Buffalo/Allentown and the Delaware District

The Forman-Cabana House, built in 1893 from a design by prominent local architect E. B. Green for oil company magnate George V. Forman, is representative of the breathtaking mansions of "Millionaire's Row" in the Delaware District.

Allentown and the Delaware District are two neighborhoods in Buffalo that are located adjacent to each other and north of downtown. These two areas are among the most desirable neighborhoods in the city today, and, much more than most other areas of Buffalo, were able to retain their charm, affluence, and safety throughout Buffalo's dark days from the 1960s to the turn of the millennium. Today, Allentown boasts a thriving cultural and artistic scene and a large selection of bars, restaurants, and funky shops, while the Delaware District is a quiet upscale residential area of stately homes, many of which are of great architectural distinction.

Understand

Allentown covers some 160 acres (65ha) north of the Theater District and west of the Medical Corridor. Allentown's main drag, Allen Street, is lined with a wide range of restaurants, bars, and shops catering to the artists, bohemians, upwardly-mobile twentysomethings, punk rockers, and other "alternative" types that have taken up residence here over the past decades. Off Allen Street are found a profusion of charming Victorian residences, largely two-story brick cottages in 19th-century styles such as the Italianate, Gothic Revival, and French Second Empire; it was Allentown's cornucopia of lovely residences that was responsible for the neighborhood's inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

The Delaware District follows Delaware Avenue and its adjacent streets from the northern border of Allentown to Delaware Park. Though there is little here in the way of entertainment, especially compared to Allentown, the area is of interest to visitors due to the lavish mansions that line its main thoroughfare. Once one of the most prestigious addresses in America, the breathtaking residences along Delaware Avenue are an architecture lover's dream come true: elegant palaces from the Gilded Age that were once home to aristocratic Buffalo families like the Curtisses, the Rumseys, and the Knoxes. The portion of Delaware Avenue between North and Bryant Streets, where the densest concentration of original mansions can be found, is known as Millionaire's Row and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places; however, huge mansions of this type can periodically be found as far north as Gates Circle.

The Delaware District, such as it is defined in this article, includes a number of peripheral areas that purists might argue to be separate neighborhoods. These include Linwood Avenue, a Local Historic District located a block east of Delaware Avenue that is densely lined with ample wood-frame houses only slightly newer and less luxurious than those on Delaware Avenue, Oxford, a more middle-class, mixed-race neighborhood situated southwest of the corner of Main Street and West Delavan Avenue, adjacent to Canisius College, and Midtown, a term developers have begun to use to describe the newly emerging business district along Main Street between approximately Summer and West Ferry Streets, straddling the Delaware District and the East Side.

History

Allentown takes its name from Lewis Allen, a native of Westfield, Massachusetts who arrived in Buffalo in 1827 and established an orchard and cattle farm on a 29-acre (10.5ha) lot that fronted on Williamsville Road, now Main Street. It was only six years later that Allen moved his farm to a much larger parcel he had just purchased on Grand Island, selling his former plot to developers hungry for new land for development for the growing city of Buffalo. Allen's land was soon joined on the market by a massive portion of the land belonging to future Mayor Ebenezer Walden; located on what is now the southern fringe of Allentown, Walden's land straddled what was then the border between the newly incorporated City of Buffalo and the Village of Black Rock, which was annexed by Buffalo in 1854.

Allen Street was once the path by which Lewis Allen drove his cattle from the pasture owned by his neighbor Thomas Day (where Day's Park is today) to his farmhouse on Main Street.

Meanwhile, the Delaware District, located relatively further from downtown than Allentown, began to urbanize slightly later; it remained farmland until 1868, when Buffalo's northern border was extended from North Street to Ferry Street. Fortuitously for the neighborhood, the following decades saw probably the most rapid growth of population and economy in Buffalo's history. The explosive growth of commerce and industry made millionaires out of many of Buffalo's citizens, and among the newly urbanizing outskirts of the city, the Delaware District was the most popular place for these newly minted aristocrats to build their homes: "Millionaire's Row" was well away from the congestion and bustle of downtown, yet directly connected to it via the broad, straight Delaware Avenue. The development by Frederick Law Olmsted of an extensive system of parks and parkways in Buffalo, with Delaware Park as its centerpiece, brought rapid urbanization to the northern part of the Delaware District, with still more lavish residences constructed along Chapin Parkway and on the streets immediately adjacent to Delaware Park beginning in the 1890s.

