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Old 01-16-2008, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,428 posts, read 46,729,505 times
Reputation: 11304

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One thing I've noticed about not only the Upstate NY forum but also the PA, NJ, OH, and MI forums is that there is a plethora of members who do nothing but whine and complain month in and month out about how "awful" their states are, how much they hate their lives, how corrupt the government is, yada, yada, yada, but instead of relocating to an area that suits their interests more viably they derive pleasure seemingly from bashing their states mercilessly. Why?

For all of its faults I still think the benefits of living in my part of PA (growing arts/cultural community, moderate congestion, moderate taxes, great schools, low crime, etc.) more than offset its flaws (homophobic/illiterate population, dreary weather, poor infrastructure, urban sprawl, etc.) This is why I've chosen to "stick it out" here after college to raise my family. Here in PA my peers who all hate it here aren't grumbling and whining on message boards---they snag their degrees and flock to New Jersey, which is utopia for them. More power to them. I don't fault them for leaving, so why should they fault me for staying?

To those of you disgruntled and miserable New Yorkers, why do you stay in an area that causes you so much misery? Don't say "I can't afford to move" either because that's not the case; anyone can go on CraigsList and find an affordable 1-bedroom apartment in a new city that intrigues them and a temporary grunt job to pay the bills until they can secure something more permanent and lucrative.

Why is it that you folks refuse to move to your "greener pastures" and feel the need to "enlighten" potential newbies of the state's most undesirable traits?

 
Old 01-16-2008, 09:52 AM
 
4,145 posts, read 5,176,538 times
Reputation: 1508
I believe a lot of these people that complain have never lived anywhere else. Therefore they cannot compare it or at least gauge it to another place. Some also just like to complain as a favorite past time.

I've lived in ten different states around the country and I think Upstate NY to WNY is a better region than most where I've lived. Government corruption IS a real problem though and the biggest obstacle to growth in the region. If the citizens start getting up the nerve to deal with it directly, get good people to run for elected office and then appoint decent people to other government offices then you would see a turnaround in attitude and yes, the economy.

All that I can really say to the whiners of NY is that you should move someplace else such as my current home Kansas City and see what it is like. I would take Buffalo over KC any day simply because I found the people to be much less hostile and more civil and friendlier than these idiots. At least the people in CNY and WNY along with central and western PA seem to be pretty down to earth and real. KC? A significant % of the population are low rent yuppies that aspire to be California yuppies. They are plastic, pretentious, ignorant and very superficial. The driving habits of people here are far WORSE than what I've encounted in NY including NYC. Taxes are not much better than NY or at least CNY and WNY. The economy is weak and has been for years. Want to find a quality girl friend or wife or vice versa if you are a woman? This ain't the place. A lot of them remind me of female versions of Eddie Haskell (of Leave It To Beaver). First class JERKS. If you hail from any place east of the Mississippi then they automatically have a bone to pick with you especially if you are from NY. They think we are a bunch of wimps.

I hope to move back to a community west of Utica-Rome and east of the PA border in the next year. I know that I will be much happier living in NY than Missouri or eastern Kansas.
 
Old 01-16-2008, 10:33 AM
 
3,235 posts, read 5,088,058 times
Reputation: 2535
Because its the internet and people can hide behind a screen while making outrageous claims. Most people in real life aren't like that.
 
Old 01-16-2008, 02:39 PM
 
5,265 posts, read 10,416,929 times
Reputation: 4016
Clearly they have nothing better to do. They are depressed becasue they have no life, so they take it out on the region they live in....constantly.
 
Old 01-16-2008, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Rochester, NY
75 posts, read 216,340 times
Reputation: 55
These people are really insecure about themselves. They don't know who they are, so they gain some sense of identity from their constant belittlement of the area. Plus they can use the area as a scapegoat for their own failures. They stick around because if they leave, they have no excuse and no identity.
 
Old 01-17-2008, 03:40 PM
 
306 posts, read 1,179,110 times
Reputation: 279
I agree with all the reasons floated about why some Upstaters seem to love hating Upstate.

