ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting North America

Is Binghamton, New York, the Sad Story of Small Town America?

Updated on February 12, 2015

Binghamton City Center

A balance of small town charm and urban access.
A balance of small town charm and urban access. | Source

Fusible Links

Fusible Links
Fusible Links

My fifth novel is set in Binghamton in 1965 and 1966. It was a critical time in America and in our little town, which was just beginning its long, slow decline.

 

Binghamton: History Takes A Toll

Do we ever get our hometowns completely out of our blood?

If you're as lucky as I was, growing up in Binghamton, those roots sustain and nourish you every day.

Binghamton, NY, is the small, upstate town where I was born and grew up. It's a beautiful place, set in a natural valley between two rivers.

In winter, foothills bereft of leaves turn slate gray and quiet, waiting for spring to refill with green what's left of the area's ancient forest, cleared when the Erie Canal catalyzed change in the sleepy backwoods through the mid-Nineteenth Century.

Go to New England. You won't find hills and valleys lovelier than those between which the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers curl, merging near the city's center.

I always thought it was a great place to grow up. My opinion hasn't changed. But what's it like today?

Just after the 1960 Census results were in, the late, respected columnist for the Binghamton Press, Tom Cawley, wrote that, given population trends, the city to which I was permanently attached, the big city for me, Binghamton, the place I'd never forget, was going to be a ghost town by the end of the century.

Industry was leaving, population fleeing with it. Young people moved away to start their lives in distant places, and no new thing on the horizon reversed the decline.

Things never got quite that bad, but Binghamton, true to Tom Cawley's musings, saw its population fall by over fifty percent before ringing in the 21st Century.

Symbolically, my first high school, Binghamton North, ended its life, absorbed by its crosstown rival, Binghamton Central.

More painful is the shell that was once a vibrant downtown, the place my friends and I loved to hang out on summer evenings, watching the world we were about to join as adults pass by from a vantage point in front of the First City National Bank.

This is a story about what happened to most of urban America.

Many cities, like Detroit, got much worse, while a few thrived. It's just that the close-knit social structure of small towns, the sense that we all know each other, makes their deterioration so wrenching.


Merging of Rivers Marks the Map

Where the Chenango and Susquehanna Rivers meet
Where the Chenango and Susquehanna Rivers meet | Source

A History of Binghamton, As We Saw It

While both have had their destructive moments, the well-known Susquehanna River and the lesser known Chenango, fed by the Tioughnioga, carved a gentle flatland between foothills where Binghamton came to life in the Nineteenth Century.

Like most of Upstate New York, growth was fueled by one of the most explosive economic generators of all time, the Erie Canal. To take advantage of the canal, Upstate was clearcut of its old growth forests in an environmental catastrophe having much in common with the destruction of forests going on today in Brazil and other Third World countries.

New York traded forests for farms, and the catalyst was the chance to make a lot of money shipping goods by canal and river as far as New York City where they sailed off to a starving Europe.

Hard to imagine, these days, but the great canal prompted the end of an ancient forest that once stretched unbroken from the Hudson Valley to Lake Erie, broken only by small immigrant settlements and Indian villages.

People helped make Binghamton, NY, great.

Link Aviation, a company started by flight simulation pioneer, Edwin Link, always a reliable source of jobs when I was a kid, was acquired by General Precision, then Singer, and manufactured defense critical simulators into the Seventies. The company was then blown to smithereens by a Wall Street takeover artist who cared not a thing about our hometown legend.

Endicott-Johnson, where they once produced enough shoes to outfit most of our country's armed forces in two great wars, keeping thousands working, day in and day out, lost the battle to lower paying southern states and closed up shop.

Others went too, especially when the end of the Cold War meant shrinking the defense industry, and well before the turn of the century, Binghamton, New York was in the business of trying to reinvent itself, just like the majority of other small towns across America.

Historical Binghamton in Archival Photographs

Dig deeper, get a visual feel for the old time Binghamton New York.

Binghamton  (NY)  (Images of America)
Binghamton (NY) (Images of America)

Get a feel for a place with deep roots.

 

My Novel Starting Out In Binghamton

They say, "You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy." Having spent all of my formative years in Binghamton, I'd say that's doubly so when the place is so remarkable.

Disclaimer: I definitely did not design that cover. My publisher is guilty.

The Garden of What Was and Was Not: The Autobiography of X
The Garden of What Was and Was Not: The Autobiography of X

I started by book with a scene that happens in Vestal, a suburb where Binghamton University was founded, in 1964. Growing up in Binghamton fuels the story. I grew up, but Binghamton seemed to fade more quickly until it was smaller than the events I remembered.

 

Just Some Binghamton Facts

And that is all that was, facts that are known widely and that may suggest reasons for the allegiance locals and even those who have left feel toward the city.

The area prospered under the idealistic business leadership of George F. Johnson, a benevolent style of ownership that would be widely scorned by shareholders today, and it's population grew with a massive infusions of immigrant laborers who came to work in the tanneries.

E-J recruited from Italy and the slavic countries, but a proud population of Polish families created and continues to flavor Binghamton's First Ward.

It's reasonable to imagine that the solidarity of immigrant groups produced a hometown loyalty that goes on, and it's also possible that Johnson's idealistic example of treating others with respect and generosity permeated the local mindset.

Even though I have no way to prove it, I'm still claiming that those of us who grew up in the Binghamton community are more emotionally tied to our hometown than similar places.

A group on Facebook, I Am From Binghamton New York, soared to two-thousand members almost overnight, and an avid group of participants continues to discuss favorite teachers, best bars and unforgettable characters daily.

After twenty years in New York City and twenty before it in Buffalo, I can honestly say I've seen nothing like this passion and loyalty from either place. And I haven't seen it for any other town, small or large, either.

Seeing Binghamton In The Story of Endicott-Johnson

Walking America Through The Big Wars

Binghamton, New York, was named after William Bingham, who bought the land in 1792, and it was known as Chenango Point until Binghamton was officially incorporated less than ten years after the Erie Canal opened and as feeder canals encouraged massive farming.

It became a City just after the Civil War. Over the next one-hundred years, it blossomed into one of New York State's ten largest, topping out at around ninety-thousand before the long decline started, soon enough to be recognized in the census of 1960.

In many ways, the story of Binghamton was the story of Endicott-Johnson. It's companion villages, making up the Triple Cities, were named after the company's co-owners, George F. Johnson and Henry B. Endicott.

Endicott, an out of towner, bought the company from a failing Lester Brothers, and made his impressive manager, Johnson, his partner.

E-J's became the champion of Welfare Capitalism, a movement that argued that business owners had an obligation to and also gained from the uplifting of their employees. This meant that the company built parks, libraries, churches and, most important, affordable housing.

The Village of Endicott was one of the first of what were then known as "company towns," planned, financed and built by the company to provide a beneficial domestic environment for workers.

Another initiative attributed to Johnson was "the square deal" he committed to as fair play for the workers. This included extensive company benefits, which, it's been claimed, greatly influenced the much prized benefits long offered by E-J's younger sibling from Endicott, International Business Machines, now better known as IBM.

The success of Endicott-Johnson was attributable to war, the company having produced virtually all the footwear for American soldiers in both World Wars.

Times of peace were not so good. George F. Johnson died in 1948, and outside management came on as the company declined less than ten years later.

A shadow has since been passed around from investor to investor, including Citigroup, but only the title E-J remains.

Binghamton, New York, Now

Like the rest of the country, most of the Binghamton's industry has gone, lost to lower cost labor elsewhere.

Binghamton University (Harpur College, then SUNY Binghamton, when I was growing up) is to the city what Endicott-Johnson once was, a dynamic magnet drawing people from outside the community, but without many of the benefits.

Students come to learn, and then, they go. Few establish roots or stay to raise families.

The downtown area is empty at night and on weekends, except during special events. Contrast that to the time in the Sixties when business owners expanded evening shopping to Mondays because so many people were crowding the stores on the traditional Thursday nights.

A vibrant arts community has emerged, featuring Binghamton artists, such as Anthony Brunelli, and may be leading a Renaissance that will redefine the city.

The natural setting of the area is huge advantage few other places are blessed with. Rolling foothills, cut by intermittent little streams, spring green in May and burst with earth tones in the fall. Communities and neighborhoods climb the gentle slopes and look down at the usually placid rivers merging at the the center of town.

It's hard to imagine a pleasanter place to live or raise a family nor one with fewer opportunities for long term careers or even just stable jobs.

Sometimes, you come away with an impression of a beautiful ghost town waiting to accept it's fate.

Then, at others, you can't avoid noticing the busy industrial parks expanding in nearby Kirkwood or the vibrant State University campus in Vestal.

But the positives are all suburban and a bit detached. Downtown withers, although the university and artist community may save it yet. City neighborhoods deteriorate without private investment revitalizing housing stock.

The friends from Binghamton I know on Facebook have mostly moved away, regardless of their attachments, and when I search through Classmates to find lost friends, only a few remain in this little town.

It's probably the proper fate of communities that they decline, vanish or reinvent themselves when the initiating cause of their growth is gone. Binghamton, NY, was a creation of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, the agricultural and manufacturing versatility that grew the country.

And now, it lingers into the Twenty-first, enriched by its history but still not sure what it's future really is.

Downtown Binghamton, New York, Video

I wandered around downtown one day in November, just long enough to shoot this video portrait.

Not a pretty picture. As the suburbs and outskirts tended to thrive, downtown got hollowed out. Little is new, and what was old is sagging.

Downtown Binghamton Today

Have You Ever Been To Binghamton, NY?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 2 weeks ago from New York City

      My Aunt Bertha married my Dad's brother Leslie and still lives on as his widow in the countryside north of Montrose, PA. Her family name was Lewis. Are we talking about the same person?

