I've been walking around Troy. looked at the bothwick place, maybe I'll rent there. not a homey spot of town, but it could be workable. 4 blocks around the corner from the bridge, then downtown, 5-10 minutes across a thuroughfare to rpi hill. very curious cityspace. of course the overwheiming presence of amazing architecture and energy of the space of what Troy once was, powerful, energetic, industrious, the work of craftsmen, with hints of beauty. and now history has passed and much of the city is abandoned, the energy has run elsewhere to multinational corporations on airplanes, away from human place. abandoned boarded up beatuful brownstones each a unique shape and work of art. the sadness of a disposessed people roaming the streets without work, without roots in the industry of what this city was.
and i'm reminded of why i wanted to live in Ithaca, to get involved in civics, to get a feel for a place the size i could encompass and help steer it creatively to make it bloom, to defend against the Borg of multinational corporate Mcdonalds america. but you know what? ithaca wasn't so much. it was two colleges and a fairyland. it didn't really have much history, was isolated...
Now I'm sitting at the foot of RPI way up the hill with the city way below. I'm looking at the jumble of housing projects, old churches nestled into steep hills, a panorama of richly textured proud buildings below me, the hills across the river, on the horizon, and i'm thinking: yeah, Ithaca has this incredible natural beauty, rural character once you climb over the hills, wild gorges cutting right into town, you can walk up and out into the woods... but it doesn't have the chartacter, the historical presence of this place, Troy. this place had greatness, and now it is sad, but it has amazing potential if we can find the way for it to awaken, if some creative change of civility sweeps across this nation.
or maybe not. maybe The greatness that was troy was something that thrived on the easy rape of the open landscape that was america that we enjoyed for a century or so, wiping it clean of it's native cultures. Maybe this density of industry, art, culture nestled betwen hill and river is no longer possible?
i don't know. but the paradox of it now, is a stonger challange than anything hapening in ithaca, and perhaps it would be a far more real place in which to attempt my project of civics.
Item: in ithaca, there was a corner for the dispossesed, but it was rather hidden. the center of town was fairly white, comfortable folks with advantage. but here in troy, the stronghold of cultured americans meshes intimately with the roaming youth of the dispossessed, in each other's faces, the possibliity for a creative engagement.
god, there is a power emanating from this crafted city sitting below me against the hills, under the sun, with its stately domed theatre standing out from the other buildings, variously shaped church steeples punctuating the sky, aeries of wheelinig pidgeons... i can almost imagine this a city in rennaisance Italy.... just beyond, is the Hudson, 200 mile long arm of the atlantic ocean, pushing her tides all the way up still 4 feet high, just up to the first cataract just a few blocks up from the center of town, placid sleeeping giant, who might one day awaken with fresh water again, ripe with fish and fowl.
the sun is peeking out, the air cool, but hinting at spring, the muddy ground showing grass again. I feel hopefull. i say, yes, lets start this new adventure.