The beginning of the 20th Century saw the Delaware District and Allentown at the height of their fortunes, with Delaware Park playing host to the Pan-American Exposition — what many characterize as Buffalo's shining hour — in 1901. However, the area, along with the rest of Buffalo, eventually began to stagnate and decline: the period of deindustrialization and suburbanization that began after World War II, along with the mass exodus of Americans from the often cold and snowy Northeast to the sunnier climates of the West and South, saw Millionaire's Row abandoned by many of its titular residents for the suburbs or (more likely) other cities. Allentown, never having truly recovered from the Wall Street crash of 1929, for several decades verged on being an outright slum before its rediscovery in the 1950s by an emerging community of artists and bohemians (including what would come to be called "beatniks"), a reawakening that culminated in the founding of the North Street Association in 1960, which was soon renamed the Allentown Association.

However, the decline of Allentown and the Delaware District was not nearly as severe as that of other parts of the city; it was the location of this district on the west side of Main Street, and particularly along the still-elegant Delaware Avenue, that was its deliverance. Remarkably, with the exception of the noisy, intrusive Scajaquada Expressway which was routed through Olmsted's Delaware Park in 1961, the urban renewal that permanently scarred or altered other areas of the city barely touched Allentown and the Delaware District. For example, construction of the West Side Arterial, a proposed highway that would have run through Allentown near Virginia Street connecting the Kensington Expressway with Interstate 190, was opposed relentlessly by a grassroots coalition of community groups and was finally cancelled in 1976. Also, IBM's proposal to demolish three of the most sumptuous mansions on Delaware Avenue — the Forman-Cabana House, the George B. Matthews House, and the Richmond-Lockwood House — to make way for corporate offices was stymied and finally cancelled by the Delaware Avenue Historic District's nomination in 1974, and official addition in 1980, to the National Register of Historic Places.

In the present day, the stately homes on Oakland Place, Linwood Avenue, Chapin Parkway, and other streets in the Delaware District, as well as the charming red-brick Victorians of Allentown, are still largely occupied by residents; these neighborhoods, more than most in the city, have gained a new cachet during recent years as urban life has belatedly come back into vogue among citizens of Western New York and elsewhere in the so-called Rust Belt. Also still standing are the mansions of Millionaire's Row, though most of these have been converted to the well-cared-for headquarters of local corporations and not-for-profit groups.

Visitor Information

The Allentown Association is the oldest neighborhood organization in Buffalo, with roots that stretch back to 1960; its website boasts a wealth of information for visitors, such as extensive historical information on many of Allentown's homes, buildings, and streets, a business directory, special event listings, and even a small selection of Allentown-related academic essays and literature.

Get in and around

By car

The Scajaquada Expressway (NY 198) is a short highway that closely parallels the northern border of the Delaware District (largely through Delaware Park), connecting the Kensington Expressway with Interstate 190. Delaware Avenue — the main thoroughfare of the Delaware District and also an important route through Allentown — is the site of one of the Scajaquada's busiest interchanges; those headed for these areas via the Scajaquada should exit via the southbound ramp, proceeding past Delaware Park and Forest Lawn Cemetery toward Gates Circle.

The Kensington Expressway (NY 33) is located on the East Side, but the Delaware District is easily accessible via its Best Street and Humboldt Parkway exits (the latter providing access to Ferry and Utica Streets, among others). Travelers using these interchanges to access the Delaware District should be prepared to traverse some sketchy neighborhoods while heading westward; this changes almost immediately after crossing Main Street, Buffalo's traditional and enduring dividing line between have and have-not.