    • profile image

      Nelson 2 weeks ago

      To those longing the by gone days , I say silly folks Binghamton is on the cusp of a new burgeoning of opportunities . Thanks to Binghamton University it is growing exponentially and the growing opportunities are limitless . I have lived in Binghamton over 17 years , originally from NYC . The beauty of this area is world class . Night life, restaurant and art scene are a hipster's paradise. The potential for growth is all here with an infrastructure to meet future growth and expansion. I love ❤️Binghamton it's home to me .

    • profile image

      CC 2 weeks ago

      My grandma from binghamton was named bertha stone....wonder if you're related?

    • profile image

      David Jenkins 2 weeks ago

      I grew up in Binghamton. The author doesn't mention it's the home town of Rod Serling, of the "Twilight Zone," also the site for the world's first hospital to treat alcoholism.

      The problems first began, IMHO, when E-J Shoes fled the Northeast to get away from labor unions. Later, they fled the country, then went out of business anyway. There is so much unfulfilled potential in the upstate region, with a population that is highly literate and trainable, if only there were jobs there for them.

    • profile image

      Tom moses 2 weeks ago

      My family the Moses have been in the area since 1849 by grandfather had a dinner in Downtown Binghamton

    • profile image

      Barbara Kotch Brunetti 2 weeks ago

      I was born and raised on the west side of Binghamton. We had a magnificent childhood full of freedom to ride our bikes all over town without any fear by us or our parents that anything "bad" could happen to us. After all, we lived in Binghamton!

    • profile image

      Colleen Blankenship 2 weeks ago

      My aunt and uncle and cousins lived there, I loved it, my cousin lives in in the area. Loved the pool in town the restaurants, I remember going to (The Warehouse) it was a nightclub, awesome place saw the Platters, those were the days

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 2 weeks ago from New York City

      50th high school (Windsor) reunion, next year, so maybe then. Right now, I publish, write most of and edit a local online newspaper here in New York with a daily commitment, which tends to keep my feet in a literary bucket of cement, but I did pull off a week in Greece last year. So, maybe, I'll swing it.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 2 weeks ago from New York City

      Good news, Ryan.

    • profile image

      Ryan 2 weeks ago

      Not sure how long it has been since any of these people commenting have been to downtown Binghamton, but it has changed a lot for the better in the last 10 years. Many empty nesters are flocking toward loft apartments due to the safe night life provided for people their age (Lost Dog, The Garage, Loft @ 99, Little Venice, The Shop ect). Many wonderful family owned restaurants reside now in downtown area. A bakery, farmers market on the weekends, the baseball stadium has just underwent a huge makeover, hockey and many other events in the arena, not to mention the forum, swanky 24 hour gym, multiple places for lunch, food carts, great festivals such as luma (see youtube), first night art gallery events every month, live music events through the summer in the parks, including the west side porch fest ( live music played from porches throughout the west side), family friendly New Year's Eve events downtown with gas furnaces, fireworks, and a ball drop. Just to mention a few things.

    • Paul Rafuse profile image

      Paul Rafuse 2 weeks ago from McCloud, CA

      Sharing my comment from FB...

      I've visited Binghamton many times over the years... at least once in every decade except the 70's. When I returned from the service in the late 60's the changes to downtown were very depressing to me. It was no longer the vibrant city of my youth... the streets I roamed in my youth and many buildings I remembered were gone. The location of our apartment on Hawley Street was becoming a high-rise office building. EJ was fading into history, Ansco, Link, IBM... so many of the big local employers were closing their doors or relocating.

      I'm sure most would agree... the one thing that has saved the city is Binghamton University. Binghamton has become a college town. That's a little ironic to me since we had lived in many college towns prior to moving to Binghamton.

      So Binghamton has changed, but it is still a really nice city! Driving around town I still see nice neighborhoods and landmark 19th century buildings... homes, institutions, businesses, churches... beautiful churches. A very nice city has grown out of the devastation of the 60's and 70's.

      We oldsters bemoan the changes, but in the end it remains a beautiful town in beautiful surroundings and is still a wonderful place to live.

    • Paul Rafuse profile image

      Paul Rafuse 2 weeks ago from McCloud, CA

      I last visited in 2015, when I took several days to cruise around the area recalling my youth and renewing old friendships. I'd have gladly stayed longer if not for a pre-arranged itinerary. (I became very fond of the Holiday Inn Express out on Vestal Parkway!) I'm hoping to come east again next year. I'd like very much to see whatever you come up with if you decide to add sound to your video.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 2 weeks ago from New York City

      Thanks, Paul. Yeah, it used to have a soundtrack that came with my Flip Recorder, but once Cisco bought Flip out, everything went out the window and, suddenly, no more copyright. Maybe I should try to edit it again. Better still, if and when I'm back in town -- I live in NYC and almost all my family is gone -- I'll make a fresh recording.

      I find myself going back to Binghamton for background on my books, even 40 years after I left. My las novel, Lucky to Have Her, takes place mostly out along Route 11 on the way to Whitney Point but I couldn't resist setting dinner at the Little Venice. The book is about a guy, unlike me, who never left. Maybe I was dreaming about what might have been.

    • profile image

      Paul Rafuse 2 weeks ago

      My father, Robert W. Rafuse Sr, was on the early faculty of Harpur College. We moved from Brunswick, ME to Vestal in 1950. In 1953, just before my 10th birthday, we moved to an apartment on the top (3rd) floor of what was then the Addressograph-Multigraph building at 38 Hawley Street. Almost instantly I went from country boy to city kid and within a few months became my own version of an entrepreneur... shoveling walks, shining shoes, delivering papers, doing odd jobs for local businesses. I was enterprising and exceedingly precocious and befriended many local merchants including Fred DeRado, who was then manager of the Capitol Theater. He was a boss and a mentor to me until I joined the Marines as soon as I graduated from Central High, after working for him at the Capri Theater for most of high school. That was 1963 and I've since settled in California, living in San Clemente for 32 years before moving to McCloud 20 years ago.

      I enjoyed your article immensely and have shared it with my Facebook friends. The video is sadly lacking narration or sound track (due to copyright issues?!) and it would be nice to hear some description and commentary to enhance the views of those familiar sights.

      Thanks!

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 2 weeks ago from New York City

      I agree with you, John, and I'm happy you got around to seeing my article. I wrote it years ago, but it still seems to be true. A lot of us still love the place. BTW, I beat you to it, moved to Buffalo in 1969. Now in New York City since '91.

    • profile image

      John Hightower 2 weeks ago

      Won't go into any long explanation...Will only say, for those of us 'round my age (75) bein born & raised in Binghamton was a matter of "Good Luck"...as the timing has a lot to do with a "reasonable experience"....Now, depending on a whole buncha' stuff, for some (growing up NOW) the experience may be GREAT ...BECAUSE..."just bein' somewhere" ...AND...doin' NOTHING to make things BETTER ...can turn out BAD for a person...REGARDLESS of "what town YOU were born & raised in"...I left in 1969 for better opportunity...went to Syracuse NY....then for same reason...moved to Buffalo NY metro area in 1979...for better opportunity...NO ONE came "knockin' on my door"...I HAD to "knock down some doors"...Sittin' complaining & not trying to either IMPROVE one's area...or to MOVE ON is a PERSONAL CHOICE !

    • profile image

      Dr. Barry H. Bley 2 weeks ago

      I lived in Binghamton from age 4 in 1947 until I left for college in 1960. I lied in the 7th Ward and attended Columbus School and then BCHS, graduating in 1960.

      I went to the Boys' Club and delivered the Press for 5 straight years.

      My parents are buried there - a Catholic cemetery for my father; a Jewish one for my mother.

      How sad.

      My one lasting impression of my home town is that it is a nice place to be from.

      The further one is from Binghamton, the nicer it is

    • profile image

      Dan Juraska 2 weeks ago

      Like my old friend Phil Propes[see below] I also grew up here 7stayed here. The Boys club & st mary's school. We lived downtown till I was 9 Then the state took our house & many others. The spot of my old house is now part of the road leading to the ballfield parking lot. Now on the south side ,overlooking the city.

    • profile image

      John C 2 weeks ago

      I lived in Binghamton from 1988-1999 while working for Universal Instruments. I met my wife there (a Johnson City girl) and loved the area. When we go back to visit my wife's family it depresses us to see the changes, but we're both hopeful for a resurgence at some point. (PS we make Spiedies in Philly where we live now and everyone loves them!)

    • profile image

      Sharon Wagner 2 weeks ago

      Burn & raised in Binghamton-it was so awesome when I grew up in the 50's & 60's but that's gone-everyone knows not to go to downtown at night-tourist sites warn travelers not to stay in downtown-serious drug problem-shootings & stabbings all the time-it's sad to see what a once beautiful place has turned into

    • profile image

      PamArmstrongScott 3 weeks ago

      I started my journalism career at the Binghamton Evening Press, later switching to the Sun-Bulletin. In the mid-70s, Binghamton was a great place to be a young person, exploring life with a cadre of friends. I still miss spiedies. I hope someone revives the downtown area--it was so cool back then.

    • profile image

      Audrey Lott Cross Frederick 3 weeks ago

      Born in Binghamton in 1947. Moved to Boca Raton, Fla in 1977. Have not returned in 16 years, tho longing to do so for a visit. Graduated from Central, married, had my two sons at General hospital, where myself and my mother were born. A few cousins remain and some very special longtime friends. So sad to hear of what my once beautiful hometown has become.

    • profile image

      Nadine Thompson Russell 3 weeks ago

      I grew up in Binghamton. I have wonderful memories from my youth growing up there. Since I have lived and raised my children in the Washington, DC area. My brother John still lives there and you couldn't get him to move for all the money in the world. Binghamton gives one a mindset that they never grow out of. It's a place of mystery and longing for days gone by. Love my city!

