I hear it was a grand city once. Now its just sad. The abandoned portion of Detroit is larger in area than San Francisco... so I hear.
At one time, Detroit was the grand American city and rivaled New York as the power center of the country. I don't know anything about Buffalo, but the other two "great" Lake Erie cities - Toledo and Cleveland - were really tremendous places to live, work and raise families.
I believe that the Detroit, Toledo and Cleveland symphonies all pre-date 1900. And, all three cities were at one time, tremendous incubators for art & music as well as home to some of America's strongest and most diverse companies. The 1960s were the beginning of the end. Detroit, Toledo and Cleveland never really recovered from those troubled times.