's population was 50.4% White (45.8% non-Hispanic White alone), 38.6% Black or African-American, 0.8% American Indian and Alaska Native, 3.2% Asian, 3.9% from some other race and 3.1% from two or more races. 10.5% of the total population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.[52]

The median income for a household in the city is $24,536, and the median income for a family is $30,614. Males have a median income of $30,938 versus $23,982 for females. The per capita income for the city is $14,991. 26.6% of the population and 23.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 38.4% of those under the age of 18 and 14.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


The economic sectors of Buffalo include industrial, light manufacturing, high technology and services.[citation needed]

The State of New York, with over 15,000 employees, is the city's largest employer.[53] Other major employers include the United States government, Kaleida Health, M&T Bank, the University at Buffalo, General Motors, and Tops Friendly Markets.[citation needed] In banking, Buffalo is the headquarters of M&T Bank and First Niagara Bank.

Buffalo is home to Rich Products, Canadian brewer Labatt, cheese company Sorrento Lactalis, Delaware North Companies[54] and New Era Cap Company.

The loss of traditional jobs in manufacturing, rapid suburbanization and high costs of labor have led to economic decline, making Buffalo one of the poorest among major U.S. cities with populations of more than 250,000 people. An estimated 28.7–29.9% of Buffalo residents live below the poverty line, behind either only Detroit,[55] or only Detroit and Cleveland.[56] Buffalo's median household income of $27,850 is third-lowest among large cities, behind only Miami and Cleveland; however the median household income for the metropolitan area is $57,000.[57] This, in part, has led to the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area having the most affordable housing market in the U.S. today. The quarterly NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) noted that nearly 90% of the new and existing homes sold in the metropolitan area during the second quarter were affordable to families making the area's median income of $57,000.[citation needed] As of 2014, the median home price in the city was $95,000.[58]

Buffalo's economy has begun to see significant improvements since the early 2010s.[59] Money from New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo through a program known locally as "Buffalo Billion" has allowed plans for different construction programs to proceed, an increase in economic development, and hundreds of new jobs bringing strong economic change to the area.[60] As of March 2015, the unemployment rate for Buffalo was 5.9%,[61] slightly above the national average of 5.5%.[62]


A bowl of chicken (Buffalo) wings and celery.


The Buffalo area's varied cuisine is the result of variety of cultural contributions, including Italian, Irish, Jewish, German, Polish, African-American, Greek, Indian and American influences. In 2015, the National Geographic Society ranked Buffalo as third on their list of "The World's Top Ten Food Cities".[63] Locally owned restaurants offer Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican, Italian, Arab, Indian, Caribbean, soul food, and French cuisine.[64][65] Buffalo's local pizzerias differ from that of the thin-crust New York-style pizzerias and deep-dish Chicago-style pizzerias, and is locally known for being a midpoint between the two.[66]

The Beef on weck sandwich, kielbasa, sponge candy, pastry hearts, pierogi, and haddock fish fries are among the local favorites, as is a loganberry-flavored beverage that remains relatively obscure outside of the Western New York and Southern Ontario area.[67]

Teressa Bellissimo first prepared the now widespread Buffalo wing at the Anchor Bar on October 3, 1964.[68]

The city is home to breweries that continue the city's rich brewing traditions.

Several well-known food companies are based in Buffalo. Non-dairy whipped topping was invented in Buffalo in 1945 by Robert E. Rich, Sr.[69] His company, Rich Products, is one of the city's largest private employers.[70] General Mills was organized in Buffalo, and Gold Medal brand flour, Wheaties, Cheerios and other General Mills brand cereals are manufactured here. Archer Daniels Midland operates its largest flour mill in the city.[71] Buffalo is home to one of the largest privately held food companies in the world, Delaware North Companies, which operates concessions in sports arenas, stadiums, resorts, and many state & federal parks.[72]

Fine and performing arts[edit]

Kleinhans Music Hall is home to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Taste of Buffalo festival, 2008

Buffalo is home to over 50 private and public art galleries,[73] most notably the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, home to a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art, and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center.[citation needed] In 2012, AmericanStyle ranked Buffalo twenty-fifth in its list of top mid-sized cities for art.[74]

The largest theater in the Buffalo area is Shea's Performing Arts Center, designed for 4,000 people with interiors by Louis Comfort Tiffany.[citation needed] Built in 1926 and long known as "Shea's Buffalo", the theater continues to present Broadway musicals, and concerts.