    • profile image

      Jocelyn 3 weeks ago

      Live in Binghamton most if my life, except about 3-4 year in Haroursville area.

      Live on the Chenango River,in a 100+year old house.

    • profile image

      Bridget Preston 3 weeks ago

      Jeanne Fischer Zylstra - my mother worked for Rollin Twining at Twining and Fischer for many years. I heard wonderful things about your father. It was nice to see your post.

    • profile image

      Janice Brooks-Headrick 3 weeks ago

      Yes. Born in Johnson City, raised in Hawleyton, went to Susquehanna Valley High School. I've lived in Massachusetts, California, and points in between. Settled, sort of, in East Tennessee. Its like Binghamton, without the snow. I miss the relatives, the food, and the communities. I'm related to a lot of folks who are there: Mom, 4 sisters, my son, grandson, and a slew of cousins. I'm due a visit.

    • profile image

      My parents, grandparents and some great grandparents lived in Binghamton.iple cities- a center of opportunity- was good for the prior generations, but no decent opportunity for me. All the high tech a 3 weeks ago

      My parents, grandparents and some great grandparents lived in Binghamton. It was my generation -all 3 of us-who left. The triple cities- a center of opportunity- was good for the prior generations, but no decent opportunity for me. All the high tech and good employers for more modest jobs all left, and no jobs were there for me. Most of the more talented and educated young ones left for much better opportunities elsewhere.

      Other places did have great formative educations and experiences for our young, and they cherish the places they grew up. I love the Binghamton that was. Bringing Binghamton back into the level of prosperity it had in earlier times would require a monumental change in the economic forces at play, and unringing a bunch of bells along the way. Sad, but true.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 weeks ago from New York City

      More like going up, lately, Horacio.

      Thanks.

    • profile image

      Dave Cahill 3 weeks ago

      I grew up in Binghamton, and it was a great community. We stuck it out, and have lived on the West Side for most of my life. Sadly two of my three kids have left for better opportunities, although my son, who is a Surgeon might return someday because of our need for Doctors here. One of my daughters is an engineer and works for a Binghamton firm. She is in her 20's, enjoys riding horses in her spare time, and finds it an easy place to live. The university has helped keep the place alive, but I sense we've seen the worst, and the next generation might see it come back. On the negative side is the horrendous tax burden that Albany has created to buy votes, and has driven business out of Upstate New York. However, there are lots of places worse than this one to live in. I have good friends, and we still have a tight community here. We endured a family tragedy, and I'll never forget what people did for us. So, the shine may be gone, but underneath, it's still a good place.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 weeks ago from New York City

      I couldn't agree more, and I'm thrilled to hear about a real renewal. A great city deserves great neighbors and great support.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 weeks ago from New York City

      Yes, Bingo was one terrific place to grow up. All the potential greatness remains, from the surrounding scenic countryside to the two graceful rivers joining downtown.

    • profile image

      Horacio Garcia 3 weeks ago

      I visited Binghamton in 1994,thanks to a friend who lives in Deposit,and I always remember that wonderful town I´m so sorry to hear that it´s going down,something that in my country,Argentina,happens every day.

    • profile image

      Jeanne FISCHER Zylstra 3 weeks ago

      I graduated from BCHS in 1962. My Father and paternal Uncle both played football for The Johnson City Wildcats and later became partners in the law firm / Twining and Fischer at 53 Front St. My maternal grandfather was a Foreman at EJ; my paternal grandfather, after retiring from major league baseball as a Catcher with Brooklyn and Chicago in the National and Federal Leagues became Athletic Director at EJ and later Retail Manger before he died while on a business trip. In his obituary George F Johnson described him as "a rare individual in his natural ability to make and keep friends....I don't know that I have ever met anyone with such a host of good friends. He enjoyed life to the fullest and loved to see others do the same".

      My maternal uncle was Dr. Richard Rice, a pediatrician in Johnson City.

      My parents, William F and Kathryn R Fischer bought Frank A Johnson's cottage on Quaker Lake and built it into a year round home there after allowing us to spend our formative years at the neighboring and beautiful Silver Lake.

      I have one sibling who still resides in Binghamton, Suzanne FISCHER Hester, although all seven of us return periodically to haunt the beautiful hills and lakes surrounding Binghamton where our Irish and German ancestors settled years ago.

      BINGHAMTON has always and will always be in my thoughts and prayers.

    • profile image

      J. Barrett Wolf 3 weeks ago

      To those of you who left and get your opinions about Binghamton from bad articles by worse writers

      The college is not disconnected from the city (and it is a small city, not a big town, now), For the last few years, college students are now living downtown and that means "The downtown area is empty at night and on weekends" is simply nonsense, now.

      Downtown has new restaurants, new bars and a burgeoning art scene that includes four open mikes - two of which are specifically for poetry - and many large events like LUMA, the brought thousands of people downtown to watch a unique and original light show.

      We, who choose to live here, work and stand for a renaissance in both Binghamton and the southern tier. The city has already begun morphing into a college town that will, over the next decade, come to resemble Ithaca with its social and artistic hubs.

      Yes, there are naysayers. The people who lived through thirty years of declines. But, that is drawing to an end and I respectfully ask those who speak ill of MY chosen city to observe the old adage: Lead, follow or get out of the way.

    • profile image

      Chris Hux 3 weeks ago

      I was a member of the Resident Artist Training Program at Tri Cities Opera, and received a Masters in Music at SUNY Binghamton. I loved my time in Binghamton and remember it fondly. I wept when the Tally Ho burned ( and have never found a better Spanakopita since ), gorged on Pudgies Buffalo Wings and Gnocchi Perugina ( oops name escapes me ) and of course enjoyed Spiedies. I miss Philly Sales ... Hope to visit again sometime

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 5 months ago from New York City

      I left in '69 too. Always thought I'd go back, but I never felt like there was enough left to go back and make a living. Ended up in New York City. No lack of opportunity here.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 5 months ago from New York City

      Probably had more to do with the demise of Endicott-Johnson (hastened by the end of World War II, during which they supplied almost all the footwear for the military) and the loss of Link Aviation to Singer, which eventually led to a Wall Street liquidation. By the way, EJ is still an existing trade name. I forget who has it now, but even with the shoes gone, the name had value.

    • profile image

      Andrea Scalone Kent 5 months ago

      Wonderful place to grow up. Very little crime, never afraid to walk home at night from downtown or Recreation Park. I think the lack of a good airport really hurt Binghamton. Big businesses could not fly people in direct. They always had to go through places like Philadelphia which made it an all day trip.

    • profile image

      H MacKenzie 5 months ago

      Yes, spent my childhood there from 1957 - 1969. Still go back to visit but am saddened by the area.

    • profile image

      Wendy 14 months ago

      Wow - thanks for this depressing video! It is absolutely amazing to see the changes that have occurred in 5 years! Binghamton will always be a small town but there is a lot going on. The old library is going to become a culinary school as part of SUNY Broome. BU is building a pharmacy school in Johnson City and moving the thriving nursing school there too - proximity to Wilson Hospital. There are plenty of good restaurants in the area. Art galleries, theater groups, music, opera, breweries, parks. A short drive to the beauty and wineries of the Finger Lakes. 3 hours to all NYC has to offer. For those of us that love Binghamton it is wonderful to watch it come back to life!

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 19 months ago from New York City

      You've got that right, Margit.

    • profile image

      Margit Strout 19 months ago

      I grew up in Deposit and a trip to Binghamton was a big deal. I have not been back since the mid 8O"s. I recognize some of the buildings. The Roberson center was a favorite spot as was Fowler's Department store. It is sad to see you home towns fail. I hope things can get turned around.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 19 months ago from New York City

      I couldn't agree more, Mark. I'm confident that SUNY and the thriving arts community will inspire better things to come. It just will be so different than the big small town I grew up loving.

      Thanks.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 19 months ago from New York City

      You're welcome, Derek. You kicked off a little nostalgia. I believe every generation after mine, in the Sixties, lost a little bit of the joys of childhood and growing up freely and safe in a town like Binghamton. I knocked around too and finally settled, not far away, in New York City. Always thought I'd go back, but the place I knew is gone, along with my friends and family.

    • profile image

      Mark 19 months ago

      I moved to Binghamton from Syracuse in '83 to work at General Electric in Johnson City. Back then, it was a really nice place to live, there was employment, people seemed to care about the community and crime seemed rare, except for the occasional sociopath. It seems to me that when the 90's came around and companies started folding or started using a work force known as 'temps' that paid less money and offered no benefits, is when it all started to go downhill. Suddenly, and almost overnight, the look and feel of the Triple Cities changed and has been in a steady decline since. But, believing that all things run in cycles, I bought a nice house in Binghamton for a great price thinking that things will have to eventually turn around. And I think now with the new mayor and a changed city council, things are starting to look up, just gotta give it time. When I left the'Cuse, it was a city in decline, but they managed to turn things around with Armory Square among other things and now it's doing well. I like this area, especially summer when the hills are green....it's a nice place to live despite the downside, but there are much worse places to live.

    • profile image

      snape 19 months ago

      I was born and raised there, left about 25+ years ago. After college in Rochester, there was nothing really outside of family to keep me there. Now living and raising family in San Francisco

      Having connected with HS (BHS'90) friends we often talk about the things our kids will never know. How easy it was to be a kid there, riding bikes everywhere, skating on the pond (Sunrise Terrace), and sledding.

      But alas my family has all relocated south, and I haven't been back in years. What do I miss most of all, Little Venice and Spiedies.

      Thanks for the good read... was a nice way to start my day.

      Derek

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 19 months ago from New York City

      NYC doesn't need little Binghamton for a drug haven. That's a local fairytale that lets locals off the hook.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 19 months ago from New York City

      I have always believed I was lucky to grow up in Binghamton. I'm not so sure that's the case anymore, but few of us who did grow up there remember it with anything but affection. Thanks, Richard.

