Buffalo grew significantly in the 19th and 20th centuries as a 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. After an economic downturn in the latter half of the 20th century, Buffalo's economy has transitioned to sectors that include financial services, technology, biomedical engineering and education.
Buffalo is known as "The Queen City", "The Nickel City" and "The City of Good Neighbors". Its residents are called Buffalonians.
The city of Buffalo received its name from a nearby creek called Buffalo Creek. British military engineer Captain John Montresor made reference to 'Buffalo Creek' in his journal of 1764, which may be the earliest recorded appearance of the name. There are several theories regarding how Buffalo Creek received its name. 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"), it is also possible Buffalo Creek was named for the American buffalo, whose historical range may have extended into western New York.
During French exploration of the region in 1620, the region's inhabitants were an Iroquoian-speaking tribal offshoot of the large Neutral Nation called the Wenro people or 'Wenrohronon', who lived along the south shore of Lake Ontario and east end of Lake Erie and a bit of its southern shore. Later, during the 1640s–50s Beaver Wars, the combined warriors of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy conquered the populous Neutrals and their peninsular territory, while the Senecas alone took out the Wenro and their territory, c. 1651–1653.
In 1804, as principal agent opening the area for the Holland Land Company, Joseph Ellicott, the architect of Washington D.C., designed a radial street and grid system that branches out from downtown like bicycle spokes similar to the street system he used in the nation's capital. Although Ellicott named the settlement "New Amsterdam," the name did not catch on.
During the War of 1812, on December 30, 1813, Buffalo was burned by British forces.
On October 26, 1825, the Erie Canal was completed with Buffalo a port-of-call for settlers heading westward. At the time, the population was about 2,400. The Erie Canal brought about a surge in population and commerce, which led Buffalo to incorporate as a city in 1832.
In 1845, construction began on the Macedonia Baptist Church, an important meeting place for the abolitionist movement. 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.
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. Grain and commercial goods shipments led to repeated expansion of the harbor. In 1843, the world's first steam-powered grain elevator was constructed by local merchant Joseph Dart and engineer Robert Dunbar. "Dart's Elevator" enabled faster unloading of lake freighters along with the transshipment of grain in bulk from barges, canal boats, and rail cars. By 1850, the city's population was 81,000.
At the dawn of the 20th century, local mills were among the first to benefit from hydroelectric power generated by the Niagara River. The city got the nickname City of Light at this time due to the widespread electric lighting. 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. President William McKinley was shot and mortally wounded by an anarchist at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo on September 6, 1901. McKinley died in the city eight days later and Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in at the Wilcox Mansion as the 26th President of the United States.
The Great Depression of 1929–39 saw severe unemployment, especially among working class men. The New Deal relief programs operated full force. The city became a stronghold of labor unions and the Democratic Party. During World War II, Buffalo saw the return of prosperity and full employment due to its position as a manufacturing center.
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. 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. During this time, urban renewal and the construction of several expressways, including the Niagara Thruway, Scajaquada Expressway and Kensington Expressway reshaped much of the city, displacing residents and businesses.
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 is on Lake Erie's eastern end, opposite Fort Erie, Ontario. It is located at the origin 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. In the Southtowns lie the Boston Hills, while the Appalachian Mountains sit in the Southern Tier below them. To the north and east, the region maintains a flatter profile descending to Lake Ontario.
Buffalo River and Scajaquada Creek run through the city.
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 the rest water. The total area is 22.66% water.
Buffalo's architecture is diverse, with a collection of buildings the 19th and 20th centuries. Most structures and works are still standing, such as the country's largest intact parks system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. At the end of the 19th century, the Guaranty Building—constructed by Louis Sullivan—was a prominent example of an early high-rise skyscraper. 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 city's tallest building.
Buffalo has a continental-type climate, which is common in the Great Lakes region. (Köppen climate classification "Dfb" – uniform precipitation distribution). Buffalo has snowy winters, but it is rarely the snowiest city in New York state. The Blizzard of 1977 resulted from a combination of high winds and snow previously accumulated on land and on frozen Lake Erie. Snow does not typically impair the city's operation, but can cause significant damage during the autumn as with the October 2006 storm. In November 2014, the region had a record-breaking storm, producing over five and a half feet (1.7 metres) of snow. 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. Summers are marked by plentiful sunshine and moderate humidity and temperature. Obscured by the notoriety of Buffalo's winter snow is the fact Buffalo benefits from other lake effects such as the cooling southwest breezes off Lake Erie in summer that gently temper the warmest days. As a result, temperatures only rise above 90 °F (32.2 °C) three times per year, and the Buffalo station of the National Weather Service has never recorded an official temperature of 100 °F (37.8 °C) or more. Rainfall is moderate but typically occurs at night. Lake Erie's stabilizing effect continues to inhibit thunderstorms and enhance sunshine in the immediate Buffalo area through most of July. August usually has more showers and is hotter and more humid as the warmer lake loses its temperature-stabilizing influence. The highest recorded temperature in Buffalo was 99 °F (37 °C) on August 27, 1948 and the lowest recorded temperature was −20 °F (−29 °C), which occurred twice, on February 9, 1934 and February 2, 1961.