The theater community in the Buffalo Theater District includes over 20 professional companies.[75][76][77] Major theaters groups include The Alt at the Warehouse, American Repertory Theater of Western New York, The Irish Classical Theatre, The Kavinoky Theatre, Lancaster Opera House, The New Phoenix Theatre, Road Less Traveled Productions, The Subversive Theatre, The Theatre of Youth, and Torn Space Theatre. These companies present a variety of theater styles and many present original productions by Buffalo playwrights.

Buffalo is also home one of the largest free outdoor Shakespeare festival in the United States,[citation needed] Shakespeare in Delaware Park.[citation needed]


The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, which performs at Kleinhans Music Hall, is one of the city's most prominent performing arts institutions. During the 1960s and 1970s, under the musical leadership of Lukas Foss and Michael Tilson Thomas, the Philharmonic collaborated with Grateful Dead and toured with the Boston Pops Orchestra.[78]

The Goo Goo Dolls began their career in Buffalo.

Buffalo has the roots of many jazz and classical musicians, and it is also the founding city for several mainstream bands and musicians, including Rick James, Billy Sheehan, The Quakes and The Goo Goo Dolls. Vincent Gallo, a Buffalo-born filmmaker and musician, played in several local bands.[citation needed] Jazz fusion band Spyro Gyra and jazz saxophonists Grover Washington Jr. also got their starts in Buffalo.[citation needed] Pianist and composer Leonard Pennario was born in Buffalo in 1924 and made his debut concert at Carnegie Hall in 1943.[citation needed]

Buffalo's "Colored Musicians Club", an extension of what was long-ago a separate musicians' union local, is thriving today, and maintains a significant jazz history within its walls. Well-known indie artist Ani DiFranco hails from Buffalo.[citation needed]


Festivals have become part of the Buffalo's culture and tradition. Though most of the festivals occur during the summer months, the city has winter festivals that reflect its snowy reputation. Popular summer festivals include the Allentown Art Festival, Taste of Buffalo, National Buffalo Wing Festival, Thursday at the Square, and the Juneteenth Festival. Winter festivals include the Buffalo Ball Drop,[79] Buffalo Powder Keg Festival,[80] and Labatt Blue Pond Hockey.[81]


Points of interest in the city of Buffalo include the Edward M. Cotter fireboat, considered to be the world's oldest active fireboat[82] and is a United States National Historic Landmark, Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society,[83] Buffalo Museum of Science,[84] the Buffalo Zoo, the third oldest zoo in the United States,[85] Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, the Anchor Bar, and Darwin D. Martin House.


A cameraman shoots a game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Buffalo and the surrounding region is home to two major league professional sports teams. The Buffalo Sabres of the NHL play in the City of Buffalo, and the Buffalo Bills, charter members of the American Football League, (now in the NFL) play in the suburb of Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo is also home to several minor sports teams including the Buffalo Bisons (baseball), Buffalo Bandits (indoor lacrosse) and FC Buffalo (soccer). The Buffalo Bulls are a Division I college team representing the State University of New York at Buffalo, and several other Buffalo-area colleges and universities are also active in college athletics.

The Buffalo Bills, established in 1959, played in War Memorial Stadium until 1973, when Ralph Wilson Stadium was constructed. The team competes in the AFC East division. Since the AFL–NFL merger in 1970, the Bills have won the division title seven times (1980, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995), and the AFC conference championship four consecutive times (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993), resulting in four lost Super Bowls.

The Buffalo Sabres, established in 1970, played in Buffalo Memorial Auditorium until 1996, when Marine Midland Arena, now First Niagara Center, opened. The team is within the Atlantic Division of the NHL. The team has won six division titles, one Presidents' Trophy (2006–07) and three conference championships (1974–75, 1979–80, 1998–99). However, like the Buffalo Bills, the team does not have a league championship.

The Buffalo Bandits, established in 1992, played home games in Buffalo Memorial Auditorium until their move to Marine Midland Arena. They have won eight division championships and four league championships (1992, 1993, 1996, 2008).

Sport League Club Founded Venue Titles Championship years
Football NFL Buffalo Bills 1960 Ralph Wilson Stadium 2* 1964*, 1965*
Hockey NHL Buffalo Sabres 1970 First Niagara Center 0
Baseball IL Buffalo Bisons 1979† Coca-Cola Field 3 1997, 1998, 2004
Lacrosse NLL Buffalo Bandits 1992 First Niagara Center 4 1992, 1993, 1996, 2008
Soccer NPSL FC Buffalo 2009 Demske Sports Complex 0
Basketball PBL Buffalo 716ers 2012 Tapestry Charter School 0
Ice hockey NWHL Buffalo Beauts 2015 HarborCenter 0

* American Football League (AFL) championships were earned prior to the NFL merging with the AFL.
† Date refers to current incarnation; Buffalo Bisons previously operated from the 1870s until 1970 and the current Bisons count this team as part of their history.

