Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Buffalo - A Niche

Buffalo is like a niche product. It fills a gap that is missing in the United States. It can not be summed up in few words but I found out after traveling to cities from the likes of Shanghai, Tokyo, Milan, San Fransisco and Toronto, that finding a city that is so satisfying to live in are far and few.

Some words I can used to describe Buffalo, NY are; human, theater lover, music lover, festival enthusiast, architectural exhibitionist, food and kitchen obsessed, college students everywhere, ethnic diversity welcomed, a small business incubator and we have our share of competitive highschools.

Areas that we are lacking are: The city school system has many good and great schools but as a whole needs a lift. If you need an expensive home that cost more than one million dollars to sink the capital gains you just scored into then we are lacking. Public bus transportation can improve and our metro train is limited. The spring and fall can feel too short. The east side of Buffalo has many empty houses, 10,000 of them. They need to be rehabbed or taken down by Buffalo Reuse.

These are some facts and surveys done on Buffalo.

Population
Second largest city in NY state
Population as of 2005: 276,059
Diversity as of 2000: African American 39.3%, Latino 8.3%, Asian 1.8%
Median family income: 36,700
Median cost of home: 74,000

Schools
Student Teacher ratio in City schools 13 to 1
Schools: 78 Public, 47 private, Charter
Magnet (specialty) Public High School: 11, including specialties like art, finance, honors, bilingual, etc
University/College: 7 private, 2 state, one junior college (three campuses)
City Honors Public High School is ranked 8th in the nation.


Jobs - in private industry

Company.................................Industry.............................No. of Employed
Kaleida Health Health Care 10,000
Catholic Health System Health Care 8,400
HSBC Bank USA N.A. Commercial Bank 5,848
Employer Services Corp. Employment-related services 4,880
M&T Bank Commercial Bank 4,820
Tops Markets LLC Supermarket Retailer 4,673
Seneca Gaming Corp. Entertainment 4,020
Catholic Diocese of Buffalo Parishes, schools, and institutions 3,700
Wegmans Food Markets Inc. Supermarket Retailer 3,288
Roswell Park Cancer Institute Hospital 2,699


Art:
"Buffalo is home to over 50 private and public art galleries[54] , most notably the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, home to a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art. The local art scene is also enhanced by the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, CEPA, and many small galleries and studios.[55][56]"

Theater
Buffalo has over 20 theaters including Shea's performing Arts Theater, Irish Classical Theater, and Alleyway Theater.

Water - Sailing / boating / Crew
"Buffalo is at the eastern end of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes, which boasts the greatest variety of freshwater sportfish in the country. The Lake serves as a playground for numerous personal yachts, sailboats, power boats and watercraft, and provides a short water route to excellent sand beaches on the nearby Ontario (Canada) shore. 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."

Night Life
"Several distinct and thriving nightlife districts have grown around clusters of bars and nightclubs in the city. The most visible nightlife district is West Chippewa Street[61], located between Main Street and South Elmwood Avenue. The area is home to high-energy dance clubs, crowded bars, trendy coffeehouses, and restaurants. Allentown, where bars are as numerous but the atmosphere is a bit more relaxed, is a several minute walk north to Allen Street. Allen Street near Main Street houses several gay bars, while Allen near Elmwood has many bars that feature live music. Continuing up Elmwood Avenue from Allentown is the Elmwood Strip, which runs about two miles to Buffalo State College. This strip has numerous small boutiques and restaurants, with few large corporate establishments. Crowds on this strip include everyone from college students to families to the elderly."

Ski Resorts
We have 13 ski resorts within a 100miles of the city.

Buffalo has had top ten rankings:

Forbes Magazine - First (1st) for The Perfect Commute
Half of the workers in the Buffalo metro spend that time or less getting to work, and drivers experience only 10 hours of annual delays, according to the Texas Transportation Institute. Of cities with over 500,000 commuters, fewer people spend an hour or more getting to work in Buffalo than anywhere else in the country.

Forbes Magazine - Fourth (4th) strongest housing market
Buffalo home owners are poised to not be hit hard by the housing downturn. Housing values rose during the bubble but at a marathoners spead rather then the sprinters pace the rest of the U.S. This is allowing Buffalo's housing values to stanbelize.

"The quarterly NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) stated 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. The area median price of homes was $75,000."

Newsweek - National Public School Ranking

"The rigorous college preparatory curriculum at Buffalo's City Honors School has landed it at the head of the class in a Newsweek magazine ranking of the country's top high schools. Newsweek's 2006 list of "America's Best High Schools" ranks City Honors No. 4 on its list of the nation's 1,000 top schools. The high school rankings are the cover story of the publication's current issue"

Medical Jobs and Facilities

"Buffalo has increasingly become a center for bioinformatics and human genome research, including work by researchers at the University at Buffalo and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. This consortium is known as the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It also includes: Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center, Buffalo Medical Group Foundation, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Kaleida Health, Olmsted Center for the Visually Impaired, Cleveland BioLabs and Upstate New York Transplant Services."

The American Planning Association - 3rd Best Neighborhood to Live - 2007
The Elmwoodvillage, a neigborhood in Buffalo, NY, was ranked the best place to live.

AmericanStyle - Art Destination
"Ranked Buffalo fourth (4th) in its list of America's top art destinations."

Air Quality - 86% of a year has good quality ! - 2008
For a medium to large city to have 86% of its days having good air quality is a big deal. This is a significant change in the last 3 years.

USA Today - 2001
Named Buffalo the winner of its "City with a Heart" contest, proclaiming it the nation's "friendliest city."

1 comment:

Kisha said...

You left out tan few of my favorite things about Buffalo that make it great place to live:

Water: Next to lake Erie we are close to one of the largest sources of fresh water in the world! while this may not seem important now, many communities predict long term water shortages that will strain municipal funds or the cities will just go dry.

Energy: Buffalo is adjacent to renewable energy. While much of the Niagara power is transmitted to NYC, eventually someone will relise that the transmission loss is too costly an we will be the benificiaries and so will the environent! Not to mention the harnessing of wind right off of our lake.

People: I haven't lived in a lot of places, but it was definitly the reason I've stayed for so long. Communities have coellesed around art, music, architecture, organic food, religion, co-housing, preservation, you name it! Each is passionate, optimistic, active and a vibrant part of the cities culture.