As mentioned before, Delaware Avenue (NY 384) is the area's main thoroughfare, running north-and-south through the length of both Allentown and the Delaware District. Other main north-south routes through the area include, from west to east: Elmwood Avenue, a small portion of which runs through Allentown, Franklin Street (which becomes Linwood Avenue after crossing North Street into the Delaware District), which runs one-way (south to north) a block east of Delaware Avenue, and Main Street (NY 5), which forms the eastern boundary of the district. Major cross streets include (from south to north) Edward Street, Virginia Street, Allen Street and North Street in Allentown, and Summer Street, West Utica Street, West Ferry Street, Lafayette Avenue, and West Delavan Avenue in the Delaware District.

In Allentown, on-street parking on Allen Street and the side streets adjacent to it, as well as Elmwood Avenue, can be hard to come by — especially on Friday and Saturday nights, when the bars and restaurants are packed. North Street, Delaware Avenue, Virginia Street, and Main Street are better bets. Parking meters charge 50¢ per hour and are enforced on weekdays until 5PM. Additionally, there is a small public parking lot on the south side of Allen Street just west of Elmwood Avenue that charges the same rate as the parking meters. In the Delaware District, on-street parking is prohibited along Delaware Avenue between North Street and Gates Circle, but is generally free and easily available elsewhere.

Rental cars

By public transportation

Public transit in Buffalo and the surrounding area is provided by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) . The NFTA Metro system encompasses a single-line light-rail rapid transit (LRRT) system and an extensive network of buses. The fare for a single trip on a bus or train is $2.00 regardless of length. No transfers are provided between buses or trains; travelers who will need to make multiple trips per day on public transit should consider purchasing an all-day pass for $5.00.

By bus

Allentown and the Delaware District are traversed by a number of NFTA Metro bus routes:

To and from downtown

NFTA Metro Bus #7 — Baynes-Richmond. Begins at the Richardson-Olmsted Complex on Forest Avenue in the Elmwood Village. Inbound trips enter Allentown via Symphony Circle and pass eastward along Allen Street, turning south at Main Street (with service to the Allen-Medical Campus Metro Rail Station) and proceeding downtown. Outbound trips proceed from downtown northward up Franklin Street into Allentown, then along Allen, Main and North Streets before turning northward and entering the Elmwood Village. Bus #7 does not run Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.

NFTA Metro Bus #8 — Main. Beginning at the University Metro Rail Station, Bus #8 proceeds down Main Street through both the Delaware District and Allentown (with service to all Metro Rail stations in the district) and ends downtown.

NFTA Metro Bus #11 — Colvin. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #11 proceeds down Delaware Avenue through both the Delaware District and Allentown and ends downtown.

NFTA Metro Bus #20 — Elmwood. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #20 proceeds down Elmwood Avenue through Allentown and ends downtown.

NFTA Metro Bus #25 — Delaware. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #25 proceeds down Delaware Avenue through both the Delaware District and Allentown and ends downtown.

Crosstown routes

NFTA Metro Bus #12 — Utica. Beginning on the West Side, Bus #12 proceeds along West Utica Street through the Delaware District, with service to the Utica Metro Rail Station, and ends at the University Metro Rail Station.

NFTA Metro Bus #13 — Kensington. Beginning at the Utica Metro Rail Station, Bus #13 proceeds along Main Street through the Delaware District as far as Ferry Street, where it turns eastward and enters the East Side. It ends at the University Metro Rail Station.

NFTA Metro Bus #22 — Porter-Best. Beginning on the West Side, Bus #22 proceeds along Summer Street through the Delaware District, with service to the Summer-Best Metro Rail Station, and ends at the Thruway Mall Transit Center in Cheektowaga.

NFTA Metro Bus #26 — Delavan. Beginning on the West Side, Bus #26 proceeds along West Delavan Avenue through the Delaware District, with service to the Delavan-Canisius College Metro Rail Station, and ends at the Thruway Mall Transit Center in Cheektowaga.

NFTA Metro Bus #29 — Wohlers. Eastbound trips begin on the West Side and proceed through Allentown via Cottage, Virginia, and Main Streets (with service to the Allen-Medical Campus Metro Rail Station), proceeding thenceforward through the East Side before turning westward again via East Delavan Avenue, ending at the Delavan-Canisius College Metro Rail Station in the Delaware District. Westbound trips traverse Allentown via Virginia, College, and Maryland Streets. Bus #29 does not run Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.