Parks and recreation[edit]

View of Canalside and Buffalo Naval Park
Lake within Delaware Park

The Buffalo parks system contains over 20 parks with multiple parks accessible from any part of the city. The Olmsted Park and Parkway System is the hallmark of Buffalo's many green spaces. Three-fourths of city park land is part of the system, which comprises six major parks, eight connecting parkways, nine circles and seven smaller spaces. Constructed in 1868 by Frederick Law Olmsted and his partner Calvert Vaux, the system was integrated into the city and marks the first attempt in America to lay out a coordinated system of public parks and parkways. The Olmsted designed portions of the Buffalo park system are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are maintained by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

Situated at the confluence of Lake Erie and the Buffalo River and Niagara Rivers, Buffalo is a waterfront city. The city's rise to economic power came through its waterways in the form of transshipment, manufacturing, and an endless source of energy. Buffalo's waterfront remains, though to a lesser degree, a hub of commerce, trade, and industry.

As of 2009, a significant portion of Buffalo's waterfront is being transformed into a focal point for social and recreational activity. To this end, Buffalo Harbor State Park was opened on Buffalo's outer harbor in 2014.[86] Buffalo's intent is to stress its architectural and historical heritage, creating a tourism destination.

An ongoing project within downtown Buffalo is the development of "Canalside," intended to revitalize the original Erie Canal Harbor with shops, eateries, and tourist attractions. An early phase of the project was the excavation and filling of Erie Canal Commercial Slip, which is the original western terminus of the Erie Canal System. Currently, work is underway to restore the canal system which was displaced by the construction of the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium.


At the municipal level, the City of Buffalo has a mayor and a council consisting of nine councilmembers. Buffalo also serves as the seat of Erie County with some of the 11 members of county legislature representing at least a portion of Buffalo. At the state level, there are three state assemblymembers and two state senators representing parts of the city proper. At the federal level, Buffalo is represented by three members of the House of Representatives.

Buffalo City Hall, with McKinley Monument in the foreground.

In a trend common to Northern "Rust Belt" regions, political life in Buffalo has been dominated by the Democratic Party for the last half-century, and has been roiled by racial division and social issues. The last time anyone other than a Democrat held the position of Mayor in Buffalo was Chester A. Kowal in 1965. In 1977, Democratic Mayor James D. Griffin was first elected as the nominee of two minor parties, the Conservative Party and the Right to Life Party, after he lost the Democratic primary for Mayor to then Deputy State Assembly Speaker Arthur Eve. Griffin switched political allegiance several times during his 16 years as Mayor, generally hewing to socially conservative platforms. His successor, Democrat Anthony M. Masiello (elected in 1993) continued to campaign on social conservatism, often crossing party lines in his endorsements and alliances. In 2005, however, Democrat Byron Brown was elected the city's first African-American mayor in a landslide (64%–27%) over Republican Kevin Helfer, who ran on a conservative platform. In 2013, Brown would be endorsed by the Conservative Party because of his pledge to cut taxes.[citation needed]

This change in local politics was preceded by a fiscal crisis in 2003 when years of economic decline, a diminishing tax-base, and civic mismanagement left the city deep in debt and teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. At the urging of New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, the state took over the management of Buffalo's finances, appointing the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority. Conversations about merging the city with the larger Erie County government were initiated the following year by Mayor Tony Masiello, but came to naught.

The offices of the Buffalo District, US Army Corps of Engineers are located adjacent to the Black Rock Lock in the Black Rock channel of the Erie Canal. In addition to maintaining and operating the lock, the District is responsible for planning, design, construction and maintenance of water resources projects in an area extending from Toledo, Ohio to Massena, New York. These include the flood-control dam at Mount Morris, New York, oversight of the lower Great Lakes (Lake Erie and Lake Ontario), review and permitting of wetlands construction, and remedial action for hazardous waste sites.

Buffalo is also the home of a major office of the National Weather Service (NOAA), which serves all of western and much of central New York State.

