One of the things that attracts me to Troy the most is the diversity of culture, thought, gender and generally, the open-minded vibe I get hanging out downtown. The diversity spans socio-economic and age demographics. This is seen in many of the downtown residents and also the city government. Downtown Troy is a great combination of small and medium independent, entrepreneurial businesses and has strong arts and creative destinations. Troy arguably has the most robust farmers market in the region, having been in operation for over 20 years, it attracts tens of thousands of attendees per year to the downtown area. Many of the downtown businesses also have strong identities, not just programmatically and aesthetically but also in the groups of people that they attract, kind of like mini cultural micro-climates to borrow a landscape architecture term. Speaking of architecture, the architecture and rich industrial and cultural history of Troy are a significant player in the experience you have here.
As a creative freelance professional, this environment is supportive and stimulating. In a simple trip for morning coffee its possible to run into musicians, PHD students, architects, film people, gaming programmers, coders, makers, fashion designers, stylists, photographers, engineers, lawyers, poets, philosophers, producers, urban farmers, historic preservation professionals, professors and retirees…the list goes on. It’s not uncommon for us to have film crews from independent and major studios location scouting here from all over the country (HBO is currently working on a series here called ‘The Gilded Age‘). Troy is a current darling in that way and is increasingly providing quality freelance work for people in our region. Additionally, we have 2 important campuses in downtown including RPI and SAGE College which help contribute to an intellectually stimulating scene.
What also makes the downtown great is the scale. Like many well designed older cities, it’s walkable. It’s best to just park your car and enjoy strolling the various blocks to get to all the rich opportunities there are to experience. For the long term, my fear is that we will jump the shark and allow development that will gentrify our city overmuch. I am hoping however that we can hold the beautiful balance we currently have and spread new development interest out from the city center into contiguous neighborhoods, keeping the rich diversity that we hold so dear downtown while spreading investment dollars further out from the city center. This would create a positive impact on a greater number of citizens, thereby increasing the value of the city as a relocation destination. So much to say but suffice it to say, here are a few of my top pics for a day in the life of a downtown Trojan.
EMPAC’s ongoing FREE lecture series.
FAVORITE COFFEE SPOT(S)
BEST DATE SPOT
BEST ART HANGOUT
BEST PLACE TO BE OVERSTIMULATED
Franklin Alley Social Club (Shuffle Board league and old school arcade games in an old basement bowling alley!)
MOST INTERACTIVE SOCIAL SPACES
The Hill at Muza, not downtown but walkable in the summer and worth the trip!
Corey Aldrich currently lives and works out of Troy New York where he has an experiential design and events company called 2440 Design Studio.