Buffalo/North Buffalo

Perhaps North Buffalo doesn't have the immediate cachet of other parts of the city. The clothing boutiques on Hertel stock fashions that may not be as up-to-the-minute as the ones in the Elmwood Village. The bars are more likely to be populated by neighborhood regulars than the cooler-than-thou hipsters you'll find in Allentown. But that's okay. More so than perhaps any other area of Buffalo, regular folks can spend a whole day shopping here and they won't experience condescension — they'll meet friendly, outgoing shopkeepers genuinely glad to see them. Budget-conscious travelers can eat well in North Buffalo's restaurants without being bowled over when they see the bill.

But North Buffalo is much more than shopping, dining, and nightlife. North Buffalo is architecture — Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House in Parkside, and the mansions in Park Meadow and Central Park, will have you ooh-ing and aah-ing. North Buffalo is art — Hertel Avenue has more than its share of galleries tucked among the shops and restaurants, and the UB Anderson Gallery is truly one of the city's unknown treasures. And North Buffalo is culture — with not one but two colleges and universities adding their flavors to the mix, Erie County's most-visited tourist attraction (the Buffalo Zoo), and a growing theater scene.

Speaking of culture, North Buffalo is, in particular, Italian-American culture. Hertel Avenue, which has recently been officially decreed as Buffalo's Little Italy, is heaven for fans of pasta with red sauce, pizza, and fine wines. And if you're looking for a delightfully gaudy little tchotchke to send home to Nona, this is your place.

Understand

North Buffalo comprises a number of distinct neighborhoods.   Hertel Avenue, as described above, boasts some of the city's best restaurants as well as a growing range of shops and art galleries.   University Heights is centered along Main Street at Buffalo's far northeast corner, dominated by the University of Buffalo at its outer end and a small but lively collection of restaurants, bars and shops catering to a diverse student population. Southwest of University Heights adjacent to Main Street are a trio of quiet, pleasant residential neighborhoods: from north to south,   Central Park, where some of Buffalo's most palatial mansions can be found, the   Vernon Triangle, a tiny enclave bounded by Amherst Street, Main Street, and the Belt Line railroad tracks, and   Parkside, a leafy neighborhood of curvilinear streets designed by eminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted also designed   Park Meadow, an upscale residential area west of Parkside, sandwiched between Amherst Street and Delaware Park.

History

North Buffalo's location further from downtown than any other part of the city, as well as its poorly drained topography, conspired to make it the last part of Buffalo to urbanize. Being located at the foot of the Onondaga Escarpment in what was once the bed of a glacial lake, the marshy land of North Buffalo — or the Buffalo Plains, as the area was called in the early days — made it far less suitable for agriculture than the ground above that low ridge of flint. Cornelius Creek, which roughly followed the course of today's Hertel Avenue from its headwaters near what is today the corner of Parkside Avenue, traversed North Buffalo until sometime in the 1880s, when it was buried as part of the city's storm drain system. An outpost of civilization in this wilderness was the Great Iroquois Trail (today's Main Street), which was an important thoroughfare between Buffalo and points east such as Williamsville and Clarence Hollow that ran along the crest of the escarpment. Like the aforementioned hamlets, the farmsteads along that road played an important role in the War of 1812 as refuges for residents of Buffalo and Black Rock which were burned by the British in December 1813, and, in the case of Dr. Daniel Chapin's farm in what is now Parkside, as the site of the Flint Hill Encampment, where the Army of the Frontier under General Alexander Smythe spent that same winter. However, even as the city to its south grew astronomically, North Buffalo remained a rural backwater even well after 1868, the year Frederick Law Olmsted laid out the centerpiece of Buffalo's park system, Delaware Park, on land just south of here.

Located at 2540 Main Street in the Vernon Triangle, the Washington Adams Russell House was built in 1841 and is thus the oldest extant building in North Buffalo. This old farmhouse, now a church, is a vestige of the days when Main Street was a major thoroughfare between Buffalo and the frontier villages to its north and east, such as Williamsville and Clarence. At the time of its construction, the house stood on 200 acres (81ha) of farmland abutting the Onondaga Escarpment; it remained in the hands of the Russell family for over forty years thereafter.

It was the construction of the New York Central Railroad's Belt Line in 1882 — a 15-mile (24 km) loop intended to enable residents of Buffalo's outskirts to commute to jobs downtown — that spurred the beginning of urbanization in North Buffalo. As early as 1876, Frederick Law Olmsted had planned to follow up the success of Delaware Park with a development he called Parkside, a verdant residential neighborhood adjacent to the park that would serve as a buffer between the pastoral park system and the bustle and congestion of the city. Now, with the construction of the railroad having driven up property values, construction of Parkside could begin in earnest. By the turn of the century, the ample houses of Parkside were occupied by a growing number of Buffalo's richest citizens — including Larkin Soap Company executive Darwin D. Martin, who moved into a substantial home on Jewett Parkway designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Immediately north of Parkside, across the tracks of the Belt Line, local business magnate Lewis Bennett had success with Central Park, a similarly upscale neighborhood situated on his former estate that he developed beginning in 1890.