Buffalo is home to one of the 56 national FBI field offices. The field office covers all of Western New York and parts of the Southern Tier and Central New York. The field office operates several task forces in conjunction with local agencies to help combat issues such as gang violence, terrorism threats and health care fraud.[87]

Buffalo is also the location of the chief judge, United States Attorney, and administrative offices for the United States District Court for the Western District of New York.


Overlooking the University at Buffalo's South Campus from Abbott Hall

Buffalo Public Schools serve most of the city of Buffalo. Currently, there are 78 public schools in the city including a growing number of charter schools. As of 2006, the total enrollment was 41,089 students with a student-teacher ratio of 13.5 to 1. The graduation rate is up to 52% in 2008, up from 45% in 2007, and 50% in 2006.[88] More than 27% of teachers have a master's degree or higher and the median amount of experience in the field is 15 years. When considering the entire metropolitan area, there are a total of 292 schools educating 172,854 students.[89] Buffalo has a magnet school system, featuring schools that attract students with special interests, such as science, bilingual studies, and Native American studies. Specialized facilities include the Buffalo Elementary School of Technology; the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Multicultural Institute; the International School; the Dr. Charles R. Drew Science Magnet; BUILD Academy; Leonardo da Vinci High School; PS 32 Bennett Park Montessori; the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, BAVPA; the Riverside Institute of Technology; Lafayette High School/Buffalo Academy of Finance; Hutchinson Central Technical High School; Burgard Vocational High School; South Park High School; and the Emerson School of Hospitality.

Rockwell Hall, Buffalo State College

The city is home to 47 private schools while the metropolitan region has 150 institutions. Most private schools have a Roman Catholic affiliation. There are schools affiliated with other religions such as Islam. There are also nonsectarian options including The Buffalo Seminary (the only private, nonsectarian, all-girls school in Western New York state),[90] and Nichols School.

Complementing its standard function, the Buffalo Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education Division provides education and services to adults throughout the community.[91] In addition, the Career and Technical Education Department offers more than 20 academic programs, and is attended by about 6,000 students each year.[92] The city is also served by four Catholic schools including Bishop Timon - St. Jude High School, Canisius High School, Mount Mercy Academy, and Nardin Academy. In addition, there are two Islamic schools including Darul Uloom Al-Madania and Universal School of Buffalo.

Buffalo is home to three State University of New York (SUNY) institutions. The University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College are the largest institutions of their type in the system. The total enrollment of these 3 SUNY institutions combined is approximately 54,000 students in the area. In addition, the region is served by Erie Community College.

The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library maintains multiple branches across the city of Buffalo and Erie County, as well as maintaining the main building.



Hospitals in the area include Kaleida Health, Erie County Medical Center.


Buffalo Niagara International Airport
The 1955 Yellow Book planned the three major highways that would serve the Buffalo area; Interstate 190, Interstate 290, and Interstate 90.
Buffalo Metro Rail in downtown Buffalo

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) operates Buffalo Niagara International Airport, reconstructed in 1997 and located in the nearby suburb of Cheektowaga.[citation needed] The airport serves

The Buffalo Metro Rail, also operated by the NFTA, is a 6.4 miles (10.3 km) long,[citation needed] single line light rail system that extends from Erie Canal Harbor in downtown Buffalo to the University Heights district (specifically, the South Campus of University at Buffalo) in the northeastern part of the city.[citation needed] The downtown section of the line runs above ground and is free of charge to passengers.[citation needed] North of Theater Station, at the northern end of downtown, the line moves underground, remaining underground until it reaches the northern terminus of the line at University Heights. Passengers pay a fare to ride this section of the rail.[citation needed]

Two train stations, Buffalo-Depew and Buffalo-Exchange Street serve the city, and are operated by Amtrak. Historically, the city was a major stop on through routes between Chicago and New York City through the lower Ontario peninsula.[93]

The Buffalo Outer Harbor in 1992. Northwest of the city is the Niagara River.

Buffalo is at the eastern end of Lake Erie, which serves as a playground for numerous personal yachts, sailboats, power boats and watercraft.[citation needed] The city has an extensive breakwall system protecting its inner and outer Lake Erie harbors, which are maintained at commercial navigation depths for Great Lakes freighters.[citation needed] A Lake Erie tributary that flows through south Buffalo is the Buffalo River and Buffalo Creek.[citation needed]

