If you've been keeping up on news from Troy, you may have heard that a McDonald's has been proposed for the empty lot at the corner of Hoosick and 15th.
And I'm torn.
My gut reaction: "Oh, hell no."
The thing is, I don't hate McDonald's. I know some object to the plan because they're concerned about Trojans' waistlines and Uncle Sam's opinion on how the company processes meat, but a successful fast-food business will respond to a demand for healthier choices or eventually fail. And I want to welcome a business that will create jobs and increase our tax base. And, Mickey D's was my first official employer.
I was one of the first hires at the McDonald's that opened in a neighboring town my senior year of high school. If I ruled the world, everyone would have a job like that at some point in their journey to adulthood. Few things make me more stab-happy than jerks being rude to those in the service sector. One of those other things: driving in traffic on Hoosick Street (map). Just thinking about it for too long could make me scream "Serenity now!!" But traffic congestion isn't my issue with the proposal either.
My reaction is based solely on aesthetics.
This horrifies me because I rely on logic most of the time; feelings make me feel icky. Lucky for me, just days before I read about the Golden Arches, the Uptown Initiative co-sponsored a talk by James Howard Kunstler at the Sanctuary for Independent Media. I say lucky because Kunstler "spoke my language." During his talk he referred to typical fast-food restaurants as UFOs that have landed in our urban landscape. I finally had a visual phrase to explain my abstract "it's not ... pretty" rejections. These generic buildings are incongruent with the surrounding area, and people feel that. They're "odd". If a chain wants to open a location in Troy, we should point to the Dunkin' Donuts on Broadway and 4th as an example of doing it right. Don't be a
round peg irregular polygon in a square hole.
If Hoosick Street is your only experience with Troy, I can understand why you don't love Troy like I do. But Hoosick Street is not representative of my city. In fact, it's an ugly scar in our landscape. I encourage you to explore other areas, to see what Troy's slow renaissance (h/t: Metroland) is all about. Visit our shops downtown, drool over our architecture.
Then tell your friends how awesome Troy is ... I could use a breather.
Kim loves Troy even more than you do.
image via the City of Troy
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