Welcome, visitors, to Buffalo, to spring and, perhaps, to a bit of snow. You’ve come to our city in its season of change. Yes, that means that soon enough there will be flowers and green grass and leafing trees, and after this winter, we can’t wait for it. But that’s not the change we’re talking about. You’re in Buffalo in the time of its rebirth. We’re glad to share it with you.
You are, of course, mainly interested in basketball. We understand that. In fact, it’s an honor for Buffalo to host the NCAA tournament and we are sure you’ll have a great time at the First Niagara Center, especially if your team wins. But when you’re not watching top-flight hoops, there’s a lot you can discover about Buffalo and what’s happening in it.
Part of it is right outside the arena, where a massive new hotel/hockey complex is arising. Next to that, Buffalo has reclaimed part of its waterfront, on its inner harbor. Soon, the outer harbor, just to the south, will be coming along, as well.
Whatever kind of food you crave, chances are we have it: from family restaurants to fine dining, with stops at Thai, Italian, Greek, Ethiopian and some terrific barbecue. You’ll also be able to find wings and beef on weck without looking too hard. If you don’t know what beef on weck is, just ask someone. Great entertainment possibilities are all around, too, including bars on Chippewa Street.
Here are some fun facts you may not have known about Buffalo:
• For all the hard times Buffalo has had over the past several decades, it was once home to the highest number of millionaires per capita in the country. The Erie Canal did that. Many of these millionaires now reside in Forest Lawn.
• The great 1980s cop show “Hill Street Blues” was steeped in Buffalo references. And why not? Co-producer Anthony Yerkovich and writer David Milch are from Buffalo. So check out Hertel Avenue, Delware Avenue – home of many of those aformentioned millionaires – and other places you may remember.
• Four presidents have Buffalo connections: Millard Fillmore lived a few miles south in East Aurora, and is buried in Forest Lawn. And before Grover Cleveland was president, he was mayor of Buffalo and before that, Erie County sheriff.
On a grimmer note, President William McKinley was assassinated here at the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition. His vice president, Theodore Roosevelt, was sworn into the presidency at the Wilcox Mansion on Delaware.
There’s lots more, but here’s the main thing: Buffalo is coming back. Because of wise state investments, a fast-growing medical economy and the rising expectations, it’s a different place than you’d have found a few years ago. We like it a lot and if you do, too, come back this summer. There’s even more to see then, and it’ll be different again.