The Full Wiki

More info on Upstate New York

Upstate New York: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

View of the Fulton Chain (4th Lake) from Bald Mountain
Upstate New York is the region of New York Statemarker north of the core of the New York metropolitan areamarker.


There is no clear or official boundary between Upstate New York and Downstate New York, but the term "Upstate" is sometimes used to refer to the whole of the state besides New York City and Long Islandmarker. Latitude is generally a consideration in whether or not a place is "upstate", as well as elevation and being away from sea level (hence the prefix "up", meaning both to the north and having a greater altitude). Distance from New York City is also a consideration. Complicating any definition is the usage of the word "upstate" (in lowercase) as a direction, rather than as the name of a region.

Another common perception of the Upstate/Downstate boundary locates it at the point at which New York's suburbs segue into its exurbs. This line would place most, but not all, of Westchester and Rockland counties south of the boundary, putting the northwestern edge of Rockland as well as the northernmost quarter of Westchester (such as Peekskill) in Upstate New York. This definition of Upstate New York corresponds to the orange, yellow, and green areas on the map above.

A more nuanced view would suggest the boundary lies further north. Because most New York City bedroom communities in Dutchess and Orange counties are situated in the southern part of those counties and the New York City's suburban public transportation system extends some distance north, the Upstate/Downstate boundary can be defined roughly by a border extended from Wassaicmarker (where Metro-North's Harlem Line ends) across to Poughkeepsiemarker, down to Newburghmarker and then across to Middletownmarker and Port Jervismarker. This definition of Upstate New York corresponds to the yellow and green areas on the map above and roughly corresponds with the area north of Interstate 84. This imaginary line also demarcates the northernmost reach of high housing prices associated with the Downstate region in contrast to the relatively low housing costs found further Upstate.

Particularly within Upstate New York, the definition of the word "upstate" is often much further north. For instance, many communities clearly beyond the New York City commuter orbit are part of New York City's media market, which includes Dutchess, Ulster and Sullivan counties, and thus do not get local television (via cable) from Albany or Binghamton TV stations. Many upstate residents note that the state capital of Albanymarker, being mostly dominated by New York City-area politicians, has more in common with downstate than upstate, and imply that everything in between, including the Hudson Valley region and occasionally the Catskill Mountains, can be considered downstate; for example, Buffalo News columnist Donn Esmonde (in defending Caroline Kennedy's abortive Senate run) criticized Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's upstate credentials by saying "In the end... [w]e get a [so-called] 'upstate' senator whose Hudson Valley base is equidistant from New York City and Albany, the state’s power centers." Charles Schumer once famously stated "To me, the West begins across the Hudson River." Politics aside, the term "upstate" is occasionally used (somewhat ambiguously) to refer to Northern New York, including the Adirondack Mountains, as opposed to other areas of traditional upstate such as Western New York and Central New York; this definition of Upstate New York corresponds to the green areas on the map above.

For some, the term Upstate evokes sentiments of rural lifestyles and traditional values contrary to those of New York City. In the New York metropolitan area, usage of the term "Upstate New York" typically implies unfamiliarity with (and occasionally condescension towards) the area that the speaker is denoting as such. It denotes areas that are both somewhat north of and considerably more rural than the home location of the speaker. Usage of the term is often taken to be an insulting manifestation of the famous New Yorker magazine's view of the world.

New York City is dependent on upstate for a variety of services; it is the source of the city's water supply via the Delaware Aqueduct and the Catskill Aqueductmarker; much of the city's electric power supply comes from state owned hydroelectric plants at Niagara Fallsmarker and the St. Lawrence Rivermarker such as the Robert Moses power station; and most of the state's prisons are upstate; hence the popular term "being sent up the river" (however, the term originally referred to Sing Singmarker, which is "up the Hudson River" from New York City, but being in Ossining in Westchester Countymarker is still in the "downstate" region). Conversely, the operation of state facilities providing these services is an important part of the upstate economy.

Although much of the eastern end of Long Islandmarker is rural, it is never considered upstate, due to it not being contiguous with upstate (one cannot pass from Long Island to upstate without either navigating waters or passing through New York City). Long Island is also significantly wealthier than upstate regions are and has a significantly different culture.


