Active Rain April 6, 2009

Westchester County is NOT Upstate New York

The best page on Facebook in my opinion is Alexander Yamet’s Westchester is Not Upstate You Idiot. This is one of those friendly arguments people in Westchester and the Hudson Valley get into with people when we get to college and meet Long Island and New York City types for the first time in the dorm. 

It goes something like this:

Me: You’re from New York also? What part?

Him: Massapequa. 

Me: Where is that? 

Him: LawngGiland. Whehr you from? 

Me: Ossining.

Him: Oh, Yawr from UPstate. 

Me: Upstate? 

Guy from Rochester, overhearing conversation: I’m from upstate. Western New York, really. 

Us: Isn’t that near Canada?

Guy from Rochester: Well T’rahnto is across the lake. You can almost see it it when you go there to get hamburgs and a pop. 

It really goes downhill when a guy from Boston walks by, returning from a 2pm shower dressed in just a towel. 

I had similar discussions with my wife, who is from Queens. She regarded anything north of the Bronx as Upstate. She later amended that to anything north of Yonkers, which I consider a moral victory. Westchester may be up the state from NYC and Long Island, but it isn’t upstate. Upstate is Albany. Upstate is Ithaca. Upstate is Syracuse. In general, if people in your town can feasibly commute to New York City, you really aren’t in upstate New York. Poughkeepsie, for instance is on the Metro North Hudson Line. I don’t even consider Poughkeepsie upstate by that metric, but since I don’t live there I don’t care. I think that upstate starts more or less at the Catskills. More broadly, if you are in the 914 or 845 area code, you are downstate from upstate. It gets tiring. 

Downstate is another post altogether. When I lived in Rochester, where people sound more like they are from Cleveland, Ohio than the Empire State, I was told I didn’t talk like I was from downstate. I guess upstate people think that downstate people should sound like Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny. 

Rockland, which borders New Jersey, is not Upstate. Westchester County folk do not consider themselves Upstate either, which I think is a requirement for qualifying. I’m fairly certain that residents of Saratoga would tell you they are upstate. This much is true for sure: Westchester, which borders the Bronx, is NOT upstate New York. Anyone who disagrees is overly downstatecentric.

Not Upstate 

This is my version of the Facebook group’s picture, which was too small for this posting. I appreciate Alex’s idea. It says it all better than I could have!



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