Utica Visit in Photos: February ’19

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Over the last year or so, I have supplemented post about smart urbanism with the occasional sprinkle of “on the ground” iPhone photos of Upstate New York cities.  While a far cry from my former 5,000 word creations, these posts are meant to give residents an visor’s view of their city, and outsiders a cool sense of what our Upstate cities have to offer.

The old bones of Bagg’s Square provide tremendous potential for future small-scale, intimate growth.  This little area of tiny streets has incredible potential to be one of Upstate New York’s most interesting neighborhoods in the near future!

Smith Market is is one of the early-adopters of this neighborhood’s potential, and a solid example of the kind of business that will make it unique.

The train station is truly beautiful, inside and out.

A quick (however disconnected) walk to Genesee street, which is lined with some beautiful old-world urban architecture.

This was my first time visiting Character Coffee, a new staple in the heart of downtown Utica.  Amazing people, great coffee, and the atmosphere is as much comfortable and approachable as it is unique and trendy.

…and back to Genesee to feel the power of the historic streetscape.

On my way to the vibrant nightlife destinations on Varick Street, I came across this relatively new pedestrian and bike trail that connects Lincoln Avenue on the south side of Highway 5, to Lafayette Street on the north side.  Urban trails like this can one of those key additives that contribute to a more enjoyable and far safer pedestrian experience.

Once on Varick Street,  I headed for the Utica staple, Nail Creek.  I always enjoy Varick’s intimate small street feel, a true entertainment gem in Central New York.

Nail Creek for some beers.

After meeting up with some friends and having an amazing day, I headed back to the train station (after missing the early train home!) and snapped one last pic of the historic interior.

These photos don’t show anything new.  I’ve walked all the streets and visited a good number of the local businesses.  But every time I visit, I get a little different and more comprehensive feel for the communities I write about.  We can blog about urban revitalization all we want, but if you’re not traveling on foot, watching growth in our cities happen right in front of you, you’re not in touch with the realities and complexities of what’s actually going on.  Every time I travel to Utica, or Schenectady or Geneva, Buffalo, Troy or any city in Upstate and beyond, I learn something new and see something that reminds me why I do what I do.

Utica, you’re looking good.  Keep getting after it!