Eight New York State highways, one three-digit Interstate Highway and one U.S. Highway traverse the city of Buffalo. New York State Route 5, commonly referred to as Main Street within the city[citation needed], enters through Lackawanna as a limited-access highway and intersects with Interstate 190, a north-south highway connecting Interstate 90 in the southeastern suburb of Cheektowaga with Niagara Falls. NY 354 (Clinton Street) and NY 130 (Broadway) are east to west highways connecting south and downtown Buffalo to the eastern suburbs of West Seneca and Depew. NY 265 (Delaware Avenue) and NY 266 (Niagara Street and Military Road) both originate in downtown Buffalo and terminate in the city of Tonawanda. One of three U.S. highways in Erie County, the other two being U.S. 20 and U.S. 219, U.S. 62 (Bailey Avenue) is a north to south trunk road that enters the city through Lackawanna and exits at the Amherst town border at a junction with NY 5. Within the city, the route passes by light industrial developments and high density areas of the city. Bailey Avenue has major intersections with Interstate 190 and the Kensington Expressway. Three major expressways serve the city of Buffalo. The Scajaquada Expressway (NY 198) is primarily a limited access highway connecting Interstate 190 near Unity Island to New York State Route 33. The Kensington Expressway (NY 33) begins at the edge of downtown and the city's East Side, continues through heavily populated areas of the city, intersects with Interstate 90 in Cheektowaga and ends shortly at the airport. The Peace Bridge is a major international crossing located near the Black Rock district of the city. The bridge connects Fort Erie, Ontario with the city.[citation needed]


Currently, Buffalo’s water system is operated by Veolia Water.[94] In order to reduce large-scale ice blockage blockage in the Niagara River, with resultant flooding, ice damage to docks and other waterfront structures, and blockage of the water intakes for the hydro-electric power plants at Niagara Falls, the New York Power Authority and Ontario Power Generation have jointly operated the Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom since 1964.[citation needed] The boom is installed on December 16, or when the water temperature reaches 4 °C (39 °F), whichever happens first.[citation needed] The boom is opened on April 1 unless there is more than 650 square kilometres (250 sq mi) of ice remaining in Eastern Lake Erie.[citation needed] When in place, the boom stretches 2,680 metres (8,790 ft) from the outer breakwall at Buffalo Harbor almost to the Canadian shore near the ruins of the pier at Erie Beach in Fort Erie.[citation needed] Originally, the boom was made of wooden timbers, but these have been replaced by steel pontoons.[95]


A WIVB-TV truck during St. Patrick's Day

Buffalo’s major newspaper is The Buffalo News. Established in 1880, the newspaper has 181,540 in daily circulation and 266,123 on Sundays.[citation needed] Other newspapers in the Buffalo area include Artvoice, The Beast, Buffalo Business First, the Spectrum, University at Buffalo’s student-run newspaper, and the Record, Buffalo State College’s student-run newspaper.[citation needed] Online news magazines include Artvoice Daily Online and Buffalo Rising, formerly a print magazine.[citation needed]

The Buffalo area is home to 14 AM stations and 21 FM stations. Major station operators include Entercom, Townsquare Media and Cumulus Media. In addition, National Public Radio operates a publicly funded station, WBFO 88.7.[citation needed]

According to Nielsen Media Research, the Buffalo television market is ranked as the 52nd largest in the United States as of 2013.[96] Although no major cable outlets have offices or bureaus in the Buffalo area, the four major networks have established affiliates in the area: WGRZ (NBC), WIVB-TV (CBS), WUTV (FOX), and WKBW-TV (ABC).[citation needed] Other stations in Buffalo with network affiliations include publicly funded WNED-TV (PBS), WNLO (The CW), WNYO-TV (MyNetworkTV), and WBBZ-TV (MeTV/independent).[citation needed] The area's major cable provider is Time Warner Cable, which operates the system-exclusive Time Warner Cable News Buffalo, part of the statewide Time Warner Cable News network.[citation needed] The Buffalo market also has access to multiple Canadian broadcast stations over-the-air from the Hamilton and Toronto areas, though only CBLT (CBC) and CFTO (CTV) are carried on Time Warner Cable.[citation needed]

Movies shot with significant footage of Buffalo include Bruce Almighty (2003),[97][better source needed] Buffalo '66 (1998),[98][better source needed] Henry's Crime (2010),[99][better source needed] Hide in Plain Sight (1980),[100][better source needed] Proud (2004),[101][better source needed] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (2016),[citation needed] and The Natural (1984).[102][better source needed]

Notable people[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

Buffalo has a number of sister cities as designated by Sister Cities International (SCI):[103][104]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Official records for Buffalo kept January 1871 to June 1943 at downtown and at Buffalo Niagara Int'l since July 1943. For more information, see Threadex


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External links[edit]