Ode to Troy

Those who know me well know I have some very strong sentiments about my hometown. This isn’t even the first time I’ve been compelled to blog about it. Still, I feel my earlier arguments were insufficient to explain the length and breadth of reasons Troy reins supreme.

I have traveled to many places, seen many things, had a rip-roaring good time while I was there and yet—I know I wouldn’t want to take up a permanent residence. Sure, NYC is amazing, but the air pollution is terrible. Orlando has Disneyworld, but you also run the risk of having an alligator sneak into your backyard.

As much as I despise it sometimes, there are reasons why I live where the air hurts my face

Boston is a trip, but I would actually murder someone inside a week if I had to drive in Boston on a daily basis. New Orleans is under water half the time. I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that we can’t have our Golden Girls house in California, because, in Katelyn’s words: “we can’t live in a place where it literally RAINS FIRE.”

**My friend Katelyn and I have big plans to find a mansion and live out our retirement years in our “Golden Girls” house, you see**

C’est la vie—there’s no place like home. Troy is, at the end of it all, a magical place. I could sing its praises for hours, but instead, I’ll attempt to summarize the high points succinctly…

Oh, Troy, how I love thee. Let me count the ways:

Its history

I’m not going to attempt to give a history lesson, because Damn it, man—I’m a scientist, not a historian, but Troy has a colorful past, full of industry and enterprise.

Home of Uncle Sam and once a vital hub of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S.

At the height of the Industrial Revolution in America, Troy was a major manufacturer of steel, second only to Pittsburgh, PA.

North Troy housed Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, for 9 years in the early-1800s.

Interestingly, there is also a small island in the Hudson river (viewable from Troy’s Riverfront Park) named Starbuck island. It is currently the home of a luxury apartment complex, but the name is purported to have come from the Starbuck Brothers Foundry & Machine Shop, which was created in 1821 and operated out of the Island. Melville notably named the first mate from Moby Dick, Starbuck…does the name hail from his memories in and around Troy??? Perhaps… (it may also have come from the Nantucket Starbucks family)…

The world will never know. But, even if not, it’s still a fine name.


Troy is also home to both Russell Sage College (my alma mater) and the Emma Willard School (the oldest preparatory school for women in the United States).

Emma Willard established her preparatory school to help close the gap in disparity between young women’s education of the time compared to their male counterparts. Years later, one of the graduates of the school and philanthropist, Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage, established Russell Sage College as a college for women. It served over a hundred years as a proud center of women’s empowerment and education for many badly behaved women, such as myself, until it was destroyed by the Patriarchy in 2019 when they decided they needed to go coeducational in order to boost its numbers.

It’s dead to me now.

But I’m not bitter.

Its charm

All your small-town needs in one convenient, walkable space

Troy is renowned for having a lot of churches and bars. It’s also very walkable, with an array of cute, kitschy shops and eateries to satisfy desires both subtle and gross. Makes your weekly cycle of Saturday night debauchery followed up by confession, repentance, and brunch the following morning very efficient. And because we are so close to the Watervliet Arsenal, everyday at 5pm and 10pm sharp, the sound of Retreat and Taps can be heard from across the river…(Naturally, they do morning Revelry as well, but those of you who know me well know I do not get up that early in the AM for love or money.)

Architectural Masterpiece

This past summer, we got a little taste of Hollywood when upcoming television series The Gilded Age chose Troy as the site for several weeks worth of shooting due to the architectural resemblance of parts of the city to turn of the century New York City, where much of the show is set. Monument Square (or as I like to call it, Troyfalgar) looked absolutely incredible all dressed up for filming.

This wasn’t the first time Troy has been featured on the silver screen: other notable productions at least partially shot in Troy include Ironweed and Age of Innocence.


Monument Square is the hub of downtown, surrounded by a bevy of privately owned shops, restaurants, and bars. Broadway, River Street, and 2nd Street fan out from here like spokes on the wheel, with more small businesses spreading outward into the downtown area. It’s situated right next to the glorious Hudson River, and is also an excellent spot to plonk yourself down and people-watch for a while.

And speaking of the river…

The Hudson River

Like Captain Jack Harkness, our river flows both ways… (it’s actually an estuary).

I can’t take any credit for this meme, but on behalf of all of us, I would like to thank the internet

Downtown, Nightlife, and Festivals

There’s no shortage of things to do and places to visit to wile away the hours; if you are looking for a good time and a place to imbibe, we’ve got everything from Back-alley bars to swanky cocktail lounges. Craft beer abounds, and in the summertime, nothing beats drinking on a deck at Brown’s.

If you prefer to enjoy Troy while sober (hey—you do you), you can eat and shop your way to Nirvana at the numerous privately owned shops and eateries in and around Monument Square.

If you are the artsy type, you can catch a show at the acclaimed Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, or stroll through one of the city’s art galleries during Troy Night Out.

And because we are the life of the party—Troy is also host to numerous festivals and special events throughout the year (pre-COVID times, anyways). There is River Fest, the Troy Pig Out, Troy Night Out, the Victorian Stroll, the Enchanted City steampunk festival, Empty Bowls, Chowderfest, the list goes on…Not to mention we have the largest Flag Day Parade in the country.

THE Farmer’s Market

We just so happen to have the best damn Farmer’s Market in the country. No, really. In the summer, all of downtown Troyfalgar transforms into a marketplace for fresh fruits, veggies, cheese, wine, even arts and crafts. In the winter, it moves indoors, but it’s still hopping.

The view from the Hill

The only thing we are missing is a good piano-bar…Oh well. Nothing’s perfect.

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