Imagine being born in a shopping center. Imagine asking someone to take a picture of your birthplace discovering a history lesson. This is what happened as the result of a little chat with one of my workmates. Neither of us come from the area of Binghamton, New York, where we work today.
In the small world department, it turns out we used to live, many years ago, just a handful of miles from each other. We are going through some similar times in our lives, and have learned so much from each other.
What started as an after dinner Christmas walk several years ago had become a holiday tradition for my spouse and me. Little did I know that my 2014's walk might be the last one of its kind. Times change and sometimes, traditions with them.
Here is the post:
Back in the early 1960's this outdoor mall, the first in Weschester County, New York, contained large and small stores, a play area, and even a hospital.
It was called Cross County Center then, and Cross County Shopping Center now. It opened in 1954 and is still going strong, unlike many other malls of the era.
My parents would take two buses from our apartment in the Bronx (the northern borough of New York City, which borders Yonkers) to Cross County just to shop there. I loved those outings.
Several months ago, I was chatting with a co worker where I work in Binghamton, in upstate New York. I don't remember how we got on the topic of our childhoods, but I discovered that she had been born in the Cross County Hospital, and spent her early childhood in Yonkers, before moving away, eventually to Binghamton.
Then, when I shared the fact that I had Christmas dinner every year in walking distance of that same shopping center, she asked me a favor: would I take a picture of the hospital for her?
I had to break the news to her that the hospital had closed in the 1980's. The good news was, the building was still there. I told her I would do my best to get a picture.
So, last week, after Christmas dinner, my spouse, my son and I walked to Cross County.
|Red and white building on the right, once a hospital, is now, in 2017, a motel|
But then, walking further, we saw a rock. A rock with a historical plaque. A rock neither my husband nor I remember from our childhoods. But it must have been there.
It turns out that the land Cross County is located on has been a trading zone for hundreds of years. First, Native Americans traded here, by a rock which became known as the "Trading Rock". Later, European settlers carried on the tradition.
My family and my in laws were simply carrying on a tradition already hundreds of years old.
Here is one more picture of Cross County.
Can you imagine, one day visiting the city of your birth and staying in the building where you were born in? In a small way, I envy her. (The good news is, since this post was written, that old hospital building is now a Hyatt Hotel.)