We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

what happened to the city in 50 years?

Which Niagara Falls hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Rochester, NY
Level Contributor
414 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
what happened to the city in 50 years?

When I was a child, Niagara Falls was a lovely little city. I remember a pretty downtown ( were there actually two different "downtown" streets?) , lots of gift shops, motels, and, of course, the falls.

Now it's kind of an empty shell.

I've asked people who live or lived there and nobody seems to be able to answer the question: what happened? I hear about chemical spills and corrupt government...

As a tourist now... is there a "pretty area" of the city where I can stay? I love Goat Island and visiting right UNDER the falls... but where can one stay overnight now, please, and not look out at very sad neighborhoods?

Thanks.

Lynn in Rochester, NY

Niagara Falls, ON
Destination Expert
for Niagara Falls
Level Contributor
8,539 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: what happened to the city in 50 years?

The area between the State Park and Seneca Casino, centered around Old Falls St. (which was one of the 'downtown' streets you remember) is still fine. Several hotels to choose from: Sheraton, Casino, Quality Inn, Travelodge, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, Red Coach Inn.

New York
Level Contributor
930 posts
175 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: what happened to the city in 50 years?

@fallsdude, thanks for chiming in on this one on a positive note.

However, I am guessing this is a rhetorical question coming from Rochester, NY, another rust belt city that has seen massive population loss, blight, and increasing crime and poverty over the past several decades. Take a look at Lyell Avenue or Jay Street and you will also find some "very sad neighborhoods."

Rochester, NY
Level Contributor
414 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: what happened to the city in 50 years?

No, actually it wasn't a rhetorical question. I've lived in Rochester all my life and agree that there are "ugly" neighborhoods here. There are also some lovely ones.

I can't seem to find a single lovely one in the Falls area. Sorry.

I take your reply to mean that it was the loss of industry that ruined the city there? I do see many, many shells of factories as I drive around. I am not trying to be nasty or to provoke an argument... I am truly curious what happened to "The Falls". Thank you

Lynn

Vestal, New York
Destination Expert
for Auburn, Finger Lakes
Level Contributor
6,324 posts
179 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: what happened to the city in 50 years?

I agree with the original poster; two years ago I was so upset at the condition of one of our country's gateways and didn't even hang around long enough to visit the falls. I had a very pleasant time when I headed north to Lewiston and Youngstown. Because I really wanted to visit a place that evoked great childhood memories, I decided to stay strictly on the Robert Moses when I went to see the falls last summer.

I agree that Goat Island is a lovely area and I enjoyed my time there.

New York
Level Contributor
930 posts
175 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: what happened to the city in 50 years?

My point is that it's just like any other post-industrial city.

The neighborhoods that have held up are largely residential. Deveaux Woods, Cayuga Island, the Orchard Parkway neighborhood.

Little Italy, aka Pine Ave, is still fine and has many nice restaurants despite the changing neighborhood.

Old Falls street has been redeveloped with new hotels and lots of public events year-round.

It is a city in flux. Spending a weekend at the State Park area is not going to expose you to everything the area has to offer, just as driving down Lyell Avenue in Rochester doesn't give you a glimpse into your city.

As for rjr0810's response, skipping the Falls is just downright silly. I suppose the older generation really can't handle watching their wonderful childhood memories decay, but it is the reality of a lot of cities in Great Lakes. By avoiding new development and efforts you are only perpetuating the problem.

By all means I don't agree with all of the efforts put forth by the City and the tourism board, some are completely half-hearted, poor, probably fueled by corruption, yes. But it is a natural wonder so why not be positive about what the area still has to offer.

Edited: 29 February 2012, 14:46
Vestal, New York
Destination Expert
for Auburn, Finger Lakes
Level Contributor
6,324 posts
179 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: what happened to the city in 50 years?

My reply said nothing about avoiding new development efforts; my issue is with the burned out buildings, drug houses, badly decayed empty storefronts and shady activity on Rt. 104 and the surrounding neighborhoods and the fact that this was allowed to happen. Since NF is a gateway to our country and a popular international destination in the state I love, this was especially distressing.

Not acknowledging there is a problem and picking on a rival city when asked about it does not help change the problem.

Having lived my entire life in upstate NY and having travelled to every corner of it. I've seen other cities come back (some much slower than others, like my own current hometown in the southern tier) and I am rooting for NF to make a comeback as well.

BTW, I am only in my mid-forties (not part of the older generation yet!)

New York
Level Contributor
930 posts
175 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: what happened to the city in 50 years?

@rj,

I believe I did acknowledge the problem. The city is a mess. It's not in dispute.

But I think to tell travelers that you avoided viewing the Falls because you didn't want to look at some boarded up buildings also makes an extremely strong, and negative, point.

And for the record, Rochester is not a "rival" to Niagara Falls. We are all part of western New York. The point is that all of the major cities in this area share a lot in common, the Falls isn't the only one to see a decline over the past few generations.

Vestal, New York
Destination Expert
for Auburn, Finger Lakes
Level Contributor
6,324 posts
179 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: what happened to the city in 50 years?

Again, you didn't get the main point I was making.

NF is an INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY to our country and therefore I think it should be held to a higher standard than other "rust belt" cities and the like.

I never posted anything about my initial experience and in fact went back (as I stated earlier) but I felt compelled to respond to your snippy response to a poster who made a valid observation and asked a reasonable question.

New York
Level Contributor
930 posts
175 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: what happened to the city in 50 years?

Snippy? Well my apologies. Here is the common sense answer:

Loss of industry, jobs

Widespread poverty, no tax base

Blight

Political corruption, city-wide and state-wide

Poor infrastructure

Syphoning of state finds to Albany, downstate

I'm not going to mention the Tourism Board here in order to keep the peace, but I'm sure you can figure out where I'm going with this.

Really all you need to do is pick up a newspaper.

Whether you *think* it should be held to a higher standard is a matter of opinion, with which I wholeheartedly agree, but it simply not the reality of the situation.

What kills me is people that pour their blood sweat and tears into running respectable, tourist-friendly AND quality independent businesses in the Falls, with little to no help from anyone. Without people to support them, they become just another casualty of the curse of Niagara Falls, NY.

So by all means, please head directly to Lewiston. Do not pass GO :)

Rochester, NY
Level Contributor
414 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: what happened to the city in 50 years?

Gosh, y'all... I didn't intend to start a feud here! I had an honest question about a city I visit occasionally. Thanks for the answers... I promise I will come back. ( I have 3 upcoming reservations at the Casino hotel. Grin! ) And, as I said a long time ago, I love the feeling of the Goat Island area... you just can't get that anywhere else!

I sure hope that the city can get back on its feet soon. Thanks for the information!

Lynn in Rochester, NY