Like most former industrial cities of the Great Lakes region in the United States, Buffalo is recovering from an economic depression from 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.
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. Since 2003, there has been an ever-growing number of Burmese refugees, mostly of the Karen ethnicity, with an estimated 4,665 now residing in Buffalo.
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% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 38.4% of those under the age of 18 and 14% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
The following is a list of the top ten private employers in the Buffalo area.
Buffalo's economic sectors include industrial, light manufacturing, high technology and services. The State of New York, with over 15,000 employees, is the city's largest employer. Other major employers include the United States government, Kaleida Health, M&T Bank (which Buffalo is the headquarters of in banking), the University at Buffalo, General Motors, Time Warner Cable and Tops Friendly Markets. Buffalo is home to Rich Products, Canadian brewer Labatt, cheese company Sorrento Lactalis, Delaware North Companies and New Era Cap Company. More recently, the Tesla Gigafactory 2 opened in South Buffalo in summer 2017, as a result of the Buffalo Billion program.
The loss of traditional jobs in manufacturing, rapid suburbanization and high labor costs have led to economic decline and made Buffalo one of the poorest 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, or only Detroit and Cleveland. Buffalo's median household income of $27,850 is third-lowest among large cities, behind only Miami and Cleveland; however the metropolitan area's median household income is $57,000. This, in part, has led to the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area having the most affordable housing market in the U.S. The quarterly NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) noted 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. As of 2014, the median home price in the city was $95,000.
Buffalo's economy has begun to see significant improvements since the early 2010s. Money from New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo through a program known locally as "Buffalo Billion" has brought new construction, increased economic development, and hundreds of new jobs to the area. As of March 2015, Buffalo's unemployment rate was 5.9%, slightly above the national average of 5.5%. In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis valued the Buffalo area's economy at $54.9 billion.
Compared to the national average, Buffalo has a higher rate of violent crime. In 2015, there were 41 murders, 1,033 robberies, and 1,640 assaults. In 2016, bizjournals.com published an article including an FBI report that ranked Buffalo's violent crime rate as the 15th-worst in the nation.
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 third on their list of "The World's Top Ten Food Cities". Locally owned restaurants offer Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican, Italian, Arab, Indian, Caribbean, soul food, and French cuisine. 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. The Beef on weck sandwich, kielbasa, sponge candy, pastry hearts, pierogi and haddock fish fries are local favorites, as is a loganberry-flavored beverage that remains relatively obscure outside of the Western New York and Southern Ontario. Teressa Bellissimo first prepared the now widespread Buffalo wing at the Anchor Bar on October 3, 1964.
Buffalo has several well-known food companies. Non-dairy whipped topping was invented in Buffalo in 1945 by Robert E. Rich, Sr. His company, Rich Products, is one of the city's largest private employers. 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. 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 and federal parks.
The Taste of Buffalo and National Buffalo Wing Festival showcase cuisine items of the Buffalo area.
Buffalo is home to over 50 private and public art galleries, most notably the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, home to a collection of modern and contemporary art, and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center. In 2012, AmericanStyle ranked Buffalo twenty-fifth in its list of top mid-sized cities for art. It is also home to many independent media and literary arts organizations like Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Arts Center. The Buffalo area's largest theater is Shea's Performing Arts Center, designed to accommodate 4,000 people with interiors by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Built in 1926, the theater presents Broadway musicals and concerts. The theater community in the Buffalo Theater District includes over 20 professional companies.
The Allentown Art Festival showcases local and national artists every summer, in Buffalo's Allentown district.
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.
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. Jazz fusion band Spyro Gyra and jazz saxophonists Grover Washington Jr. also got their starts in Buffalo. Pianist and composer Leonard Pennario was born in Buffalo in 1924 and made his debut concert at Carnegie Hall in 1943. 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.
Buffalo also has a booming underground music scene spawning bands such as Snapcase, Lemuria, and Pentimento.
Although the region's primary tourism destination is Niagara Falls to the north, Buffalo's tourism relies on historical attractions and outdoor recreation. The city's points of interest include the Edward M. Cotter fireboat, considered the world's oldest active fireboat and is a United States National Historic Landmark, Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Buffalo Museum of Science, the Buffalo Zoo—the third oldest in the United States— Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, the Anchor Bar and Darwin D. Martin House.
The site of the former Erie Canal Harbor, Canalside has become a popular destination for tourists and residents since 2007, when Buffalo and the New York Power Authority began to redevelop the former site of War Memorial Auditorium into historically accurate canals.