It was not until after 1900, however, that the development of North Buffalo came to full fruition. Despite the success of Parkside and Central Park, when the Pan-American Exposition was held in 1901, the remainder of North Buffalo was still sparsely populated farmland. However, the presence of visitors who came by the tens of thousands to the Exposition — many of whom arrived there via the Belt Line — spurred real estate speculators to buy up farmland in preparation for the inevitable rush of new residents. The Pan-American Exposition, a World's Fair that was intended to show off Buffalo's industrial might, was held on a parcel of vacant land north of Delaware Park that Olmsted had earlier planned as a future western extension of Parkside. Afterward, beginning about 1920, the luxurious neighborhood known today as Park Meadow was laid out on the former Exposition grounds.

Elsewhere in North Buffalo, the University of Buffalo purchased the 153-acre (61ha) site of the former Erie County Alms House in the far northeast corner of the city in 1912, moving its rapidly growing campus there from downtown and setting off a similar land rush in what is now University Heights. Hertel Avenue, for its part, was becoming the neighborhood of choice for Buffalo's Jewish community — mainly Orthodox Jews from Russia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe — who were gradually being displaced from their traditional homes on the Near East Side and in Hamlin Park by a growing African-American population.

World War II saw the last remaining bits of empty land in the city — including the area between Elmwood and Delaware Avenues north of the Belt Line, and along the south side of Kenmore Avenue west of Elmwood — eaten up with the construction of wartime factories (including the former Curtiss-Wright Plant #3 which still stands behind the Home Depot on Elmwood Avenue) and hastily-built housing for returning GIs. However, after the war, Buffalo, like many cities in the so-called Rust Belt, saw its formerly steady growth stagnate and decline. These were certainly trying times for North Buffalo; for instance, for the first time in its history the formerly posh neighborhood of Parkside found itself grappling with social issues such as slumlords and vacant buildings, which led to the foundation of the Parkside Community Association in 1963. But, by and large, North Buffalo was able to hang on better than other areas of the city. Aside from the construction of the Scajaquada Expressway in 1962 through verdant Delaware Park, the urban renewal that wrought havoc on other areas of the city left North Buffalo mostly unscathed — enabling the addition of the Parkside East Historic District and the Parkside West Historic District (i.e. Park Meadow) to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Meanwhile, the stabilizing presence of UB and its large and diverse student population did much to insulate University Heights from the ghettoization that ravaged adjacent East Side neighborhoods such as Kensington-Bailey and Kensington Heights in the 1960s and '70s.

Perhaps the greatest change to take place in North Buffalo at this time, however, was the gradual transition of Hertel Avenue's ethnic character from Jewish to Italian, as the former group took up residence in the suburbs (principally Amherst) and the humble but friendly old Italian enclaves of the Lower West Side fell to the wrecking ball as part of a misguided urban renewal program, leaving their residents in search of a new home. This new identity for Hertel Avenue was formalized in 2011, when the city government erected signs proudly proclaiming the neighborhood as Buffalo's official Little Italy. Indeed, Buffalo's modest renaissance that began at the dawn of the 21st Century saw Hertel Avenue emerge as a lively strip of shops, restaurants and galleries to rival the Elmwood Village.

Visitor information

The Parkside Community Association maintains a website that contains neighborhood news and event listings, and — most notably by far — is an extremely comprehensive resource for information about Parkside's rich history, with an extensive written history of the neighborhood spanning the 18th Century to the present day, descriptions of many old houses and historic sites on its leafy streets, historic maps, and a myriad of other resources.

Though it's a privately owned website unaffiliated with the Hertel-North Buffalo Business Association or any other "official" neighborhood group, hertelavenue.com is a resource for visitors to Hertel Avenue, featuring business listings, a map, and event information.

The University Heights Collaborative's website contains information on restaurants, nightlife, community happenings, and other items of interest to those visiting University Heights.

Get in

By car

The Scajaquada Expressway (NY 198) is a short highway that passes through North Buffalo, extending between the Kensington Expressway on the East Side and Interstate 190 in Black Rock. The Scajaquada passes through the south end of Parkside and traverses Delaware Park, after which point it enters the West Side. Interchanges at Main Street and Parkside Avenue provide access to Parkside, Central Park, the Vernon Triangle, and (further afield) University Heights, while Hertel Avenue and Park Meadow are best accessible via the northbound Delaware Avenue and Elmwood Avenue exits.

Hertel Avenue can be almost inarguably considered the "main drag" of North Buffalo, passing from west to east through the heart of Buffalo's "Little Italy" and ending at Main Street just past the south end of University Heights. In addition, Kenmore Avenue straddles Buffalo's northern border with the suburban communities of Tonawanda and Kenmore, and Amherst Street passes through the residential areas of Parkside, Central Park, and Park Meadow, at the southern edge of North Buffalo. Major north-south routes in North Buffalo include, from west to east: Military Road (NY 265), Elmwood Avenue, Delaware Avenue (NY 384), Colvin Avenue, Parkside Avenue, Starin Avenue, and Main Street (NY 5).

