Niagara Falls is a city in Niagara County, New York, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 55,593. It is across the Niagara River from Niagara Falls, Ontario, both named after the famed Niagara Falls which they share. It is part of both the Buffalo–Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Western New York region.
The City of Niagara Falls
was incorporated on March 17, 1892. New York State Governor Roswell P. Flower
signed a bill into law forming the city. Thomas Vincent Welch
who was a member of the charter committee and then a New York Assemblyman, but more importantly a second-generation Irishman, was there when the bill was signed, and responsible for asking Governor Flower to sign the bill on St. Patrick's Day
. Historically, the city was built up around factories that utilized the power of the falling water for energy. Now the downtown area borders a park (Niagara Falls State Park
) affording a close-up view of the American, Horseshoe and Bridal Veil Falls. The European
migration into the area began in the 17th century with missionaries and explorers. This influx of newcomers may have been a catalyst for already hostile native tribes to turn to open warfare in competition for the fur trade.
By the end of the 19th century, the city was a heavy industrial area, due in no small part to the huge power potential offered by the swiftly-flowing Niagara River. There were many chemical industries in Niagara Falls that used the power of the mighty Niagara River. Most of those have since closed and or moved away.
The neighborhood of Love Canal gained national media attention in 1978 when United States President Jimmy Carter declared a federal emergency there, and hundreds of residents were relocated. Starting in 1920, the area had been used as a landfill for chemical waste disposal (and later, industrial toxic waste) before its development as a residential area. The Superfund law, which protects people, families, communities and others from heavily contaminated toxic waste sites, was enacted in 1980 in response to the Love Canal situation.
While its Canadian twin, Niagara Falls, Ontario, began massively building up its tourism industry in the 1990s, allowing for casinos and tall tower hotels, essentially becoming the "Las Vegas of Canada", Niagara Falls, NY did not grow in the same way. However, in 2004, the Seneca Nation of Indians opened the Seneca Niagara Casino in the former Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center, thereby establishing sovereign Native American territory in the midst of the city.
The economy for the city was originally based around the Falls itself, or at least the power generated by the massive waterfall. This cheap and abundant source of power was the driving force behind the rapid rise of area industry. Around the turn of the 20th century, thousands of immigrants from predominantly European nations such as Italy
came to the area to work the chemical, steel, and manufacturing plants owned by present-day companies such as Occidental.
The city's importance declined in the later half of the 20th century for several reasons, perhaps the most devastating being corrupt government, high wages for blue collar workers in comparison to other areas of the country, strength of unions, and high taxes. Goods which had previously been cheap to produce in Niagara Falls could now be produced far cheaper elsewhere. Another major toll was suburban migration, a national trend at the time. The city, which once boasted well over 100,000 people at its peak, has seen its population decline by some 50%, as industries shut down and people left for the employment opportunities of the South and West.
Slow progress is now being made however to bring a new era of economic prosperity to the City of Niagara Falls and the rest of Niagara County. Local and state government officials are beginning to embrace the physical and cultural advantages that the Niagara region naturally possesses — whether speaking of the Niagara Gorge, burgeoning wine trail, historical landmarks, Little Italy Niagara or Niagara Falls itself. This move away from the city's industrial past to embrace a more sustainable tourism-based economy has led the city to reinvent itself in recent years. In late 2001, the State of New York established the USA Niagara Development Corporation, a subsidiary to the State's economic development agency, to focus specifically on facilitating development in downtown Niagara Falls, NY.
The Falls' current development strategy is focused on a pragmatic approach to revitalizing vacant and underutilized buildings in the downtown area as high profile catalyst projects with real economic impact. The opening of the new Conference Center Niagara Falls in 2005; the redevelopment of the United Office Building, the new Theater in the Mist; the redevelopment of the former Holiday Inn Select as a new Crowne Plaza Resort with several restaurants including the city's first Starbucks Coffee; and other attractions such as the planned Niagara Experience Center; and of course, the Seneca Niagara Casino, attempt to reposition Niagara Falls as a premiere destination.
Niagara Falls is currently visited by almost ten million people each year and is considered one of the United States' top ten tourist destinations.
Niagara Falls is located at (43.094305, -79.017339).
The city is located at the international boundary between the United States of America and Canada.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.8 square miles (43.5 km²), of that, 14.1 square miles (36.4 km²) of it is land and 2.8 square miles (7.1 km²) of it (16.37%) is water.
The city is built along the Niagara Falls
waterfalls and the Niagara Gorge
on the Niagara River
which flows from Lake Erie
to Lake Ontario
Adjacent cities & towns
Amtrak has a station at 27th Street and Lockport Road
NFTA is the public transit provider in Niagara County and Erie County with hubs at Portage Road Transit Center and Niagara Falls Transportation Center.
NFTA replaced two local bus operators in the 1950s: Lockport Bus Lines and Niagara Falls Municipal Transit System.
Major highways in the City of Niagara Falls
- Interstate 190 (Niagara Expwy.), North-South highway through the city that runs from the South Grand Island Bridge from Grand Island north into the town of Niagara, then Lewiston and its northern end at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.