The construction of the cycle track on either side of Linwood Avenue was facilitated by the "Complete Streets" program ratified by the Buffalo Common Council in 2008, which mandated that equal consideration be given to bicyclists, pedestrians, and users of public transportation when resurfacing city streets.

By Metro Rail

The Metro Rail is an LRRT line that extends along Main Street from the University at Buffalo's South Campus in North Buffalo southward to downtown, along the eastern border of Allentown and the Delaware District. The Metro Rail serves as the backbone of Buffalo's public transit system, accessed directly by many bus routes. Like the buses, the fare for the Metro Rail is $2.00 ($4.00 round-trip); the $5.00 all-day passes available on Metro buses are also valid for the Metro Rail.

There are three Metro Rail stations located in the Delaware District, and one in Allentown. From north to south, they are:

By bike

Buffalo has been making great strides in recent years in accommodating bicycling as a mode of transportation, with recognition from the League of American Bicyclists as a Bronze-Level "Bicycle-Friendly Community" to show for its efforts. Allentown and the Delaware District are among the most common places in the city to see residents commuting by bike or just enjoying a leisurely ride on a warm day.

In the Delaware District, Linwood Avenue boasts a bike lane on either side of the street for its entire length, as do the "S-curves" of Delaware Avenue between Nottingham Terrace and Forest Avenue. The Delaware Avenue bike lanes reappear further south in Allentown, starting at North Street and extending southward into downtown as far as Niagara Square. Also in Allentown, "sharrows" (pavement markings on roads too narrow to accommodate dedicated bike lanes, indicating that drivers should be aware of bicyclists on the road) are present along North Street from Symphony Circle to Main Street, along Wadsworth and Allen Streets between Symphony Circle and Delaware Avenue, and along Elmwood Avenue south from the Elmwood Village as far as Allen Street, thence continuing further south to Virginia Street as a pair of dedicated bike lanes. Word is that bicycle infrastructure of one form or another will eventually be added to all of Elmwood Avenue, southward into downtown.

Away from the city streets, the 1.1-mile (1.8 km) multi-use trail that circumnavigates Delaware Park's Hoyt Lake is especially popular among cyclists.

Bike sharing

In Allentown, the stretch of Allen Street between Main Street and Delaware Avenue serves as a hub for Buffalo BikeShare. Members can sign in to the Social Bicycles mobile app to find available bikes there.

On foot

Allentown is a safe, pleasant, and compact neighborhood that lends itself particularly well to pedestrians — in fact, with its dense concentration of homes and businesses and relative lack of parking spaces, walking is arguably the most common method of transportation Allentown residents employ for traveling within the neighborhood. Contrarily, the more spread-out nature of the Delaware District makes it relatively less amenable to pedestrians.

See

The Bubble Man

Those who pass by the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Allen Street on a warm day may be surprised to notice a deluge of soap bubbles wafting out of the third-story apartment above Jim's Steakout. Since 2002, Chuck Incorvaia, better known as the Allentown Bubble Man, has been delighting area residents with his unusual hobby, which, according to an interview published in Buffalo Rising, began as a way for him to relieve stress. Now he's a beloved local institution, and Allentowners agree: the simple pleasure of watching bubbles floating above the city streets does go a long way in relieving the minor tensions of the day.

History

Aside from its main significance as the site where Theodore Roosevelt was administered the Presidential oath, the Wilcox Mansion is historically significant as the last remaining building to have been part of the Poinsett Barracks, a military installation built in 1838 to guard against a British invasion from Canada, and as the former home of Buffalo mayor Joseph Masten.

Architecture

More and more, Buffalo's exquisite and well-preserved architecture has grabbed the attention of locals and tourists alike. As of May 2015, there are nine historic neighborhoods in Buffalo listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as seven additional ones that have been granted landmark status by the Buffalo Preservation Board. Of those districts, there are three in Allentown and the Delaware District that will be of especial interest to architecture buffs:

In the Delaware Avenue Historic District can be found a large and well-preserved collection of palatial residences, built by Buffalo's aristocratic élite at a time when the city was at the peak of its economic importance. Seen here are, from right to left, the Charles W. Goodyear House, the Harlow C. Curtiss House, and the Richmond-Lockwood House.