In the Hertel Avenue business district, parking can be hard to come by on Hertel itself as well as on side streets within a block or so of the main drag. Parking meters are in place on Hertel along essentially the entire length of the business district (from Wallace to Virgil Avenues); paid parking is in effect Monday through Saturday until 5PM, at a rate of 50¢ per hour up to a maximum of two hours. The two free parking lots provided by the Hertel-North Buffalo Business Association are often your best bet for parking on the Hertel strip. These lots are located, respectively, next to Terrapin Station near the corner of Virgil Avenue, and next to Family Video near the corner of Sterling Avenue.

Though finding a spot in the University Heights business district can be difficult, parking along Main Street between LaSalle and University Avenues is free (though limited to two hours). On-street parking on Main Street north of University Avenue is prohibited, but most businesses at the outer extremity of University Heights have their own parking lots, so this shouldn't pose too much of a problem. There are also three free parking lots on the north side of Main Street: at West Winspear Avenue behind the Mobil gas station, at Heath Street behind the   Gloria J. Parks Community Center, and at Englewood Avenue adjacent to the former P. J. Bottoms. Parking in these lots is limited to two hours. Perhaps your best bet for parking in University Heights, however, are the large, free NFTA Park-and-Ride lots at the University and LaSalle rail stations — see the By Metro Rail section below.

In Parkside, Central Park, Park Meadow, and elsewhere in North Buffalo, on-street parking is free and plentiful.

Rental cars

Car sharing

Members of the Zipcar car-sharing program have access to a Toyota Prius and a Ford Focus hatchback parked directly on the South Campus in the Goodyear Lot, directly behind Goodyear Hall.

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

North Buffalo is traversed by a number of NFTA Metro bus routes:

To and from downtown

NFTA Metro Bus #3 — Grant. Beginning at the city line at the corner of Kenmore Avenue and Military Road, Bus #3 proceeds westward down Kenmore Avenue through Riverside, re-entering North Buffalo at the corner of Military Road and Skillen Street and continuing southward down Military Road along the western edge of the district, ending downtown.

NFTA Metro Bus #5 — Niagara-Kenmore. Beginning at the University Metro Rail Station, Bus #5 proceeds westward down Kenmore Avenue, then entering Black Rock and continuing through the West Side via Niagara Street, finally ending downtown.

NFTA Metro Bus #8 — Main. Beginning at the University Metro Rail Station, Bus #8 proceeds down Main Street along the east edge of the district, through University Heights, Central Park, the Vernon Triangle, and Parkside (with service to all Metro Rail stations in the district), ending downtown.

NFTA Metro Bus #11 — Colvin. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #11 proceeds down Colvin Avenue through North Buffalo and across Hertel Avenue, then turning right at Amherst Street and proceeding westbound through Park Meadow and past the Buffalo Zoo and Delaware Park. Turning south again at Delaware Avenue, the route ends downtown.

NFTA Metro Bus #20 — Elmwood. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #20 proceeds down Elmwood Avenue through North Buffalo, with access to the Regal Elmwood Center and Tops shopping plazas, and ends downtown.

NFTA Metro Bus #25 — Delaware. Beginning in Tonawanda, Bus #25 proceeds down Delaware Avenue through North Buffalo. The bus passes the Delaware Consumer Square (Target) and Delaware Place shopping plazas, then proceeds perpendicularly across the Hertel Avenue corridor, through Park Meadow, and past Delaware Park, ending downtown.

Crosstown routes

NFTA Metro Bus #23 — Fillmore-Hertel. Beginning in Black Rock, Bus #23 proceeds eastward along Hertel Avenue to Main Street, where it turns south and accesses the Amherst Street Metro Rail Station. The bus then enters the East Side via Fillmore Avenue and ends in South Buffalo.

NFTA Metro Bus #32 — Amherst. Beginning in Black Rock, Bus #32 proceeds along Amherst Street, detouring briefly into the Elmwood Village via Elmwood Avenue, with service to Buffalo State College and the Museum District. After returning to Amherst Street, Bus #32 proceeds eastward through Park Meadow, Parkside, Central Park, and the Vernon Triangle, then passes the Amherst Street Metro Rail Station and proceeds further eastward into the East Side, ending at the Thruway Mall Transit Center in Cheektowaga.

By Metro Rail

The Metro Rail is an LRRT line that extends along Main Street from the University at Buffalo's South Campus southward to downtown, along the eastern border of North Buffalo. 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 four Metro Rail stations located in North Buffalo. From north to south, they are:

It bears mentioning that the University Station is a major node in Buffalo's public transportation network, served directly by no fewer than eleven bus routes, as well as the subway. In particular, anyone travelling on public transit from Buffalo to one of its northern suburbs, such as Tonawanda or Amherst, will very likely have to transfer at the University Station.

