Posts Tagged ‘urban blight’

The carousel capitol of the world

January 2, 2009

For New Years, we drove down to Binghamton, NY to visit my extended family.  Binghamton is sort of a classic upstate city — it’s on hard times.  Though it’s former glory is still apparent in some places — like some extremely beautiful and large Victorian houses — it’s also a pretty good example of how to destroy a small city with strip malls and expressways.  Driving in Binghamton is constantly being on off-ramps and on-ramps that are totally empty of cars, passing over and around streets that were probably very nice before all this elevated concrete came in, with expressway exit signs that just say “shopping mall.”

It’s in this incredibly beautiful valley, where the Chenango and Susquehanna rivers join.

Oh, Binghamton.

Binghamton

Apparently, in 1890 Binghamton was behind only New York City in production of cigars.  After that industry died out in the 30s, shoe manufacturing was the big thing, and after “urban renewal” in the 1960s, they’ve just sort of been holding on, I think.  I have this vision where the neglected cities, and the countryside, of central New York state will come back to their former, or a newer glory.  Or maybe not glory, but just back to having downtowns and growing populations.  Their city motto right now is Restoring The Pride.

It’s also the “carousel capitol of the world,” and all of its many carousels are “jumpers”!

Binghamton