The region is culturally and economically distinct from the New York City area, though the Hudson Valley counties of Putnammarker, Orangemarker, Dutchessmarker, and Ulstermarker are increasingly peripheral sections of the New York City metro area. The northern upstate area consists of a handful of small and medium-sized cities, with surrounding suburbs, amidst vast rural areas. Dutchess, Ulster, and Putnam are in fact on the border of the New York Upstate. They are a part of the New York Metro area.

Western New York has many cultural and economic ties to the other Great Lakes states as well as Southern Ontario, while the Capital Districtmarker, the Hudson Valley, the Mohawk Valley and the Plattsburghmarker area have ties to New Englandmarker. In fact, cultural leanings in the extreme northeastern portion of the state also cross the border so-to-speak with the presence of prominent French and Anglo Canadian ties - cultural, economic, and familial. Plattsburgh, for example has close ties to its neighbors in the Montreal area and Vermont. Some literary and cinematic depictions of upstate present a sense of small town, Midwestern lifetyles, such as It's a Wonderful Life, set in a small upstate town in the 1940s.

During the 1990s and the 2000s this area has suffered slow job growth [53369] and a rapid loss of young adults. [53370] It has been argued, however, that Upstate doesn't suffer from "brain drain" as much as it suffers from lack of "brain gain" (i.e. other areas of the country attract more educated persons than does Upstate.)

Ancestries from across the United States.
A common misconception is that the predominant ethnic group in upstate are WASP. Actually residents of English ancestry are dominant in only a handful of rural counties. but still have a strong presence in the remaining counties. The Hudson Valley, the Capital District and the Syracusemarker region are heavily Irish American, while the North Country is heavily French Canadian. Italian Americans are the largest ethnic group in Oneida Countymarker, Broome Countymarker, Uticamarker and Schenectadymarker, while German ancestry is most common across western New York.Persons of Polish, Irish, German, and English ancestry are predominant in Buffalomarker and its close suburbs. There is also a significant presence of indigenous Iroquois Native Americans in the area, who mostly congregate on several reservations: the Seneca nation and Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians in Western New York, the Onondaga nation south of Syracuse, the Oneida nation of Oneida County and the Mohawk nation in St. Lawrence Countymarker.

The only two major league professional sports teams in Upstate New York are the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL) and the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL). As a result, the collegiate sports program at Syracuse University (Syracuse Orange) attracts significant regional attention, as do minor league baseball and hockey teams. In addition to teams from Buffalo, professional sports teams from New York City, northern New Jerseymarker, Bostonmarker, and Toronto all have followings in Upstate New York. Rochestermarker is home to several Minor League sports teams.

Other Upstate New York minor league professional sports teams include the Syracuse Chiefs of the Triple-A baseball International League, the Binghamton Mets of the Double-A baseball Eastern League, the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League(AHL),the Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball Association; and the Auburn Doubledays, Oneonta Tigers, the Jamestown Jammers, the Tri-City ValleyCats and the Batavia Muckdogs of the Class A baseball New York - Penn League.

In auto racing, Watkins Glen International Speedwaymarker is the major race track in the area and hosts annual races in the Indy Racing League and NASCAR Sprint Cup. Holland Speedway in Hollandmarker hosts races in the Whelen All-American Series. In addition, numerous smaller speedways and dirt tracks exist in Little Valleymarker, Freedommarker, Humphreymarker, Granbymarker (serving the city of Fultonmarker), Oswegomarker, Lancaster, Ransomvillemarker and numerous other cities and towns.

Two of the most important rock festivals of the 20th century were held in Upstate New York. In 1969 the Woodstock Festivalmarker was held in Bethel, New Yorkmarker, while in 1973 another multiday festival was held at the Watkins Glen International Racewaymarker.

Linguistically, from Western New York to as far east as Uticamarker is part of the Inland North region of American English dialectology, a region which includes Midwestern cities as far west as Chicago and Milwaukeemarker. The Hudson and lower Mohawk Valley has more in common dialectologically with western New England and New York City.[53371]

The boundary between the use of the words pop and soda to refer to soft drinks, however, falls further west than the edge of the Inland North, running just to the east of the city of Rochester: Buffalo and Rochester use pop, like the rest of the Inland North to the west, whereas Syracuse uses soda, like New England and New York City.