I'd add a few possible reasons, though.

One is that the shock of Upstate's decline is still very rattling--because Upstate, in its 150-long glory era, really was one of the zeniths of American history. It had a long way to fall vs. say, a Mississippi. Upstate NY was SO great for so long, in terms of its economy being as good as its terrific overall quality of life, that its economic decline was especially disturbing. When you've been walking the high trail and then find yourself halfway down the mountain and slipping further, that can sure make it feel like an avalanche has pushed you into a canyon--even if you're still halfway up the mountain. I've seen a lot of the same thing in Ohio and Michigan--two other formerly incredibly prosperous, middle-class-entre, great quality-of-life areas: when the high are brought low(er), it's especially rattling, and can foment a lot of bitterness.

The fact that a lot of Upstaters were 1st, 2nd, 3rd generation immigrants/children/grandchildren of immigrants is a big factor here, too, I think. Such people were especially eager to feel a part of America by working hard and proud, by belonging and joining and pitching in--by doing their part of the American dream. Their devotion to their new home, and the loyalty-habits they engrained in the following generations, were a huge part of what made Upstate such a great place to live. People CARED about their hometowns. When that dream fell apart for many of them, it didn't just feel like decay or spark worries. It felt like betrayal. They had believed and trusted--in the companies, the government, the future, in being American. They had believed that their loyalty and hard work would be repaid with security and appreciation, with wise politicians and loyal companies and an always-improving, everybody-pitch-in-together future. They had made a huge bet of faith on their homeland being a real HOMEland. When that fell apart, when not just jobs went but whole companies, whole industries, and whole towns, and finally FAITH in America's fairness and future went under, they felt deeply wounded and angered. They had done their best to put down the roots and enrich the soil around them--then, come the economic earthquake and drought, and it's gone. The average American job-gypsy, far removed from his ancestor's immigrant sense of loyalty to the new homeland probably doesn't feel much loyalty to an Atlanta or a Denver suburb. It's a beltway stop on an interstate stop to him. A place to get a job and live as well as you can until the job dries up or a better opportunity emerges elsewhere. But all across the upper midwest (and Upstate NY west of, say, Troy is much more Midwest than Northeast in its character), home was where your ancestors came and BELIEVED. To lose a job there and see life so changed and your hometown so decayed, is to lose a lot more: it's to lose a huge and emotional FAITH. And the loss of faith is, I think, much more hurtful and embittering than the loss of a job or even purely economic security.

The third reason I see at work here is less poignant: we've got a whole culture of anger-worship! Everybody's gotta be a victim of and enraged by something--especially some System or Conspiracy Out to Cheat Him--or he'll never get on Jerry Springer! I've seen this everywhere I've been, worsening in the last 20 years. And it's deeply embedded among the college students I've been teaching for the last 22 years. Much of the stuff they're funneling into their brains with their I-Pods is anger-loving rap and heavy metal. It would be funny if it weren't so corrosive in terms of what real citizenship--and common-sense reasoning--is all about.

Plus, to be fair, sometimes people DO get badly stuck, and changing their circumstances can take a while. I've been wanting to get out of SW Virginia for 15 years now to head back home to Upstate NY. But with 4 kids, a big mortgage, and a job that isn't easily transferrable (or what I want to do anymore), it's been tough. Just scratching together the money to make my career change is taking more time than I thought. Believe me--I'd get out of here tomorrow for Upstate NY if I could!
 
Old 01-17-2008, 03:46 PM
 
Location: between here and there
1,031 posts, read 1,930,083 times
Reputation: 892
Quote:
Originally Posted by homeward bound View Post
I agree with all the reasons floated about why some Upstaters seem to love hating Upstate.

I'd add a few possible reasons, though.