Forest Lawn Cemetery is also the site of a mausoleum designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright:

Art

Allentown boasts perhaps the largest and most longstanding community of artists in Buffalo, with an abundance of galleries for every taste. A good time to experience the art scene there is during First Fridays — a free gallery walk that takes place on the first Friday of each month (hence the name), when the galleries of Allentown and the lower Elmwood Village stay open late and often hold openings and other events, and folks can take in live music and performances or enjoy special deals at nearby shops and restaurants.

The fashionable Delaware District has its share of galleries as well, which tend to be more highbrow than their scruffy, bohemian (and, arguably, more interesting) counterparts in Allentown.

In addition to the places listed here, the Buy section includes a listing of galleries that offer works for sale, rather than display only.

  • Impact Artists' Gallery. Casa de Arte is also the temporary home of Impact Artists' Gallery, which moved out of the East Side's Tri-Main Center in 2015. Founded in 1993 and still the only gallery in Buffalo owned and operated exclusively by women, Impact Artists' Gallery helps to elevate women artists as well as the community at large by fostering an avenue for the unique experiences of female artistic voices to be heard and appreciated.

Outdoors

  • Blue-Sky Mausoleum (Located in Section 15 of Forest Lawn Cemetery, accessible from Delaware Avenue or Main Street entrance; Metro Bus 11, 18, 25, 26 or 29; Metro Rail: Delavan-Canisius College). See "Architecture" subsection above.
  •   Serenity Falls (Located in Section 20 of Forest Lawn Cemetery, best accessed from Main Street entrance; Metro Bus 8, 18, 26 or 29; Metro Rail: Delavan-Canisius College). Located on the grounds of Forest Lawn Cemetery, where Scajaquada Creek meets the Onondaga Escarpment, Serenity Falls may not have the majesty of other waterfalls in the area like Glen Falls in Williamsville or Akron Falls in Akron — let alone of the mighty Niagara Falls — but this charmingly understated hidden gem is one of only two natural waterfalls within Buffalo's city limits. Located in Section 20 of the cemetery, visitors can park along the side of the road, from which point they'll already be able to hear the rushing water, and walk a short distance upstream along the bank of the creek to the series of rapids and a flight of seven small cascades, 12 feet (3.6m) in total height, that makes up Serenity Falls. The falls are best visited in spring and late autumn, when the leaves on the trees don't block the view — the banks of Scajaquada Creek are very steep, and there are no trails or other methods of approach that lead directly to the falls.
Nearly 150 years after it was constructed, Delaware Park continues to fulfill the intent of its designer, allowing citizens of Buffalo to escape into nature without leaving the city limits.