Also, the NFTA operates a large 600-space   Park & Ride lot on Main Street, adjacent to the University Station, and an even larger (and generally much less crowded) 800-space   Park & Ride lot behind the LaSalle Station. Parking in these lots is free, and they're great for people whose hotel may be located in the aforementioned northern suburbs but would like to visit North Buffalo (or anywhere else the Metro Rail goes). Users of the University Park-and-Ride in particular should ensure that they are parked in the correct place — the Park-and-Ride lot is surrounded by a number of other lots that are reserved for students and faculty of UB, and campus police will not hesitate to ticket cars without parking passes parked in reserved spaces.

Meadow Drive is a paved multi-use trail that circumnavigates Delaware Park's Meadow.

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. Sadly, the bicycle infrastructure in North Buffalo is relatively underdeveloped compared to other parts of the city, and especially compared to other upscale neighborhoods such as the Elmwood Village and Allentown. However, this is not to say that North Buffalo is not a thoroughly enjoyable place to see by bike — the safe, quiet, and leafy streets of Park Meadow, Parkside, and Central Park are a cyclist's dream come true, with magnificent scenery to admire on the way to one's destination courtesy of the grandiose and architecturally distinguished housing stock of those areas. As well, those who don't mind dealing with busy car traffic will enjoy the bustling corridors of Hertel Avenue and Main Street in University Heights.

What specialized bike infrastructure there is in North Buffalo is centered around Delaware Park. Meadow Drive, the 1.8-mile (2.9 km) ring road that circumnavigates the Delaware Park Golf Course and passes within view of the Buffalo Zoo and the some of the grand old mansions of Park Meadow, is delightful for walkers, joggers and bicyclists alike. Though 1.1 miles (1.7 km) of Meadow Drive — from Agassiz Circle to Meadow Road — is also open to automobile traffic, traffic is generally quite light and speed limits for cars are very low (15 mph, or 24 km/h) and enforced strictly. Also, the Scajaquada Creekside Trail, also known as the Jesse Kriegel Bike Path, begins in Park Meadow near the corner of Lincoln Parkway and Nottingham Terrace (a pedestrian bridge over the Scajaquada Expressway provides access from the Hoyt Lake trail) and proceeds 2.4 miles (3.8 km) along the north bank of Scajaquada Creek, passing the Japanese Garden and the Buffalo History Museum on its way into the West Side, where it ends at the Riverwalk in Black Rock.

Away from Delaware Park, University Heights boasts the   Minnesota Linear Park, a paved multi-use trail and "pocket park" that extends along the former Erie Railroad right-of-way, from the LaSalle Metro Rail Station to the west end of Merrimac Street — a distance of half a mile (900m). Developed as part of the Rails-to-Trails Program, the second phase of the linear park will have it lengthened by an additional quarter-mile (400m) as far as Kenmore Avenue, with plans to eventually extend it into Tonawanda where it will end at the Erie Canalway Trail.

GO Bike Buffalo, the local organization that promotes and advocates for cycling and other sustainable transportation alternatives in Buffalo, operates a   Community Bicycle Workshop at 98 Colvin Ave in Park Meadow. There, a range of used bicycle parts and complete refurbished bikes are available for sale, as well as special programs periodically throughout the year; unwanted bicycles can also be donated (tax-deductible). The Community Bicycle Workshop is open Tu 6PM-9PM and Su 1PM-5PM, and also Th 6PM-9PM during summer only.

Bike sharing

Buffalo BikeShare has two hubs at UB South Campus: the parking lot behind the University Metro Rail Station, and the area of Goodyear Road immediately behind Clement Hall. Members can sign in to the Social Bicycles mobile app to find available bikes in either of these places.

On foot

Being a more spread-out area with attractions often spaced a good distance from each other, North Buffalo is relatively less amenable to pedestrians than other upscale Buffalo neighborhoods such as the Elmwood Village and Allentown. Exceptions include Hertel Avenue and Main Street in University Heights, both boasting dense and lively concentrations of shops, bars, restaurants, and other attractions. Also, the safe, verdant streets of Parkside, Park Meadow and Central Park are pleasant places for a leisurely stroll.

See

Art

Museums

The Meadow makes up one of the two main sectors of Delaware Park, the centerpiece of the park and parkway system designed for Buffalo by Frederick Law Olmsted. Pastoral expanses of lawn such as this one, peppered with stands of mature shade trees, are one of the prototypical features of Olmsted's parks, and the 150-acre (60ha) Meadow is one of the most distinguished landscapes of this type ever conceived by Olmsted. The Delaware Park Golf Course was installed on the Meadow in 1915.

Parks

  •   Buffalo Zoo, 300 Parkside Ave. (Metro Bus 11 or 32),  +1 716 837-3900. Summer: Sa-Th 10AM-5PM, F 10AM-7:30PM Winter: Daily 10AM-4PM. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Buffalo Zoo is the third-oldest zoo in the United States (founded in 1875 on the former site of the Deer Paddock at Delaware Park) and is second in popularity only to Niagara Falls among tourist attractions in the Niagara Frontier, welcoming 400,000 visitors each year. The 23-acre (9.5ha) Zoo boasts exciting thematic displays that play host to 1,200 different animals, such as elephants, bears, otters, sea lions, hyenas, and of course, bison. Some of the animals, such as a resident peacock, are allowed to roam freely on the walkways, allowing visitors to get closer to nature than they would in most zoos. In 2002, a new Master Plan was unveiled that will see the Zoo thoroughly modernized over the next 15 years. Under this framework, the Vanishing Animals, EcoStation, Otter Creek, Sea Lion Cove and South African Rainforest exhibits have already opened, with a new Children's Zoo and other exhibits slated for the near future. $10, students and seniors $8, children 2-14 $7, children under 2 free. Parking $3.50. Train and carousel rides $2.
  •   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.
  • Public art. There are a number of installations of public art peppered around the grounds of Delaware Park. These include:
  •   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.
  •   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.

