Does everyone love to hate Schenectady?
That’s the tongue-in-cheek contention of a social news website’s list of “49 Things People From Upstate New York Love” posted Thursday afternoon and circulated among local residents on social media.
The list of illustrated points on BuzzFeed placed “Hating on Schenectady” at No. 25, below cider doughnuts, eating Stewart’s ice cream and “Laughing at other cities when they complain about snow.”
See for yourself
The BuzzFeed list “49 Things People From Upstate New York Love” can be found online at http://bit.ly/1aV0KP1.
Some local leaders say the listing gives the city a bad rap that ignores successful efforts local people have made to help the city grow.
“It’s just gotten to be this habit,” City Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo said of bashing Schenectady. “I think that all the municipalities around us, including Saratoga, deal with the same issues that Schenectady does.”
She’d rather see people working toward solutions instead of criticizing, Perazzo said.
“I like positive solution-driven thinking rather than the negative and finger-pointing outlooks on life,” she said.
Recent growth includes business development downtown and homeowners who have bought vacant houses and invested in them.
Jeff Clark, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County, chuckled at the jab but hinted that Schenectady may get the last laugh.
“They can say whatever they want, just get our name right,” Clark said. “It’s been easy to hit on Schenectady, but I think people are going to find in the next few years that it’s going to be less easy.”
His organization is working hard to make the city a better place, having completed 40 homes in the past 20 years. Today in Goose Hill, Habitat kicks off its new Neighborhood Revitalization Program to help existing low-income homeowners complete repairs and cosmetic fixes.
Former Union College President Roger Hull likes living in Schenectady and having easy access by car to New York City, Boston, the Adirondacks, the Berkshires and the Catskills.
“I could have moved anywhere when I left Union, and I chose to stay here,” he said. “You have the benefits of the city, and you can also get to the Adirondacks in an hour.”
Perazzo grew up in Schenectady and has been loyal to the city through thick and thin.
“Even at its lowest point, I was proud of the city I grew up in,” she said.
Proctors and Union College have always been stable influences, she said, and “proud Schenectadians have always been present as well.”
The BuzzFeed list also named the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Race Course and bike paths as close to upstate New Yorkers’ hearts. The post was shared 32,000 times on Facebook by Friday evening, and more than 2,000 people had retweeted it, according to the site.
Officials at Stewart’s, which is mentioned three times to emphasize fans’ rabid enjoyment of the convenience store chain and its dairy treats, were pleased.
“We are excited to be recognized as such a memorable part of the Capital Region and upstate New York,” company spokeswoman Maria D’Amelia said. “It’s a fun way to show our connection in the community.”
The chain operates 330 stores in upstate New York and southern Vermont, and its ice cream has won worldwide recognition three times, including No. 1 dark chocolate brand in 2010 and 2012 and the No. 1 French vanilla brand in 2010 at the World Dairy Expo, D’Amelia said.