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Western New York refers to the westernmost region of the state of New Yorkmarker. It includes the cities of Buffalomarker, Rochestermarker, Niagara Fallsmarker, and surrounding suburbs. Some historians, scholars and others consider the Western New York border to be at the MonroemarkerOrleans Countymarker line. However, many in the region consider Western New York's easternmost county to be Wayne Countymarker.

Western New York consists of 12 western counties in New York State: Alleganymarker, Cattaraugusmarker, Chautauquamarker, Eriemarker, Geneseemarker, Orleansmarker, Niagaramarker, Wyomingmarker, Monroemarker, Waynemarker, Livingstonmarker and Ontariomarker. Western New York can also be defined as the area of upstate New York within the Buffalo and Rochester media markets. The Buffalo market covers the eight counties of the Holland Purchase (as well as two counties in Pennsylvania; each station varies slightly in its coverage) and the Rochester market covers from Wyoming County northeastward to Wayne County.

There is disagreement among inhabitants of Western New York (and others) as to whether the term "Upstate New York" includes Western New York—some consider "Upstate" to consist of all of New York State outside Long Islandmarker and the New York City metropolitan areamarker (and thus include Western New York), while others consider "Upstate" to include only parts of the state that are roughly north of the New York City area.


Western New York has three "sub-regions". The mountainous southern regions of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties make up a "sub-region" known as "The Southern Tier" or simply "The Southerntier" which can be considered part of Appalachia. This portion of Western New York overlaps with a broader Southern Tier that takes up most of the counties along the New York-Pennsylvania border. Another "sub-region" is the Niagara Frontier, the name of which dates back to America's Colonial period, when the area surrounding Lakes Eriemarker and Ontariomarker, as well as the Niagara Rivermarker were the point of the colonies' furthest expansion. To this day, the "frontier" is sometimes defined as also including part of northeast Ohiomarker, as well as Pennsylvania's Eriemarker region. A third "sub-region" is the Genesee Valley region, which includes Genesee, Livingston and Wyoming Counties as well as Steuben Countymarker (which is seldom defined as being part of Western New York). A large portion of the Genesee Valley region is also considered part of the Finger Lakesmarker region.


If it were counted as a single area, the population of Western New York would number 2.5 million, or roughly the population of the entire Pittsburgh metropolitan area. However, the U.S. Census Bureau has classified the Buffalo and Rochester areas as two different metropolitan areas.


The following incorporated villages are found in the 12 western counties:

Akronmarker,Albionmarker,Aldenmarker,Alexandermarker,Alfredmarker,Alleganymarker,Almondmarker,Andovermarker,Angelicamarker,Angolamarker,Arcademarker,Atticamarker,Avonmarker,Barkermarker,Belmontmarker,Bemus Pointmarker,Bergenmarker,Blasdellmarker,Bloomfieldmarker,Bolivarmarker,Brockportmarker,Broctonmarker,Caledoniamarker,Canaseragamarker,Cassadagamarker,Castilemarker,Cattaraugusmarker,Celoronmarker,Cherry Creekmarker,Churchvillemarker,Clifton Springsmarker,Clydemarker,Corfumarker,Cubamarker,Dansvillemarker,Delevanmarker,Depewmarker,East Auroramarker,East Randolphmarker,East Rochestermarker,Elbamarker,Ellicottvillemarker,Fairportmarker,Falconermarker,Farnhammarker,Forestvillemarker,Franklinvillemarker,Fredoniamarker,Gainesvillemarker,Geneseomarker,Gowandamarker,Hamburgmarker,Hiltonmarker,Holleymarker,Honeoye Fallsmarker,Kenmoremarker,Lakewoodmarker,Lancastermarker,Le Roymarker,Leicestermarker,Lewistonmarker,Limamarker,Limestonemarker,Little Valleymarker,Livoniamarker,Lyndonvillemarker,Lyonsmarker,Macedonmarker,Manchestermarker,Mayvillemarker,Medinamarker,Middleportmarker,Mount Morrismarker,Naplesmarker,Newarkmarker,North Collinsmarker,Nundamarker,Oakfieldmarker,Orchard Parkmarker,Palmyramarker,Panamamarker,Perrymarker,Perrysburgmarker,Phelpsmarker,Pikemarker,Pittsfordmarker,Portvillemarker,Randolphmarker,Red Creekmarker,Richburgmarker,Scottsvillemarker,Shermanmarker,Shortsvillemarker,Silver Creekmarker,Silver Springsmarker,Sinclairvillemarker,Sloanmarker,Sodusmarker,Sodus Pointmarker,South Daytonmarker,Spencerportmarker,Springvillemarker,Victormarker,Warsawmarker,Webstermarker,Wellsvillemarker,Westfieldmarker,Williamsvillemarker,Wilsonmarker,Wolcottmarker,Wyomingmarker andYoungstownmarker.