    • profile image

      matt 19 months ago

      It's turned into a drug haven for nyc

    • profile image

      Richard Stearns 19 months ago

      My wife, love her to death, grew up in NYC and then California. She just doesn't get it when, anywhere in the country, I might say: This reminds me of Binghamton. I am proud to be a Bingo boy. Graduated from Central. Hung out at Quaker and Laurel Lake. Had, what I consider to be, a great and healthy childhood. Raising my 3 in Santa Monica now. Will they have the same values? Curiosity? Humility? All Binghamton qualities

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 19 months ago from New York City

      Interesting observation, especially as you've seen it firsthand. Thanks.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 19 months ago from New York City

      Good to hear so much enthusiasm for our old hometown. Almost everyone left when the jobs went away, but I've heard a lot about a comeback. Thanks for telling me about it.

    • profile image

      Concerned in Binghamton 19 months ago

      I'm more concerned with one major deterrent from Binghamton which everyone tries to ignore or deny. The high number of people on Social Services when they dont need to be. The sex offenders that are relocated to Binghamton no matter where they are from. The violence and gang issues they deny we have. Drugs and drug trafficking. Binghamton seems to be the halfway point to many areas. These are some of the major reasons people have left and are leaving. I won't even go out after dark due to all this nor will many others. Our police are wonderful. We may be a small town but we have the crime, gang, and drug issues of a large city. One of the highest numbers for sex offenders and Social Services probably in the country. I was born and raised in Binghamton. I love this area and have no intentions of leaving unless something is permanently done regarding these issues. What about unemployment in this town? Also abused construction workers etc. Work long enough to collect full benefits then no longer work until it runs out. They can spend their winters working for the same amount we are paying them for unemployment. Shoveling walks for elderly and disabled. Keeping the city clean. Doing indoor work for the elderly and disabled until they go back to their main jobs. Instead Binghamton chooses to consider it "seasonal work" and pay top dollar unemployment for these people to do nothing. The state along with Binghamton government are assisting in burying our wonderful town!

    • profile image

      LILY 19 months ago

      I just wanted to say that I currently live in Binghamton, in the southside, and I love this city. I bought my house 13 years ago and have no regrets. My husband just retired and we intend to stay right where we are. I grew up in NYC and do not miss living there at all. Our downtown is coming back, restaurants and new businesses are opening and I see renewal in our city. I love it here and when I go away, I miss being home. This is such a beautiful place, I would not change it for anywhere else. Please come back and see the changes, it cannot be what is was years ago but neither is NYC with its high rents and gentrification. I LOVE BINGHAMTON!

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 2 years ago from New York City

      Gary, I feel the same. Sadly, in my experience, that Binghamton is gone. Not to say what's developing won't be just as good for another generation. They are kind of betwixt and between and not so sure about identity, but something interesting seems to be emerging.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image

      gary sharer 2 years ago

      born in binghamton ,moved to sacramento,ca for work,worked 20yrs. at folsom prison retired and my wife and i have traveled across the united states 5 times and now live in sparta tn . we both miss binghamton and try to get there once a year. i played softball in binghamton and have often wonder what happen to the guys i played ball with. i miss sharkys and walking through the old courthouse and sitting my the river and watching the nights go by.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @pocaivanhoe: Thanks for the memories and optimism. Binghamton's future looks brighter than most.

    • profile image

      pocaivanhoe 3 years ago

      Dave, this was the first time I have read your chapters and seen your video. I am also attached to Binghamton as you are. I think you explained it by referring to the closeness that each ethnic group felt because there were so many different nationalities clustered together in town. I grew up on the Southside of Binghamton and then went to Catholic Central High School on the Westside. I worked in the Treasurer's office at City Hall for 2 summers. I also worked at a drugstore downtown by the old Sears building. I went to Broome Tech for 2 years before I transferred to Buffalo State. I really enjoyed those BTCC years and hanging out at The Other Place, where I met my husband to be. After graduating Buff State, I worked 3 years in Verona, NY. When Joe and I wondered where we should live after we got married, we both agreed that we both wanted to come back to our hometown. I taught in the Triple Cities area for 34 years. After I retired from teaching, my husband (from Vestal) and I retired to live in The Villages, Florida, but we still come back for several months in the summer. I will always consider Binghamton as home. I still visit friends from elementary school. I am attending a Sullivan Players reunion this summer (I was a member from Junior High into high school). My sons currently live in Binghamton. So many of my relatives are buried in our local cemeteries. By researching into my family tree, I found that I still have some distant cousins right in Binghamton and JC. I have met them, and they are wonderful. We never knew about each other.Last summer I was happy to see parts of Binghamton downtown become vibrant again, thanks to Binghamton University's downtown campus and student dorms. Also the renovated lofts are beautiful. One sad thing I would love to see change is our beautful old Public Library building. Do you remember thagt it is a Carnegie-built building? It has been for sale for many years, and by now, I am sure it needs much work. Wouldn't it be great if Binghamton University bought it and put it to some use?

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @amandaconklin: Thanks for the memories, Amanda.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 3 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Never spent a lot of time in NY outside of Niagara or NYC. I'd like to, though.

    • profile image

      amandaconklin 3 years ago

      I was born in Binghamton, NY in 1946, as WW 2 Vets were coming back to the US, to buy used cars, find jobs , create families, and settle into Binghamton life, then buying or building houses. Two generations of John Cobbs and Horace and Conklins had already thrived in Binghamton by them, Our Irish ancestors fled Ireland during the famine, and survived on Pine St, by making cigars in the attic.They had a lot of children and went to St Patricks Church. Horace E Conklin made a million by dropping out of school at 14 to work in the Feed and Seed business, then built a big house on Riverside Drive at Laurel Ave. He had three wives, and many children., before losing money in the stock market crash and moving out to a farm in Tunnel NY to hunt birds and retire into old age, visiting by hoards of grandchildren. My Father, George E Conklin, started Scotch Brand Gas Co on upper Front St, adding gas stations in two other locations before opening Tier Oil Corp. He hunted birds with his brother, joined the Lions Club, played golf at BCC, and lived the good post WW2 life., when Binghamton thrived and grew. The Cobbs and Conklins did well in Binghamton in those days.,establishing businesses and setting down roots, heir children attended westside and southside schools, Roberson Art Center classes, area churches, and scout activities. I went off to Boston University in 1964, to study art and live in the big city. Along came the 60s, hippies, SDS, rock and roll, good times,and a BFA. I later returned to Binghamton, married and with a son. I taught art worked at Harpursville Elementary School as teacher, recruited over the phone to please come out and interview fora first teaching position.i attended graduate education classes at SUNY , Cortland, Oswego and Binghamton., easily achieving teaching certification. My husband worked as a social worker at Susquehanna Valley Home , with children and had a leave to study for an MSW at Syracuse University, so we lived in graduate student housing ,an old Army barracks, while I taught art in schools, and studied for an MS degree in arts education. Opportunities abounded, friends were made, careers established.After a divorce, I went on to teach in other areas, Syracuse, and Lafayette,NY, near the Onondaga Reservation School. i made a change to teaching HS art in Greene NY, attended SUNY art school to qualify to apply to graduate school in Brooklyn NY, and moved to NYC to be with the artists, and get an MFA in painting. NYC was fun and creative , a stimulating place to meet people , having adventures, and trying new experiences, i worked at Omega Institute, in Rhinebeck NY, and as PT summer staff , lived in a tent for two long summers, while greeting visitors in the Registration and Guest Services offices, then in the Ram Dass library.After six years I longed to move back to Boston, and finally found my way there to teach at BCNC, an agency, in Chinatown, housed in the Josiah Quincy Elementary School. After many years, I became the Director of the Red Oak Program there, creating many community partnerships in the arts, and leading federal grant programs.it was all about collaboration then, and it was exciting to build a respected programHaving overcome several serious health challenges there, including cancer, I left BCNC to retire to MD, and then to FL, where i married an old college boyfriend, Ron Bitten, from my SDS and BU daysHe was working as a Copy Editor at the Tampa Tribune, until it met the sad days of the demise of newspapers. Now, we liv ein St Pete Beach, blocks form the Gulf. Come visit us if you are in FL.I paint here , exhibit, enjoy the arts and beaches. Ron contemplates sports, reads and writes, enjoys music , travel and seafood.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @andrew-b: Admittedly, Andrew, it's a complex issue without clear black and white answers, but in my view corporate negligence as community citizens and inept politicians are really at fault, although this is a blame the victim era for labor.I don't buy it. Workforces are made up of people, not commodities. Corporate failure to recognize that is something only an enlightened electorate can do something about. Everything you point your finger at, except the weather, can be attributed to corporate and political failure. Anything for a profit mindsets destroy communities because they are shortsighted and keyed into immediate gain. Two other points, when Binghamton thrived, the weather was the same as it is now. Worse weather didn't stop the Canadian middle class from recently surpassing the America's. And both my father and older brother were accountants. Corporate incompetence and greed destroyed both Binghamton-based companies they worked for. Corporations are inhumane and feelingless. For the most part, their officers and stockholders ought to be ashamed of the persistent, community busting drive for profits at any cost. Until we get politician who can't be bought and are willing reign in the abuses, our country and its cities will continue the long decline of the decades since Reagan. As with Endicott-Johnson and IBM, both Triple Cities born, companies once recognized their responsibilities as citizens. They don't anymore. Funneling more of our countries resources into the pockets of billionaires, many not even Americans, is what it's all about now. The vast majority of us are paying for it.

