Buffalo /ˈbʌfəloʊ/ is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area, the largest in Upstate New York. Buffalo itself has a population of 261,310 (2010 Census) and the Buffalo–Niagara–Cattaraugus Combined Statistical Area is home to 1,215,826 residents.
Prior to the Iroquois occupation of the region, the region was settled by the Neutral Nation. Later, the Senecas of the Iroquois Confederacy conquered the Neutrals. In 1804, Joseph Ellicott, a principal agent of the Holland Land Company, designed a radial street and grid system that branches out from downtown like bicycle spokes. During the War of 1812, on December 30, 1813, Buffalo was burned by British forces. On November 4, 1825 the Erie Canal was completed with Buffalo strategically positioned at the western end of the system. At the time, the population was about 2,400. The Erie Canal brought a surge in population and commerce which led Buffalo to incorporate as a city in 1832, with a population of about 10,000 people.
Buffalo is located on the eastern end of Lake Erie, opposite Fort Erie, Ontario, and at the beginning of the Niagara River, which flows northward over Niagara Falls and into Lake Ontario. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 52.5 square miles (136 km Sq), of which 40.6 square miles (105 km Sq) is land and 11.9 square miles (31 km Sq) is water. The total area is 22.66% water.
Buffalo and the surrounding area were long involved in railroad commerce, steel manufacture, automobile production, aircraft/aerospace design and production, Great Lakes shipping, and grain storage. Most of these industries have left the city through the years. Major steel production no longer exists in the area, although several smaller steel mills remain in operation. For example, Gibraltar Industries, a leading manufacturer, processor, and distributor of steel products for the building, industrial, and vehicular markets is headquartered in Buffalo. As of the 1950 United States Census, Buffalo was the 15th largest city in the country, the nation's largest inland port (twelfth overall), second biggest rail center, sixth largest steel producer, and eighth largest manufacturer.
"The Queen City", Buffalo's most common moniker, first appeared in print in the 1840s, referring to the city's status as the second largest city in New York State after New York City. "The Queen City" was also used during the 19th century to describe Buffalo as the second largest American city on the Great Lakes after Chicago. Buffalo has also been called The Nickel City due to the appearance of a bison on the back of Indian Head nickel in the early part of the 20th century. The City of Good Neighbors refers to the helpful, friendly spirit of its inhabitants. In the early 20th century, the city began calling itself the City of Light both because of the plentiful hydroelectric power made possible by nearby Niagara Falls and because it was the first city in America to have electric street lights.
The theatre community in the Buffalo Theater District, includes over 20 professional companies. Major theatres groups include The Alt at the Warehouse, American Repertory Theater of Western New York, Brazen Faced Varlets, The Irish Classical Theatre, The Kavinoky Theatre, Lancaster Opera House, The New Phoenix Theatre, Road Less Traveled Productions, Shea's Performing Arts Center, The Subversive Theatre, The Theatre of Youth, and Torn Space Theatre. These companies present a variety of theatre styles and many present original productions by Buffalo playwrights. Each year, the weekly publication ArtVoice sponsors The Artie Awards, celebrating the year in theatre by recognizing top shows and performances.
One of Buffalo's many monikers is the City of Trees, which describes the abundance of green in the city. In fact, Buffalo has more than 20 parks with multiple ones being 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
Situated at the confluence of Lake Erie and the Buffalo River 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.
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