Buffalo and Western New York Will Surprise You!
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Buffalo, the second largest city in New York State, is often described as "big enough to be big, yet small enough to be small." It's big enough to have good music, good food, professional sports teams, and urban hustle and bright lights--but not so big that it will intimidate you. It's a livable, easygoing, cultured city that makes quality of life a top priority. Buffalo is the heart of a two-county metropolitan area with a population of about 1.3 million. New York City, Washington, D. C., and Chicago are only an hour away by air; Rochester is an hour away by car; and Toronto--Canada's sophisticated metropolis of 4.5 million--is less than two hours away by car.
In Buffalo, you can join 80,000 other Bills fans at a football game, sit with music lovers at a Buffalo Philharmonic concert, spend the afternoon in a world-famous art museum, or drive (or walk or bike) across the Peace Bridge to another country for a day at the beach. You can ride the rapid transit line to the historic Allentown section of the city for boutiques, antiques, and lively street life; stroll down the bustling Elmwood Avenue "strip" of restaurants, clubs, and shops; or make the ten-mile trip along the Niagara River to gaze at Niagara Falls.
Buffalo's people are a true cross-section of the nation. Buffalo's deeply rooted African American community dates from the time when the city was one of the last stops before Canada on the Underground Railroad (1812-1865). Buffalo has a strong Native American presence from the surrounding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy of Six Nations. Poles, Germans, Irish, and Italians settled here in large numbers during waves of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century immigration. The Hispanic community also has a long and rich tradition. Buffalo's diverse ethnic heritage is reflected in its restaurants, entertainment, social events, and old-world enclaves.
Buffalo lies at the eastern end of 250-mile-long Lake Erie, where the lake empties into the Niagara River. In summer, thanks to the cooling breezes crossing Lake Erie, Buffalo enjoys natural air conditioning and low humidity. In winter, the lake is responsible for "lake-effect snow", which keeps the ski slopes just south of Buffalo covered throughout the winter. UB's Schussmeisters Ski Club, the largest ski club in the Northeast, is more than 3,000 members strong.
Buffalo began to take its present shape when it was a rich industrial center. Its expansive park system and wide, scenic parkways, its comfortable neighborhoods, and its architectural treasures are a legacy of that time. The city's parks--designed by the great nineteenth-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead--add to the city's architectural allure. Bicycle and walking paths in Buffalo's famous Delaware Park connect museums, gardens, a golf course, and the Buffalo Zoo.
Today, most of Buffalo's heavy industry is gone, and education has become one of the area's main businesses (in addition to UB: Niagara University, St. Bonaventure University, SUNY College at Buffalo, SUNY College at Fredonia, SUNY College at Brockport, Canisius College, Daemen College, D'Youville College, Medaille College, Empire State College, Hilbert College, Trocaire College, Villa Maria College, Erie County Community College and Niagara County Community College). Buffalo also supports a rich cultural life that includes vibrant theater, a first-rate symphony orchestra, and one of the nation's premier collections of twentieth-century art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. For summertime music and theater in a setting of great natural beauty, there's Artpark along the lower Niagara River in Lewiston; the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake; and the Chautauqua Institution, ninety minutes south of Buffalo on the shores of Lake Chautauqua. Founded in 1874 as a quiet retreat for lectures, concerts, and summer study programs, the Chautauqua Institution covers several hundred acres of rolling, wooded land. The institution still offers a summer full of music and thought in a peaceful nineteenth-century atmosphere.
Allegany State Park, which covers more than 65,000 acres, is the largest of New York's state parks. Located just one hour south of Buffalo, the park is open year-round and has more than 100 miles of hiking trails and fifty miles of woodland roads. Wildlife in its rugged hills ranges from black bear and deer to great horned owls and wild turkeys.
Amherst, home of UB's North Campus, is a residential community of 125,000. The town feeds the modern appetite for mass culture from its shopping malls, its restaurants of every theme, and its dozens of movie screens, more than twenty of which are near the campus.
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