Parks

  •   Delaware Park Rose Garden (Metro Bus 20 or 32). Delaware Park's beautiful Rose Garden is located directly off Lincoln Parkway behind the Marcy Casino, and blooms in season with thirty-three beds of beautiful red, purple, yellow and white roses, many varieties of which have been honored in the past as All-America Rose Selections. The rose garden was not part of Olmsted's original design for the park, but was instead added to the park in 1912. Although its formality contrasts incongruously with the quiet, curvilinear naturalism of the park's original features, the Rose Garden is nonetheless lovely and renowned, and was recently subjected to a thorough restoration at the hands of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. The impeccably manicured garden also includes a working fountain and pyramidal trellises, and a grand pergola at its rear. The garden, and Delaware Park in general, is immensely popular with bridal parties during rose season; don't be surprised if you have to dodge gaggles of bridesmaids posing for endless pictures!
  •   Japanese Garden (Metro Bus 20 or 32). Inaugurated in 1974 as a gesture of friendship between Buffalo and its sister city of Kanazawa, Japan, Delaware Park's Japanese Garden is located on six acres (2.4ha) on Hoyt Lake, behind the Buffalo History Museum. This beautifully manicured oasis of greenery slopes gently down from Nottingham Terrace to the shore of the lake, also encompassing three small islands in the lake connected to the mainland by a lovely ornamental footbridge. Over the past years, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has been hard at work restoring and maintaining the more than 1,000 plantings of ornamental trees, shrubs and plants in the garden, including a large stand of Japanese cherry trees, and also have added or will soon add a stone garden and an authentic karesansui waterfall. Amid it all there are many benches and other sitting areas perfect for serene contemplation of one's peaceful natural surroundings.
Cast in 1900, this replica of Michaelangelo's David is one of several works of public art displayed in Buffalo's Delaware Park.
  • Public art. There are a number of installations of public art peppered around the grounds of Delaware Park. These include:
  •   David (Adjacent to Scajaquada Expressway and Lincoln Parkway, accessible from Hoyt Lake bike trail; Metro Bus 20 or 32). This bronze replica of Michaelangelo's iconic sculpture David is the work of the firm of Sabatino de Angelis and Sons, based in Naples, Italy. In 1903, three years after seeing it on display at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, Buffalo businessman Andrew Langdon purchased the statue from the firm, with the stipulation that no casts of the sculpture would be sold to any other American clients. Langdon donated the statue to the Buffalo Historical Society, and it has been on display near Hoyt Lake ever since.
  •   The Indian Hunter (Located next to first tee of Delaware Park Golf Course, adjacent to Meadow Drive; Metro Bus 8 or 32; Metro Rail: Humboldt-Hospital). A bronze figure of a boy in American Indian garb crouching over next to his dog, bow and arrow in hand, The Indian Hunter is a replica of the statue of the same name that's on display in New York City's Central Park. According to the plaque on its pink granite pedestal, Buffalo's Indian Hunter was donated to the city in 1926 by Ella Spencer Darr in memory of her husband Marcus. The original sculpture is the work of artist John Quincy Adams Ward, and was cast in 1866.
  •   Spirit of Womanhood (Located along eastbound lane of Scajaquada Expressway near Delaware Avenue interchange, accessible from Hoyt Lake bike trail; Metro Bus 11 or 25). A work of renowned local sculptor Larry Griffis, this 15-foot-tall (4.5m tall) bronze statue is a modernist, stylized rendering of a nude woman holding over her head a metal hoop six feet (1.8m) in diameter. The vertical orientation of the sculpture, and the upward gaze of the figure's head, are symbolic of optimism and hope, and the hoop represents the world, eternity, and the cycle of life. Griffis cast this sculpture in December 1962 in honor of Marian de Forest, the founder of Zonta International, a service organization dedicated to the advancement of women that traces its roots to Buffalo.
  •   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Located adjacent to Hoyt Lake and Scajaquada Creekside Trail near Buffalo History Museum; Metro Bus 20 or 32). The first installation of public art to be placed in Delaware Park and one of the first in the entire city, this 4-foot (1.2m) bronze bust of the most prolific, prodigious and influential composer of the Classical era was sculpted by Olin H. Warner for the Buffalo Liedertafel — a fact that bears testament to the profound importance of the German-American community in Buffalo's history, who made up more than half of the city's population when the statue was dedicated in 1894. The statue's pink granite base contains a number of bronze plaques inscribed with biographical facts about Mozart's life, the titles of some of his important works, and honorifics. Today, Mozart serenely overlooks Hoyt Lake from a spot near the Buffalo History Museum.
  •   Young Lincoln (At the front of the Rose Garden, facing the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Metro Bus 20 and 32). Located (appropriately enough) adjacent to Lincoln Parkway, this bronze statue depicts Abraham Lincoln seated on an oak log with an axe at his feet and a book on his right knee, symbolizing his transition in life from humble farm labor to the highest achievement of American statesmanship. The work of sculptor Bryant Baker, Young Lincoln was cast in bronze in 1935; on its pink granite base is inscribed a quote from poet James Russell Lowell: "For him her old world moulds aside she threw, and choosing sweet clay from the breast of the unexhausted west, with stuff untainted shaped a hero new."
Located just south and east of Symphony Circle in Allentown, Arlington Park is arguably the loveliest of Buffalo's three "residential parks".

