Saturday, March 22, 2014
Posted by el duque at 9:57 AM
We will be visiting Tromso, a town in Norway that calls itself "the Paris of the Arctic Circle." (I bet you didn't even know there was a "Paris of the Arctic Circle." Well, you're not so smart after all, nyah-nyah-nyah!)
This "Paris of the Arctic Circle" business got me to a-thinkin':
What is "the Paris of Upstate New York?"
Ithaca? Hornell? Plattsburgh?
My serious best guess: Cooperstown. It has mucho culture, plus money coming out of the sewers. Lake Placid is close. (Of course, Paris hasn't been looking so hot over the last 20 years.) But screw Paris: What about the rest of Upstate New York?
With its insane housing shortage, due to the expansion of Fort Drum, Watertown is "the Mexico City of Upstate New York." Sorry, generals.
Utica? Well, it is "the Utica of Upstate New York," but nearby Rome is hardly "the Rome of Upstate New York." Rome is "the Peoria of Upstate New York."
Albany wants to be "the Austin of Upstate New York." Sadly, it's closer to "the Trenton."
Rochester, since the loss of Kodak and Bausch, is "the Pompeii of Upstate New York." When I drive past those dead plants, I imagine tea cups sitting on kitchen tables for a thousand years, undisturbed.
Which brings us to Syracuse and Buffalo, the meat and potatoes of Upstate New York. Literally, one represents wings, the other salt potatoes.
A few years ago, Buffalo was en route to becoming "the Detroit of Upstate New York." It managed to avoid that fate. Buffalo has always wanted to be "the Toronto of Upstate New York," or at least the "Better than Erie, Pa., of Upstate New York." The truth is, Buffalo is "the Syracuse of Upstate New York after a 12-pack of Genny Cream."
As for the 'Cuse? Hey, a joke is a joke, and nails in the driveway can do damage. I don't want some local nutpie to go Ed Whitson on me. Thus, in my usual cowardly way, I'm calling Syracuse... "the 'Paris of the Arctic Circle' of Upstate New York." Be afraid, Tromso. Be very afraid. (And let's not even think about Solvay.)