Buffalo, New York, USA

a map of a cityBuffalo is New York State’s second-largest city, with just over a quarter million people in the city and just over a million in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Metropolitan Area.  The city is located in the western part of New York state on the eastern shores of Lake Erie. It is opposite, Ontario, Canada.

Like many  US cities it has really struggled with the stagnation and a falling population as industry moved out in a major way. Buffalo’s population is 55 per cent less than it was in the 1930s.  Further, 27% of Buffalo’s residents are financially disadvantaged.

Aesthetics: 6.5 out of 10

Buffalo could have been a much grander city. In the 1960s and 1970s, in attempts to deal with the city’s decline, the city government demolished whole sections of historic buildings.  There are elements of a stunning city interspersed with a wasteland of a downtown, abandoned buildings and unsympathetically placed freeways.

Allentown, a preserved section of downtown stands out. The gem of Buffalo for me is the Darwin D. Martin House built by Frank Loyd Wright. Twenty minutes out of town is the amazing Graycliff also built by Wright for the Martin family. a stone building with a stone wall

Liveability: 6.5 out of 10

According to Sperling  BestPlaces.net,Buffalo is the second best city to relocate to in 2012.  The median home cost in Buffalo is $49, 400 and the cost of living is  is 22.50% Lower than the U.S. average.  Area vibes says the city is “somewhat liveable

Culture: 7 out of 10

Buffalo is more than Buffalo wings! It has a great range of restaurants, especially around the Elmwood Village area where you will find organic restaurants, great coffee.  ook out for Watson’s chocolates with their amazing sponge cake, The Co-op for great food and my favourite bookshop Talking Leaves.

a man standing in front of a store

My newest excitement has been the discovery of Wegmans, family owned grocery chain that have three stores in the Buffalo region. They are the most amazing supermarkets, I have ever discovered.

The city also has a phenomenal range of small and medium art galleries plus the world class  Albright-Knox Art Gallery and  the Siegel designed  Burchfield Penney Art Center  dedicated to upper New York state artists.

There is a good range of cinemas including Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre which shows non mainstream and mainstream films. The city are proud of their  Philharmonic Orchestra operating since 1934.

Crime: 4 out of 10

The Buffalo crime index is 197% higher than the New York average with a  violent crime rate 574% higher than the New York state average.The City has a homicide rate of 12.8 per 100 000 people.  The Buffalo property crime rate is 161% higher than the New York average.  Downtown does not feel very comfortable to roam around in.

Transit: 6.3 out of 10

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority operates public transit in the region.  Most services are provided by bus with the exception of a 10km (6mile) single light rail line along Main Street  from Downtown Buffalo to the  University of Buffalo’s South campus.  It was intended to be the nucleus of an extensive system which has never come to fruition.

Between the Buffalo airport and downtown is a half hourly shuttle service Airport-Downtown Express  (route 204) and a slower local service (route 24). They both cost $2. There is a service (Route 210) between the airport and Niagara Falls. Megabus also operates a service between Toronto and New York City which goes via Buffalo Airport.

Vibe: 3 out of 10

Many cities exhibit a vibe that is positive and upbeat. Buffalo to me, feels the opposite. There seems to be a generally depressive vibe over much of the city. Forbes.com says it is the eighth most miserable city in the USA!

Overall: 58%

On my city ranking, I give Buffalo almost a 6 out of ten. Out of the 171 cities over 100, 000 people I have visited, it comes in at 147. The city is sandwiched between Baton Rouge, Louisiana (58.7%) and Phoenix, Arizona (57.8%)


The Buffalo Top Ten

  1. Niagara Falls – one of the seven natural wonders of the world
  2. Frank Lloyd Wright houses: Darwin D. Martin House Complex and Graycliff
  3. Elmwood Village: amazing food and shopping.
  4. Albright-Knox Art Gallery
  5. Delaware Park
  6. Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
  7. Erie Canal Harbor
  8. Allentown Historic District
  9. The magnificent Buffalo City Hall including observation level
  10. Wilcox Mansion – Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site

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