Do

Festivals and events

Delaware Park serves as one of the busiest venues for Buffalo's huge and growing slate of annual festivals, with a wide range of activities taking place there year-round. Additionally, Delaware Avenue and Allen Street in Allentown is the site of the Allentown Art Festival, where Buffalonians kick off the summer each June at the longest-running and best-known annual event in the city.

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Golf

The Theatre of Youth is housed in the historic 1913 Allendale Theatre, a former silent movie palace in the heart of Allentown that was rescued from demolition in 1986 after having been condemned by the city — another of Buffalo's success stories in the field of revitalization of historic buildings.

Theater

Movies

Live music

Allentown's bars are some of the best places in Buffalo to see local singer-songwriters and rock bands play. The scene here is brimming with talent, and very tight-knit: the bands all know each other socially and from sharing bills, and tend to gig around all the venues in the neighborhood, musical chairs-style. These places are all fairly interchangeable — laid-back, intimate venues populated by typical Allentowners. In addition, a few other venues present a more eclectic range of performances.

Buy

Allentown

Clothing

Art and art supplies

Antiques

Tattoos and piercing

Gifts

Liquor, beer and wine

Furniture and home decor

Miscellaneous

Delaware District

Clothing

Art

Books

Music

Liquor, beer and wine

Miscellaneous

Eat

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under $20
Mid-range $20-40
Splurge Over $40

Allentown

Budget

Gabriel's Gate, a popular Allentown bar and restaurant, is part of the Tiffts Row, a group of seven nearly-identical two-story brick Italianate residences built in 1870 by real estate speculator W. Tiffts. The buildings on the left, in particular, are a good representation of what Allen Street looked like in the late 19th Century.

Mid-range

Splurge

Local chains

The following local chains have locations in Allentown. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.

Pizza

The following pizzerias are located in Allentown. Those who are interested in pizza delivery (as opposed to pickup) might want to also check listings in adjacent districts; local pizzerias will often deliver to several different neighborhoods of the city.

Groceries

Farmers' markets

Delaware District

Splurge

Groceries

Allen Street boasts one of the densest and liveliest concentrations of bars in Buffalo.

Drink

For a long time, Allentown has been a mecca for artists, hipsters, and bohemians of all kinds; the bars in this neighborhood reflect this to a great degree. As the longtime epicenter of Buffalo's LGBT community, Allentown (in particular, near the corner of Main and Allen Streets) is also the home of the majority of Buffalo's gay bars.

Allentown

Coffee shops

Allentown's long-lackluster coffeeshop scene got a major shot in the arm in 2015, when not one but two new cafés opened their doors to accompany longtime neighborhood stalwart Café Taza.

Delaware District

The Delaware District is quiet and residential, and does not have nearly the level of nightlife that Allentown has. A small cluster of establishments can be found north of Gates Circle.

Coffee shops

There's a   Dunkin' Donuts at the Delta Sonic gas station at 1264 Main St. Other than that, your best bet is to head a few blocks west to the Elmwood Village.

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under $100/night
Mid-range $100-150/night
Splurge Over $150/night

Allentown

Allentown boasts a modest selection of accommodations, including a pair of chain hotels along Delaware Avenue that are similar to, but somewhat less expensive than, the properties downtown. Perhaps more interestingly, Allentown also boasts a few grand old historic hotels that have soldiered on to the present day, catering to travellers in search of a more distinctive experience.

Mid-range

Splurge

Delaware District

Historic Linwood Avenue has a pair of superlative B&Bs where the themes of local history and culture come out in full force.

The Beau Fleuve Bed & Breakfast Inn is situated in an 1882 Stick-style home that once belonged to local stockbroker, economist and novelist Albert J. Wright. This beautifully restored wood-frame building is also a typical example of the architecture that can be found in the Linwood Preservation District.

B&B's

Connect

The   Mid-City Post Office is located at 1245 Main St. in Midtown. Other nearby post offices can be found downtown at 229 W. Genesee St. and 701 Washington St.

Free WiFi is available in Allentown at Café 59 on Allen Street and Tim Hortons/Cold Stone Creamery on Delaware Avenue, and in the Delaware District at Delta Sonic and McDonald's on Main Street.