Foodways indigenous to regions of Upstate New York include Plattsburgh's "Michigan" hot dog, a variety of Coney Island hot dog; the white hot dog of central and western New York that is known variously as the "White Hot" or "Coney" (pronounced alternately as either "coney" or "cooney"); the "Spiedie" of the Binghamtonmarker area, Central New York's salt potatoes, Utica'smarker Tomato Pie, and Chicken riggies, Rochester'smarker Garbage platemarker, Buffalo's kummelweck and perhaps most famously, Buffalo wings. Calvin Trillin chronicled the origin of Buffalo wings in the August 25, 1980 issue of The New Yorker. Although the potato chip was invented in Saratoga Springs, it has achieved such universal popularity that it is no longer identified with the region. Winemaking is a growing industry in the Finger Lakes.

A Home Box Office miniseries is planned that will dramatize the a New York magazine article on natural gas drillers coming to the region. Richard Russo, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is writing a script for the project.


Adirondack lakeshore
The headwaters of the Delaware, Susquehanna, Hudson, and Allegheny rivers are located in the region. The region is characterized by the major mountain ranges, large lakes, and extensive forests.

The Allegheny Plateau extends into west and central New York from the south. The Catskill Mountains lie in the southeastern part of the state, closer to New York City. The Catskills and the Allegheny Plateau are both part of the Appalachian Mountainsmarker. The northernmost part of the state contains the Adirondack Mountains, which are sometimes considered part of the Appalachians but are geologically separate, a southern extension of the Canadian Shield.

In the more mountainous eastern part of Upstate New York, the valleys of the Hudson River and the Mohawk River were historically important travel corridors and remain so today. Western New York in the vicinity of Buffalomarker is very flat, as it was once the bottom of a glacial lake. The only "hills" in Niagara Countymarker are the Niagara Escarpment, which formed the Falls.

Upstate has a long shared border with Canadian province of Ontariomarker divided by water; including the Lake Eriemarker, Niagara Rivermarker, Lake Ontariomarker and the St. Lawrence Rivermarker. It shares a land border with the province of Quebecmarker in the northernmost part of the state.

The sizes of upstate counties and towns are generally larger in area and smaller in population, compared with the downstate region, although there are exceptions. The state's smallest county in population (Hamilton Countymarker) and largest county in area (St. Lawrence Countymarker on the state's northern border) are both in Upstate New York, while the largest in population (Kings Countymarker) and smallest in area (New York Countymarker) are both part of New York City.

Upstate New York is well known for its cold and snowy winters, particularly in comparison to the more temperate climate of downstate New York. The snowy reputation is especially true for the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Oswego and Syracuse, and is largely due to lake-effect snow from Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The village of Old Forgemarker in the Adirondacks often vies on winter nights with places like International Falls, Minnesotamarker and Fargo, North Dakotamarker for the coldest spot in the nation.

Many of the features of the upstate landscape, such as the Finger Lakesmarker and the drumlins that dot the region, are the result of glaciers during the Ice Age.


Before the arrival of European settlement, the area was inhabited by a mixture of Iroquois-speaking people (mainly west of the Hudson) and Algonquian-speaking people (mainly east of the Hudson). The conflict between the two peoples was an important historical force in the days of the early European colonization. The Haudenosaunee or Iroquois confederacy of the Five (later Six) Nations was a powerful force in its home territory. Their territory extended from the Mohawk River Valley to the western part of the state. From this home base they also controlled at various times large swaths of additional territory throughout what is now the northeastern United States. The Guswhenta , made with the Dutch government in 1613, codified relations between the Haudenosaunee and European colonizers, and formed the basis of subsequent treaties.

The region was important beginning in the very early days of both the French Colonizationmarker and Dutchmarker colonization. Much of the fur trade of the New Netherland colony was located in the upper Hudson Valley. In the seventeenth century, the French established trading posts as far south as the shores of Onondaga Lakemarker, although Samuel de Champlain had alienated the Haudenosaunee during military forays from Quebecmarker. The area was the scene of much of the fighting in the French and Indian War, events which were depicted in the work of James Fenimore Cooper.

The region was strategically important in the American Revolution, and was the scene of several important battles, including the Battle of Saratogamarker, which is considered to have been a significant turning point in the war. While New York City remained in the hands of the British during most of the war, the upstate region was eventually dominated by the Colonial forces. In 1779, the Sullivan Expedition, a campaign ordered by Gen. George Washington, drove thousands of the Haudenosaunee from their villages, farms and lands in the region.

