Hey, welcome to New York. Oh, not New York City. The other one, about 100 miles up the Hudson River. Maybe you’ve heard of us? The Capital Region.
That’s the opening pitch of a new video produced by the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Schenectady County. The video is meant to promote the Capital Region and attract young people to live and work in the area.
“We’ve got it all — nature, culture, nightlife, business, careers, lots of colleges and universities,” says Freddy Ramirez, an actor who lives in the region, as he walks across State Street in downtown Schenectady. “This is an awesome place to make a living and a life. No matter what they say about the other New York, we’re still the Capitol. And that means all of the energy and vibe of a big city, in a package you can wrap your arms around.”
The region is right in the heart of Tech Valley. “But tech isn’t all we’ve got,” Ramirez says. The video promotes the area’s businesses like General Electric, GlobalFoundries and Quirky. It also goes down the list of things to do, like hiking, biking and swimming.
The four-minute video is a package of what the region has to offer. Schenectady chamber president Chuck Steiner said he is looking for businesses, colleges and organizations to use the video to draw attention to the area.
“The colleges can use it to recruit students and businesses can use it to recruit employees,” Steiner said. “You can do a lot electronically, and we’re hoping to have this thing go viral. That’s the idea. It was designed to be fast-paced and exciting.”
The Albany-Colonie and Schenectady chambers debuted the video during an event last month at Proctors. Young professionals filled the GE Theatre to get a sneak peek, and Proctors CEO Philip Morris offered his take on the growth of Schenectady and the region.
“What appealed to me was that Schenectady hit rock bottom,” Morris said of his thoughts when he first came to Proctors in 2002. “It was a disaster. I kind of loved it. But we have grown, and I think that’s exciting.”
The next step is to have people view the video and use it, Steiner said. It will be one of the many tools to highlight the region. The idea developed as chamber officials visited colleges and universities to tout the region as a great place to stay after graduation.
“We’re blessed to have so many colleges and universities in the region,” said Albany-Colonie chamber president Mark Eagan. “We need to promote what it’s like to live and work here. We thought maybe if we developed a film geared toward young professionals that we could get young people to stay here and move here. We’re really happy with how it came out. I think it is very professional and it feels like something that isn’t your typical boring video.”
The video covers a lot of ground with shots around the state Capitol in Albany, on Broadway in Saratoga Springs and along State Street in downtown Schenectady. Ramirez interacts with people on the streets, saying hello and shaking hands with them as he walks by.
“There’s so much to do here, great places to go and hang out with your friends or make new ones,” Ramirez says. “Cappuccinos on the street, crafty brews after work. Pubs, clubs, world-class entertainment. If you want to play, game on.”
The region is also an affordable place to live, with houses in the country, condos in the heart of downtown, or cool lofts by the river, Ramirez says. The area is also close to vacation spots such as the Adirondacks, Lake George and the Catskills.
“Where are you headed? Far I hope. And you can get there from the Capital Region,” Ramirez says. “Draw a circle — we’re right in the middle of everything. It’s the great outdoors right outside your door. If you’re looking for a wild time, I’m just saying. Location, location, bull’s-eye.”
The video ends in Thacher Park with a beautiful view of the grassy mountains on a cloudy day. “If you’re looking for a place to call home, say hello to the Capital Region,” Ramirez says. They say you only live once. It doesn’t get any better than right here.
The chambers plan to start pushing the video into the public next month.
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