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. Three of those districts are located in North Buffalo:

Additionally, though it is not listed on either the local, state or national historic registers, Central Park — the neighborhood immediately north of Parkside, across the Belt Line tracks — is also noteworthy for aficionados of history and architecture. Laid out beginning in 1890 by Lewis Bennett, who worked his way up from canal boat repairman to owner of the immense Bennett Limestone Quarry, which was located just across Main Street in the East Side neighborhood now known as Fillmore-Leroy, Central Park's streets are filled with some of the finest housing stock in Buffalo. Examples include the Bayliss-Oishei House at 360 Depew Avenue, the old Central Park Station, the only former station of the Belt Line railroad still standing, at 10 Starin Avenue, and the Edward Barcalo House at 371 Depew Avenue (yes, the man who invented the Barcalounger).

Designed and built in 1905 for the president of the Larkin Soap Company, the Darwin D. Martin House is one of the most important works of Frank Lloyd Wright's early career.

Parkside is also the home of what is undoubtedly the premier attraction in Buffalo for architecture buffs:

The Darwin Martin House is not the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in North Buffalo. Another one, the   Walter V. Davidson House, can also be found in Parkside. Located at 57 Tillinghast Place in the northwest extremity of the neighborhood, the Davidson House was designed for its namesake, who was an executive at the Larkin Company between 1906 and 1913, thereafter founding the Davidson Shoe Company. Though it's noticeably smaller and more unassuming than the Darwin Martin House — the smaller budget Wright worked with in constructing the Davidson House was perhaps a forerunner of the "Usonian" houses he designed for middle-class clients toward the end of his career — its modest scale belies a stunning two-story living room dominated by a massive bay window at its east end. Sadly, the Walter Davidson House is privately owned and not open for tours.

Do

Festivals and events

Spring

Summer

An interesting historical feature of the Delaware Park Golf Course can be found near the fourth hole; a monument there pays tribute to two or three hundred War of 1812 soldiers, who succumbed to disease and were buried on the site while stationed on what was then the rural farmstead of Dr. Daniel Chapin during the winter of 1812-13.

Golf

Ice skating

Theater

The North Park Theatre is a longstanding mainstay of Hertel Avenue. Built in 1920 as part of the Shea chain of movie houses, the theatre boasts an exquisite Beaux-Arts design that is more monumental in scale than it appears from the street, a restored stained-glass window above the marquee, and an interior whose proscenium, light fixtures and other decorative elements add an Art Deco influence.

Movies

Bowling

Billiards

Live music

Given the active nightlife in North Buffalo, live music is surprisingly hard to come by there. Music fans might want to head west to Grant-Amherst, which boasts several concert halls where the emphasis is on country, roots-rock, blues, and the like.

Hayes Hall is almost inarguably the most iconic landmark on the South Campus of the University at Buffalo, the largest institution of postsecondary education in Western New York. Hayes Hall is home of the university's School of Architecture and Planning.

Learn

Located on 154 acres (62 ha) of land in University Heights, the South Campus is the oldest of the three campuses of the   University at Buffalo, the largest school in the State University of New York (SUNY) system as well as the largest public university in the Northeast. Founded in 1846 as a private medical college with future U.S. President Millard Fillmore as its first chancellor, the University at Buffalo moved to the former site of the Erie County Alms House in 1912, where the preeminent local architectural firm of the time, E. B. Green & Son, built a lovely Georgian-Revival style campus modelled after Trinity College in Dublin. Though most of the academic departments were transferred to UB's sprawling new North Campus in Amherst in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the South Campus still contains UB's Schools of Dentistry, Nursing, and Architecture and Planning, as well as the Health Sciences Library, Biomedical Science Research Complex, and student housing. UB Medical School is currently in the process of moving to the new Downtown Campus located in the Medical Corridor.

  Medaille College is a small private college located at the southern end of Parkside, on Agassiz Circle. Founded in 1875 as a Catholic girls' school by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Medaille has been coeducational and nonsectarian since 1968, and boasts about 3,000 students and a full range of courses emphasizing the liberal arts and sciences. Medaille also has branch campuses in Rochester and the nearby suburb of Amherst, the fruits of a rapid expansion of the school that began in the 1990s and continues through the present day.

Buy

Hertel Avenue

As far as bustling conglomerations of charming small shops, restaurants, galleries and bars, in Buffalo Hertel Avenue ranks a close second to the Elmwood Village. While Elmwood is best known for its hip clothing boutiques, Hertel is the place to go in Buffalo for antiques, furniture and housewares, and quirky gifts.