Following the American Revolution, the United States signed a federal treaty, the Treaty of Canandaigua, with the Haudenosaunee, affirming their land rights in what later became Central and Western New York. Nevertheless, State officials and private land agents continued to work to extinguish Indian title to these lands via non-Federally-sanctioned treaties, such as the Treaty of Big Tree[53372], through the early 19th century.

Many of the settlers of Central and Western New York came from the New England States. The Central New York Military Tract, where many of the townships were given the names of classical military and literary figures by Robert Harpur, was established to grant land to Revolutionary War veterans.

Battles with British were fought during the war of 1812 (1812–1815), on land, including the Battle of Plattsburgh, and in the Great Lakes (Ontario and Erie) and St. Lawrence shorelines, including the Battle of Sackets Harbormarker.

Both before and after the Revolution, boundary disputes with Massachusetts, Vermont and Great Britain, and subsequent surveying errors, complicated American settlement. The Province of New York granted lands to settlers in what is now Vermont at the same time that New Hampshire made grants of the same lands. When Vermont declared independence in 1777, the new Republic of Vermont recognized the New Hampshire grants over those of New York. New Yorkers who lost land in Vermont came to be known as the "Vermont Sufferers" and were granted new lands in 1788 in the Town of Bainbridge, New York.

The dispute with Massachusetts over lands to the west of Massachusetts was settled in the 1786 Treaty of Hartford by dividing the rights to the land. The treaty granted sovereignty to the State of New York, but granted to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the "pre-emptive" right to seek title to the land from the Haudenosaunee. The eastern boundary of the Massachusetts lands was thus known as the Preemption Line. This line runs from the Pennsylvania line due north to Lake Ontario, passing through Seneca Lake. The line was surveyed a second time due to initial errors. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts sold this land in large tracts, including the Phelps and Gorham Purchase and the Holland Purchase.

The Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolution established the 45th Parallel as the border with Quebec. This line was surveyed and after the War of 1812, the US Government began to construct Fort Montgomery just south of the border at Rouses Pointmarker on Lake Champlainmarker. Subsequently it was discovered that at that point, the actual 45th parallel was three-quarters of a mile south of the surveyed line, putting the Fort, which became known as "Fort Blunder," in Canada. This was not resolved until 1842 with the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, in which Great Britain and the United States decided to leave the border on the meandering line as surveyed.

Slavery existed in New Netherland and the Province of New York. New York was in the 1690s the largest importer of slaves among the American colonies. Slavery did not end with the American Revolution, although John Jay introduced an emancipation bill in to the State Assembly as early as 1777. Sojourner Truth was held as a slave in the Hudson Valley from the time she was born in 1797 until she escaped in 1826. Through efforts of the New York Manumission Society and others, New York began to adopt a policy of gradual emancipation in 1799. The law passed in 1817 that would finally emancipate slaves did not take effect for ten years, giving slaveowners an entire decade to sell their slaves away to other states. When the law finally took effect, the last 2,800 slaves in New York State were emancipated on July 4, 1827.

By 1825, the Erie Canal opened, allowing the area to become an important component of the 19th century industrial expansion in the United States. The canal also promoted trade with British North America and settlement of newer states in western territories. Later in the century the New York Central Railroad followed the "water-level route" from New York City to the Great Lakes, contributing to the industrialization of cities along its route.

Several times in the nineteenth century, Upstate New York served as a staging area and refuge for Canadian rebels against Great Britain, as well as Irish-American invaders of Canada, straining British-American relations. In 1837 and 1838, in the aftermath of the Lower Canada Rebellion, some Québécois rebels escaped south to the North Country, while on the Niagara Frontier, events of the Upper Canada Rebellion, also known as the Patriot War, took place. In the late 1860s, some of the Fenian Raids were launched across the Niagara Frontier; Fenians also assembled in Malonemarker.

Although now largely discredited, the report of the 1905-1907 Mills Commission, charged with investigating the origins of baseball, named Cooperstownmarker as the place where baseball was invented in the 1830s or 1840s by Abner Doubleday. Cooperstown is the home of the National Baseball Hall of Famemarker and Museum.

In the pre-Civil War era, Upstate New York became a major center of radical abolitionist activity and was an important nexus of the Underground Railroad. Resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act was particularly heated in the region, as evidenced by such events as the Jerry Rescue. The American women's rights movement was also born in Upstate New York at this time; the first women's rights convention was held at Seneca Falls in 1848.

