Introducing ... North Buffalo!
During the go-go 1920s, North Buffalo was considered the equivalent of Amherst or Clarence today; a shiny and new, booming and prosperous area. Streets platted in the late 1800s and early 1900s finally began to fill with houses ranging from Buffalo's characteristic two-flats to small mansions, as neighborhoods closer in became built out.
Streetcar lines that were built to North Buffalo before World War I, many in private rights-of-way, finally began to fill with passengers. Despite the streetcars, much of North Buffalo was developed with the car in mind. New houses were separated far enough to accomodate a driveway between them, and detached garages in the back yard were often standard.
North Buffalo was never a strongly ethnic neighborhood, but a large plurality of residents were Jews who relocated from the crowded lower East Side. In the 1970s through the present, Buffalo's Jewish population have slowly moved further to the northeast; those of modest means landed in eastern Tonawanda, while middle and upper income families settled in the Maple Road area in Amherst.
North Buffalo's Jews were replaced by Italian-Americans, most of which relocated from the lower and middle West Side. Buffalo's Puerto Rican community started in the Virginia Street area of the lower West Side, and grew northward towards Grant Street, the heart of Buffalo's Little Italy. Those that had the means moved a couple of miles away, to the western end of North Buffalo.
Today, North Buffalo is cosidered a stable, desirable city neighborhood. Some Jews remain, and Italians are the new dominant plurality. Despite all the Italian restaurants and specialty stores that line Hertel Avenue, though, North Buffalo is a multi-ethnic (but primarily European) neighborhood.
Where's all the people? First off, it was a weekday afternoon. Secondly, some North Buffalo residents are from the families of "legitimate businessmen", and they don't like to be photographed, capice? I got far more stink-eye documenting North Buffalo than any other place I've visited.
Here's a sampling of Hertel Avenue, a long street that forms the heart of North Buffalo's linear business district. Click on any image for a larger version.