One is that the shock of Upstate's decline is still very rattling--because Upstate, in its 150-long glory era, really was one of the zeniths of American history. It had a long way to fall vs. say, a Mississippi. Upstate NY was SO great for so long, in terms of its economy being as good as its terrific overall quality of life, that its economic decline was especially disturbing. When you've been walking the high trail and then find yourself halfway down the mountain and slipping further, that can sure make it feel like an avalanche has pushed you into a canyon--even if you're still halfway up the mountain. I've seen a lot of the same thing in Ohio and Michigan--two other formerly incredibly prosperous, middle-class-entre, great quality-of-life areas: when the high are brought low(er), it's especially rattling, and can foment a lot of bitterness.

The fact that a lot of Upstaters were 1st, 2nd, 3rd generation immigrants/children/grandchildren of immigrants is a big factor here, too, I think. Such people were especially eager to feel a part of America by working hard and proud, by belonging and joining and pitching in--by doing their part of the American dream. Their devotion to their new home, and the loyalty-habits they engrained in the following generations, were a huge part of what made Upstate such a great place to live. People CARED about their hometowns. When that dream fell apart for many of them, it didn't just feel like decay or spark worries. It felt like betrayal. They had believed and trusted--in the companies, the government, the future, in being American. They had believed that their loyalty and hard work would be repaid with security and appreciation, with wise politicians and loyal companies and an always-improving, everybody-pitch-in-together future. They had made a huge bet of faith on their homeland being a real HOMEland. When that fell apart, when not just jobs went but whole companies, whole industries, and whole towns, and finally FAITH in America's fairness and future went under, they felt deeply wounded and angered. They had done their best to put down the roots and enrich the soil around them--then, come the economic earthquake and drought, and it's gone. The average American job-gypsy, far removed from his ancestor's immigrant sense of loyalty to the new homeland probably doesn't feel much loyalty to an Atlanta or a Denver suburb. It's a beltway stop on an interstate stop to him. A place to get a job and live as well as you can until the job dries up or a better opportunity emerges elsewhere. But all across the upper midwest (and Upstate NY west of, say, Troy is much more Midwest than Northeast in its character), home was where your ancestors came and BELIEVED. To lose a job there and see life so changed and your hometown so decayed, is to lose a lot more: it's to lose a huge and emotional FAITH. And the loss of faith is, I think, much more hurtful and embittering than the loss of a job or even purely economic security.

The third reason I see at work here is less poignant: we've got a whole culture of anger-worship! Everybody's gotta be a victim of and enraged by something--especially some System or Conspiracy Out to Cheat Him--or he'll never get on Jerry Springer! I've seen this everywhere I've been, worsening in the last 20 years. And it's deeply embedded among the college students I've been teaching for the last 22 years. Much of the stuff they're funneling into their brains with their I-Pods is anger-loving rap and heavy metal. It would be funny if it weren't so corrosive in terms of what real citizenship--and common-sense reasoning--is all about.

Plus, to be fair, sometimes people DO get badly stuck, and changing their circumstances can take a while. I've been wanting to get out of SW Virginia for 15 years now to head back home to Upstate NY. But with 4 kids, a big mortgage, and a job that isn't easily transferrable (or what I want to do anymore), it's been tough. Just scratching together the money to make my career change is taking more time than I thought. Believe me--I'd get out of here tomorrow for Upstate NY if I could!
Great post and so true but your last paragraph really caught me...where in VA are you? Hubbie and I are in love with Roanoke and have planned on heading there for years but like you, are awaiting life's circumstances to aline correctly.......sounds like a flip flop situation......
 
Old 01-17-2008, 04:43 PM
 
306 posts, read 1,179,110 times
Reputation: 279
Default SW Virginia options

Hey, Smalltown! Yes, nice irony here? Where are you (generally) in Upstate NY? Why the desire to be in Roanoke instead?

I'm in Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech.

I don't want to join the always/only-negative crowd, but I would caution you about looking this way to resettle.