Through the nineteenth century, Upstate New York was a hotbed of religious revivalism. A number of sects, such as the Shakers and the Oneida Community, established themselves in Upstate New York during that time. This led evangelist Charles Grandison Finney to coin the term the "Burned-Over District" for the region. Because of the comparative isolation of the region, many of the sects were non-conformist, and because of their non-traditional tenets they had numerous difficulties with government and other local people. The region is considered to be the cradle of Mormonism, as well as the Women's Suffrage movement. The Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists and Spiritualists are the only 21st century survivors of the hundreds of sects created during this time.

In the 19th century, extractive industries changed the landscape. Potash was manufactured as the land was cleared for farming. Iron was mined in the Adirondacks and the North Country. By the 1870s, business leaders, concerned about the effect of deforestation on the water supply necessary to the Erie Canal, advocated for the creation of forest preserves in the Adirondacks and the Catskills. The Adirondack Park and Catskill Park were created and strengthened by a series of legislation between 1885 and 1894, when the "Forever wild" provision of the New York State Constitution was added.

During the era immediately following World War II, Upstate reached what was probably its peak influence in the national economy. Major local corporations such as IBM, General Electric, Kodak, Xerox and Carrier produced cutting edge products for business, government and consumers. The opening of the New York State Thruway in the mid 1950s gave the region superior access to other eastern markets. This regional advantage faded as many local firms relocated operations to other states, or downsized in the face of foreign competition, similar to other areas in the American Rust Belt.

In recent decades, with the decline of manufacturing, the area has generally suffered a net population loss. In contrast, many Amish and Mennonite families are recent arrivals to the area. Beginning in 1974, many Mennonite families moved to the Penn Yanmarker area of Yates Countymarker from Lancaster County, Pennsylvaniamarker, seeking cheaper farmland. Recently-established Amish communities are in St. Lawrencemarker, Montgomerymarker, Chautauguamarker and Cattaraugusmarker counties.

Five of the six Iroquois nations have filed land claims against New York State (or have sought settlement of pending claims), based on late 18th-century treaties with the State of New Yorkmarker and the United States.


Often attributed to the region's semi-rural character, there is more conservatism in culture and politics than found in the more urban downstate area, and is the power base of the state's Republican Party, especially now that Long Island, a former Republican stronghold, has become slightly more democratic than republican.

There are several exceptions to this rule, including Erie Countymarker (Buffalo), Monroe Countymarker (Rochester), Onondaga Countymarker (Syracuse), Tompkins Countymarker (Ithaca), Albany County (Albany), Niagara Countymarker (Niagara Falls), Broome Countymarker (Binghamton), Clintonmarker (Plattsburgh), Franklinmarker, St. Lawrencemarker counties (influence of Canada), and Ulster Countymarker (City of Kingston, Villages of Woodstock and New Paltz).

As a whole, Upstate New York is roughly equally divided in Federal elections between Democrats and Republicans. In 2004, John Kerry defeated George W. Bush by less than 1,500 votes (1,553,246 votes to 1,551,971) in the Upstate Region.

The conservatism of the upstate region more closely resemble Rockefeller Republicans, pro-business and pro-taxation but socially liberal Republicans who supported the policies of former Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Others are libertarians, socially liberal "Live and let live" conservatism of Vermont, New Hampshire and many of the western states instead of the social conservatism of the southern states and the Religious Right. Some of the Religious Right's harshest critics within the Republican Party, in fact, have been Upstate New York Republicans such as Amo Houghton and Jack Quinn. The misunderstanding of the regional differences in upstate's conservative nature has led to significant political difficulties by both major political parties in the area. In the 2009 23rd congressional district special election, Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava dropped out of the race in the face of competition from Conservative Party of New York candidate Doug Hoffman, who was endorsed by non-New York Republicans like Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty. Scozzafava ended up endorsing Democratic candidate Bill Owens, who defeated Hoffman.

The influence of public service labor unions is also a factor in the Democratic Party's continued strength. Hospitals and public schools are among the area's largest employers, and these agencies have unionized workers. Unionized workers as a whole make up 1 in 4 New York workers, the most in the nation. These unions, most notably the Service Employees International Union and New York State United Teachers, make large purchases of television air time on local television and radio stations during budget negotiations and prior to school budget votes to air commercials featuring scare tactics threatening the closure of hospitals or emergency rooms, larger class sizes, and reduced care if they don't receive more money. Organized rebuttals have been few and far between, although more frequent in recent years; Eliot Spitzer's use of his personal campaign funds to push through his 2007 reforms was the first, more recent movements include Rochester businessman Tom Golisano's Responsible New York campaign, and Buffalo developer Carl Paladino's calls for a constitutional convention directly to address union-friendly laws such as the "Wicks Law" and the Taylor Law.

