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New York Minute

Upstate counts, right? Sure it does.

Well, I’ve never been to Binghamton but I saw this picture by Bruce Wrighton in the New Yorker this week and had to share it. It was taken in 1986 and is featured in a show called “Man Made Color” over at the Lawrence Miller gallery.

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1 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 9, 2012 8:37 am

I've never been to Binghamton, but someone with the same name as me, several inches shorter and nearly twice my age apparently had been there and was wanted for robbery. For several years in my teens and young adulthood, I was almost routinely stopped in the town where I lived (about 150 miles away) and investigated for this; though I have maintained that I've never been there and have almost no reason to go there (save for an old friend who moved there recently), moreover I likely don't resemble the man they were looking for, I have harbored a teenie-weenie desire to go there and find that man.... and beat the living **** out of him.

2 Shaun P.   ~  Aug 9, 2012 8:40 am

Damn skippy upstate counts.

. . . Tho I've never considered Binghamton to be part of upstate, says the dude born and raised in Central NY; 'tis part of the Southern Tier. Wikipedia tells me that the Southern Tier is traditionally considered part of upstate, and that the further north you get from the City, the more narrow the definition of upstate becomes. Now I'm just confused.

In any case, Binghamton is a perfectly cromulent place, but I don't think you've missed out by never having been, Alex. A fine place to stop for lunch on your way from the City to better places, like the Finger Lakes.

3 RIYank   ~  Aug 9, 2012 8:45 am

Shaun, yeah, I discovered this maybe ten years ago. People who grew up in the city think pretty much everything else is "upstate" -- not Long Island, and maybe not Westchester, but Orange Co. for sure, etc.
But then other people think it starts around Albany, and it turns out Empire Staters use the term in all kinds of ways. I've concluded that it's actually a direction (which after all is what it sounds like!), so it means, further north than where I grew up or live now.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Aug 9, 2012 8:54 am

3) My family used to call Westchester "the country" which I adopted and used to piss off my friends in the 'burbs.

5 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Aug 9, 2012 9:23 am

I know plenty of people who think Van Cortlandt Park is "upstate." When people expose their limited perspective that way, I've always viewed it as one possible outcome of a litmus test that determines whether you own the city or the city owns you.

And also Binghamton, meh. Hold out a little longer, munch a granola bar or something, and for lunch order the Tres Hombres plate at the Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Aug 9, 2012 9:28 am

Hey some wise asses call Inwood "upstate Manhattan."

7 RIYank   ~  Aug 9, 2012 9:33 am

Hey, I'll be in Syracuse all next week! Obviously upstate.

8 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Aug 9, 2012 10:24 am

As a kid on LI, upstate started after crossing the Tappen Zee Bridge. The core of Binghampton is not so nice, but the surrounding country is beautiful. They also have 5 working restored vintage carousels that are interesting. There is more to the area; the original home of IBM, the Endicott/Johnson shoe company was there, and put shoes on the entire country in the early part of the 20th Century, a ton of IBM and GE pensioners living the good life frugally, and if you like golf, lots of cheap courses (my wife is from the area).

Also a local delicacy called spiedies. Lamb, beef, pork, or chicken cubes marinated in a certain way, and grilled on a skewer. It must be served with soft white sliced italian bread that you use to pull off the meat and topped off with a sprinkle of red wine vinegar. Really good, and different than a normal "meat on stick".

9 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Aug 9, 2012 10:28 am

I wonder why my previous post is waiting moderation? Nary a forbidden word in sight, unless "meat on a stick" is perverse

10 Alex Belth   ~  Aug 9, 2012 10:30 am

9) Fixed.

11 CliffC   ~  Aug 9, 2012 10:40 am

Hell yeah. My hood growing up getting some Banter love. Don't think I have ever commented but feel compelled with this.

Binghamton...eh. Good place to grow up and good place to move out of. A good community though and I have mostly good things to say about it.

Think we need a Tasters Cherce on some Spiedies though. Dig it.

And yes, we have carousels.

Bronx Boy, you can get Dino BBQ in Harlem now. Times they are a changin.