Stay safe

Despite the fact that Buffalo's crime rate has fallen steadily since the 1990s, it is still higher than the national average for cities its size. By Buffalo standards, Allentown has a moderate-to-high crime rate. The general rule for Allentown is that the closer you are to Delaware or Elmwood Avenues, the safer you are. Despite (or perhaps because of) the rapid gentrification that is taking place there, a particularly troubled area is the blocks west of Wadsworth Street, straddling Allentown and the Lower West Side. Reports of assaults and robberies in Day's Park occur with some frequency. That being the case, visitors should by no means allow these occasional incidents to put them off from experiencing this part of Allentown — the lush greenery of the park and the splendid Victorian cottages surrounding it are simply magnificent, police patrols have increased sharply, and perhaps more than any other area of Buffalo, residents of the Day's Park area are working diligently to "take back their streets". Those who exercise common sense — locking car doors, keeping valuables out of sight — will be fine. The Main Street corridor is another problem area.

The Delaware District boasts an extremely low crime rate. Visitors should not experience problems of any kind there.

Many longtime fans of the Allentown bar scene lament the fact that, especially since the decline of the rowdy, often violent club scene on Chippewa Street in the face of a sharply increased police presence there, Allentown's bars have lately begun to attract a rougher crowd. That being said, the Allentown scene is still far more laid-back than Chippewa was in its prime — and the Buffalo Police are ubiquitous on the Allen Street strip on weekend nights to make sure of that. Visitors to Allentown bars are far more likely to be annoyed by cooler-than-thou hipsters than by belligerent drunks.

As in downtown and the Elmwood Village, panhandlers are present in Allentown. The homeless tend to congregate around "The Bend" — that is, the west end of Allen Street where it veers right and becomes Wadsworth Street — near which there is a soup kitchen. As elsewhere in Buffalo, aggressive panhandling in Allentown is unheard of; a firm "no" will usually do the trick. Panhandlers are almost completely absent from the Delaware District.

Cope

Newspapers

The Allentown Association publishes a quarterly newspaper, the Allentown Neighbor, that covers neighborhood news such as business openings and closings, urban development and historic preservation, Buffalo Common Council proceedings, community events, and other issues.

Hospitals

The nearest hospitals are Buffalo General Hospital, at 100 High St. in the Medical Corridor, Erie County Medical Center at 462 Grider St. on the East Side, and Sisters of Charity Hospital at 2157 Main St.

Places of worship

This is one of the few remaining areas of Buffalo where white, mainline Protestant churches still predominate.

Roman Catholic

Protestant

The Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, at the corner of Delaware Avenue and West Utica Street, took ownership of the former North Presbyterian Church very quickly after that congregation's move to the suburb of Williamsville — in fact, the first Greek Orthodox Mass in the building took place on Sunday, December 28th, 1952, just after the conclusion of the final Presbyterian service there!

Black churches

Eastern Orthodox

Jewish

Other

Go next

If you like the nightlife in Allentown, you'll want to make the Elmwood Village your next stop. The range of bars, restaurants and shops that line Elmwood Avenue is even greater than Allen Street, and their vibe is influenced by the student life at nearby Buffalo State College in much the same way that Allentown is flavored by its artists and bohemians. Aficionados of art and history are in luck, too, with a vibrant Museum District at the north end of the strip.

Check out the West Side to see Buffalo's next Allentown in the earliest stages of its revival. Instead of hipsters and well-heeled young urbanites congregating in a relatively "safe" gentrified area, the West Side has a creative community that is far closer to "starving artists" than anything in Allentown, urban pioneers snapping up beautiful but dilapidated Victorian houses and restoring them to their former glory, a vibrant Latino community centered on Niagara Street, and a veritable United Nations of immigrants in Grant-Ferry that each add their bit to an ambience that is wonderfully gritty and chaotically fascinating.

On the far side of Delaware Park, North Buffalo is a part of the city where the pleasures are subtler. The shops and restaurants on Hertel Avenue are pleasant without the pretension of the hipster hangouts on Allen Street, the mansions of Park Meadow and Central Park are elegant without the in-your-face ostentation of Millionaire's Row, and the college dives in University Heights are lively without the crowds and chaos of the ones on the Elmwood Strip.


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