Upstate politicians have, in fact, sometimes taken the leading role in the moves that give the state its liberal reputation. It was George Michaels, an assemblyman from the Finger Lakesmarker, who in 1970 stunned not only the state but the nation by asking that his vote of "no" on the bill to legalize abortion in New York be changed to "yes," causing the bill to pass by one vote. (He lost his seat at the next primary election, as he had anticipated, but never regretted changing his vote). Nearly three decades later, voters in Plattsburghmarker elected Daniel L. Stewart, the state's first openly gay mayor - a Republican, to boot. Another upstate mayor, Jason West of New Paltzmarker, drew national attention in early 2004 when he officiated at the state's first gay weddings. However, such "liberal oases," which include New Paltz and Ithacamarker, tend to be the state's (and the country's) most liberal regions and unrepresentative of the region's politics as a whole.

It should also be noted that the Democratic Party in upstate cities, particularly in Buffalo, also has traditionally leaned further to the right than downstate Democrats. Jack Quinn, a Republican, was elected from a district that was 57 percent Democratic. Similarly, leading Democrats in the area, including Dennis Gorski, Anthony Masiello and James D. Griffin, were noted for their fiscal and social conservatism and were often cross-endorsed by the Conservative Party of New York.

One example of the ideological divide between upstate and downstate Democrats was the reaction to Governor David Paterson's appointment of Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, who represented the 20th District upstate, to the U.S. Senate. Downstate Democrats were skeptical of Gillibrand's positions on gun control and immigration, which while mainstream in Upstate New York, were to the right of positions of downstate Democratic activists such as Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy. Paterson's appointment of Gillibrand was believed to be an effort to enhance his own chances in a general election by presenting a balanced ticket whch would appeal to moderates and Upstate voters; had Gillibrand not been chosen it was likely the 2010 Democratic ticket would be composed entirely of downstate officeholders. The last time that New York has had a senator of either party from upstate was Republican Charles E. Goodell in 1971.

Proponents of the 2008 presidential run by Sen. Hillary Clinton have pointed to her relative success upstate (she lost the region by less than 10 percent of the vote in 2000) as an argument that she could succeed as a candidate in red states. Skeptics of such a bid have responded that upstate is, in fact, not as conservative as widely believed, at least not conservative in the manner of what is now the leadership of the Republican Party. [53373].

Most of New York State's most successful Republican politicians, however, such as Rockefeller, George Pataki, Thomas Dewey, Fiorello La Guardia, Jacob Javits and Alfonse D'Amato, came from the downstate region, (although some definitions of the boundary would have Pataki being from upstate, and Pataki also owns a farm in Essex Countymarker, solidly in upstate). Most upstate Republicans are politically unacceptable to even downstate Republican voters, and the party's financial backers are mostly based downstate (the corollary, of course, being that incumbent New York City politicians rarely win statewide elections, either). Democratic politicians upstate often tend to be (or at least run) more moderate than their downstate compatriots, and sometimes seek the endorsement of the state's Conservative Party to inoculate them against perceptions of extreme liberalism.

Nevertheless, Republican attempts upstate to court votes by openly appealing to suspicion of New York City have usually backfired. In 1998 incumbent (and Long Islandmarker native) Republican Senator Al D'Amato's Senate campaign ran television ads in some upstate markets attempting to link his opponent, Charles Schumer, to a flock of hungry sharks released from New York City to fleece upstate. Schumer went on to win the election and did surprisingly well in areas considered by New York City residents to be "upstate". In turn, he has probably lobbied for "upstate" interests both in and out of government more than any past "downstate" Democratic senator (for example, he lobbied for JetBlue to provide flights to Buffalomarker and Syracusemarker, producing more competition and lower fares at those airports).

