Fear and Loathing in TROY

I went to the dentist yesterday. A new dentist, right on 1st about a block away from footsies. It’s not that I need to keep my health professionals in close proximity bars, but it’s not a terrible idea considering I’m allergic to analgesics as well as needles. And blood. Anyway. I’ve made efforts to move most of my appointments to the neighborhood… because at least if I have to take time off,  I don’t have to fight traffic or humans just for something like an obligatory cleaning.

The dentist happened to be an older gentleman who wore a suit under his white coat thing. I appreciated his formality as I am very fancy as well. His entire staff reminded me of the cast of Golden Girls and we were best friends immediately. The decor was questionable and made me a bit nervous at first…a mix of kitten and cat posters awkwardly stuffed into cheap brass colored plastic frames. Could I trust someone with such judgement to accurately assess something as near and dear to me as my oral hygiene? (I’m obsessed.) When the dentist and the gals collectively asked where I lived….and I said “here”…they all were very confused. ‘HEREeeeeee?!?……”Oh you go to Russell Sage? I went there too!”

Well no….I’m 30…but seriously thank you for just almost confusing me with someone young enough to live in a dorm. When I explained I lived a block away, they were all VERY perplexed, with a side of shock. This is an expression I am very experienced in and recognized right away. As I studied her furrowed white brow, I instinctively wanted to up the ante. “I love it here. I would really rather die than live anywhere else, honestly.” (Pause, pause, pause. )As the golden women said fake hopeful things like “I heard they are really trying to clean up the city…” and another “Well, it must be nice to be so close to the police station….. and you can get on the highway really quickly and get places!” I smiled a longgggg smile, right before I flew into autopilot and started selling my city to this bunch.

But when I was interrupted by “but you must feel threatened pretty often!”…..in the kind of voice than was as sure as it was squeaky,  I assured them that I really never felt in danger. (Sidebar: the latest I am out is probably 12:30 and don’t make general habits of walking alone late at night in any city.)  When I was describing my sweet favorite street and jovial neighborhood BBQ’s and friends and happiness and love, I was immediately met by recommendations of where to buy mace. I eventually caved and accepted that me and the Golden Girls weren’t ever gonna be on the same page. I could tell they thought I was weird….but nice. Kind of like what my dad thought when I carried my dinner outside to eat alone under a tree for an entire hottest summer on record when I was 9. He didn’t get it and preferred to eat his corn on the cob by the warm/cold electric glow of TV and air conditioning combo. He wondered about me, but he was happy if I was happy. At the end of my visit, they all gathered round and called out in unison “stay safe out there!” and watched curiously as I walked unarmed onto 1st street.

It always surprises me when people feel afraid of Troy. I know that we are shaking off a gritty past and some years worth being afraid of, but in all of the time I have lived here I have only been afraid of things like lightning and the generosity of spirit that could get you involved in 3-5 drinks on someones stoop when you were just going out for milk. It was scary the one time we all heard gunshots, and it’s TERRIFYING that I can get 5 hot dogs and a soda for 4 dollars. (And kill it.)  And it was very scary the day tax assessments arrived in 2nd street mailboxes….but other than that it’s been pretty charming over here, at least from my perspective. No judgement of those who are not most comfortable in a downtown….I’m scared of the country and I always have been. The cornfields kill me and the feeling that no one will be around to hear you scream or talk about nothing important makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

Hell on Earth

Hell on Earth

Unlocked doors, animals making sounds, aliens, ghosts, and the weird little stores that carry things from ropes, to ammo, to bologna subs, Burt Reynolds’ Deliverance mustache, polyester t shirts, expired condoms, VHS rentals, etc…….how do people sleep at night?

There’s something for everyone, and I ain’t even almoooosssst about that. So. Let’s talk. What isssss the scariest thing about Troy?

(Ike, I’ll save you a step and let you know that it’s surely NOT my face. For the record.)

****We are all unique snowflakes….but I’m pretty sure Hoosick Street hellscape driving is definitely ranking top 5.








  1. Sue says:

    It’s the ‘Tale of Two Troys’! I hear myself going off on a similar auto pilot more times then I care to share. But in my soul I’m saying, “Just you wait and see…. Troy isn’t a place that needs to beg, cheat or steal. It’s blossomed into a beautiful town that is being courted by all of us who love her”. I’ve never lived in a place with such a supportive community routing for its success. I’m going to enjoy these last months or few years while Troy is still a secret to most of the Capital Region. Most of us who live here know what is happening, and that we are a part of it.

  2. PizzzaGod says:

    Did the dentist recommend flossing?

  3. Debra says:

    We the people of Troy don’t need your pity. It is the people who choose to live in Clifton Park that I feel sorry for.I love how Dental offices talk trash when we can’t answer back. I have heard that floss
    makes a great weapon. Long Live Troy!!!

    • Jessica says:

      They really weren’t talking trash…just a lot of shock and awe. And legit concern. I also think I might have been their first new patient in this office in years. They kept letting me know they have a “nice” NEW office near the mall that they thought I’d like better. I seriously kept just saying I LIVE HEREEEEEeeeeeeeee.