    • profile image

      andrew-b 3 years ago

      @David Stone1: As an accountant, I see corporate. A work force, and a talented one at that are a commodity. I also see lack of resources in this area, poor road conditions, temperamental weather, stricter (and expensive) compliance requirements in various aspects of business. Then theres BU, the brain drain paper mill. Grab the diploma and head out, because theres not much else here for a college grad. Businesses who are encouraged to come back for the tax breaks, at the very least will be putting money in peoples pockets (who will pay income tax, including the owner) but this wont stop the drain of other NYS businesses. Speaking specifically about my industry, I attend the NY Fed conference on manufacturing every year, and every year it gets smaller and smaller. Manufacturing is one of the last few industries where you don't need college diploma and can make > minimum wage; but its declining fast because NYS makes it harder for us every year. It also doesn't help that as technology improves, we won't need to hire as many button pushers as we do now.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @andrew-b: You're missing the point, Andrew. All that happens with programs you're championing here is that the workers get commoditized. One state steals from another, and only the companies gain. If you have a corporate-centric view of the world, fine. You win. If you think the world is here for flesh and bone people, not paper inventions for profit, in this scenario, you lose. Period.

    • profile image

      andrew-b 3 years ago

      @David Stone1: "and by incentives, I don't mean tax breaks" Ask California how this is working out for them. Then ask Texas how tax breaks are putting their population to work and revitalizing the state. Did I mention that Cali corps are moving to Texas due to tax breaks?

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @kelly-canfieldlona: I think you're right, Kelly. It's a poor strategy. Companies on welfare, on average, make poor citizens.

    • profile image

      kelly-canfieldlona 3 years ago

      @mark-robinson-779: I live in Scranton now, and can tell you first hand that the ten year tax free doesn't keep businesses. I can not begin to count the number of businesses here that had that 'incentive' and as soon as that ten year mark is close, they close up shop and disappear! They've reaped all THEIR benefits and walked away.

    • profile image

      kelly-canfieldlona 3 years ago

      I was born and raised there, but moved away twenty years ago. I miss my hometown. How sad to see it like that now.

    • profile image

      jose-fuentes-3152 3 years ago

      I love the area..despite my hardships in the southern tier.. I graduated from Binghamton high school as i was the last 10th grade class of North High.. that truly embodied the spirit of a small town high school I also attended Chenango Valley H.S and Union Endicott.. Due to family issues.. But after HS I attended SUNY DELHI..87-88.. Best time..I learned the trade..of welding And tried to survive in Bing.. But it was difficult.. Businesses had their pic of trade school grads for most manufacturing postions.. I welded for Ebonex.. Endicott Precision.. Raymond Corp... And the late PB industries in Vestal.. Companies would do wat they could.. But lay offs were common place.. And wages were far below national standard.. It was disheartning at times... Raising a family.. Knowing your paycheck could be better sonewhere else.. But employers knew ,where else were you going to go... Don't like it.. Step aside.. Thiers someone willing to step right in 50. cheaper.. I can remember a few suicides from unemployment.. Like from the press building to..right on chenango st...tragic..!! But all in all I had a cool exp there.. Remember jogging with friends from felters road to court house steps.. On a bet with friends.. Lol the after football gane fights at pudgies pizza on broad st and Robinson st.. The last football game as noth high indians.. (WE STOMPED CENTRAL) Where east junior is now.. Good times.. Watched my good friend local golden gloves champ Tim Igo knock out a heavyweight in the middel of the Broome County Arena..!! On his professional debut..Great times.. filled where moments seened larger than life.. And some that just seemed magical.. Like smelling the wood burning stoves early in the morning on our way to school or the bus stop.. With light flurries in the air that had that typical first snow taste.. While wearing our black and red flannel or Tan Carhartt with a hoodie underneath.. And EJ hiking boots with our crisp new red laces.. Trying not to be noticed.. "Hmpf"God bless the southern tier..!!

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @mark-robinson-779: I'm not sure about all of it, but I don't think tax cuts are the answer. They just pit one locality against another in a competition for breaks. Like you'd I'd suggest incentives for local businesses to grow as well others to come, and by incentives, I don't mean tax breaks. I mean taking steps to have a well-trained, available workforce and making sure business, all of them, pay their fair share of taxes to build the kind of infrastructure all members of a community depend on. Other incentives would be investments in the businesses, such as scholarships, grants in aid for research and tuition aid for their employees. Let's talk constructive, not reductive ways to make businesses come and stay and feel they are part of a larger community.

    • profile image

      mark-robinson-779 3 years ago

      One comment here referred to the current NYS policy of encouraging start up businesses with a 10 year tax free incentive.Why would NYS not want to protect the businesses that are already here, and have been here, slugging it out in one of the most heavily taxed places in the nation and give tax breaks that will result in the loss of thousands more jobs?Lets use the remodeling industry as an example.There are probably dozens of 1-10 man remodeling companies currently operating. You can figure that most of the owners and employees have lived here their whole lives. They have investments in property, families, friends and schools.Anyone with a small start up purse can come in and significantly undercut the established companies for 10 years, take the money and then run to the next great opportunity elsewhere. Meanwhile, they've not likely invested a dime in residential or commercial property, and since they're paying lower wages because they charge less for their services, neither have their employees.The whole area would then be even more impoverished, leaving even more people dependent on social services programs.Any locally-owned business that is not a corporate franchise or large operation would be vulnerable to being driven out of business in a few years.The whole concept that NY is friendly to business is a sham.If NYS wanted to offer incentives to any business, old or new, the best and only way is to take the projected tax write-offs and give the incentives to currently existing businesses to invest in property, capital improvements and equipment purchases and wage increases. The wage increases would put some of the lost tax revenue back in the coffers of the State.

    • profile image

      Nupsdog2 3 years ago

      Born and raised here, JC actually. Left, came back and still here. It's not an easy place to live but if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Used to be a time when everyone who was anyone used to come through this town. We had big business start right here, as mentioned, Link, EJ, but funny no mention of IBM or McIntosh, two pretty significant businesses that started right here too. Although of those four only one remains and they sold out long ago too. See the problem with this town, this valley is that it is stuck, just like EJ was, just like IBM was. Neither were able to adapt to the changing environments around them. EJ could not conceive of straying from what worked for them for so many years in the work shoe business to enter into the athletic/running shoe market, even though it was presented to them long before companies like Reebok made billions from that line. IBM couldn't dream of breaking the mold of what worked for them in the mainframe department of computers to enter into an unknown market of PC's. So the idea left with the designer and now Microsoft is one of the leading computer companies in the world. And that's the mentality still here today. A lot of people are afraid to try something new. Now Binghamton's government wants to bring fracking to the area. Another poor decision cut from the same mold as IBM and EJ. They say the farmers can't make money. But that's the easy way out, stick to doing what you know and not thinking outside the box. Take the easy way out and in return destroy the lands around here that were cut to be fertile soils. Kinda reminds you of the days of the Erie Canal, eerie. Never mind the perfect solution sits in the wings waiting. Although folks might actually have to work their land again to do so. That's what created companies like IBM and Singer Link and EJ's in the first place. But complacency is a hard mold to break. This area could revive itself. Folks like Anthony Brunelli, Wayne & Sylvia Kerber, Chris Bodnarczuk, Seth and Mike Weisel and the band Driftwood (to name just a few) have made great strides in that manner. Helping breathe life into what was becoming a lifeless valley. Revitalizing the downtown area, the music, the arts. It's always easy to focus on what's wrong and it's easy to lose sight of what's right. There's a lot of good things happening here again. And those I've mentioned are just a very small few. If this area is to build itself again it needs to continue to break that mold of being stuck in the rut and continue to try different things.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @lou-skojec: There does seem to be a more jobs friendly government in place now. I'm not sure they get it, though. Jobs in Broome County or nearby will do little or nothing to revitalize Binghamton since any new residents will live in the suburbs and will contribute nothing to the tax base.What cities need are incentives for people to live in the city where they can walk to businesses or, maybe, take a short bus ride. Car culture is poison for cities, and the 10 years tax free will just mean more people driving to work, that is, to a company in the suburbs. In Binghamton specifically, they are relying on sports venues to bring people downtown. It's a ridiculous fantasy that hasn't worked anywhere to imagine that a baseball stadium will do anything to help downtown businesses. I watched that happen in Buffalo, too. They put the stadium right next to the expressway so all the suburbanites could drive in and drive out without touching a sidewalk. Fifteen years later, you can shoot a cannon down Main Street in rush hour and not hit anyone. The funny thing is, this has been demonstrated repeatedly, but they keep doing the same stupid things, probably because, as in Buffalo, the politically hefty construction industry likes public building projects.

    • profile image

      lou-skojec 3 years ago

      Nice web site enjoyed it very much. I grew up in Johnson City n the 1950s and 60's went to Binghamton University but in the late 70's moved away for a job opportunity in western NY then western PA, end eventually for 8 years in Connecticut. Moved back in 1989 for 13 years but saw the area just continue to decline, NYS government has a lot to do with it, late realization of the globalization of the economy and decline of heavy industry after the cold war. It is sad I would not trade my childhood, the schools the parks the sense of community was great, when we return to visit ( left again in 2003 to move to Virginia) it just seems like it is a dying friend. I wish it could be revitalized but do not see anyway it can happen. I sometimes feel guilty for leaving but I came back once hoping to recapture the sense of community but just don't think it will ever be there again.I laugh when I see the ads down here inviting business to move to NYS and pay no taxes for ten years, if the idiots in Albany would have cut taxes for those already there so many would not have left.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @JoeTerrell: Thanks for your comment, Joe. A lot of people will be happy you shared memories that will spike some of theirs.

