Date: Tue, 3 Oct 1995 10:26:03 -0400


Subject: Upstate NY

Barnhart Barnhart[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]HIGHLANDS.COM asks about the geographical limits of

"Upstate" with regard to NY State, suggesting that it might refer to anything

north of NYC out of daily commuting range. Larry Horn recalls that in his

youth, "upstate" began at Yonkers. While that may have been facetious,

Northern Westchester was definitely upstate. Vicki Rosenzweig concurs that the

northernmost reach of the commuter trains serves as the boundary of upstate.

Danielle Levitt points out that to people with a NYC orientation the city

limits might be the boundary of upstate, while to people living further north

in the Hudson Valley upstate doesn't start til Albany or so. Finally, Douglas

Bayer chimes in with the western NY perspective that upstate doesn't start

until Utica (a little west of Albany). While there may be four different

definitions of "Upstate" at work here (not surprising to those of us who grew

up in NY State), they have something in common. That is, nobody proposed a

definition of Upstate that includes their home. Now, I grew up in Central

Westchester (Pleasantville, probably about where Larry draws his line), and I

remember clearly thinking that that was Upstate; so, for me, upstate really

does start around the Yonkers line, probably about where the Westchester

busses meet the northern end of the NYC subway. The first time I encountered

substantial numbers of people who laughed at my view of upstate was when I

attended a summer program at Cornell (which is upstate by everybody's

definition, I would think). I was told I was wrong, upstate was really X,

where X=any one of the other definitions given above.

I think this would make a fascinating dialect project for someone at one of

the SUNY campusses (campi?) to assign their students over Thanksgiving or

Spring break (hint, hint).

Alice Faber