First, full disclosure that these photos were all taken in the autumn last year, not this year. 🙂 Since I didn’t post them right away last year — too busy with family and personal health stuff, plus chronicling the fires around my home out west — I decided I’d post them as the autumn months returned, this year. In this post are many photos taken in and around Syracuse and Skaneateles, in the northern region of New York State known as the “Finger Lakes.” You’ll also see a few photos taken as I walked around Binghamton, in central-southern New York State at the confluence of the Susquehanna River with its lesser-known tributary, the Chenango. I imagine Binghamton was an important manufacturing town and transit hub in earlier eras, although I admit I do not know its history in any detail. I went to Syracuse for an excellent seminar at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School; and I passed through Binghamton with extra time awaiting a connection, during the bus journey from Syracuse back to visit my mom in Northern New Jersey. It’s certainly true that Syracuse is a lovely city whose past – a key city on the all-important (in the 1800s) Erie Canal – was more economically robust than its present. Those seeking explanations to my homeland’s current highly-divided political climate might well find some explanations in such towns as these, and the changes in economic models represented by a former Erie-Canal hub town as compared to, say, Silicon Valley where there are many ideas but very little actual manufacturing. For what it’s worth.
You’ll notice I was particularly taken with vistas of lovely Lake Skaneateles and the village of the same name, situated at the northern end of this long beautiful “finger lake.” Enjoy!
Much of the world uses “New York” as shorthand for the city of New York. Those who grew up or spent chunks of time in or around the city remember that New York is also a fairly large state (by east-coast standards) which stretches from the Atlantic beaches of Long Island to the shores of lakes Ontario and Erie. NYCity folks tend to call the rest of this vast area, once out of the 5 Boros, “upstate.” And it’s through “upstate” that my Mom and I travelled on the first leg of our cross-country adventure last month.
High on her list was Seneca Falls, seen in the disused riverside-factory shot above & site of the Women’s Rights National Historical Park. In my school days little or no mention was made of the fact that women were not permitted to vote until the 19th amendment finally passed in 1920. In upstate New York of the 19th century were the leaders who stood early and proud for women’s rights, and finally pushed that amendment through after many decades of trying. (And oh by the way, the state legislature in good old Mississippi, ever the thought-leader here in the US, didn’t get around to ratifying that 19th amendment until…wait for it….1984. But, hey, even Switzerland didn’t get around to agreeeing women deserve the same full citizenship rights as men until 1971, and the last cantons didn’t get with the program until 1990. And I need to fact check whether women are allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia yet or not…but Wikipedia does tell me that they’ll be permitted to vote there in 2015…)
Here on the home front, Susan B Anthony got arrested & convicted for voting in 1872, in her home town of Rochester not far from the statue of Anthony & Frederick Douglass (good friends and intellectual sparring partners) with which my Mom is posed, two photos up. So anyhoo, we wandered through Seneca Falls, spent time in Syracuse exploring the history of the Erie Canal – which propelled NYC to the dominance it achieved in the 1800s, driven by a state government visionary & capable enough to establish a well-maintained and regulated system to bring boats, people and goods from the Hudson river (and, by extension, the Atlantic Ocean) all the way over to Lake Erie. We continued our exploration of the leadership tradition in Rochester, where we visited both Susan B Anthony’s house (and the statue!), and spent time at the Eastman House learning more about George Eastman’s impact on the popularization of photography. Enjoy the shots – and do consider a visit to upstate New York. Each time I’ve been anywhere from the Catskills north, I’ve wished I could linger longer and explore more. There’s a ton of natural beauty throughout, plus much interesting history scattered just about everywhere.
The study in Eastman House has lovely windows featuring all the modes of travel George Eastman had personally experienced – and flight is missing, since the house was built right around the time of the Wright Brothers’ first flight. This is my little “windows” section, with a detail also from the lovely Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in Rochester, which Mom and I drove past in Rochester. It’s privately owned but you can still drive by and look.