East Side or ‘East Buffalo’? City lawmakers looking for the answer

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — A question everyone seems to be asking these days: Why is there a North Buffalo and a South Buffalo, but only an East Side and a West Side?

The Common Council will give residents a chance to answer that question.

Geographically, Buffalo is split along Main Street – the east side of the Main and the west side. But in recent years there have been ethnic and racial undertones, and when a neighborhood east of Main Street became a target for racial hatred, the issue took on a new urgency.

The Common Council is considering a resolution that would change references to events and locations east of Main Street as in East Buffalo.

Masten County Councilor Ulysees Wingo says it’s a matter of inclusion — that his voters would call part of Buffalo home, not part of the city.

On May 14, a gunman targeted the Tops Markets site on Jefferson Avenue in the Masten District because of the large black population in a particular zone code — known as the East Side — and claimed the lives of 10 victims, all black.

“I know a lot of people in the block clubs and associations all have a similar feeling that we need to be labeled ‘East Buffalo,’ and incorporated,” Wingo said. “This is a question of justice for them, this is a question of equality, a question of inclusion.”

City lawmakers had intended to vote on Wingo’s resolution Tuesday, but the title called for “renaming the East Side,” and council members preferred calling it “referred to as East Buffalo on the East Side.”

It was sent to the committee, urging local, state, and federal officials to move forward with the change in their lexicon. The Council plans a public hearing.

There can be more than just races in the area known as the East Side. During my time here, I’ve been verbally abused a few times by people from Lovejoy and Fillmore counties, who also call their home the East Side.

So the public hearing should be interesting.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 action, click here.

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