Project Details

Buffalo, New York, averages more cloudy days than sunny ones in a year. The storms that blow in off of Lake Erie make Salt Lake City’s “lake effect” seem like merely a bad ski day at Snowbird. Buffalo’s very existence is the product of an almost unbelievable demonstration of bull-headedness and will power. When the state of New York began construc – tion of the Erie Canal in 1817, the people of Buffalo knew their burg lacked a natural harbor, and the rival village of Black Rock stood poised to host construc – tion of the canal’s western terminus, which would connect Lake Erie to the Hudson River, then on to New York City and true prize of the Atlantic Ocean. The people of Buffalo responded by dredging the creek themselves to build a harbor. Buffalo became a canal town and then a railroad hub. While pushing people and goods both east and west, some who arrived stayed, and by 1900 Buffalo represented the nation’s eighth largest population center. From the First Ward to the bars on Chippewa Street to the huddled masses yearning for a Bills victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, Buffalo’s character lies in the strength of its neighborhoods and the people who occupy them. They have faced their share of heartache and hardship: the mental collapse of Joseph Ellicott, who planned Buffalo’s layout; the impris – onment of Benjamin Rathbun, who constructed its first significant buildings; the economic collapse that cost Buffalo half its population over the second half of the twentieth century; four consecutive Super Bowl losses by the Bills in the 1990s. Nothing comes easy in Buffalo