Can you feel the love?

By Kim M.

soapbox badgeLast Thursday, I felt like I had witnessed a hipster uprising in the city of Troy.

Activists mobilized people to turn out and speakagainst the proposed 10-year cable contract with Time Warner. And turn out they did.

Many even went to the trouble of making signs, something you don't really see at a typical Troy City Council meeting.

But here's the thing -- for all the speaking out against that went on -- there was a lot of
love in that room.

The meeting was a record-breaker, at least in my short history-- coming in at a whopping 173 minutes and 28 seconds and beating March's marathon meeting by a smidge. Videos are archived on Troy City Councilís Ustream page. (I would have bet that March was the longer of the two, but that might be because I had donuts this time and knew I probably wouldn't have to choose between starving to death or turning to cannibalism before we adjourned.)

At least 17 people spoke against the issue, including RPI professor and reality TV star, Nao Bustamante. My understanding of the arguments against the proposed agreement is 1) Troy is not getting true public, educational, and governmental access like what has been provided to Albany and Schenectady, and 2) Time Warner has been underpaying fees to the city, and their books need to be audited to discover how much we are owed.

But it wasn't the arguments that moved me at this last meeting -- it was the people who turned out-- and the fact that the issued mattered to them. It mattered enough they attended a council meeting to speak about it. Even more, although they were asking the council to vote no, the underlying tone was a positive, not a negative one. The meeting was all about how amazing, fantastically awesome Troy is and how much it can be.

I liked that the people who spoke felt so passionately that Troy deserves more. @AlbanyJen touched on the same theme in a recent tweet about Albany. "Fellow Albanians, we need work on our place-esteem #Albany #wecandobetter, she wrote." It started a discussion about what our area accepts, but maybe shouldn't accept. She wants Albanians to have a slogan like "Enjoy Troy" for their city, and to boost pride in place, have higher standards and not accept stuff as-is (policy, building design, etc.).

At the meeting, many young, creative Troy transplants declared their love for the city they now call home. One guy said Troy was better than Texas, another said he hated Miami and loved Troy, and the last speaker of the night hated NYC and loved Troy so much she forgot to mention the franchise agreement at all.

I've heard Troy referred to as a cult because of how many people (myself included) are madly in love with it. Maybe it's true. Or maybe there is something here, some intangible thing that makes so many of us transplants crazy evangelicals for our adopted homeland. Maybe it's the history, the architecture, the people. But something keeps us here.

Do you love your city? If not, what keeps you from shouting "I love living in ____!!" And how could that change?

Kim loves Troy even more than you do.

Kim on the Soapbox:
+National Night Out
+Children at Play
+ Hoosick Street: Future UFO landing site
+ Stop wining and do something about it
+ Good neighbors check in to make sure you haven't frozen to death


Albany >> Troy

(I'm so proud I avoided the Troy-let cliche- oh wait, whoops!)

I Love Albany! ...Mostly

I have to say, as a somewhat reluctant (because of the cold) transplant to Albany eight years ago from "The South" and SoCal, I have really grown to love it here. From the moment Nick and I arrived on a harvest moonlit night in August 2003 and drove towards our new home down Delaware Ave. with its various hometown-type shops (hardware store, fish shop, independent restaurants, now defunct post office-boo, dog grooming, etc.) I felt immediately connected to our neighborhood & the area in general. After some fear about the general safety of the city (which one unfortunately learns to live with), I discovered a community full of progressive people, passionate about a wide variety of topics - people who care, many (young, old & in between) who choose to become active in enacting change surrounding the issues that matter to them. I personally have never lived in a community as vibrant and engaged as Albany, whether the topic be arts, civics, food, etc.

I have formed relationships with countless people here who CARE about the greater good, which I haven't really experienced on a similar level in other cities I've lived in. Although many of us refer to our town as "Smallbany", I think the ALB is big enough to accommodate all of our ideas and small enough for us to be connected with our neighbors (with just a few degrees of separation), which allows us our causes to reconcile with faces and families. Getting to know the nuances of "why" strengthens our community. Plus, it's beautiful here and there is so much bounty to enjoy, in so many ways.