Buffalo and the surrounding region is home to two major league professional sports teams. The NHL's Buffalo Sabres play in the city of Buffalo, while the NFL's Buffalo Bills play in suburban Orchard Park, New York, where they have been since 1973. The Bills, established in 1959, played in War Memorial Stadium until 1973, when Rich Stadium, now New Era Field, opened. The team competes in the AFC East division. Since the AFL–NFL merger in 1970, the Bills have won the AFC conference championship four consecutive times (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993), resulting in four lost Super Bowls (Super Bowl XXV, Super Bowl XXVI, Super Bowl XXVII and Super Bowl XXVIII); they remain the only NFL team without a playoff appearance in the 21st century, having missed the playoffs since 2000. The Sabres, established in 1970, played in Buffalo Memorial Auditorium until 1996, when Marine Midland Arena, now KeyBank Center, opened. The team is within the Atlantic Division of the NHL. The team has won one Presidents' Trophy (2006-2007) and three conference championships (1974-1975, 1979-1980 and 1998-1999). However, like the Bills, the Sabres don't have a league championship, having lost the 1975 Stanley Cup to the Philadelphia Flyers and the 1999 Stanley Cup to the Dallas Stars.
Buffalo is also home to several minor sports teams, including the Buffalo Bisons (baseball; an affiliate of the MLB's Toronto Blue Jays since 2014), FC Buffalo (soccer) as well as a professional women's team, the Buffalo Beauts (hockey). The Buffalo Bandits indoor lacrosse team was established in 1992, and played their home games in Buffalo Memorial Auditorium until 1996, when they followed the Sabres to Marine Midland Arena. They have won eight division championships and four league championships (1991-1992, 1992-1993, 1995-1996 and 2007-2008). 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.
* American Football League (AFL) championships were earned prior to the NFL merging with the AFL in 1970.
† 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.
The Buffalo parks system has over 20 parks with several 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 (BOPC), a non-profit, for public benefit corporation which serves as the city's parks department. It is the first non-governmental organization of its kind to serve in such a capacity in the United States.
Situated at the confluence of Lake Erie and the Buffalo 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. Beginning in 2009, a significant portion of Buffalo's waterfront began to be transformed into a focal point for social and recreational activity. To this end, Buffalo Harbor State Park, nicknamed "Outer Harbor," was opened in 2014. Buffalo's intent was to stress its architectural and historical heritage to create a tourism destination, and early data indicates that they were successful.
At the municipal level, the City of Buffalo has a mayor and a council 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.
In a trend common to northern "Rust Belt" regions, the Democratic Party has dominated Buffalo's political life for the last half-century. 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 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 allegiances 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. However, in 2005, 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, the Conservative Party endorsed Brown for a third term because of his pledge to cut taxes. 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 on the edge of bankruptcy. At New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi's urging, the state took over the management of Buffalo's finances, appointing the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority. Mayor Tony Masiello began conversations about merging the city with the larger Erie County government the following year, but they came to naught.
The offices of the Buffalo District, US Army Corps of Engineers are next to the Black Rock Lock in the Erie Canal's Black Rock channel. In addition to maintaining and operating the lock, the District plans, designs, constructs and maintains water resources projects 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. 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.
Buffalo Public Schools serve most of the city of Buffalo. The city has 78 public schools, 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. More than 27% of teachers have a master's degree or higher and the median amount of experience in the field is 15 years. The metropolitan area has 292 schools with 172,854 students.
Buffalo's magnet school system features 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.
The city is home to 47 private schools and the metropolitan region has 150 institutions. Most private schools, such as Bishop Timon – St. Jude High School, Canisius High School, Mount Mercy Academy, and Nardin Academy have a Catholic affiliation. In addition, there are two Islamic schools, Darul Uloom Al-Madania and Universal School of Buffalo. There are also nonsectarian options including The Buffalo Seminary (the only private, nonsectarian, all-girls school in Western New York state), Nichols School and numerous Charter Schools.
Complementing its standard function, the Buffalo Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education Division provides education and services to adults throughout the community. In addition, the Career and Technical Education Department offers more than 20 academic programs, and is attended by about 6,000 students each year.
The State University of New York (SUNY) operates three institutions within the city of Buffalo. The University at Buffalo is known as "UB" and is the largest public university in New York. The University at Buffalo is the only university in Buffalo and is a nationally ranked tier 1 research university. Buffalo State College and Erie Community College are a college and a community college, respectively. Additionally, the private institutions Canisius College and D'Youville College are within the city.