A field in Geneseo.
Western New York has a humid continental climate heavily influenced by both Lake Eriemarker and Lake Ontariomarker. Winters are long and cold, often lasting from around mid-November to early April. Thanks to both Lakes Erie and Ontario, a copious amount of snow falls on Western New York. Lake effect snows can result in highly localized, sometimes intense snow events and are usually most active between November and February. The Southern Tier normally receives the heaviest amount of snow in Western New York during the winter. Spring and fall in Western New York are usually short and changeable. The presence of the lakes allows for fruit growing and wine production along areas adjacent to both lakes which retard the development of damaging spring and fall frost, thereby extending the growing season. Lost in its famed winters, Western New York summers are generally very pleasant. Thanks in part to breezes blowing over Lakes Erie and Ontario (which are usually cooler than the air temperature in the summer), most of Western New York enjoy generally cooler and more comfortable summers than other regions in the same climatic zone.


Major Highways

Western New York is served by Interstate 90, Interstate 86 in the Southern Tier, and Interstate 390 (the former U.S. Route 15) in the Genesee Valley region. The Buffalo-Niagara Falls Metropolitan area is served by Interstate 190, Interstate 290 and Interstate 990. In addition to being served by Interstate 390, the Rochester Metro area is also served by Interstate 490 and Interstate 590. The planned expansion of the U.S. Route 219 Expressway from Buffalo through Cattaraugus County will provide another major thoroughfare in Western New York.

Major Airports

Western New York has two airports that provide significant regular passenger service, Buffalo-Niagara International Airportmarker and Greater Rochester International Airportmarker. Buffalo-Niagara International Airport is the most patronized airport facility in Western New York and is a major hub for both JetBlue Airlines and Southwest Airlinesmarker. While it primarily serves as the regional airport for the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Metropolitan Area, the facility doubles as a gateway to Canada, and a good portion of its passengers are Canadian.

The second major airport in Western New York, Greater Rochester International Airportmarker, does not see as much traffic as Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. Still, located just three nautical miles southwest of Downtown Rochester, the facility provides somewhat convenient access to airline service for many residents of the Rochester Metropolitan Area.

Railroad Service

Western New York features four railroad stations in service on the Empire Corridor; Rochestermarker, Buffalo-Depewmarker, Buffalo-Exchangemarker and Niagara Fallsmarker. The Buffalo-Exchange Street and Niagara Falls stations do not see as much rail service as the other two Western New York stations due to the fact that west of Depew Station, Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited leaves the Empire Corridor en route to the Midwest. For a period of time, there were proposals to service these four stations with high-speed rail. A major objective of implementing high-speed rail service was to better connect Western New York as well as the rest of Upstate New York with New York City. However, little of substance has come of these proposals.


Western New York's land was acquired from the Iroquois through war, treaty, and purchase during the late 1700s and early 1800s. During the War of 1812 Western New York was part of the borderland frontier between the United Statesmarker and British Canada and became the scene of various military actions.

The two major Western New York cities, Buffalo and Rochester, benefitted greatly from the opening of the Erie Canal. With its strategic position at the western end of the Erie Canal, the eastern end of Lake Erie and proximity to Niagara Falls and Canada, Buffalo emerged as a major port. Niagara Fallsmarker provided Buffalo with a ready supply of power, so much so that one of its enduring nicknames is "The City of Light". Buffalo experienced steady growth during the 19th Century and at one point was one of the 10 most populated cities in the United States. According to some, Rochester was "America's First Boomtown" and was a key player in the flour industry (hence its initial nickname "Flour City"). Its growth was attributed to both the completion of the Erie Canal and its resulting significance in the flour industry. As a region, Western New York played a significant role in the American economy during the 19th century.

