Thursday, June 18, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Binghamton Rising

This is a post from June of 2009, the first year of my blog.  So much as happened since I wrote this post.

This is a post about the return of downtown Binghamton, New York - a small city of about 47,000.  At its peak, its population was over 80,000.

The 1990's and early 2000's were rough times for Binghamton - high unemployment and many vacant buildings.  But things are turning around - faster and faster, now.  Much of the growth is due to developers taking vacant buildings and converting them into student housing for the increasing population of Binghamton University, a highly regarded public university.

The building I wrote about below, the Press Building, suffered a fire in December of 2010 and lay vacant for several years.  Fires are far from unknown in downtown Binghamton.

The planters pictured here were abandoned.  But now, finally, the building (it is said) will be renovated for student housing, and will reopen sometime next year.

Binghamton Rising

Yesterday was the 2nd Friday of the Binghamton Farmers Market. As I was browsing for snap peas, the heavens opened. I spent the next 35 minutes listening to a jazz band, sheltered in the tent of the farmer I had bought the peas from. I waited out the rain, joined by two co-workers. Finally it stopped not long before the end of my lunch hour.

Not too many years ago downtown Binghamton was...on the skids, let's face it-full of abandoned buildings. Since then, for many reasons, things have turned around-although it has a long way to go. The Farmers Market is one success story (such as it is-it's on a narrow street, and small, but it is very appreciated.)

Here is one of the success stories: The Press Building, not too long ago musty and mostly vacant-today, renovated.

The first picture is at an angle but it shows a portion of the renovated lobby.

Here is a picture of the building itself, and details of the renovation.

The other pictures are of planters in front of the building-each done in mosaic by a local nationally famous mosaic artist - each with a local theme.

This planter shows a carousel horse. Binghamton is named the "Carousel Capital" of the country for good reason - my son grew up taking the six free antique carousels for granted. I sometimes wish he was young again so I could ride with him.

The second picture, I'm actually not absolutely sure what it is. It could be one of the buildings that hold the carousels. Or it could be an impression of the band shell at Rec Park, another restored Binghamton landmark. (if you are a Twilight Zone fan, Rec Park is a must-see).

This final mosaic is a flower display.
I believe there are seven in all. Hopefully the elements and the street people are kind to them. The law firm responsible for much of this has done a good service for downtown Binghamton.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the hanging baskets decorating downtown and donated by a life insurance company headquartered in downtown Binghamton.

Thank you,all, and may the rise of downtown Binghamton continue.


  1. What a happy occurrence, Alana, the revival of this beautiful downtown area! I absolutely love those mosaic pots! And reviving this downtown has definitely blessed many people. Have you really been blogging since 2009? Way to go!

  2. What a lovely little town! The mosaics are beautiful -- such a treasure for the community.

  3. Funny how a town ebbs and flows. That is, it has it's good times, falls into disrepute, and then comes back.

  4. I love hearing stories about the redemption of cities or neighborhoods. Binghamton sounds absolutely lovely! Congrats on six years of blogging, as well, wahoo!

  5. The renovated interior of the building looks wonderful. Your Birmingham sounds friendly and interesting. I've never been to England's Birmingham either. I want to stand in the crowd, surrounded by snap peas, listening to the band.


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