UP In Here, Up In Hereeeee.

September 25, 2017 by Jessica

I read this on Sunday and it made me feel weird, which is hard to do.

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Churchill-In-Troy-even-a-movie-theater-gets-a-12223601.php

“In Troy, even a movie theater gets a fight.”

So, you’re saying we like to fight… with the implication that it’s not worth it. Spirited maybe, but most downtown Troy residents against the movie theater are not some aggressive bunch of fools screaming into the streets. This is a big deal.

You say Troy’s your favorite little city, and I believe you because I see you here each week. But why is it your favorite city? You along with 12,000 other people from all corners of the Capital Region choose to come to Monument Square, instead of opting for a different Saturday destination that might be closer to home, easier to park in, or cheaper to shop at.

People come here because being in downtown Troy feels different than being in a generic town park or in a paved parking lot. Whether people can put their finger on it or not, the intact urban fabric, the architecture, and the pedestrian experience come together and deliver something that many people don’t experience in their day to day life. Of all local cities, Troy has the most preserved downtown, with some 200 year old urban planning still running the joint. Like almost any American city, big blocks of Troy were razed in the 70’s….some weird holes remain, and others were filled with ill fitting structures that are NOT standing the test of time. We imagine what it would be like if we did it better, back then. If we know better now, we have to do better now. And we know you can’t deposit a big disposable brick box into a city center and expect it to add real long term value. Is it that snotty?

Anyway…back to Troy. Troy is my favorite little city, too. But the difference between you and me, or between social media spectators and WCATS, is some people come to Troy to shop, eat, drink, and then leave.  Some people love it enough to live here, on purpose. If 1 MSQ is done poorly and doesn’t workout, you only have to look at it once a week and later comment on facebook about how disappointing it is. For the people who live/work/play in downtown, it’s a bigger deal. The people in downtown who are against this project are not all dead set against a movie theater, but they are all about holding out for a thoughtful, appropriately scaled, decent urban infill design for this important site. They want something that adds value to their city, and are willing to wait for someone to do it right. I’ve actually heard some other arguments deteriorate into acknowledging the proposed building isn’t great, but short shortsightedly suggesting we can “knock it down and do it right next time!” … because anything is better than nothing. {It’s not.} If that isn’t the grossest, most disposable, laziest, paper plate American way, I don’t know what is.

The accusation of classism is what’s not making any sense to me. The people who could afford to live in an affluent suburb but instead opt for a home in the city, to pay city taxes, and send their kids to city schools, are not people who are trying to insulate themselves or avoid diversity. The opposite is true. The people I know who choose to live downtown value diversity in their lives. They are actually intentionally avoiding living in a white suburban bubble, and are paying higher taxes and navigating unplowed streets in order to have it. People intentionally living in downtown probably appreciate aspects of an urban setting, and know a little something about how it works. Last time I checked, having some knowledge about a topic and asking (loudly) for something be done the right way isn’t classist. Ignorance might be bliss, but turning a blind eye would be just plain stupid. Is it snotty to give a shit?

Even though we didn’t have a part in building our historic downtown, we’ll take a lesson from it and try to protect it and respect it. A movie theater in downtown could be amazing, but this particular project is simply… just not good enough for this piece of property. (Sooo SNOTTY, right?) If refusing to graciously accept a mediocre offer makes you crazy, then yeah, Troy is definitely crazy. And like that blue sky, depending where you’re standing, it can sometimes look pretty gray.

(Or pink. Or yellow. Or orange….we really are nuts.)

 

POST BY Jessica
There was a void in her life. A spicy, meaty void . And the desire to fill that void led her across the river from Albany, to Troy, NY. It was there that she finally found it. Jamaican Beef Patty perfection. And lots of it. Late at night, I Love NY Jamaican Beef patties fueled her shenanigans. During the day, the premade frozen beef patties at the 3rd St bodegas kept her energy up for back to back yoga sessions. Like the Bee Girl from the Blind Melon video, she finally found a place with people like her. Except she’s a ginger. And not chubby. Slowly, it dawned on her. Troy, NY was meant for her and she made the purchase that would ensure she could remain, pockets filled with spiced meat encased in preservative laden dough: white curtains to put in her windows so as not to run afoul of the Troy Historic District’s guidelines. She could breathe easy. This was home. *****************************************************************************************************