The New Religious Movement known as Spiritualism was among several that arose in the early 19th century burned-over district of western New York. Its major center is Lily Dale, one of the largest spiritualism communities in the United Statesmarker. The original house of the Fox sisters was relocated to Lily Dale in 1916. Joseph Smith Jr., founder of the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints reported receiving the Book of Mormon in Palmyra, Wayne County.

In the late 20th century this area became part of the Rust belt of the United States, being a focal point for the transportation of grain, steel, and coal. The area saw an economic decline during the period of deindustrialization, leaving many empty steel mills including those of Bethlehem Steel.


Some traits that differentiate Western New York from the rest of Upstate New York include the use of the word "pop" instead of "soda" to refer to soft drinks, and the presence of the local Wegmans grocery stores (although these stores can now be found not only in other parts of New York State, but in nearby states as well). Western New York is part of the Inland North region of American English, which means it is subject to the Northern Cities vowel shift; a distinct variant of that accent, "Buffalo English," is heard in many parts of the region.

Finally, many Western New York sports fans support the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres. Team loyalties of sports fans in the rest of upstate New York are more divided.


Some western New York food regional specialties include Buffalo chicken wings (known locally as 'wings'), garbage plates (a Rochester specialty), chicken barbecue (Cornell recipe), and chicken (or veal, or artichokes) french. "Friday night fish fry" is also regionally popular, a holdover from when Catholics were forbidden to eat meat on Fridays. A popular 'fish fry' place is Hansens on the commons in Lewiston. Beef on Kummelwick is a favorite, Kummelwick being a thick salted roll with caraway seeds, on which the roast beef is served with gravy, sandwich style, messy and delicious. No self respecting Niagara expatriate visits home without stopping at DiCamillo's Italian Bakery and stocking up on their Italian bread, made without preservatives, delicious when toasted. Vernors is a local ginger ale bottled in Niagara Falls. The region produces many agricultural products, including milk, maple syrup, apples, potatoes, peaches, and more, though the peaches are the best known and have been the inspiration behind a local 'Peach Festival' held in late August in Lewiston. A peach queen is crowned, as is a young man as the 'peach fuzz'.

Colleges and universities

River Campus of the University of Rochester

Major Businesses

Western New York is home to many small, medium and large corporations, including:

Major attractions

Western New York is home to two significant scenic attractions. Niagara Fallsmarker is undoubtedly the most famous attraction in Western New York. Forming part of Western New York's border with Canada, the Falls has evolved into a major destination for tourists and locals alike. A second, less famous scenic attraction, is Letchworth State Parkmarker. Located 35 miles south of Rochester, Letchworth State Park has been termed "The Grand Canyon of the East."


Western New York is represented by the Buffalo Bills in the NFL and the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL. The Buffalo Bills currently play their home football games at Ralph Wilson Stadiummarker, the largest sports stadium in the state. The Bills have reached the Super Bowl in four consecutive seasons (1990-1993), only to lose all four times.

The Buffalo Sabres also have a strong following in Western New York, and have the highest local Nielsen Ratings of any professional hockey team in the United States. The Sabres reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 1975 and 1999. The Sabres lost the 1999 Stanley Cup Final series on a controversial goal. The Sabres currently enjoy healthy rivalries with both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators. On January 1, 2008, the Sabres played the Pittsburgh Penguins in the inaugural Winter Classic at Ralph Wilson Stadium. This was the first ever regular-season NHL game held outdoors in the United States.

While Western New York currently does not have a team in Major League Soccer (occasionally considered the fifth major league on the American sporting landscape), Rochester has frequently been mentioned as a candidate for a new expansion franchise. This is due to the relative success of the Rochester Rhinos. The Rhinos have become something of a regional team in Western New York, though at nowhere near the popularity of the Bills or Sabres. The Rhinos are best known as being the only non-MLS team to win the US Open Cup since that competition was opened to MLS teams.

There are no Major League Baseball teams in the region, but two Minor League teams: the Buffalo Bisons and Rochester Red Wings, both in the AAA International League-North Division, and affiliates of the New York Mets and Minnesota Twins, respectively.

Lacrosse is growing in popularity in the region, with the Buffalo Bandits and Rochester Knighthawks both perennial contenders in the National Lacrosse League. College hockey can also be said to be growing, with Canisius Collegemarker, Niagara Universitymarker, and Rochester Institute of Technologymarker competing at the Division I level and several other teams competing in Division III.



External links


See also

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