Downstater’s View On Upstate New York

Writer: Marissa Gilliard

I have been a down state transplant living in upstate since April. Before that, I went to school in upstate New York for four years. I am originally from Long Island which I think gets a bad rap from the rest of the state. Everyone else thinks Long Islanders are rude, stuck up, and even trashy. Though their are some people with this mentality, I don’t really find upstate that much different from the god forsaken sand bar, Brooklyn’s fart trail, Garbage barge, and the Florida of New York just to name a few insults I’ve heard from upstaters to describe Long Island.

I’ve made many trips upstate before I decided to attend college and live up here.  I used to travel a lot to Syracuse with my family to visit family friends and go skiing. I’ve been skiing since I was five and it’s one of the very few athletic activities i’m good at and enjoy. I love Wegmans an odd amount and I enjoy the cold way more than the heat. Some of my favorite childhood memories are traveling upstate.  As much as I try to fight it, I am a true blooded Lawn Guylander. I refuse to eat upstate bagels, I love New York City and can navigate it relatively well due to going there a lot as a teenager. I think we have a way better alternative/punk scene (Taking Back Sunday, my fellow long islanders are one of my favorites), spent countless hours on the LIRR(Long Island Rail Road), and i’m very proud of the celebrities that hail from here. I spent many of my high school years trying to leave, but deep down it’s who I am, where I’m from, and will always be home.


(Photo: Frankie Cavone)

After graduating high school, I went to SUNY Plattsburgh in Plattsburgh, NY which is way upstate and basically on the Canadian border. Like I said, I didn’t find Plattsburgh all that different besides the -40 degree weather. I also always thought my high school was so small and that everyone knew everything about everyone. I graduated with 300 kids. My boyfriend who’s from upstate graduated with 83 classmates and my best friends graduating class was 23. What I think is a huge misconception downstaters always have of people from upstate is that they think its a land that time forgot and that they don’t see different styles really. I’m very alternative dressing and when I first went to college I had bright red hair, dark makeup, and I listen to a lot of alternative music. Like I said my best friend is from upstate and she has all that stuff and there are way better alternative radio stations up here than on Long Island. On Long Island we have 1. Yes it is rural in parts, but I like that. On Long Island your neighbors are right on top of you. Since graduating high school, I also haven’t dated anyone that was from down state. Sure, would it have been nice to live close by to my significant other absolutely.  But I think it made our relationship stronger.  Guys up here are definitely into more outdoorsy activities like, hiking, fishing, and hunting. I am a self-described indoor girl and I like it. I really don’t find it a culture shock.

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(Photo: Frankie Cavone)

Upstate, New York is very nostalgic for me. I’m a very nostalgic person and when it’s fall, winter, and spring it reminds me of a lot of fond memories. It reminds me of skiing with my family and forgetting my worries for a bit and eating funk and waffle. It reminds me of being a college freshman and making friends, and not being so jaded and experiencing everything for the first time and discovering myself. As much as I say daily that I want to leave this state, there is no state I\i’d rather be from. All my milestones happened here, my family is all here, pretty much all my friends are from here, it’s where I’ve grown as a person. I love traveling to new places here I’ve never been and even discovering my parents history here. New York is one hell of a place.


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