So here's my take, first on B'burg's good qualities:

Many residents are fine people with a real affection for the town. There are a lot of caring citizens and a homey sense of loyalty. This is far from anything like a cookie-cutter suburb or anonymity-afflicted anywhere. It's a true place. And the Virginia Tech students, when not drinking, are often great kids. Also, there's a high level not just of "tolerance," but of appreciation for people from all over the world here. It's a very UNbigoted place to be and raise a family. We have a few nice restaurants now, they've redone the old downtown movie house very nicely, there's a nice walking/biking trail that connects B'burg with Christiansburg, good medical care and a good hospital, Tech offers some fine musical and cultural events, the air is pretty clean (unless you're downwind of the grandfathered coal-fired power plant on Tech's campus), summers are a lot less humid than elsewhere in Virginia, Floydfest (located about 30 miles from here) is like a big bluegrass and folkie party where hippies and hillbillies happily mix, Blacksburg has old-fashioned Xmas parades & some of the classic American smalltown feel, new mall-shopping strips are just a few miles away but far enough so that they don't spoil the old town feel, the school system is very good, taxes are moderate, the economy is stable, there are a lot of housing options, and the state gov't. is finally paying some much-needed attention to state infrastructure while also trying to keep state taxes low.

That's a pretty big list of big positives, I know.

BUT you've also got some big IF's to deal with in terms of actually being happy here.

IF you like a deep, dark, and closely-crowded section of the Appalachian Mountains, then you'd like the geography. (I find it very, very claustrophobic, and I know a lot people from flatter places, especially the Great Lakes, who similarly feel imprisoned by the area's geography.)

IF you like outlying towns (Pulaski, Pearisburg, etc.) being grim and inward-looking, with no real historical charm to warm their decay, then you'd like it here. You're really in an oasis here. And that, too, can make you feel stuck. It's depressing to take a drive, even on a nice day--because for a long, long way, there's nothing worth driving to, even for someone who's pretty good at finding redeeming qualities of out-of-the-way/unlikely places. One of the nicest places outside of town is a little old covered bridge. But the bridge is so far down a valley that you can't see any more than 1/2 or less of the sky. You're hemmed in all around.

IF you'd like little BUT the same type of mountains and forests for hundreds of miles in three directions (only eastward do the mountains thin out), with very little access to any body of water worth going to, and little intriguing history, and an incredible monotony of NASCAR culture, than Blacksburg would be fine.

IF you'd like living in a town that's predominantly college students (there's about 27,000 of them, vs. 15,000 non-student residents), where the students aren't just in student areas but are almost everywhere, F-word and beer-cans a-flying, then you'd like it here. 75% of our nights here, we're awakened, often repeatedly, by glass breaking, people fighting and screaming, and/or attacks on our and/or our neighbors' fence, cars, and home. There's no peace if you have college students around you. Even when they're quiet, they've trained you to dread their inevitable eruptions.

IF you can afford the few areas that are relatively student-free, then you'd be fine. But why not spend the money settling in Lexington, or even Charlottesville, much nicer college towns where you can get some insulation from the college students?

IF you don't mind a fairly pleasant downtown becoming a swarm of loud, often abusive and violent, and incredibly foul-mouthed drunks by 10 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and all weekend long during home football games, making downtown not only unpleasant but truly dangerous (knifings, shooting, fights, vandalism, public urination in the middle of the street or on storefront windows, etc.), then you'd like it here.

IF you could avoid the crime, you'd be okay. I don't mean the massacre last April--a horror that could have happened anywhere--but the day-to-day stuff: vandalism, chronic drunken driving accidents, hit-and-run accidents (some of them deadly), predators coming in from Roanoke and the even more rural counties to sell dope to the college kids and feud with each other to the point of stabbings and gunfire, etc. The overall, general crime rate IS pretty low. But you DO have to be careful about where you are when, and it seems to be worsening. I live seven minutes by foot from campus, in a mixed resident/student neighborhood complete with a cute elementary school and a park. And in the last few months there have been two attempted rapes, a stabbing and mugging, and a murder within a few blocks of our home--on top of all the vandalism and violent drunkenness we have to deal with.