The city is home to two private healthcare systems, which combined operate eight hospitals and countless clinics in the greater metropolitan area, as well as three public hospitals operated by Erie County and the State of New York. Buffalo General/Gates Vascular Institute have earned top rankings in the US for their cutting edge research and treatment into stroke and neurological care. ECMC has been accredited as a Level One Trauma Center and serves as the trauma and burn care center for Western New York, much of the Southern Tier as well as portions of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada. Over the years, Roswell Park has also become recognized as one of the United States' leading cancer treatment and research centers, and it recruits physicians and researchers from across the world to come live and work in the Buffalo area.Mercy Hospital of Buffalo (South Buffalo)Sisters of Charity Hospital (Central Buffalo)Kenmore Mercy Hospital (Kenmore, NY)St. Joseph's Hospital (Cheektowaga, NY)Kaleida HealthBuffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute (Downtown Buffalo)Women's & Children's Hospital of Buffalo (Elmwood Village, Buffalo)DeGraff Memorial Hospital (North Tonawanda, NY)Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital (Williamsville, NY)The Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) (Eastern Buffalo)Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Downtown Buffalo)The Buffalo State Hospital (State operated facility for the mentally ill, located in Northwest Buffalo)
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) operates Buffalo Niagara International Airport, reconstructed in 1997 and located in the suburb of Cheektowaga. The airport serves Western New York and much of the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier Regions. The Buffalo Metro Rail, also operated by the NFTA, is a 6.4 miles (10.3 km) long, 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 city's northeastern part. The line's downtown section runs above ground and is free of charge to passengers. North of Fountain Plaza Station, at the northern end of downtown, the line moves underground until it reaches its northern terminus at University Heights. Passengers pay a fare to ride this section of the rail. 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.
Buffalo is at the Lake Erie's eastern end, and it serves as a playground for many personal yachts, sailboats, power boats and watercraft. The city's extensive breakwall system protects its inner and outer harbors, which are maintained at commercial navigation depths for Great Lakes freighters. A Lake Erie tributary that flows through south Buffalo is the Buffalo River and Buffalo Creek.
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, 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 River Road) both start in downtown Buffalo and end in the city of Tonawanda. One of three U.S. highways in Erie County, the other two being U.S. 20 (Transit Road) and U.S. 219 (Southern Expressway), 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, which starts 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 at the airport. The Peace Bridge is a major international crossing near the city's Black Rock district, connecting Buffalo with Fort Erie and Toronto via the Queen Elizabeth Way.
Buffalo's water system is operated by Veolia Water. To reduce large-scale ice 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. The boom is installed on December 16, or when the water temperature reaches 4 °C (39 °F), whichever happens first. 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. 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. The boom was originally made of wooden timbers, but these have been replaced by steel pontoons.
Buffalo's major newspaper is The Buffalo News. Established in 1880, the newspaper has 181,540 in daily circulation and 266,123 on Sundays. Other newspapers in the Buffalo area include Artvoice, The Public, The Beast, Buffalo Business First, the Spectrum—University at Buffalo's student-run newspaper—and the Record, Buffalo State College's student-run newspaper. Online news magazines include Artvoice Daily Online and Buffalo Rising, formerly a print magazine.
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.
According to Nielsen Media Research, the Buffalo television market is the 52nd largest in the United States as of 2013. Although no major cable outlets have offices or bureaus in the Buffalo area, the four major networks have established affiliates in the area: WGRZ 2 (NBC), WIVB-TV 4 (CBS), WUTV 29 (FOX), and WKBW-TV 7 (ABC). Other stations in Buffalo with network affiliations include publicly funded WNED-TV 17 (PBS), WNLO 23 (The CW), WNYO-TV 49 (MyNetworkTV), and WBBZ-TV 67 (MeTV/independent). The area's major cable provider is Spectrum, which operates the system-exclusive Spectrum News Buffalo, part of the statewide Spectrum News network. The Buffalo market also has access to multiple Canadian broadcast stations over-the-air from the Hamilton and Toronto areas, though only CBLT 5 (CBC) and CFTO 9 (CTV) are carried on Time Warner Cable.
Movies shot with significant footage of Buffalo include: Hide in Plain Sight (1980), Tuck Everlasting (1981), Best Friends (1982), The Natural (1984), Vamping (1984), Canadian Bacon (1995), Buffalo '66 (1998), Manna from Heaven (2002), Bruce Almighty (2003), The Savages (2007), Henry's Crime (2011), Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows and Marshall (both 2016). Although additional movies, such as Promised Land (2012), have used Buffalo as a setting, filming often takes place in other locations such as Pittsburgh or Canada. High production costs are blamed for filmmakers shooting all or most of their Buffalo-based scenes elsewhere. Accidental Switch is another 2016 movie shot in Buffalo.
Buffalo is one of the largest Polish-American centers in the United States. As a result, many aspects of Polish culture have found a home within the city from food to festivals. One of the best example's is the yearly celebration of Easter Monday, known to many Eastern Europeans as Dyngus Day.
Buffalo has a number of sister cities as designated by Sister Cities International (SCI):