Clothing and accessories

Art and art supplies

Antiques

Books

Liquor, beer and wine

Specialty foods

In addition to the imported cheeses, pastas, olive oils, and so forth that are to be expected in Little Italy, Hertel has a small colony of Middle Eastern groceries that's located near the corner of Delaware Avenue.

Chocolates and candies

Music

Tattoos and piercing

The heart of the Hertel Avenue business district.

Furniture and home decor

  • Emerson James,  +1 716 946-5580. W-Sa noon-7PM, Su noon-4PM. Custom lighting is the name of the game here — you may have seen Andrew Emerson's work illuminating downtown hotspots Toutant and the Big Ditch Brewery — and the house style is a smart and somewhat whimsical take on industrial chic. Chandeliers and desk lamps are crafted in deceptively simple designs using reclaimed metal tubing, with an end result that's almost worthy of hanging in an art gallery, yet you can also find new-material lamps and sconces done up in a delicious retro style.
  • Wrafterbuilt Furniture,  +1 716 322-7669. M-Tu & Sa 11AM-5PM, W-F 11AM-6PM, Su 11AM-3PM. Sean Wrafter first came to the attention of Buffalonians in 2014, when he turned heads as the designer and builder of the beautiful wooden bar at the newly minted downtown fine dining destination, Toutant. Today, along with his wife Jackie, he's in business in the heart of the local design district offering to the buying public the same caliber of custom-built furniture: high-quality, one-of-a-kind, locally produced pieces designed by Wrafter himself and sold at surprisingly affordable prices. The Wrafterbuilt aesthetic is simple and elegant, inspired by but not enslaved to the sleek modernism of the middle of the last century, and in all cases upcycled from locally-sourced reclaimed wood and other materials, the better to preserve the old-school quality of workmanship while helping reduce the environmental strain caused by demand for new materials. The interior of Wrafter's shop strikes a balance between art-gallery minimalism and rustic hominess, with abundant polished wood (appropriately enough!), and smaller decorative baubles bring out a whimsical touch — check out Wrafterbuilt's line of custom-refurbished axes and hatchets!

Head shops

Gifts

Miscellaneous

Delaware and Elmwood Avenues

The portion of the Delaware and Elmwood Avenue corridors north of Park Meadow is characterized by a proliferation of suburban-style shopping centers and other "big box" retail, with many national chain stores and restaurants present.

Other national chain stores with locations in this area include   Big Lots,   Home Depot, and   Kmart.

Liquor, beer and wine

Specialty foods

Miscellaneous

University Heights

The outer end of University Heights is dominated by the   University Plaza. Situated on the north side of Main Street between Kenmore and Springville Avenues, directly across from UB's South Campus, the University Plaza was the first suburban-style shopping center to be constructed in Erie County, with ground broken in 1939. The University Plaza contains a number of national chain stores and restaurants such as C. W. Price, Dots, Jimmy John's, and Radio Shack, as well as the Dipson Amherst Theatre, M&T Bank, and Tops supermarket.

It should be noted that the entire north side of Main Street east of Kenmore Avenue, including the University Plaza, is technically part of the Town of Amherst.

Clothing and accessories

Books

University Heights is heaven for comic book fans.

Specialty foods

Music

Liquor, beer and wine

Tattoos and piercing

Miscellaneous

Kenmore Avenue area

Though it's one of North Buffalo's main thoroughfares, Kenmore Avenue is quiet and largely residential. However, peppered among the brick apartment blocks and houses are a smattering of unpretentious neighborhood businesses — particularly in the vicinity of Colvin Boulevard.

Clothing

Specialty foods

Furniture and home decor

Miscellaneous

Park Meadow

The commercial corridors of Delaware and Elmwood Avenues cut parallel north-to-south swaths through the otherwise tranquil, upscale residential area of Park Meadow.

Retail in Park Meadow is dominated by   Marshall's Plaza, which is located on the west side of Delaware Avenue between Great Arrow Avenue and the Belt Line tracks, just behind the Pierce-Arrow Factory Complex. Aside from its namesake, Marshall's, the shopping center is anchored by locations of Dollar Tree, Dots, and The Shoe Dept.

Liquor, beer and wine

Specialty foods

Miscellaneous

Parkside, Central Park, and the Vernon Triangle

Though these neighborhoods are primarily residential, their eastern boundary — Main Street — is a commercial strip of increasing vibrancy. The business district is mostly concentrated around the corner of Amherst Street and the few blocks to the south, in the Vernon Triangle. Property values along the Metro Rail corridor began rising rapidly when plans for the downtown Medical Corridor were revealed to entail a paucity of parking and an emphasis on alternative methods of transportation, so look for the current array of nail salons and prepaid cell phone outlets to be replaced by more upscale businesses over the next few years.

There's another cluster of shops and restaurants at the corner of Parkside Avenue and Russell Street, across from the entrance to the Buffalo Zoo.

Books

Liquor, beer and wine

Gifts

Miscellaneous

The unofficial status of Hertel Avenue as Buffalo's "Little Italy" became official in 2011.