12 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 9, 2012 11:01 am

I tell people who've never heard of Westchester that it's "upstate", which to me is yes, a matter of direction. Strangely, many people have no conept of Westchester who live in the outer boros, so I tell them it's just above the Bronx. I mainly grew up in the Mid-Hudson Valley, which is upstate to most people, but to anyone there upstate is Albany and beyond.

That's what they mean by the definition of "upstate"getting narrower the further north you go; what is upstate to anyone in Albany, Rochester or Watertown? The Adirondacks(!) Glen Falls, Saratoga Springs and Ft. Ticonderoga? Lake George and Lake Placid??

Anything in the Southern tier was considered "Further Out West" and Buffalo, Rochester or Canada is "All The Way Up There". Oh, and the MId-Hudson is "The Middle of Nowhere" and the Finger Lakes are "Just There"... The furthest out west I've ever been in New York is that circle where New York meets New Jersey and Pennsylvania. North would be Schenectady, but only by accident and Upstate West would be Howe Caves (near Albany).

I also found out that to a Texan, anywhere within NYS is only an hour or two away at the most. But I bet we think the same thing about LA and San Francisco, though we do know Houston and Dallas are not neighbors... strange.

13 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Aug 9, 2012 11:32 am

{11] Yeah, I said my wife was from the area, with the operative word being "from". But for the aging that remain, they really are like a piece of "Minnesota Nice" in the southern tier of NY state. It used to be an area with good middle and working class jobs, and benevolent companies that took care of their communities. That's just about gone now and Binghampton was the metro are with the largest loss of population in the US between 1990-2000. The only real positive is that SUNY Binghampton now has the best reputation of the state university centers.

14 CliffC   ~  Aug 9, 2012 11:56 am

[13] Agree with everything. Like you said in your first comment, the number of companies that have come and gone is pretty staggering and is pretty much the reason why downtown Binghamton is desolate.

Binghamtion University is why I grew up there. Both parents were academics and we lived a few hundered yards on the Binghamtion side of the Binghamton/Vestal line. My family has since moved down south and I haven't been back in at least a few years but like I said, I thought it was a great place to grow up. I just can't imagine still living there like a lot of my friends from High School.

I have brought Spiedies everywhere I have lived though, and they have been a hit everywhere. I guess I still support the community in that I order a few gallons of Salamida's Spiedie Sauce each year.

15 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Aug 9, 2012 12:16 pm

[11] Yep, was privileged to be at the Harlem Dino's grand opening. They're in Newark and Troy now too. Just figured if you're headed wherever "upstate" is...

My aunt lived in Vestal for several years and liked it. Unfortunately my downtown B. experiences brought me to some of the desolate-feeling parts. Apologies re the "meh"!

16 thelarmis   ~  Aug 9, 2012 12:18 pm

i went to binghamton my whole life. my aunt & uncle are from there and i had 3 cousins there, as well. 2 of them live in NYC now and the other is outside of Syracuse.

my brother & best friend went to college there (great school) and i know a ton of other folks that went there, too. i spent a lot of time as a kid in binghamton and surrounding towns like endicott/johnson city and vestal.

i haven't been up that way in nearly 20 years though. and, yeah, we always called it "upstate". still do!

17 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Aug 9, 2012 8:05 pm

Great thread. My pop is from Addison, outside Corning. We always drove near Binghamton on the way, stopping at Roscoe's Diner. Was all countryside to me after leavign Brooklyn.

18 Boatzilla   ~  Aug 9, 2012 8:51 pm

ā€œIā€™d like to spend Christmas in Elmira with my family.ā€ --Mr. Carter, the bank examiner

19 Matt Blankman   ~  Aug 10, 2012 8:09 am

Rod Serling was from Binghamton. It was also the site of an epic Grateful Dead concert at Harpur College on May 2, 1970. That is all I have to add to this.

20 CliffC   ~  Aug 10, 2012 8:54 am

[19] One of my best friends actually lived in Rod Serlings old house. They had a picture of him just as you walk in the house. Kind of cool, kind of creepy.

[15] No worries, I more of less said it was meh.

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