The town gov't. is either inept or corrupt--I can't figure out which. In any case, it gets almost no problem addressed, much less solved. The student drunkenness and destructiveness is tolerated since, with so many students getting so drunk so often, they'd need a jail the size of the Tech basketball arena to get all the obvious, destructive drunks off the street Th, Fri, & Sat nights. With so many drunken college kids and so few cops, you're essentially on you're own just when you need cops most.

While Roanoke has its own issues--pockets of crime and decay, economic iffiness--it does have extensive areas of beautiful and well-preserved historical homes, a growing awareness of its still-intact downtown's possibilities, some fine cultural events, and a more open feeling since it's less jammed into than on the edge of the dark and deep furrows of the Appalachians. If you can live somewhere there that's pretty safe from the crime areas, I think it'd be a good choice. You may also want to look into Salem. It's got a pretty big well-preserved area, lower crime than Roanoke, the sports complexes (minor league baseball, tournament quality softball fields, a nice football stadium), nice parks, good schools, and a quaint downtown area with handsome little Roanoke College right there. It too has a more open feel than Blacksburg--both in terms of more open mountains (the view from the baseball field is gorgeous) and less of a swarm of drunken college students.

If you like really quaint Appalachian towns, with a true smalltown feel but a good spirit of fair- rather than closed-mindedness, you may want to look into Floyd. It's about a 35/45 minute drive from Blacksburg, and not all that far from Roanoke. Very peaceful place, with a great restaurant with good music right in its small downtown.

But if you really like the small city feel of Roanoke and its classier old neighborhoods, check out Lexington. Also, while Charlottesville has gotten really over-developed and crowded, and has some crime pockets, and is pricey, it's still got a lot of great qualities. And it's an easy drive to Washington, D.C., and Virginia's beaches. (Chincoteage and Assoteague are lovely.)

Still--gimme Cooperstown, and about 50 other Upstate NY places, any day!
 
Old 01-17-2008, 06:05 PM
 
Location: between here and there
1,031 posts, read 1,930,083 times
Reputation: 892
Quote:
Originally Posted by homeward bound View Post
Hey, Smalltown! Yes, nice irony here? Where are you (generally) in Upstate NY? Why the desire to be in Roanoke instead?

I'm in Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech.

I don't want to join the always/only-negative crowd, but I would caution you about looking this way to resettle.

So here's my take, first on B'burg's good qualities:

Many residents are fine people with a real affection for the town. There are a lot of caring citizens and a homey sense of loyalty. This is far from anything like a cookie-cutter suburb or anonymity-afflicted anywhere. It's a true place. And the Virginia Tech students, when not drinking, are often great kids. Also, there's a high level not just of "tolerance," but of appreciation for people from all over the world here. It's a very UNbigoted place to be and raise a family. We have a few nice restaurants now, they've redone the old downtown movie house very nicely, there's a nice walking/biking trail that connects B'burg with Christiansburg, good medical care and a good hospital, Tech offers some fine musical and cultural events, the air is pretty clean (unless you're downwind of the grandfathered coal-fired power plant on Tech's campus), summers are a lot less humid than elsewhere in Virginia, Floydfest (located about 30 miles from here) is like a big bluegrass and folkie party where hippies and hillbillies happily mix, Blacksburg has old-fashioned Xmas parades & some of the classic American smalltown feel, new mall-shopping strips are just a few miles away but far enough so that they don't spoil the old town feel, the school system is very good, taxes are moderate, the economy is stable, there are a lot of housing options, and the state gov't. is finally paying some much-needed attention to state infrastructure while also trying to keep state taxes low.

That's a pretty big list of big positives, I know.

BUT you've also got some big IF's to deal with in terms of actually being happy here.

IF you like a deep, dark, and closely-crowded section of the Appalachian Mountains, then you'd like the geography. (I find it very, very claustrophobic, and I know a lot people from flatter places, especially the Great Lakes, who similarly feel imprisoned by the area's geography.)