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

Hertel Avenue

As might be expected in Little Italy, Italian restaurants predominate on Hertel Avenue (though the offerings have diversified considerably of late). Aficionados of fine dining won't have trouble finding a place here, but as a general rule, the cuisine tends toward the homestyle, humble, pasta-with-red-sauce variety. In addition, Hertel Avenue has many pizzerias that do mostly take-out or delivery business; these are listed below. Finally, the west end of the strip, near Delaware Avenue, boasts a handful of Middle Eastern groceries-cum-restaurants where shawarma, falafel, and other such dishes are served.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Local chains

The following local chains have locations on or near Hertel Avenue. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.

Pizza

The following pizzerias are located on or near Hertel Avenue. 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 and Elmwood Avenues

In addition to the restaurants listed here, the suburban-style shopping plazas in this area include a number of chain restaurants, notably   Applebee's,   Boston Market,   Denny's,   Five Guys, and   Moe's Southwest Grill.

Budget

Mid-range

Local chains

The following local chains have locations on Delaware and Elmwood Avenues in North Buffalo. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.

Pizza

Papa John's has a location on Delaware Avenue just south of Kenmore, and Little Caesar's can be found on Delaware just south of Hertel.

Groceries

University Heights

Visitors to Buffalo in search of a late-night snack can scarcely do better than University Heights — an unusually large proportion of eateries there stay open late, catering to midnight-oil-burning UB students.

As above, it's to be noted that the entire north side of Main Street east of Kenmore Avenue is technically part of the Town of Amherst.

Budget

A view of Main Street in the University Heights business district.

Mid-range

Local chains

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

Pizza

The following pizzerias are located in University Heights. 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

Kenmore Avenue area

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Pizza

The following pizzerias are located on or near Kenmore Avenue. 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

Park Meadow

Budget

Splurge

Local chains

The following local chain restaurants have locations in Park Meadow. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found on the main Buffalo page.

Pizza

The following pizzerias are located in Park Meadow. 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.

Parkside

Budget

Mid-range

Drink

Hertel Avenue

The popular Hertel Avenue strip can be seen as a middle ground between the upscale, relaxed Elmwood Village and the rowdy, (some might say) seedy Chippewa Street. Aside from the ubiquitous Italian restaurants that line Hertel Avenue, visitors to the bars in "Little Italy" will definitely meet their share of Jersey Shore types.

Coffee shops

Along with Hertel Avenue's emergence as a strong second-place on the list of lively commercial strips in Buffalo has come the emergence of a robust coffee culture, with a wide and growing range of options available up and down the strip.

Hookah bars

Delaware and Elmwood Avenues

If you're in the mood for a less prefab bar experience than Applebee's, there are also a number of lively neighborhood watering holes on Delaware Avenue and Military Road.

University Heights

Over the past decade or two, the formerly vibrant University Heights bar scene has been reduced to a shadow of its old self by competition from the much larger and more popular Chippewa Street entertainment district located a quick 15-minute subway ride from the South Campus, as well as sharply increased enforcement of underage drinking laws by the Buffalo Police that has seen liquor licenses pulled from popular University Heights bars like P. J. Bottoms and most recently Mojo's. Still, there are a few hardy holdouts along Main Street that see their share of UB students and other neighborhood types on weekend nights.

Coffee shops

Sadly, the coffeeshop scene in University Heights is dominated by national chains — the dueling powerhouses Tim Hortons and Dunkin' Donuts both do an extremely brisk business at their respective locations just across from the South Campus. Caffeine aficionados in search of something more distinctive have only one option in the area: a similar, but locally-owned, coffee-and-doughnut operation at the other end of the strip.

Hookah bars

Park Meadow

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

For those who absolutely need to sleep in North Buffalo, the options are quite limited. However, there is a much wider range of lodgings in the nearby towns of Amherst (a variety of mostly mid-range chain properties around Exits 6 and 7 of Interstate 290) and Tonawanda (some budget motels of varying quality near I-290 Exit 1 and I-190 Exit 15).

Budget

Splurge

B&B's

Connect

The   North Side Post Office is at 725 Hertel Ave., just west of Elmwood Ave.

The   North Park Branch Library is located at 975 Hertel Ave., a few doors down from Hippodrome Billiards in the plaza at the southwest corner of Hertel and Delaware Aves. In addition to free Wi-Fi, the library contains a 15-seat computer lab with Internet access, as well as three "Internet Express" computers in the main part of the library.

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. That being the case, North Buffalo is generally among the lowest-crime areas of the city. In particular, for a district with as active a nightlife scene as Hertel Avenue, the bars are laid-back and draw a much more sophisticated crowd than the Chippewa strip, and drunken violence is nearly unknown.

University Heights is an exception to this rule, with a crime rate that is above average even by Buffalo standards. The bars there, while far fewer in number than those on Hertel, are noticeably rowdier and grittier. However, crime in University Heights is mostly characterized by muggings and home burglaries, with violent crime comparatively rare. The area near the corner of Hertel Avenue and Military Road (far to the west of the Hertel Avenue strip) is another minor area of concern. The same as any urban area, visitors to any part of North Buffalo should use common sense — lock car doors, keep valuables out of sight, keep your wits about you in general.

