It wasn't until I went to college that I heard the term "Troylet;" a jokingly clever way some referred to me and all those who grew up in the Collar City. Growing up, I heard the stories about Troy's great past while the present reflected more of a depressed, hollow city, whose inhabitants and visitors fled to the suburbs and the malls.
Now, nearly a decade after leaving the city, I find myself coming back due to a burning curiosity to see and feel what some are dubbing the next Brooklyn.
Once empty Tiffany stained glass buildings are now packed with transplants visiting the many local cafe's, furniture, art and clothing shops.
For a few hours this weekend, I visited many shops and spoke with their owners to learn what their passion was for taking the entrepreneurial risk of starting a business. Interestingly, many of the owners combined a strategic mindset, sense of purpose and a belief better times are ahead.
This is a picture of Troy's old "Red Light District," which some say is the origin of the term, since the city lit this (5th) street with red lights to warn the "good people" of the undesirable activity taking place.
While I was shooting, a man (late 20's to 30's) approached me to tell me about how he left NYC to come north and bought a brownstone, to be a part of the revival. Each time I return I hear the same story. Its not the local's that are transforming the city, its those coming here for a piece of the future. This is what many believe, the start of the gentrification of the city, which is seen by the increased street crowds and hipster feel.
I decided to re-visit a staple of downtown and remarkably, hasn't changed since I was a child; Famous Lunch!
The price of a dog has gone up, but it is as consistent and delicious as I can remember. While I've seen mini hotdogs outside of the Capital Region, the concentration of eateries serving these bite size creations is undeniably Troy.
Now, proudly wearing a "Troylet" shirt, I'll certainly visit more frequently and give my business to the entrepreneurs who are giving this once great city a chance of a re-birth.