IF you like outlying towns (Pulaski, Pearisburg, etc.) being grim and inward-looking, with no real historical charm to warm their decay, then you'd like it here. You're really in an oasis here. And that, too, can make you feel stuck. It's depressing to take a drive, even on a nice day--because for a long, long way, there's nothing worth driving to, even for someone who's pretty good at finding redeeming qualities of out-of-the-way/unlikely places. One of the nicest places outside of town is a little old covered bridge. But the bridge is so far down a valley that you can't see any more than 1/2 or less of the sky. You're hemmed in all around.

IF you'd like little BUT the same type of mountains and forests for hundreds of miles in three directions (only eastward do the mountains thin out), with very little access to any body of water worth going to, and little intriguing history, and an incredible monotony of NASCAR culture, than Blacksburg would be fine.

IF you'd like living in a town that's predominantly college students (there's about 27,000 of them, vs. 15,000 non-student residents), where the students aren't just in student areas but are almost everywhere, F-word and beer-cans a-flying, then you'd like it here. 75% of our nights here, we're awakened, often repeatedly, by glass breaking, people fighting and screaming, and/or attacks on our and/or our neighbors' fence, cars, and home. There's no peace if you have college students around you. Even when they're quiet, they've trained you to dread their inevitable eruptions.

IF you can afford the few areas that are relatively student-free, then you'd be fine. But why not spend the money settling in Lexington, or even Charlottesville, much nicer college towns where you can get some insulation from the college students?

IF you don't mind a fairly pleasant downtown becoming a swarm of loud, often abusive and violent, and incredibly foul-mouthed drunks by 10 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and all weekend long during home football games, making downtown not only unpleasant but truly dangerous (knifings, shooting, fights, vandalism, public urination in the middle of the street or on storefront windows, etc.), then you'd like it here.

IF you could avoid the crime, you'd be okay. I don't mean the massacre last April--a horror that could have happened anywhere--but the day-to-day stuff: vandalism, chronic drunken driving accidents, hit-and-run accidents (some of them deadly), predators coming in from Roanoke and the even more rural counties to sell dope to the college kids and feud with each other to the point of stabbings and gunfire, etc. The overall, general crime rate IS pretty low. But you DO have to be careful about where you are when, and it seems to be worsening. I live seven minutes by foot from campus, in a mixed resident/student neighborhood complete with a cute elementary school and a park. And in the last few months there have been two attempted rapes, a stabbing and mugging, and a murder within a few blocks of our home--on top of all the vandalism and violent drunkenness we have to deal with.

The town gov't. is either inept or corrupt--I can't figure out which. In any case, it gets almost no problem addressed, much less solved. The student drunkenness and destructiveness is tolerated since, with so many students getting so drunk so often, they'd need a jail the size of the Tech basketball arena to get all the obvious, destructive drunks off the street Th, Fri, & Sat nights. With so many drunken college kids and so few cops, you're essentially on you're own just when you need cops most.

While Roanoke has its own issues--pockets of crime and decay, economic iffiness--it does have extensive areas of beautiful and well-preserved historical homes, a growing awareness of its still-intact downtown's possibilities, some fine cultural events, and a more open feeling since it's less jammed into than on the edge of the dark and deep furrows of the Appalachians. If you can live somewhere there that's pretty safe from the crime areas, I think it'd be a good choice. You may also want to look into Salem. It's got a pretty big well-preserved area, lower crime than Roanoke, the sports complexes (minor league baseball, tournament quality softball fields, a nice football stadium), nice parks, good schools, and a quaint downtown area with handsome little Roanoke College right there. It too has a more open feel than Blacksburg--both in terms of more open mountains (the view from the baseball field is gorgeous) and less of a swarm of drunken college students.

If you like really quaint Appalachian towns, with a true smalltown feel but a good spirit of fair- rather than closed-mindedness, you may want to look into Floyd. It's about a 35/45 minute drive from Blacksburg, and not all that far from Roanoke. Very peaceful place, with a great restaurant with good music right in its small downtown.

