Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Church Courtyard

What might you find in a downtown church courtyard?

My guest photographer and I took a walk in downtown Binghamton, New York late last week. 

Binghamton is a small city of about 47,000 people.  But, at one time (back in the 1950's) its population peaked at about 85,000.  Now, looking around, it's hard to imagine that.  People who grew up here (I moved about 30 years ago) tell me the streets of downtown were once packed with people on shopping holidays.

Now, when I walk down Chenango Street on weekday mornings, it is almost deserted.

There are a number of historic churches within easy walking distance of downtown, or in downtown itself.  The courtyard we are about to visit belongs to the  United Presbyterian Church of Binghamton on 42 Chenango Street. (One day, I may post some interior pictures I took during an open house).

There were flowering trees and trees in bloom, as you might expect.

A Kousa dogwood, Cornus kousa, was finishing up.   To show you what they look like at peak, here is a picture of another one taken June 10.  These trees have become quite popular in our area.

There was a mountain laurel, just past peak.
And a Japanese meadow-sweet, Spiraea japonica.
But we weren't finished.

To our delight, we even found a small church garden in the courtyard, with its own compost heap.

That stretch of Chenango Street (actually, a lot of Chenango Street) has seen better days (as has most of this area).  Up to now, I've not spent much time on some of the challenges the part of upstate New York that I love so much faces, but I think it's about time to explore that with my readers.  So I am putting that on the list of future blog posts, in hopes that Binghamton will one day bloom again.

What is blooming in your area today?


  1. Towns are sure changing. I recall our town having four hardware store and we only have one now.
    It seem people only shop on line. Well I saw I believe it was Public television and people been attracted to Village type of shopping.
    Coffee is on

  2. Well, it isn't a ghost town yet. Or likely to be any time soon. I wonder why half (ish) of the population moved away.

  3. The white flowers picture is so beautiful. I love to walk into old churches.. but did not photograph yet.

  4. Around here we have hibiscus, Rose, jasmine, and a few other flowers bloomings whose English names I am not aware of.. .. Monsoons are here.. So the area is in full bloom

  5. One thing which strikes me most in this post is the dwindling population and I think of all the possible reasons why would that have happened. Here in India, my father stepped out of his village moving to a city for education. Then he moved to a even bigger city for work. And this is true for innumerable people. So by now the villages must have got vacant but this is not the case. My father's village is still populus. But yes I live in India, the country with the 2nd largest population in the world.


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