Despite my former reluctance, getting bundled up to shovel the driveway in February holds its allure - fresh cold air, winter exercise, immediate gratification of snow well-cleared and a welcoming warm fire (+quite possibly a hot toddy) upon return indoors are milestones I now enjoy.

I'd loooove to see neglected areas of Albany (South End, Arbor Hill, Pine Hills) get some dedicated money from the city to make the neighorhoods more walkable/livable/safe/viable but not gentrified, the homes improved in a way that is beneficial (not crippling) to tenants, and eradicating food desert status via farmers markets/CDCG expansions/home garden instruction/local healthy food availability. That's my two cents...

I love Troy and enjoy living here much more than in Albany.

Woah, Troy vs. Albany what?

It doesn't have to be like that.

Yeah the whole Alb-Troy contest is stupid. I love living in Albany, but Troy has a lot of great things going for it (and I'm jealous of their downtown!). I extol the virtues of Albany as often as I can, but it really does help to live in a neighborhood you love and take pride in.

Thank you, Britin@ All Good Bakers, for the fantastic comment (and for understanding this was not a Troy vs Albany thing). I love the Capital Region in general, and I think you hit the nail on the head about the size of our cities ... small enough to sometimes feel like you know everyone, but big enough you can still have some anonymity too.

I lived in Albany for 8 years and then got smart and moved to TROY! This city has way more potential than Albany and not only that, the people here are super awesome. Try walking down the street in Troy and not getting a smile or a, "How are you doing today?" in Albany it's like people try as hard as possible to ignore your existence.

Conclusion? MOVE TO TROY!

I think Troy has alot more potential than Albany, has better "downtown" liveliness, but less activity - let's be honest Albany downtown is for State workers and is only now beginning to become more lively after the M-F 9-5 shift. I think Troy is more progressive, willing to try different things and if it continues to grow and evolve as rapidly, could join Burlington-Ithaca-Northampton. Bottomline line though, is neither evolves without the other. Troy is dependent on Albany capitol, and population, and Albany if it has any chance of staying a capital, needs something like Troy to keep the youth here. It's just crazy how different Troy and Albany have gone about things in the last ten years and the impact of those decisions is obvious. What is so sad, Schenectady has fallen so far behind, i think the stigma and real problems plaguing the city continue.

Honestly? Crime and general skulduggery. I think Troy is a beautiful place, with wonderful physical assets, but walk down 4th street at night at tell me you feel safe. I've lived in large cities my whole life and I do not feel at ease in Troy the same way that I do in say, D.C. The cops are getting better, but ignore a large part of what makes Troy hard to deal with: the aimless loitering and harassing behavior of a small portion of the population, which reduces the overall quality of life.

I love albany. I grew up in albany, got educated in ualbany, and have a great career in albany and never felt the desire to move. I am raising my family in albany, although through private schools. I know the underbelly of the city from growing up here as well as the good areas and feel very at home here. All my peeps and family are here. The crime is predictable and Albany cops do a great job making sure it doesnt become another schenectady. My favorite area is the buckingham pond area, though I grew up in west hill and have great memories over there, wouldnt want to live there today but have alot of respect for the families there. Things like the tulip fest, st paddys day are excellent and i have grown to look forward to them every year. Plus we are very close to many cities, the adirondacks and catskills..I dont care what you say, the albany skyline is beautiful. Albany also does a great job keeping its streets nice and has nice trees throughout the city. The traffic is great, you can get anywhere in the capital district in 15-20 minutes. I cant really imagine moving out of this area. The winters never really bothered me, I recently got into snow shoeing and that significantly changed my attitude toward winter. The only thing that sucks is i wish jennings would try to revive central avenue again. I have very fond memories of shopping on central avenue when i was young, buying cds at strawberries and music shack, comic books at earthworld and fantico, having a soda fountain at honikels and buying goldfish at woolworths. I hate it that people write off that area of albany as ghetto. The churches in albany are gorgeous as well. We need to invest in these areas, the residents of these areas deserve it and it would also be nice if the college kids had another place to shop and hang out other than the malls. I think this is just a pipe dream but i always hope.

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