    • profile image

      JoeTerrell 3 years ago

      This really brightened up my day. What a wonderful article! I grew up in Binghamton on the south side during the 70s and 80s. Probably just the beginning of the end there. I moved to Europe when I was 18 (thanks to the Army) and have lived here in Germany since then. It was a fun place to grow up and many good memories. The complete family has moved away now, but I still visit when I am in the US and catch up with a few good friends. Your EJs part really was nice, people do forget about this amazing company. My grandmother told me many stories about this place. She was fighting her way through back then like all did and made a dress for a doll that Mr. Johnson wanted to give as a gift to someone. He liked the dress so much that she was offered a job sewing shoes and just loved it there. She always had fond memories of going to work, the company and Mr. Johnson. She really admired him. My grandfather was part of the CCC Camps at the time, rebuilding what is State Park. Planting trees to earn money, WWII came along and then went on to join the fire department. He would, as well, tell me quite a bit of history, like when the court house burned down that many do not know about and how they made State Park which was nothing but farm land at the time. What I really enjoyed is growing up on the south side, however spending time all over the place. My mom's family was from the First Ward, my dad's from the east side. I personally went to Binghamton High, interesting integration of the city back then and getting to know people who you may not have known if they two schools were still separated. All in all I loved growing up there, still see many people that are proud of that fact, though they will never go back and live there. It is a true shame what is happening. A great place to stop by when I travel back to the US, but I do try to get out as quickly as possible if I do, just has lost that secure feeling from when I was a child.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @christina-pricekulkarni: No, sorry. Christina, we lived on Colesville Road in Kirkwood. My mom was Helen.

    • profile image

      christina-pricekulkarni 3 years ago

      @anonymous: (...we never wash our faces..)just TONIGHT I showed my oldest Ely Park since I was up that way- I was in L-4. Was your mom Darlene? I think your family was in the parking lot over?!

    • profile image

      preetylady803 3 years ago

      yes i grew up there was once a good place to live not anymore no big industries all went away taxes to high we moved to soth carolina 4 yrs ago we couldn't live on retirement money up there to high gas bills can't afford new york way taxes plus no advancement for the young burned out industrial town love the south nicer people people here take pride in there state and very loving people not with additudes sorry but true sad what has happened a place to cut crack and welfare

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @mike-grieco-31: Fascinating, Mike. There is so much to Binghamton that fell to the side. Getting some sunlight on it couldn't hurt

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @JeremySteele: Thank you, Jerry. I couldn't agree more. And don't forget cartoonist Johnny Hart and Hall of Famer Warren Spahn.

    • profile image

      mike-grieco-31 3 years ago

      great site here dave.....some day when i jot down all my memorys i will post something here....i enjoyed the comments very much and i did pick up an old friend's e-mail...gfrew...i will be contacting him soon.....maybe a certain writer will capture the memories of all here one day with submitted photos and compile another book.....hint>there are quite a few establishments that were frequented by us all that no longer exist...no plaques,no museum of what once was....and that's where the memorys are......there is history there right now.....a childhood friend of mine lives in the e.a. link home....when he moved in,he found these old wooden/rubber reinforced bellows laying around andfalling apart......my mom and 9 other women worked on those bellows during ww2.....they drove the first plane simulators,buy inflating and deflating.....of course they were hand driven.....glad my mom told me the story about her war effort and connection to e.a. link......i have a bunch of other nice storys to add someday

    • profile image

      JeremySteele 3 years ago

      I grew up in the small town of Port Crane, about 10 minutes from Binghamton. In many ways it is still my home, my home town. I live in Pittsburgh now (13+ years) and have grown to like it here but still long for the Binghamton of my childhood. I find myself bashing how lowly and grey it is. How depressed and run down the area and its people have become. Honestly though, Binghamton was something to see in years past. It was BIG city but country too. It was filled with rich history, great eating establishments (diners, restaurants, bars) and family friendly activities were not hard to come by. It still amazes me the great state parks in proximity to everywhere in Binghamton, Johnson City, and Endicott. Beautiful scenery is also within a few minutes drive from the city of Binghamton. I have fond memories of shopping at Woolworth's, Philadelphia Sales, EJ's Shoes, riding the plethora of carousels, and checking out the wild animals at Ross Park Zoo. The zoo is another sad sight. I do not think it has been managed right and the animals and their fans are the ones who suffer. I was devastated the last time I visited to see emaciated tigers, a Balding Bald eagle, filthy water filled displays, pealing paint, and to my amazement... an exhibit for the North American CROW? Really? Crows? Most of my family still lives in the area and I visit once a year at least. When in town, I try to visit some of my favorite eateries and go to a park or two. I grew up 5 minutes from Chenango Valley State Park, and My father lives 2 minutes from Otsenango Park. I will be bringing my children along for my visits this time and I will introduce them to my childhood.Two of my favorite places to grab a bite are now gone, (Lanes and Niko's) but that happens with time. The Red Robin Diner is still open for business but lacks the old charm in my opinion. The SPOT diner still serves a good breakfast. It is very sad to see a city that seemed to be hanging on in the 80's and doing OK become the ghost town it is. It NEEDS industry that will keep people in the area, employ them, and is able to withstand the harsh winter months of doom and gloom. I still rack my brain to this day, trying to think of WHAT that may be. It would also require sacrifice and a bit of a gamble by investors to get it all going. One last comment here. Rod Serling - The man responsible for The Twilight Zone is from Binghamton, yet there is barely a mention of him throughout the City. (I think they said he had a star there or something) but its just not good enough. Binghamton CAN do better. Dare I say even after all of this, I hold out hope for a glorious return to a once beautiful city and its surrounding villages.

    • profile image

      theolddog 3 years ago

      Grew up in the 7th Ward. Went to Christopher Columbus School K-9. Graduated BCHS in 1960. Attended Temple Concord on Riverside Drive.. Went to college in NYC, found out just how inadeqate an education I had received.and returned for summers. Worked at the E-J rubber mill on vacation, then for Mike Bednar's Parks Department. Ran the Ross Park carousel one summer. Spent Saturday nights at 5 Mile Point racetrack. Graduated from Columbia in 1964. From then on, I only returned to Binghamton to visit my mother. Came back for my 50th BCHS reunion and vowed I would never return again. Town was dirty, smelly, and the abandoned downtown was depressing. IMHO, Binghamton is a nice place to be from - the further you get FROM it, the better it seems.

    • profile image

      BriBlake 3 years ago

      Born & raised. Moved away at 22, but still (and always be) a New Yorker-Binghamtonian, even though I've lived away for 20 years now. Sad to see how the city has declined. Love the video, as I lived very near to downtown (right on Court St., in fact) and I've walked and played in so many of the places featured in the video. I always look forward to visiting "back home" each year!!

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @SandyGH: I remember all that, very well, Sandy. Binghamton was just a great place to grow up. It's surprising how attached so many people still are.Thanks for the memories.

    • profile image

      SandyGH 3 years ago

      Grew up on Southside, attended Ben Franklin Elementary and Conklin Ave Baptist church across the street! Graduated from BNHS in '64. Remember the WigWam and Big Al? church provided bus rides to EJ's roller rink, winter hay rides off Burr Ave, and weekly dances in the community center. The Home kids. Sharkey's and their speedies, Sandy Beach where we boated, waterskiied and the dog used to disppear and come back reeking of rotted fish from the point by the RR trestle. believe it or not,i was married to a man named Beach in California so i was Sandy Beach for a while. Binghamton General Hospital where i worked in ER admitting, ROSS PARK was always a favorite with it's free merrygoround courtesy of Mr. Johnson of EJ fame. two grandparents worked at EJ shoe factory. other g'pa was a Post Office letter carrier. like PPropes i could go on and on.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      @PPropes: You are part of a large group who still treasure their memories of Binghamton in its glory days.

    • profile image

      PPropes 3 years ago

      Grew up in Binghamton. Kindergarten through 2nd grade - Benjamin Franklin on Conklin Ave. Third grade through eighth - St. Mary's School on Fayette (I think). St. Patricks HS for ninth grade. Tenth through twelfth - Catholic Central. Graduated 1966. Lived in Saratoga Terrace on South Side. For years had paper routes in downtown Binghamton. "Grew up" in the Binghamton Boys' Club. I've been away for a while, but Binghamton is still DEEP in my heart! Many, many, many great memories in Binghamton. AMPs, Sharkeys, St. Michaels Mens Welfare Association, Kresgees (SP?) and Woolworths, hanging out at the bank on Court St. Thursday nights, The Sugar Bowl, Pope's Market, the Baby Bear, Beer's Store (next to St. Andrew's Church), The Humidor, Paul's Restaurant near the Greyhound bus station, Norm Sherwood (the Jolly Green Giant), Ted Rebel Jones, WENE, Tony's Barber Shop (I think across from the Arlington), The Marconi Tower at the RR depot, the wonderful smells coming out of the Landers building/factory, Sandy Beach, the RR tressel, Laurence Brothers Dairy, Tisket a Tasket, the dances at the Sharaton, Boys' Club, Arlington, The Ids, Ira Papick and the Three Failures, The Fortunes,............. Oh my, I could go on and on! Mr.Whizbang@gmail.com

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: I feel the same way, Romona. Always thought I'd go back, but then, all the good jobs went away, and I finally got used to city live. I left 43 years ago, and I still miss so much and so many people.Thanks for you comment.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I was born and raised mostly in downtown Binghamton. From birth to 2yrs on Henry St. across from the now known ball park. From 2 to 4 on Chenango (had a bad fire there) From 4 - 9 28 Carroll St, then to 31 Carroll St. till 14 then to Saratoga Heights. Married my high school sweetheart, later divorced then at age 32 moved out of state to Utah. Been here now 26 years, but still miss Bingo and also remember the song "We're the girls from Binghamton, we think we're mighty neat........

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      @accfuller: Thanks, accfuller. Chemung's a gorgeous area with the rivers and rolling hills. Always loved driving through there on my way to wherever it was at the time.