  4. Michael says:

    Totally agree. I used to do summer camp at Sage back in the day and at 4:30 I would walk over to the Atrium to my dad’s store and he would drive me home. I’ve never felt scared or in harms way downtown. I’m actually more sketched of upper Lark after the sun goes down than I am of Troy.

    I dunno, maybe it’s because I spent a lot of time downtown when I was a kid. I’ve heard all the horror stories from before my time (I’m 28) and they seem so long ago. It’s amazing the city hasn’t shaken them off yet. All the news I hear from downtown is about a new shop opening or something great coming into the city. I mean, yeah, I hear about the bank robberies and people selling other folk’s stuff at the pawn shop but you’re going to get that in any town.

    I’m going off to grad school this fall but I fully intend to move to Troy when I’m done. I’ve spent too many evenings at footsies’ patio to just up and leave it forever.

  5. Ed says:

    Scary things about Troy:
    -dog crap/urine on the sidewalk…also, vomit
    -finding food on Sunday
    -that loud guy with the dreads and bow staff
    -making it to the farmers’ market late
    -damaging my car on someone who is riding a bike the wrong way down the street, without regard to traffic signals or intersections, and/or in dark clothing and without lights at night.
    -all the broken glass on the 378 bridge that threatens my bike tires on the way to the path
    -not scary, but did you see all the work going on at Flavor Cafe? ETA?

  6. Jay Walker says:

    Would you recommend that dentist?

    • Jessica says:

      I would! Way more high touch than high tech. He was great and the ladies were incredibly sweet….definitely kicking it old school, but if you are cool with not having state of the art UFO style equipment and all the latest bells and whistles than I’d recommend.

  7. -R. says:

    Scariest things about Troy:
    - Out of towners trying to drive in Troy. Yup, ALL the streets are one-way. Good luck; really, I’m screaming nice things at you.
    - The first warm day of the year when everyone who really ought to stay indoors year round comes out for a walk (shudder).
    - Shirley’s weather machine.

  8. Josh says:

    Meh. Scary and Troy (For me at least) don’t belong in the same sentence. Let me qualify my bravado though; I’m a fairly tall and big guy, I think that counts, as I’ve really rarely ever felt intimidated in any situation (I also could just be silly, and SHOULD be afraid at times). Also, I pretty much stick to my 2nd Street, and 1st, in parts, when I’m out walking, so, there’s nothing terrifying there.

    Sitting on the stoop with my pipe and a beer, counting all the people who run the stop sign at 2nd and State is entertaining, mildly upsetting at worst, but not frightening.

    I guess I’m most nervous about being on my bike riding through South Troy to the 378 bridge, narrow streets and lots of traffic by Hess. Maybe I’d be frightened if I did stuff like rode my bike to the Snowman, or tried to be a pedestrian or bicycler on Hoosick, but I don’t. Maybe because I’m afraid?

  9. Downtown is fine. SOUTH Troy, on the other hand… don’t go there. That’s the scary part.

  10. This place is in the building next door to me and the ladies are definitely suburban mamas. One of them knowingly parks illegally behind our buildings – the Dentist pays for 2 spots but he and his staff uses 3 – without much regard for whether the person who “owns” that spot comes home for lunch or not. How ghetto of her…
    At the same time people constantly use his two spots without regard for whether he is going to be there that day or not.
    I let him know the two spots that, should he or his staff park in, will certainly result in a towing. Those would be my 2 spots back there.
    I love it here but there IS a constant tension between the people who don’t know how to behave, park or drive and those who are trying to be more civil and considerate and that can scare people away.
    Enjoy Troy.

  11. Laurel says:

    Just wanted to say I love this blog! I grew up on 4th street in South Troy, where I never felt like my life was in danger, and I’m a proud graduate of Troy High, where I got a stellar education. My younger siblings and the rest of my family all still live in Troy/ Cohoes. I don’t live in the area, but at 33, I can appreciate it for it’s unique personality and gorgeous buildings! You meet a lot of characters (sounds like dread lock man is still there?) and the white trash in some areas are overwhelmingly ridiculous (no telling what will set off a WT screaming match), but it’ a town worth saving. The only place in Troy I ever found scary was Pinewoods Cemetery…

  12. colleen says:

    ummm, pinewood cemetery (aka forest park cemetery) is Brunswick.

    dreadlock man lives on the Eastside, my neighborhood. my dog loves him.

  13. Steve says:

    My kids love the dreadlock guy. We see him almost everyday walking on Pawling. We were at a red light a few months ago and gave him a wave. Now the kids and I wave at him every time we see him. He always waves back. He’s got my vote, seems like an interesting guy. Saw him a few weeks ago bust a move for two Troy cops sitting in their patrol car down by nite owl. I’ll take it you didn’t want the postenkill waterfall video…my feelings were hurt you removed my post. Did it get weird? You really should see it though, Its quite impressive.

  14. Jona says:

    FYI I switched to this dentist per your recommendation and I LOVE them! But woah, you certainly do walk back in time a couple of decades. Thanks for the post!

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