Buffalo had many advantages that helped it succeed in the 1900s. The advantages made it easy for Buffalo to become one of the “best cities to live in”.
The developing waterfront, located downtown, and Niagara Falls had a lot to do with the rise of Buffalo. Niagara Falls was a “powerhouse” of rushing water that made it a great source of energy. The falls produced electricity that went through tunnels that powered the city. Buffalo eventually got called the City of Light because of this. Between 1804-1975 Buffalo had many successes, one of them being Niagara square. In 1804 Joseph Ellicott mapped out a town on the banks of Lake Erie near the Buffalo Creek. This area was first named New Amsterdam but is now called the Niagara Square.
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It became the center from which eight streets emitted from it in different directions. The streets that passed through Niagara Square was Delaware Avenue, Court Street, Genesee Street, and Niagara Street. For a period of time in the nineteenth century Buffalo remained a small village. As time went by the population and wealth grew which made Niagara Square a more interesting and popular place. Then came the well known Erie Canal which was completed in 1825 and used to bring goods and eventually passengers from one place to another. The canal started at the Hudson River near Albany, New York and ended near the Niagara River in Buffalo, New York. At the time this was the most cost effective way to ship a vast amount of goods.
Today the Erie Canal is considered the most successful hand made waterway in North America. These two advances were not only major successes in Buffalos development as a city but a big part of its globalization as a whole. By 1975 Buffalo had gone through the age of sailboats, mules, trains, steel and bombs. These two advances between stages one and three in globalization helped towards the rise of Buffalo.
In 1975-1992 Buffalo went through the “Perfect Economic Storm” that caused Buffalo a large amount of economic distress. The Vietnam War, which started in 1955, had the most severe impact on the U.S.
economy. The government’s military spending was causing many problems for the American economy and led to the rise of inflation in the 1970s. The Oil Embargo also put a strain on the U.S. economy because we were very dependent on foreign oil. When the U.S. was denied the foreign oil the oil prices skyrocketed and caused a global recession.
Nixon introduced a new strategy to help reduce the need for foreign oil and ease the tension of the oil shortages. OPEC fixed the price of crude oil which led to inflation. At the time of this Detroit’s big automobile companies had to downsize their vehicles because of inflation.
The other thing that contributed to the “Perfect Storm” was the Welland Canal. It ran through Buffalo and connected to Canada. Before, any ships would stop off at Buffalo and drop off their shipment there. But, after the canal was built any of those ships trying to make shipments would now use the Wellen Canal. The ships would sail through Buffalo without making a stop and go right to Canada which was where most of Buffalos shipments would be found. This meant that Buffalo was now missing out on resources that could’ve helped its economy grow.
Globalization stage 4 was the worst stage for Buffalo to undergo. It was the time of one of our worst blizzards since the blizzard of ’77. Although we are used to these snow storms this one was especially bad because James D. Griffin, also known as “Jimmy Six Pack”, was the mayor. Griffin was the most outspoken and controversial politician in Buffalo history. He was the type of person that wouldn’t let anyone stand in the way of what he thought was best for the city of Buffalo. At the time Griffin was Buffalo’s Streets Commissioner, taking care of the removal of the snow and the equipment.
You may be wondering why and that is because the Common Council rejected the nomination of Joseph Scinta as Streets Commissioner. Griffin told the residents of Buffalo to blame their councilmen when the snow would begin to pile up on the city streets. A month or two after the blizzard happened Griffin was decisive on showing Buffalonians how serious he was about the clean up of the streets. He was crazy enough to go out and plow the streets himself.
Even though Griffin didn’t set us up for globalization stage 5 he really did put a lot of time and effort into the city. With Buffalo in debt, waterfront looking bad, downtown empty, and residents leaving Griffin still believed that Buffalo was worth saving and he never gave up on the city. Near the end of globalization stage 4 and the beginning of globalization stage 5 Bill Clinton signed NAFTA allowing free trade between Mexico, Canada, and the United States. NAFTA has many pros to it, the first one being that the trade between the three countries quadrupled from billions of dollars to one trillion.
It increased the economic growth and jobs for all three countries. It also increased trade by getting rid of tariffs between the three countries. It created more jobs and lowered economic spending. NAFTA also has some cons, one being that it led to the decrease of jobs in the United States. It also abolished wages leaving the United States asking for higher wages and put farmers out of business which made them lose their farms. Also at this time new forms of communication developed allowing people to do business.
The internet was a big part of globalization stage 5 because it was a good way for companies to advertise their products. So the increase in technology actually helped increase jobs. Towards the end of globalization stage 5 and the beginning of globalization stage 6 was when Buffalo began to rebuild its city back up. The development of Canalside and KeyBank Center have been very beneficial additions to Buffalo. These places attract many people because of the many activities that they put on. Things such as concerts, hockey games, ice skating, carnivals and so much more.
These places have been a successful representation that our economic leaders are trying to do something good for Buffalo’s economy. Also Governor Cuomo has announced Buffalo Billion II, the idea of this is to help create more successful and thriving businesses which creates more jobs and having more jobs will hopefully attract more people. If we have more people wanting to move to Buffalo that means that there will more people to help rebuild Buffalo’s economy.
The goal for Buffalo should be to focus on repairing and building up on the businesses and buildings that are already there. Those places like Canalside, KeyBank Center, Niagara Falls, HarborCenter, and so many others that made Buffalo such an attraction. Without those things Buffalo wouldn’t be where it is today.
Although new places could attract more people, focusing on what we have now and perfecting those places will attract people for a longer period of time. It’s not just the places that need fixing its the streets in downtown Buffalo that could also use some fixing too. The tall buildings aren’t the only thing that has to look appealing. Not to mention Buffalo’s downtown area barely seems to not have enough room for what is already there. Also these days and for awhile now downtown streets have been looking quiet trashy and not desirable to walk around.
Buffalo has one of the steepest population decreases of any county in the nation. You would think that that percentage of people leaving was older people who have retired but sadly it isn’t. Majority of the people fleeing from here are young adults and middle age people who can’t seem to find a job or are going elsewhere for a better one. That definitely doesn’t help our economy grow and flourish. Throughout all of Buffalo’s ups and downs, it has been able to bounce back. From the “Perfect Economic Storm” to “Jimmy Six Pack” Buffalo has been able to resolve and move forward from these hardships. The developments that have occured in Buffalo have definitely made Buffalo the city to be in.
They have given many opportunities to people that need jobs and given people places to make memories. Although this city seems to be decreasing in population and places seem run down if Buffalo focuses on what matters like the building that already are standing we’ll be on the track for success.