    • accfuller profile image

      accfuller 4 years ago

      I'm from Chemung ... been to Binghamton many times! I gave you a squid-like and a g+1 ... :)

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: For anyone interested, there is a very sentimental Facebook Group, "I am from Binghamton, New York," with lots of members and regular nostalgic chat.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Born and raised in Bingo. I am a kid from Ely Park we think we're pretty neat--lol. 24 years my mom lived in Ely Park, I was there from 7-19yrs old and left for the deep south soon after high school but I still hold Binghamton and Ely Park in my heart. Married my school best friend after 24 years of losing each other and we bought a place out in Conklin but rent it out and ran back south during the winter, can't handle the cold anymore lol. I miss the Airport Drive-in, the Ritz, Philly Sales,The old Boys Club, Pudgies the way it use to be,and downtown being alive. It was the best place to grow up in the 70s and especially the 80s and I miss those days deep to my core.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes, for the first 23 years of my life, and then almost every single year after, to visit. The video blew me away: while you sir, Stone, point out that "little is new and what's old is sagging," I have to disagree with your comment "Not a pretty picture," as just to see the familiar buildings and streets I walked for so many years, I was re-smitten -- as though bumping into the love of my life on lunch break. The architecture is beautiful. I live out west now, with its clean lines and cookie cutter houses stacked atop each other. I would have moved back about 12 years ago, but the job that was facilitating that (Universal Instruments) disappeared shortly after my interview, as did the majority of the company. I cannot argue that industry has flocked from Binghamton over the course of my life and that, combined with some really terrific floods in the past six years (three 100-year floods in six years, yes?) has put the town into a flat spin. It saddens me. I think the adverb you missed in describing the city's natives' feelings toward Binghamton is "verocity." Though many friends and family have flocked away -- typically right after college -- we look back fondly on the parks, the festivals, the carousels and rolling hills. To me, Binghamton is still beautiful. More importantly, there is a pulchritude in the perseverance of those natives who have stayed -- be they clinging to family or cognizant of the ample glories of small town life in Upstate New York.

    • linhah lm profile image

      Linda Hahn 5 years ago from California

      No, but I am the lucky #20 on this page.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

      @Ramkitten2000: Autumn's probably the best, with all the foothills turning colors and the mild weather still in place. I hope you get to make the trip.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 5 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      No, but I have a ... hm .. my mom's cousin, so my second cousin (?) ... who lives there. She's been inviting me to come for a visit for a very long time but I've yet to go, especially now that I live in the southwest. I do love upstate NY, though.

    • David Stone1 profile image
      Author

      David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: Good luck, Roger. You won't see a ton of traffic here, but I'd suggest you try the "I Am From Binghamton, New York" Facebook page. A lot of loyalists there who might be interested. They have given me tons of support with my own books.

    What's Your American Story?

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • David Stone1 profile image
        Author

        David Stone 18 months ago from New York City

        Excellent suggestions, Peg, and a healthy point of view.

      • profile image

        Peg Miller 18 months ago

        There are so many great things happening in Binghamton, NY. So many festivals, every First Friday celebration, the new restaurants, etc. The sad thing here is that someone can come to town during the winter months when there isn't music playing on Peacemaker's Stage or when there aren't people sitting along the river enjoying the warm weather and complain how run down it is. How about you come and visit next summer during the Luma Festival or any First Friday and you will be pleasantly surprised by this Binghamton, NY. It is very upbeat!

      • David Stone1 profile image
        Author

        David Stone 19 months ago from New York City

        I did Thomas Edison, East and North, myself. I do think that, if Binghamton makes a comeback, it will be a much different city than the one we grew up in. America and the world has changed too much to go back to what we thought of as "the American Dream."

      • profile image

        David Oakley 19 months ago

        I was born in Binghamton. Lived in Binghamton, Johnson City for 64 years. Childhood spent living on the South Side of Binghamton, playing in and around the creek and wooded area of the Veteran's Units. Good ole Benjamin Franklin Elementary and Junior High with some brief times at Thomas Edison (6th grade) and East Junior (7th grade) and even a 8th grade stint in a school in Rochester before returning to Ben Franklin for 9th and then going to and Graduating from Bing. North High in 62. Moved to Arcade, NY some 8 years ago to be close to my daughter and family. Still have lots of family & friends in the Bing. / Triple Cites Area. Yearly family reunion in July or August at Otseningo Park.

      • profile image

        BETTY DODD(BAILEY) 19 months ago

        I Lived and was raised in Binghamton and went to Thomas Edison Elementary East Junior High and than North High. I still have a son who owns a NEON SIGN BUSINESS in Binghamton and is an elected official for his community. I have wonderful memories of Binghamton and am so very sorry to see how it has been put down by Drug Additcs who were dropped off there by bus. Way after I moved from there. But just want to say my Son is still there with his family and his business and is fighting for all the correct things to bring it reputation back to what it once was. I have wonderful memories of what a great City it was and still can be. Down town use to have Fowlers and Mcleans stores as well as many others that we use to love to go to especially on Saturdays. All Five of my Children have wonderful memories of shopping with their Grandmother each Saturday in downtown Binghamton. this City can still be revived and into the beautiful City is was and can still be. Just join in and help if you live there.

      • profile image

        DC 19 months ago

        I left Binghamton 21 years ago when i was 19. My early childhood was great and then came highschool in the early 90's. I got mixed up with a bad crowd. The families that moved from NYC to have a better life ruined Binghamton. It wasn't til then that neighborhoods became run down and low income neighborhoods became dangerous. I remember the first murders that were publicized: some guy killed the paper girl and some guy stabbed his girlfriend with a garbage pick. By highschool, drugs, fighting and murders were everyday conversation. Most of the kids from NYC hated the hometowners and ganged up on them. Started fights just for laughs. Look at them now on facebook. Living the same way posting childish ghetto drama. They never left or moved on or reflected on how horrible they were in highschool and grew up. They are raising the next round of terrible kids. I wish my kids could experience a childhood like i did there but that Binghamton is gone. It became ghetto 20+ years ago and until the ghetto families leave it will never be the Binghamton it once was.

      • David Stone1 profile image
        Author

        David Stone 2 years ago from New York City

        Julia, I will do that and try to do it on a nice summer day. Nevertheless, this video accurately represents what remains of the downtown Binghamton I grew up in. I had lunch on Washington, in a nice spot, but the area is small, maybe a seedling for the future. The sad fact is that Court Street has suffered the distress that so many small towns suffered. It is nothing at all like the vibrant place it once was. I hear good things about coming back, though, and I hope they prove accurate.

        Thanks for your comment.

      • profile image

        Julia Monica 2 years ago

        I am disappointed you misrepresented your video. Of course Downtown is an empty hull. It was November, 2011, not three months after one of the worst floods the area has ever seen. It affected the businesses in the first shot along the Chenango, the salon/school at the corner of Hawley and Court, Sall-Stearns and the rest of the Gorgeous Washington Street businesses, Boscov's, and River Read Books (who you should make nice with. They love local authors.)

        Come back today and reshoot. See the businesses that have rebuilt and those that have established since the flood, especially the university housing which brings a huge number of shoppers to the diners, convenience stores, gift shops and other small businesses Downtown.

      • profile image

        Scott 2 years ago

        Remember the song "Allentown" ? That was the same time period I got the hell out and moved to the silicon valley with one thousand bucks and everything I owned in a duffle bag on a Greyhound bus ! I left the area in 1979 and can not figure out how all of the people left behind can still support democrats ! Stupid - stupid people ! NYC and its takers are going to eat you yokels alive !!!

      • David Stone1 profile image
        Author

        David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

        @captainj88: Saving the cities was just not in the American plan. Car culture and the suburbs one as money went into building roads to make way for more cars. For a long time, that floated the American economy, but now we're shifting to smaller, less centralized companies, and that can be a good thing for small cities. Maybe the boom will return.Thank you, Leah.

      • captainj88 profile image

        Leah J. Hileman 3 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

        I was born in Johnstown, PA ("Flood City USA") and a great deal of your story here resonates with me; an industrial boomtown that slowly spread and changed as job opportunities moved, manufacturing diminished, and the more recent generations relocated further and further away post-high.

      • David Stone1 profile image
        Author

        David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

        @Nancy Hardin: Thank you, Nancy. I hope, somehow, more travel does come your way.

      • Nancy Hardin profile image

        Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

        I love your passion for this great city. No I've never even visited there, but through your writing, I feel like I know it better. I wish I could travel to all the places that sound like I'd love them. Thanks for sharing, David.

      • David Stone1 profile image
        Author

        David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

        @hallen12: A renaissance would be great, wouldn't it? Possible, too. Whatever goes down must come up, or something like that.

      • profile image

        hallen12 3 years ago

        Great story! I grew up in the hills of JC, with a quick stop in Endwell. But overall, 15 of 16 years on the north side of JC. One thing that I would underscore is the resiliency of the people. My parents, grandmother, an aunt and uncle still live there, with my parents getting out soon due to retirement. Through business and housing decline, numerous floods, and more.... this section of upstate continues to march forward and rebuild over and over again. Its really amazing. I got out on the first bus heading south after HS graduation in 1995. My reasons were plenty, but the people were not one. Poor climate, lack of opportunity, high taxes, and more have spearheaded the decline in population. There is only so long one can continue to pay some of the highest taxes in the land, and have little employment opportunities. It doesn't work for long.Overall I loved the area, perfect for a kid to grow up in. Before JC developed much of the north side by the mall, there was plenty of space on the hill to get lost all summer long. Now the schools have consolidated. My elementary school (Harry L. Johnson), and middle school (C. Fred Johnson) are now gone. And Greenfield park on Harry L Drive is a shell of what it was back then too. Its sad to go home now. I go back once a year, often to the Spiedie Fest, etc. But its decline is evident, especially in areas of Binghamton, or the South side of JC. Thank you for another great historical glimpse of an area of this great country that I love. I hope one day it returns to its former glory. Rock on Southern Tier!!!