But if you really like the small city feel of Roanoke and its classier old neighborhoods, check out Lexington. Also, while Charlottesville has gotten really over-developed and crowded, and has some crime pockets, and is pricey, it's still got a lot of great qualities. And it's an easy drive to Washington, D.C., and Virginia's beaches. (Chincoteage and Assoteague are lovely.)

Still--gimme Cooperstown, and about 50 other Upstate NY places, any day!
Wow! A lot to absorb and contemplate. But to respond to your original question, my in-laws lived there for a brief time in the mid 90s and the area just struck us as so lovely and appealing. Not very scientific, I know but we were smittened. We knew yanking the kids south at that time was not in their best interest so we stayed planted (Rochester area) for the next 14 years. Now, as retirement knocks at the door and we're ready to downsize, it's to either a smaller home in the area or the south. This forum helps to confuse the situation because for every "go-go-go" there's a "don't-don't-don't".....we have a few years still and if grandkids start appearing, that'll throw the whole master plan out the window because, as they say, family is everything right?

Thanks for the info though! You did a fab job of pro/con-ing the area and yes, Cooperstown is a beauty (do you know Skaneateles NY? Very similar feel to it) and it's true, you can not beat the Finger Lakes of upstate. Those rolling hills encasing the many lakes make for some unsurpassed beauty.....

Smalltown

Last edited by Fallingwater79; 01-17-2008 at 06:21 PM..
 
Old 01-17-2008, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,428 posts, read 46,729,505 times
Reputation: 11304
Quote:
Originally Posted by homeward bound View Post
Hey, Smalltown! Yes, nice irony here? Where are you (generally) in Upstate NY? Why the desire to be in Roanoke instead?

I'm in Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech.

I don't want to join the always/only-negative crowd, but I would caution you about looking this way to resettle.

So here's my take, first on B'burg's good qualities:

Many residents are fine people with a real affection for the town. There are a lot of caring citizens and a homey sense of loyalty. This is far from anything like a cookie-cutter suburb or anonymity-afflicted anywhere. It's a true place. And the Virginia Tech students, when not drinking, are often great kids. Also, there's a high level not just of "tolerance," but of appreciation for people from all over the world here. It's a very UNbigoted place to be and raise a family. We have a few nice restaurants now, they've redone the old downtown movie house very nicely, there's a nice walking/biking trail that connects B'burg with Christiansburg, good medical care and a good hospital, Tech offers some fine musical and cultural events, the air is pretty clean (unless you're downwind of the grandfathered coal-fired power plant on Tech's campus), summers are a lot less humid than elsewhere in Virginia, Floydfest (located about 30 miles from here) is like a big bluegrass and folkie party where hippies and hillbillies happily mix, Blacksburg has old-fashioned Xmas parades & some of the classic American smalltown feel, new mall-shopping strips are just a few miles away but far enough so that they don't spoil the old town feel, the school system is very good, taxes are moderate, the economy is stable, there are a lot of housing options, and the state gov't. is finally paying some much-needed attention to state infrastructure while also trying to keep state taxes low.

That's a pretty big list of big positives, I know.

BUT you've also got some big IF's to deal with in terms of actually being happy here.

IF you like a deep, dark, and closely-crowded section of the Appalachian Mountains, then you'd like the geography. (I find it very, very claustrophobic, and I know a lot people from flatter places, especially the Great Lakes, who similarly feel imprisoned by the area's geography.)

IF you like outlying towns (Pulaski, Pearisburg, etc.) being grim and inward-looking, with no real historical charm to warm their decay, then you'd like it here. You're really in an oasis here. And that, too, can make you feel stuck. It's depressing to take a drive, even on a nice day--because for a long, long way, there's nothing worth driving to, even for someone who's pretty good at finding redeeming qualities of out-of-the-way/unlikely places. One of the nicest places outside of town is a little old covered bridge. But the bridge is so far down a valley that you can't see any more than 1/2 or less of the sky. You're hemmed in all around.

