Schenectady

Schenectady needs new nickname, Neil Golub says; Suggests accomplishment-based ‘Schenectady Metro’

Neil Golub - File

Neil Golub - File

SCHENECTADY — Golub Corp. Chairman and former CEO Neil Golub has long been among the Electric City’s biggest boosters.

But on Tuesday he suggested to the Schenectady City Council that the city needs a new nickname —  ”Schenectady Metro” — in recognition that the accomplishments of the last 30 years make it much more than the city built around the fortunes of General Electric. 

In a nearly hour-long presentation called “Strengthening the Future of Schenectady,” Golub cited nearly a dozen ways in which the city has become a center for excellence: medicine, the arts, business, education and entertainment, among other fields.

Indeed, he said the city really deserves to have a national reputation in a variety of fields.

“As the Wendy’s commercial used to say, ‘Where’s the beef?’ Well, Schenectady has a lot of beef,” Golub said.

A new nickname as “Schenectady Metro” would capture all of that and also convey a sense of something larger, Golub said. “What we’re doing in Schenectady is making a national reputation,” Golub said during the meeting, which was held remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Golub, as the head of the company that owns the Price Chopper/Market 32 supermarket chain, has been a lifelong supporter of the city, and as a founding member of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Development has played a central role in the city’s rebound from the doldrums of the 1980s, when GE was dramatically scaling back employment at its Erie Boulevard campus.

He has roles on the boards at Ellis Medicine, at the MiSci museum of science and in other community institutions, and said he’s been working with all of them on ways to raise their profiles. “What we’re doing for Schenectady is making a national reputation,” Golub said.

Among his proposals:

— Rebranding Ellis Medicine as Metro Medical Center, given the number of services and quality provided at Ellis Hospital and other medical facilities owned by Ellis.

— MiSci, which has a vast array of archival industrial materials from GE’s early days, would develop a travelling exhibit that could be lent to other museums around the country and provide a source of revenue, since he said donor museums receive a share of revenue from admissions to traveling exhibits.

— Work with the Schenectady County Convention and Tourism Bureau, “Discover Schenectady,” to promote everything the city has to offer.

— He said Bill Patrick, a writer and the husband of City Council member Carmel Patrick, is writing a book about Schenectady’s transformation that he hopes to see published this fall. The book would show how Schenectady’s redevelopment model could be followed elsewhere.

Golub didn’t ask for anything from the City Council on Tuesday except feedback on his idea for a new city nickname.

“We’re excited, and I hope we can get more information going forward,” said Council President John Mootooveren.

 

 

Categories: News, Schenectady County

10 Comments

I understand the concept but the history is big. How many electric cities are there? Also the Ellis family who started Ellis hospital owned ALCO- American Locomotive Works where the casino now is. They made the largest steam engine in the world and a weapon that put Rommel’s army out of commission in WWII. I don’t think Saratoga is going to abandon its horse history now that they are known for other things.

SHARON FLOOD

I would prefer it stay Electric City or something to do with the locomotives. They like to tout the redevelopment, but when there is no snow this city is very dirty. The housing is awful. We still have whole areas with no sidewalk so people walk in the streets and it’s dangerous. Let’s work on these things before we start calling this Metro or anything else.

WILLIAM MORAN

Love Mr. Golub and what he and his family have done for our community. Respectfully disagree with a nickname change – Electric City is one-of-a-kind, ageless, with many “cool” sub-meanings and connotations. In fact, it should be used much more in the marketing of the area.

DAVID GIACALONE

Two worrisome Schenectady trends can be seen in Neil Golub’s “Schenectady Metro” suggestion: [1] Words are thrown around here as if actual meanings and connotations are irrelevant; and, we seem to think that re-naming (re-branding) actually improves outcomes, quality and image. Do we really have a Renaissance or Walkable Downtown because City Hall and Metroplex say so, despite the lack of a supermarket, safe intersections, and a strong set of attractions to make people want to regularly some to town (rather than to big one-night events)?

Do the signs pointing to Little Italy do anything but lead to disappointment for out-of-towners, 15 years after the designation was made and lots spent on columns and new sidewalks? Did SCCC suddenly get a lot more respect by calling itself SUNY at Schenectady?

Did we really get waterfront development for the City when there no actual public access to the Riverbank and no demand for retail there, despite giant crowds stopping by for a show or to gamble? Does having our major hospital-medical and grocery companies “merge” with out-of-town entities suggest the interests of the people of Schenectady will be better protected?

And, [2] No one seems to have the courage to tell The Boss his or her idea is weak and needs to go back to the drawing-board. No one even opens a dictionary or a web browser, it seems.

As a result of the above trends, Mr. Golub uses the term “Metro” as if it has lots of obvious meaning. To most people (in cities with an actual metropolitan feel) Metro is the subway or bus system (look it up). Or, Metro means much more than a single municipality, or a very small business trying to sound bigger.

How do we explain actually being part of a NY Capital metropolitan area, with cities that have a lot more to offer in the opinoin of many?

I’m interested in Mr. Patrick’s ideas, but can’t quite see how basing our future on gambling and craft breweries, and a series of failing restaurants, works as an example for other municipalities. Nor, is putting so much power in the hands of one development czar, who is courted and feared by many, a particularly good framework for good, open, participatory government.

“Electric City” still works fine for me. But maybe we should consider “Greater Schenectady” as a description and aspiration.

MOHAMED HAFEZ

Schenectady Metro vs. Electric City, I’ll go with the latter in a heartbeat. Rebranding may work in business, but here, it could backfire if you change to “Metro” from a great one like “Electric City”. Regardless, there hasn’t been any transformation in Schenectady to warrant rebranding. The city still has plenty of blighted properties, terrible sidewalks, potholes in almost every street, and snow piles in every corner.

RICHARD A MACKINNON

Why do we have to have a brand? The term has not come to be enviable or admirable. I can see that “Electric City” short-changed the contributions of ALCO and other establishments over time. Why not “Innovation City” which seems to capture the characteristics of the many positive things we can lay claim to–including GE research and ALCO’s engineers? Or better yet: why not just SCHENECTADY. Isn’t that brand enough?

VINCENT J RIGGI

The New York Yankees were called the “Bronx Bombers” when they were great and when they were less then so-so, so it’s obvious the name didn’t change anything. It’s great personel that makes the difference, not the name. We shouldn’t look to change history, but instead fix the muriad of problems that face our “ElectricCity” and more importantly it’s historic neighborhoods. In all due respect, please save the glitzy propaganda for another day.

Why not just drop “Schenectady” altogether (those that will flood the city after rebranding can’t say or spell it, anyway), and just rename it, “Metroplex City,” and get it over with, already?

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