Compared to other crowded shopping and dining areas, Hertel Avenue is almost completely free of panhandlers — this author would be hard-pressed to name a single time he has been solicited for spare change on Hertel. Beggars do turn up occasionally in University Heights, especially the closer you get to the University Metro Rail Station, but even there the situation is nothing like the Elmwood Village or Allentown. If you do encounter a panhandler, there is little to fear — they are rarely aggressive. If you don't want to give, a firm "no" almost always suffices.

Cope

Newspapers

The North Buffalo Courier is a free weekly newspaper that covers neighborhood news and views, high school, amateur, and Buffalo State College sports, event listings, local news from outside North Buffalo courtesy of other Community Papers of Western New York publications, and classified ads.

Published every Thursday, the North Buffalo Rocket is another weekly source for neighborhood news, editorials, classified ads, a police blotter, and other matters pertaining to North Buffalo.

Hospitals

For medical emergencies that most travelers may encounter, the nearest hospitals are Sisters of Charity Hospital at 2157 Main St. in Hamlin Park, and Kenmore Mercy Hospital at 2950 Elmwood Ave. in Tonawanda.

For non-emergency situations,   WNY Immediate Care has a location at 2497 Delaware Ave., two blocks south of the Delaware Place shopping plaza.

Laundry and dry cleaning

Hertel Avenue

Delaware and Elmwood Avenues

University Heights

Kenmore Avenue area

Park Meadow

Vernon Triangle

Places of worship

Roman Catholic

Mirroring the demographics of the Niagara Frontier as a whole, religious life in North Buffalo is dominated by the Roman Catholic church, with no fewer than five parishes located within its bounds. Far from the aging, moribund congregations to be found in other parts of the inner city, North Buffalo's Catholic churches retain a remarkable degree of vitality.

Protestant

Protestant churches in North Buffalo are most concentrated in Parkside and Central Park, whose populations still include a considerable number of old-money WASPs. Similarly, the Protestant congregations in University Heights draw a good deal of their parishioners from similarly affluent nearby suburbs such as Eggertsville, Snyder, and Kenmore.

Nondenominational

Black churches

Parkside is home to a majority of North Buffalo's black churches — particularly the blocks close to Main Street, which serves as the district's boundary with the East Side, long a stronghold of Buffalo's African-American community. There are perhaps half a dozen of these churches in the area; listed here are two of the largest.

Eastern Orthodox

Congregation Achei T'mimim, or the Saranac Synagogue, is one of the oldest Jewish temples in Buffalo.

Jewish

Though it's not the hotbed of Semitic culture that it was 50 or 75 years ago, Hertel Avenue and the adjacent side streets retain several synagogues — primarily dealing in the same strain of Orthodox Judaism that has always characterized Jewish North Buffalo.

Muslim

Go next

Are you a fan of the mansions in Park Meadow and Central Park, and thirsty for more? In the Delaware District, Millionaire's Row (located along Delaware Avenue between Bryant and North Streets) and Lincoln Parkway (just south of Delaware Park) are a pair of National Historic Districts that boast mansions even more luxurious than the most palatial ones in North Buffalo. Architecture buffs will marvel at these beautifully preserved examples of turn-of-the-century upper-class residential design.

Like the shopping and nightlife on Hertel Avenue? The Elmwood Village centers on a 1.8-mile (3 km) stretch of Elmwood Avenue that's even more densely packed with boutiques, bars, and restaurants than Hertel. In contrast to the antique shops and trendy furniture galleries of Hertel, the Elmwood Village's stock in trade is high-end, fashion-forward clothing boutiques catering to hip, upscale urbanites — alongside which are found some of Buffalo's most cutting-edge restaurants.

Located immediately north of the city, Kenmore was Buffalo's first real suburb: its history can be traced back to 1889, when real estate speculator Louis P. A. Eberhardt purchased a tract of farmland at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Town Line Road (today's Kenmore Avenue), at the center of which the National Register-listed Eberhardt Mansion still stands. But Kenmore is far from the faceless tract of cookie-cutter housing most people picture when they hear the word "suburb" — Delaware Avenue, the main drag through the village, is a lively strip of shops and restaurants that combines urban hipness (in an accessible, Hertel Avenue way; not a pretentious, Elmwood Village way) with small-town charm.

Eggertsville and Snyder are two more of Buffalo's earliest suburbs, centered along Main Street between University Heights and Williamsville and with a history that dates back to the 1910s and '20s. Those who noticed the verdant streets and ample houses in North Buffalo's University Park Historic District will find more of the same here — the homes in Eggertsville and Snyder have mostly retained their comfortable middle- and upper-middle-class luster, and seven of the distinctive stone gates that stand at the entrances to the side streets off Main have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eggertsville is also the site of the Museum of disABILITY History, an uplifting collection of exhibits focusing on the accomplishments of Americans with disabilities.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, February 25, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.