- U.S. Route 62 (Niagara Falls Blvd., Walnut Ave. (Westbound), Ferry Ave. (Eastbound)), signed as a North-South highway, US 62 in the city of Niagara Falls has an East-West orientation. Where Niagara Falls Blvd. ends at Packard Rd., US 62 is split among two one-way streets. Walnut Ave. carries US 62 west to its northern terminus at Main St. (NY 104), and Ferry Ave. (One block south) carries US 62 east away from downtown Niagara Falls.
US 62 Business (Pine Ave.), East-West roadway in the city, this route parallels US 62 which is one block south. Its western terminus is at Main St. (NY 104) and its eastern terminus is at Niagara Falls Blvd. (US 62).
- New York State Route 31 (Witmer Rd., College Ave.), East-West roadway from the Niagara town line near NY 31's interchange with I-190, to its western end at Lewiston Rd. (NY 104).
- New York State Route 61 (Hyde Park Blvd.) North-South Roadway in through the City of Niagara Falls from Buffalo Ave. (NY 384), its southern end, north to the Lewiston town line where it has a short distance in the southwest corner of the Town of Lewiston where the route has its northern end at Lewiston Rd. (NY 104).
- New York State Route 104 (Lewiston Rd., Main St.), signed as an East-West highway, NY 104 has a North-South orientation in the city that roughly parallels Robert Moses State Pkwy. and the Lower Niagara River. This routes western terminus is at Rainbow Blvd. (NY 384) at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge. It heads north to the Lewiston town line.
- New York State Route 182 (Porter Rd., Ontario Ave., Lockport St., Cleveland Ave.), East-West roadway through the city from the Niagara town line near its interchange with I-190 to its western terminus at the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge.
- New York State Route 265 (Military Rd.), North-South highway at the eastern end of the city. Runs in the city from the Niagara town line near its intersection with Niagara Falls Blvd. (US 62) to the Town of Wheatfield where the route runs concurrent with NY 384.
- New York State Route 384 (Buffalo Rd., Rainbow Blvd.), North-South highway (east-west orientation in city) that parallels the upper Niagara River in the city from the Wheatfield town line where it runs concurrent with NY 265, to its western end at the Robert Moses Pkwy/Rainbow Bridge.
- LaSalle Expressway, East-West Expressway in the eastern end of the city from its eastern end at Williams Rd. (NY Reference Route 952V) just outside the city line in the Town of Wheatfield, to its west end at an interchange with I-190 and Robert Moses State Pkwy.
- Robert Moses State Parkway, North-South Parkway that runs through the city from the Lewiston town line to its southern end at an interchange with I-190 and LaSalle Expwy. The Parkway parallels the Niagara River through the city. The original route also passed under the approach to the Rainbow Bridge, however that section has since been closed to traffic and is now only used for park business. The parkway therefore is interrupted because of the closed section. The two sections are still connected by the way of New York State Route 384.
As of the census of 2000, there were 55,593 people, 24,099 households, and 14,266 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,955.7 people per square mile (1,527.7/km²). There were 27,837 housing units at an average density of 1,980.7 per square mile (765.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.21% White, 18.72% African American, 1.64% Native American, 0.71% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.68% from other races, and 1.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.00% of the population.
There were 24,099 households out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.2% were married couples living together, 18.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.8% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 18.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,800, and the median income for a family was $34,377. Males had a median income of $31,672 versus $22,124 for females.
The city has two newspapers, the Niagara Gazette, which is published daily, and the Niagara Falls Reporter, which is published weekly. The Buffalo News is the closest major newspaper in the area.
Lockport Community Television is the only local station. All other feeds are from Buffalo, NY or from stations within Southern Ontario.
Residents are zoned to the Niagara Falls City School District
. When LaSalle High School
closed in the late 1990s, a new Niagara Falls High School
was built. The new school merged LaSalle and the former Niagara Falls High School. The old Niagara Falls High School building at Pine Avenue and Portage Road became an Art and Cultural Center.
Niagara University is the closest post-secondary/college in the city.
Notable people, past and present
- Rashad Evans, mixed martial artist
- Thomas Aquinas Daly, contemporary landscape and still life painter
- Lee Hyla, composer
- Antonino LoTempio, musician, singer, actor
- Sal Maglie, baseball player
- Rick Manning, baseball player
- Marc Mero, former WWE professional wrestler.
- Thom Rotella, jazz guitarist
- Reid Dunn, electronic musician under the alias Wisp.
- April Stevens,singer
- Tommy Tedesco, most-recorded guitarist in history
- Franchot Tone, film actor
- Barbara Frum, CBC Journalist
- Paul Harris, basketball player for the Syracuse Orange
- Jonny Flynn, basketball player for the Syracuse Orange
- Stefano Magaddino (October 10, 1891 – July 19, 1974) was an American mafia boss
- Lynn Samuels, WABC and Sirius Radio personality.
- R.J. Adams, (aka Bob Shannon) Film/TV actor and Radio personality. Attended Gaskill Junior High and Bishop Duffy High School.
- John Gabriel, Emmy nominated Television actor