I get tired of people complaining about Amsterdam, you probably know that by now. But I also get tired of people complaining about people who complain about Amsterdam. This idea that there is “something in the water” here in or that we have such a great city except for all the ignorant people living in it, I feel is almost as counter productive as those who just harp on the city’s problems directly.
I’m afraid that too much complaining about the complainers can generate the same sense of negativity and hopelessness as the complainers themselves. So to counter this idea that somehow Amsterdam is some kind of “problem child” because it has a small but vocal group of grumpies, I offer proof from four area cities that there is just as much grumpiness and self loathing going on out there are there is here.
I first learned the term “smallbany” from reading the ultra-hip Metroland weekly newspaper back when I worked at a music store on Central Ave in Albany. Capital cities are an elite club – there are only 50 of them in the US. When you look at Albany in comparison to some other capital cities or to the “Big City”, it seems to come up a little short in the size and culture department. It seems over time, Albany residents have noticed this and come up with the term as an expression of their displeasure.
The phrase has become such a fixture in local vocabulary that it has earned an entry into the Urban Dictionary (not that you have to do much to earn an entry, but anyway…)
The capital of NY. So named because of its diminutive size, especially compared to New York City.
Mark: Hey, you want to head to x-gates?
Tom: Smalbany, that’s ghetto!
A pejorative nickname for the capital of New York State, Albany. So called because of its diminutive size, especially compared to New York City. This spelling is preferred over smalbany, since it preserves the rhyme with ‘small’ and avoids the pronunciation AL-bany (which is, as far as most New Yorker’s are concerned, a city in southern Georgia).
“So, you’re from upstate? Where? Syracuse? Buffalo?”
“Ha, I wish! Nah, I grew up in Smallbany, where the only thing to do at night is drive to another city.”
So Smalbany/Smallbany is a real thing. There is at least one angry blog that capitalizes on the phrase.
However, I think it’s nice that if you google for the phrase, mostly it is used in the context of someone saying “I know people call it “Smalbany” but…” and then go into why they like living in Albany.
But I don’t want to spend too much time on the positives, on with the negatives!
There was a Buzzfeed post titled “Things People from Upstate NY Love” that made it’s way around Facebook a while back. Coming in at #25 was “Hating on Schenectady”.
It’s not hard to find negative opinions of Schenectady. Some of my (least) favorites include this post in which people seriously think that Schenectady is on the verge of declaring martial law.
I also get a kick out of this thread where people take turns slagging on how bad Schenectady is and then when one person tries to defend the place, they get back…
“You work in the Marketing Department of the City of Schenectady, don’t you?”
Oh the dreaded “M” word!
Then you have this sincere blog written by someone experiencing buyer’s remorse in Schenectady. It seems the person has already decided to move out (or maybe not), and has started a blog about his angst over the decision. He asks readers to “keep me in Schenectady”. It’s actually got some good pros and cons about living in the city, if you can get past the somewhat self-entitled theme.
I found a treasure trove of negativity on this Troy Record Blog called Talespin
Apparently the author has been recently suspended by the paper due to criminal allegations, however it still provides a peek into the mindset of some area residents. Some of my (least) favorite comments include…
Troy has become the wild west .. Shooting up on the east side, as a kid there wasn’t A shooting in south Troy now it’s become the wild west although it’s not politically correct to say why these shooting and neighborhoods are destroyed we all know why land lords rent to anyone and the projects are shut down and our neighborhoods took in the undesirable,, welcome mats for the Bronx and ST JOSEPHS houses popping up on every block, we even allow persistence felons to spit in our former mayors face welcome to Troy …
…what is important is this city is becoming a zoo with the animals were getting from albany and the Bronx ,,public housing and sec #8 is booming in our city which is causing crime and the deterioration of the city,,WE HAVE NO MIDLE CLASS just a bunch of thugs living off the tax payers with there 6 children WAKE UP CITY COUNCIL and do something about this…
Gee, where have we heard all that before? Both of these quotes sound like they come from the same person, but you get the point!
#1 Saratoga Springs
Yes folks, the crown jewel of the capital district, the wonderful low tax rate city we all aspire to live in has it’s detractors as well.
A word of warning – although these next two sites currently come up on the first page when googling “Saratoga NY blogs”, they both contain explicit language and images. Way to stay classy Saratoga!
This blog entitled “Saratoga Springs – Home of the Wretched” makes our complainers look like amateurs. According to this blog, Saratoga has a “crime problem” that the police force is covering up, taxes are too high, and political corruption runs amok. Gee, where have we heard this before?
In all fairness, this blog called “Idiots Being Idiots” is in fact “positive” on Saratoga, they authors say they pick on it because they love it. But I have to shake my head at one of the “problems” they cite…
Is there some f#$%@ing business code out there that states you must have live music all the f#$%@ing time? Why can’t I just go into an establishment for a drink or food without having to be subjected to someone hacking away on their guitar?
Oh to have Saratoga’s problems!
Or this complaint about a popular restaurant closing and then re-opening somewhere not in Saratoga…
Well that sadness is all over because Beverly’s is back. The only issue is it’s not in Saratoga Springs, the new restaurant can be found at 256 Milton Ave, Ballston Spa, NY, which is Ballston Spa’s win and our loss. But still, I’m sure it’s worth the 15 minute drive into the b***hole of Upstate NY.
And I thought Amsterdam had that distinction! I’m happy to pass it on to someone else.
So I hope all these examples leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. I know after reading them, I have a downright warm fuzzy feeling when I think of our local grumpy characters and I hope you do too!