Downtown Schenectady Through Impressionist Eyes

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I traveled to Schenectady last weekend, as I have so many times before. The city that “electrified” (those in the know will get this pun) my senses when I visited for the first time nearly 5 years ago is a real mini-urban marvel, a true example of what urban revitalization can be.

And while I’ve photographically captured this inspiring little downtown many times before, I thought I would do something a little bit different this time. With the help of a an amazing app filter, I decided to turn my photos of the day into photo art through the eyes of the classic Impressionist style. Because I respect those who TRULY have the talent to inspire with paint or any other artistic medium, I want to reiterate that these are photos (I’m a photographer by trade) manipulated to LOOK like paintings and are not paintings themselves. That being said, I think you will find the effect of capturing Schenectady like a subject on a canvas very visually appealing!

I stepped off the train on a cold November morning and realized I hadn’t seen the new Schenectady train station yet…

The station was just the right size, simple in many ways, with the grand touch of floor to ceiling arched windows in the style of the classics.

I proceeded southeast on State Street, embraced by the morning sun and the beautiful historic architecture. Schenectady blends historic urban architecture with modern compliments, a blend that really works. Anchored by Proctor’s Theater, this stretch really comes alive when it’s “showtime.”

I made my way over to Union Street, where I discovered The Schenectady Trading Company, a delightful spot full of locally made art, food and pro-Schenectady merchandise. I purchased a T-Shirt and some chocolate for the wife 😉

I always love this row of buildings along Union Street.

The Schenectady Library is really a tremendous, forward-thinking resource for Schenectady County. The exterior of the unique building, with hints of brutalism-inspired architecture, is highlighted by a sheltered walkway that’s always good a nifty photo.

I’d passed the Whitney Book Corner (run by Friends of Schenectady County Public Library) many times, but this time I decided to step inside. This amazing little used book store is run entirely by volunteers, providing residents a chance to connect with a good book while supporting a local small business for decades.

Great Flats Brewing, in contrast, is a relatively new addition to “The City Of Light And Power.” It’s a must-visit for me, with a large space, yet a comfortable atmosphere. Oh, and the beer? It’s excellent.

Jay Street is one of the most picturesque, walkable havens for small business in Upstate New York. Full of an eclectic array of cafes, gift shops and specialty stores, this pedestrian-only island is a true delight with a European feel. On a personal note, we need more places like this in our cities, where people can feel the calm of walking between destinations with the intrusion of cars!

I stopped into Ambition Bistro on Jay Street for some delicious food and one of their world-famous Bloody Marys. It did not disappoint. 😉

Finally, I finished my little walkabout with a mandatory trip through the historic Stockade neighborhood. One of the most amazing slices of urban residential appeal in Upstate New York, the colorful homes of The Stockade reflected the glorious sun, giving life to the street even on a cold day.

And just like that, it was time to head home. As always, I had the most amazing 6 hours in this little city of 60,000 people. I’m always amazed at the approachable density and historical attractiveness of Schenectady, so this time I decided to see it through the eyes of the great Impressionist painters. Cities really are beautiful works of art in themselves… vast canvases of visual appeal and human connection. Schenectady has both in abundance, as it quickly grows to meet a new set of needs for today’s urban dwellers while keeping it’s infectious charm. I can happily say with all the confidence I have, this is a city that is on the move!