When you think of a major city, what's the first image that pops into your mind? 

For a lot of us, it's the skyline. The towering buildings and unique architectural features of a city’s skyline make more than just a pretty picture for a postcard. It’s part of the essence of the area - the ultimate first impression for visitors, as well as a source of pride for locals who call that city home.  

We have many cities here in New York State that boast an amazing skyline - from Buffalo's art deco masterpieces along the lake, to Albany's old historical buildings and their Egg. And of course, the Empire State is home to probably the most famous skyline in the world...

New York City Skyline

Every skyline tells a story about the city’s history through the massive old buildings featured. It can also be a measure of a city’s growth, as an evolving skyline with new structures popping up can show that a city is thriving.

So what does it say about a city whose skyline hasn’t changed in decades?

The geography-focused YouTube channel Random recently uploaded a new video breaking down the 10 most stagnant skylines in the country. By stagnant, they mean that the skyline hasn’t changed in several years (often decades) and hasn’t seen any major new construction projects to update it.

Of course, many cities across the U.S. undergo smaller construction projects that don’t affect the growth of the skyline, so the video focuses on buildings that are obviously visible in the skyline. They also don’t take into account taller buildings that are located outside of the downtown area or far away from the city’s main skyline. 

New York State Home To One Of The Most Stagnant Skylines In the U.S.

Only one city from New York was featured on the list of the most stagnant skylines in the country - Rochester, New York.

Dominated by structures like the Kodak Tower, Xerox Tower, The Metropolitan, and the Frederick Douglas-Susan B. Anthony bridge (often nicknamed by locals as the “Freddy Sue”), Rochester’s skyline is absolutely stunning.  


However, it’s been decades since there’s been any changes to it, warranting Random to name it the 7th most stagnant skyline in the United States. 

According to the video, Rochester has not one single new building has sprung up in the downtown Flower City since the Bausch & Lomb Place building was built in 1995, and was the last high-rise to affect the skyline of the city. 

Why Has The Rochester Skyline Stayed The Same?

After breaking down the lack of growth in the Rochester downtown area, the video then analyzes population data from the US Census Bureau to see if it correlates with the lack of new buildings being built. 


You can see in the graph above that around the year 2000, five years after Bausch & Lomb Place was constructed, Rochester’s metro had a drastic decrease in population growth and remains that way today. In fact, around the time the pandemic hit in 2020, Rochester’s population growth hit an all-time low of 0%. 

When justifying Rochester’s lack of new buildings in their skyline, the video’s narrator says matter-of-factly:

"The city is dying, and for obvious reasons, nobody’s going to build high rises in a dying city.”


Google Earth/Canva
Google Earth/Canva

However, it’s important to note that since that “dead” pandemic year, Rochester’s downtown population has slowly started to increase little by little. Perhaps with more people moving to the Rochester metro, we can see some new big buildings in their skyline soon? Only time will tell. 

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Here’s the full list of the 10 Most Stagnant Skylines in the U.S.

  1. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  2. Tucson, Arizona
  3. New Orleans, Louisiana
  4. Birmingham, Alabama
  5. Memphis, Tennessee
  6. Detroit, Michigan
  7. Rochester, New York
  8. Jacksonville, Florida
  9. St. Louis, Missouri
  10. Fresno, California

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The Top 10 Dumbest Cities in New York State

According to Road Snacks, New York isn't just one of the dumbest states in the nation - they claim to have found the top 10 dumbest cities in the Empire State.

As for what determines a "dumb" city, Road Snacks compared 163 cities with 5,000 or more residents, to find those with the largest population of those who never finished high school. The survey used Census data and "scientific stuff" from other "legitimate" sources to find the 10 areas with the highest concentration of high school dropouts.

Road Snacks argues that not finishing high school puts one at a significant disadvantage in life. The study adds that the areas with the highest percentage of adults without a high school degree should shine a light on the state as a whole.

In the end, these 10 cities were deemed to be the dumbest in New York State.
That said, the company is not calling these cities "dumb" - so if you have an issue, take it up with Road Snacks. We're just reporting their findings.

Gallery Credit: Megan

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