IF you'd like little BUT the same type of mountains and forests for hundreds of miles in three directions (only eastward do the mountains thin out), with very little access to any body of water worth going to, and little intriguing history, and an incredible monotony of NASCAR culture, than Blacksburg would be fine.

IF you'd like living in a town that's predominantly college students (there's about 27,000 of them, vs. 15,000 non-student residents), where the students aren't just in student areas but are almost everywhere, F-word and beer-cans a-flying, then you'd like it here. 75% of our nights here, we're awakened, often repeatedly, by glass breaking, people fighting and screaming, and/or attacks on our and/or our neighbors' fence, cars, and home. There's no peace if you have college students around you. Even when they're quiet, they've trained you to dread their inevitable eruptions.

IF you can afford the few areas that are relatively student-free, then you'd be fine. But why not spend the money settling in Lexington, or even Charlottesville, much nicer college towns where you can get some insulation from the college students?

IF you don't mind a fairly pleasant downtown becoming a swarm of loud, often abusive and violent, and incredibly foul-mouthed drunks by 10 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and all weekend long during home football games, making downtown not only unpleasant but truly dangerous (knifings, shooting, fights, vandalism, public urination in the middle of the street or on storefront windows, etc.), then you'd like it here.

IF you could avoid the crime, you'd be okay. I don't mean the massacre last April--a horror that could have happened anywhere--but the day-to-day stuff: vandalism, chronic drunken driving accidents, hit-and-run accidents (some of them deadly), predators coming in from Roanoke and the even more rural counties to sell dope to the college kids and feud with each other to the point of stabbings and gunfire, etc. The overall, general crime rate IS pretty low. But you DO have to be careful about where you are when, and it seems to be worsening. I live seven minutes by foot from campus, in a mixed resident/student neighborhood complete with a cute elementary school and a park. And in the last few months there have been two attempted rapes, a stabbing and mugging, and a murder within a few blocks of our home--on top of all the vandalism and violent drunkenness we have to deal with.

The town gov't. is either inept or corrupt--I can't figure out which. In any case, it gets almost no problem addressed, much less solved. The student drunkenness and destructiveness is tolerated since, with so many students getting so drunk so often, they'd need a jail the size of the Tech basketball arena to get all the obvious, destructive drunks off the street Th, Fri, & Sat nights. With so many drunken college kids and so few cops, you're essentially on you're own just when you need cops most.

While Roanoke has its own issues--pockets of crime and decay, economic iffiness--it does have extensive areas of beautiful and well-preserved historical homes, a growing awareness of its still-intact downtown's possibilities, some fine cultural events, and a more open feeling since it's less jammed into than on the edge of the dark and deep furrows of the Appalachians. If you can live somewhere there that's pretty safe from the crime areas, I think it'd be a good choice. You may also want to look into Salem. It's got a pretty big well-preserved area, lower crime than Roanoke, the sports complexes (minor league baseball, tournament quality softball fields, a nice football stadium), nice parks, good schools, and a quaint downtown area with handsome little Roanoke College right there. It too has a more open feel than Blacksburg--both in terms of more open mountains (the view from the baseball field is gorgeous) and less of a swarm of drunken college students.

If you like really quaint Appalachian towns, with a true smalltown feel but a good spirit of fair- rather than closed-mindedness, you may want to look into Floyd. It's about a 35/45 minute drive from Blacksburg, and not all that far from Roanoke. Very peaceful place, with a great restaurant with good music right in its small downtown.

But if you really like the small city feel of Roanoke and its classier old neighborhoods, check out Lexington. Also, while Charlottesville has gotten really over-developed and crowded, and has some crime pockets, and is pricey, it's still got a lot of great qualities. And it's an easy drive to Washington, D.C., and Virginia's beaches. (Chincoteage and Assoteague are lovely.)

Still--gimme Cooperstown, and about 50 other Upstate NY places, any day!
Can I have the SparkNotes to this reply?
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