Price Chopper paterfamilias Neil Golub has a modest proposal: let’s rebrand Schenectady as “New Schenectady,” and finally get people thinking differently about the Electric City.
In recent decades Schenectady’s been the Capital Region’s red headed stepchild and the punchline of many jokes. But have you been to Schenectady lately? There are great restaurants and things to do and new development and grand renovation projects everywhere you look. Mohawk Harbor alone is a pretty big accomplishment. These days Schenectady’s punching above its weight, and again becoming a place people want to go to, not run away from.
As for adding the word new to something, the first thing that comes to mind is the failure of New Coke, but let’s reach further back, to the days of the Dutch settlers who named lower Manhattan New Amsterdam. I’d suggest that this strategy worked, drawing throngs of adventurous immigrants seeking good fortune and a fresh beginning. If you like Amsterdam, you’re gonna love New Amsterdam. It is unknown if the Dutch used a marketing firm to name the outpost, as Neil Golub did in coming up with New Schenectady, but it was such a great place that the English stole it away.
It’s tempting to poke fun at the New Schenectady idea — God knows that I did the first time I heard it — but at least they’re doing something. Changing with the times, working with what they’ve got, moving forward. In contrast Albany continues to lead the region in small thinking. Oh, wait, I’m sorry — didn’t Albany open a pedestrian bridge over 787, or something? Good job, Albany. You’ve got some catching up to do.