At the beginning of the twentieth century, the city of Buffalo, New York, looked toward a future of great promise. During this era, the city was the host of a prestigious world’s fair, The Pan American Exposition, and an industrial behemoth, the Lackawanna Steel Company, had just opened its doors. Buffalonians at this time had every reason to believe that these massive and impressive signs of progress augured well for the balance of the century. One hundred years later, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, Buffalo is on the verge of bankruptcy, and a new generation of citizens looks back wistfully, wondering what happened and where, now, they are headed.
In a sweeping narrative that speaks to the serious student of urban studies as well as the general reader, Mark Goldman tells the story of twentieth-century Buffalo, New York. Goldman covers all of the major developments:
• The rise and decline of the city’s downtown and ethnic neighborhoods
• The impact of racial change and suburbanization
• The role and function of the arts in the life of the community
• Urban politics, urban design, and city planning
While describing the changes that so drastically altered the form, function, and character of the city, Goldman, through detailed descriptions of special people and special places, gives a sense of intimacy and immediacy to these otherwise impersonal historical forces. City on the Edge unflinchingly documents and describes how Buffalo has been battered by the tides of history. But it also describes the unique characteristics that have encouraged an innovative cultural climate, including Buffalo’s dynamic survival instinct that continues to lead to a surprisingly and inspiringly high quality of community life. Finally, it offers a road map, which—if followed—could point the way to a new and exciting future for this long-troubled city.