Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hometown nostalgia - upstate New York

Recently, I had an opportunity to visit my folks in upstate New York. Whenever I go back to visit the ol' hometown, I get sort of nostalgic. This visit was no exception. The nostalgia for me isn't so much about trying to climb back to the past, but instead about taking a fresh perspective on the places I mostly took for granted growing up. 

It's nice to have roots that remain firmly planted in the town where I grew up. The Utica area was once a boom-town after WWII, but now does not really have much of an economic base. While I don't think I'd really want to live and work there now, what matters most is that I get to visit with, and cook for, Mom and Dad. 

They indulged me on a quick few stops so I could snap some pics of landmarks. Here are just a few:

The Saranac Brewery (above) was founded as the West End Brewing Company in 1888. I was a tour guide here for two summers. It's kind of fun when you can speak intelligently about brewing beer when attending a fraternity mixer in college! 

The old Bank of Utica, known as 'the bank with the gold dome.' I love the overly fancy architecture and, if you ignore its surroundings, you'd swear for a minute that you were in London. I had my first banking account here, saving coins in those cardboard pig-shaped folders to deposit when they were full.

The Stanley Theater, built in 1928. I've been here many times for concerts, plays and ballets. One of my favorite memories is our family trip to see Bill Cosby perform, and watching my mother laughing so hard that she cried through most of the show.

The Raymond Simon Convergence Media Center at Utica College. Not everyone gets to have a center named after their Dad! We were lucky to grow up as faculty brats, and Professor Simon has made such a mark on the communications field. And, the broadcast studio in the center is named after my Mom. How cool is that?

The New Hartford house where my sister and I were raised. Back then, everyone's doors were unlocked, kids played freely in backyards, front yards and the streets, and the parents sounded bells and buzzers and horns to call the kids in for dinner.

We often enjoy dramatic sunsets in upstate New York. Part of it is the atmosphere, and part of it is a lower level of pollution than other places. To me, this is a magic show that never gets old. And in my mind, when I'm back in upstate New York, nor do I. 
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