      • David Stone1 profile image
        Author

        David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

        @anonymous: Refreshing to see that the lunatic fringe remains live and well. What would Fox News do without you?

      • profile image

        anonymous 3 years ago

        Binghamton is a dumping ground for surplus nyc area welfare recipients. They can't fill houses fast enough to replace all the skilled and educated who have fled along with their jobs. The few remaining tax payers are forced to pay for housing for a large population of drug dealers. As an added bonus it's full people with a "what are you lookin at" attitude. Heavenly.

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        I am a Tennessee native who visited Binghamton in 2005. I love your town. It has some beautiful old buildings such as the Perry Building (love cast iron buildings) and the courthouse. We also visited the New York State Asylum building on our tour around town. We were fortunate to meet up with a resident of your town who showed us around. I have only the fondest memories of Binghamton. I really enjoyed looking at your video on YouTube. Please post more of Binghamton there.

      • jptanabe profile image

        Jennifer P Tanabe 5 years ago from Red Hook, NY

        Great job on introducing Binghamton. Think we'll have to add it to our list of places we visit (it's only about 3 hours from where we live!) Blessed.

      • David Stone1 profile image
        Author

        David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

        @annieangel1: Thanks. Love the UK. Binghamton is still a beautiful spot with many good people, but in transition. I have never known any town to have such allegiance from the people who grew up there, both remaining and moved on. I always felt lucky to have spent my first twenty-one years there.

      • annieangel1 profile image

        Ann 5 years ago from Yorkshire, England

        nicely done - I'm in the UK so it was interesting to read about your town across the pond.

      What's Still Great About Binghamton?

      What I want to get here is a collection of opinions about what is still great about Binghamton. I have my own ideas, but I don't want to influence yours.

      So, please, chime in here.

      © 2011 David Stone

      Add your voice...

        0 of 8192 characters used
        Post Comment

        • David Stone1 profile image
          Author

          David Stone 6 months ago from New York City

          As our population grows and more transient, it's hard to define small town anymore, but I consider myself lucky for where I grew up.

        • mactavers profile image

          mactavers 6 months ago

          I love American history and I loved your Hub. I grew up in Tucson AZ which wasn't a small town in the 1960s and it has continued to grow, but many of the small towns in AZ that were once mining boom towns, have undergone the decline and rebirth of Binghamton. I now live in northern Arizona and the closest example would be Jerome. During the boom days of the early 1900s the population was estimated to be around 15,000, but by 1962, Jerome had a population of around 50. The town owned most of the buildings for unpaid taxes. Then it roared back into an artist colony with specialty stores, galleries and restaurants. This is also true of Bisbee AZ and Cottonwood AZ. God bless America's small towns and all those with the vision to bring them back.

        • David Stone1 profile image
          Author

          David Stone 14 months ago from New York City

          I love Binghamton, Ron. It's burned into my history and personal makeup, but although some people a spirited local supporters, just as any community has, it seems like every optimism is built in some way around the university. I don't think that's enough, certainly not to create the unified hometown chemistry in which I grew up.

        • profile image

          Ron Haskell 14 months ago

          I attended SUNY 80-84 and was back for the 25th reunion. I saw two things that bothered me. On Saturday a downtown block was closed to traffic so ppl could walk from bar to bar. We went into a few and there was nothing charming about a single one of them. Just beer halls for the masses to drink in. We left and went to Thirstys. Returning to our hotel that block was crammed and looked like "Potterville" from "Its a Wonderful Life". Simply sad.

          In the morning I took a jog around the city and the abandoned and dilapidated housing sapped my energy again.

          I was back in 2014 and impressed by the changes at the college. Also picked up a 5 pack of speedie sauces, thank god for that!

        • David Stone1 profile image
          Author

          David Stone 18 months ago from New York City

          Yes: Roger K. Miller's "The Chenango Kid."

        • profile image

          Bill Dunn 18 months ago

          Other than The Garden Of What Was And Was Not (Binghamton in the 60's), and B. Shannon's moving Unrequited (Binghamton in the 70's), and recommendations on books about Binghamton?

        • David Stone1 profile image
          Author

          David Stone 19 months ago from New York City

          You bet, Scot. That was a nice summary. Thanks.

        • profile image

          Scot Abbott 19 months ago

          I grew up in Binghamton and graduated from North High in winter 1961. I was the 5 generation to be born there, and was the last to live there. Although I loved the place and the people there, Both my brother and left for the opportunities of education and jobs, never to return to live. I tried a few times, but there were no suitable jobs for the PhD educated chemist with post doctoral experience and many publications.

          I will always cherish the memories of the fine people and good friends I made and had there, and a part of me wishes that time stood still (like it did in Binghamton for a long time) and I could be back there.

          Alas, though, the tide of advanced technology and the drive for new skills, swept past and left the Triple Cities behind. 'Smart' investors placed their bets elsewhere, and the once prosperous place with Ozalid, EJ Shoes, Ansco, IBM and Link Trainer has faded to a shadow of itself.

          Even so, it gave me my first (and still) best friend, my first serious girlfriend, 3 trimesters at Harpur, and the job at GAF (was Ansco) which opened my eyes to a path in life for me to take..

          Thomas Wolf said it so well "You can't go home again"-- but you can cherish good memories.

        • David Stone1 profile image
          Author

          David Stone 19 months ago from New York City

          You and your wife were in the same time frame as my brother, Ted, who also went to North and Harpur. It really was a great place to grow up.

        • profile image

          joe marks 19 months ago

          I and my wife of 50+ years grew up in Binghamton. she went to north high and I went to Central. I graduated from Harpur College. I owned the Marks Insurance agency on Main St. We lived in Binghamton for over 60 yrs. It WAS a great town. Dave Stone and David Stearns and all of the "old people" love to remember that old town.

        • David Stone1 profile image
          Author

          David Stone 2 years ago from New York City

          A familiar refrain, Ktmp31. A lot of us have that nostalgia for the Binghamton that was.

          Thank you for your comment.

        • profile image

          Ktmp31 2 years ago

          Today was the first time I ever came across this site and loved watching the videos...... a walk down memory lane. I was born in Binghamton in 1959 and left there in 1985. I went to Central High School, lived on Oak Street, graduated from Broome Tech. I loved downtown Binghamton especially at Christmas time. I remember how beautiful the streets and store window decorations were and loved going into Fowlers listening to the beautiful Christmas music playing on a grand piano. It would be so cold outside and going in and out of the stores was wonderful. I also loved Rec park where as a child with my 2 brothers and 1 sister swam, ice skated and rode the merry-go-around over and over. I miss spiedes. I haven't had a good one since I left. I remember the Strand/Riviera theater and Ross Park Zoo. There are times I definitely miss Binghamton. I've been down South every since I moved and I miss the changing of the seasons and the beautiful architect. I remember spending hours in the downtown library. I no longer have any family there. One day I would like to take my husband and daughter back to show them around. I guess Binghamton is in my heart too.

        • profile image

          Scott 2 years ago

          Born and raised in Endicott, Binghamton was considered a big city and NYC was considered a foreign country.

          I lived my life from birth, up to the age of twenty, in an Endicott Johnson built home that my dad bought through the Endicott Johnson employee benefit program. A well built two story home that will last much longer than the prefab crap they build today and with a a ten dollar a week payment. Hey - even in 1958 that was a square deal !

          I worked at E.J.s for two years after high school and the company was suffering due to foreign imports. Those were virtually the last days for a company that built the Tri-Cities.

          IBM was an another leader in industry but did not offer the grand benefits as E.J.'s did.

          While both failed the Tri-Cities has become as useless as an abandoned nuclear site.

        • David Stone1 profile image
          Author

          David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

          @brenda-ciesla: There's plenty to love about Binghamton, Brenda. No question, but at the risk of using a cliché, you should have seen it back when.

        • profile image

          rr0716 3 years ago

          Well written, I am from Binghamton Central HS' last of the Bulldogs. Have a lot of great memories from childhood in Bingo, but when I go home now, I feel sad about the condition of the place....still love it always!

        • profile image

          brenda-ciesla 3 years ago

          Yes, Binghamton is not the thriving small city it used to be. But where else can you still ride carousels for free, visit one of the oldest zoos in the country, go to a professional baseball or hockey game, or relax in one of the many beautiful parks? Binghamton is my home and I'm proud of it!

        • Ramkitten2000 profile image

          Deb Kingsbury 5 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

          Many people outside the northeast simply equate NY with NYC, but there's so much more to the state -- so many wonderful smaller cities, small towns and very rural and wilderness areas. I enjoyed your lens and look forward to getting back to "the rest of NY" sometime soon.

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Rec Park, the Courthouse, the tv towers on top of Windy welcoming home ll travelers, the wonderful people, Binghamton University, and the summer concerts......

        • David Stone1 profile image
          Author

          David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

          @anonymous: Thanks for stopping. I had the Phoebe Snow experience myself, but only once and coming from the south. Sounds like Binghamton hooked you in much the same way as it hooked me.

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Great piece. I was born in Binghamton but a new job took our family to Canada when I was five years old. We left behind our wonderful Italian American roots along with a big piece of our hearts. I owe Binghamton a lot. My love of rolling hills and river scenes, my fascination with carousels ( or merry-go-rounds as we called them), the stories my mother would tell us about growing up on the east side.From the age of 12 to 16, I spent all my summers in Binghamton, arriving courtesy of the Phoebe Snow. It was the best of times: I met my first love in Binghamton ( I was 12), went to my first dance there, and suffered my first bout of heartbreak. (Yes it was my first love).I bought a house on the southside and brought my mother back to BInghamton seven years ago. Most of my beautiful family is gone now, but I still return to Binghamton several times a year. Binghamton is in my heart, and always will be.