Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Mohawk Valley Is In Appalachia!

While I am a little late posting about Eliot Spitzer's comments on how Upstate New York looks like Appalachia (a Times-Union blog and NYCO blog have already made excellent comments on it), I have thought about our relationship with Appalachia for a long time.

According to Newsday, here is was Spitzer said:

"If you drive from Schenectady to Niagara Falls, you'll see an economy that is devastated," Spitzer says on the tape. "It looks like Appalachia. This is not the New York we dream of."

It seems like a lot of New Yorkers, including people at the learned New York Times, learned this week that part of New York State is in Appalachia according to the Appalachia Regional Commission. I guess the staff there is too young to remember the massive police raid on a Mafia summit in the village of Apalachin, New York in November of 1957.

But the real question is why isn't more of New York State designated part of the Appalachian Region. Since the Appalachian Mountains stretch from Quebec to Georgia, and the Appalachian Trail stretches from Maine to Georgia, and the Mohawk Valley is described as the only natural gateway through the Appalachian Mountains, then why aren't the Mohawk Valley and other areas of Upstate New York part of the Appalachian Region?

The Mohawk Valley is not only the corridor through which immigrants poured through the Appalachian Mountains to the west, much of it is rural and has the same poverty and sense of hopelessness that parts of Central and Southern Appalachia have. At least we do here in Fulton and Montgomery Counties.

Central and Southern Appalachia were forgotten areas until they were rediscovered back in the 1960s and 70s. Here in Northern Appalachia, we are still waiting to be discovered.

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