Downstate candidates seeking statewide office have often sealed their fate by displaying profound ignorance of upstate geography. One candidate at a forum in Buffalo once referred to "your airport in Albany" ... a city more than 200 miles (320 km) away. In the 2000 Senate race, Rudolph Giuliani confused the Orange County village of Monroemarker with Monroe County, and the ultimate Republican nominee, Rick Lazio, later released an itinerary confusing Owegomarker and Oswegomarker, two communities a considerable distance from each other. Hillary Clinton won the race, doing much better upstate than expected. Like Charles Schumer, she too has "given back" and lobbied for "upstate" interests more than most past "downstate" Democratic senators (for example, unsuccessfully lobbying for larger Homeland Security funding for the Buffalo area than its size would normally warrant on the basis of it being on the Canadian border, the finding of a putative sleeper cell in the nearby city of Lackawannamarker in 2002, and the presence of the Eastern United States' most vital electrical power generation facilities, the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant and the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant).

But while politicians based upstate rarely win elections for governor or U.S. Senator, some have been elected to other lesser statewide offices, such as lieutenant governor (Stan Lundine, Maryanne Krupsak and Mary Donohue, for instance), comptroller (Edward Regan) and attorney general (Dennis Vacco). The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan officially lived on a farm in Delaware Countymarker while serving in the Senate, but he grew up in New York City and spent much of his career there, making him a familiar face to downstate voters.

The sharp differences in ideology have historically fueled many political struggles by upstate conservatives with largely downstate-based Democrats in the New York Legislature; however the feuds quite often tend to be more on regional lines than on party lines. The most recent major examples were the failed attempt by Syracuse-area assemblyman Michael Bragman, the majority leader of that body to seize control of the downstate-dominated state Democratic party in 2000, which was immediately followed by a strong retaliatory backlash against all upstate politicians in state government and the attempt by both Republicans and Democrats to cater to upstate voters by promising to disband the New York State Thruway, whose toll portions are entirely upstate. Both candidates in the 2006 gubernatorial election (Democrat Eliot Spitzer and Republican John Faso) pledged to eliminate the tolls however at the present time only an eight mile stretch of I-190 in downtown Buffalomarker, which had been collecting tolls to be used to keep I-84 downstate a free highway, has been made toll-free, and in fact the thruway authority has steadily increased tolls annually since 2006. Critics upstate feel that it is unlikely that either party would genuinely be willing to give up such a significant source of revenue, despite promises to the contrary, particularly one that does not draw its funding from the population core downstate.

While Republicans have traditionally controlled the State Senate by virtue of holding most seats upstate, the leadership has often been split between upstate senators such as Joseph Bruno and Long Islanders such as the current leader, Dean Skelos.

The 2008 state senate elections shifted political power in the chamber from the upstate-heavy Republicans to the New York City-centered Democrats. Skelos, a Long Island native, hatched a plan to lure four conservative New York City Democrats (known collectively as the "Gang of Four") to vote for Skelos as leader of the Senate in exchange for committee assignments, but the move backfired: the Democrats in question got the committee assignments (ahead of the upstate senators who were expected to get them) but instead turned and announced their support for Senate Democratic leader Malcolm Smith, as part of a deal ironically hatched by upstate politicians Steven Pigeon and Tom Golisano. As a result, several state Senate Republicans have considered reaching out to the five upstate Democrats (compared to 27 downstate Democrats) in the chamber to form a coalition, including Buffalo Democrat William Stachowski, who would have earned a powerful committee leadership position had it not been for the Gang of Four deal. Stachowski and the others have so far rebuffed any suggestions they would break ranks. In an effort to retain the upstate Democrats, Smith nominated Syracuse senator David Valesky as his second-in-command. Upstate Democrats such as Valesky, Stachowski and Darrel Aubertine often face significant pressure from constituents and other upstate lawmakers to hold more conservative positions than their downstate counterparts.

In the congressional elections of 2006 and 2008, many upstate Congressional seats historically held by Republicans came under serious challenge by Democratic contenders, and some (such as the 20th, 24th, and 29th districts) were lost to Democrats, even with Republican voter enrollment advantages remaining in place. Slow population growth in the 1990s led legislators to eliminate two upstate House districts in the 2002 reapportionment and leave all downstate districts alone, hence, the influence of upstate in Congress has faded from the days in which Jack Kemp; Barber Conable, and Sam Stratton were prominent House leaders.

Upstate New York
Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 46.82% 1,504,543 53.18% 1,708,772
2004 49.19% 1,551,971 49.23% 1,553,246
2000 45.30% 1,348,93 49.33% 1,469,087
1996 36.76% 1,050,511 49.66% 1,419,077
1992 36.72% 1,159,280 39.31% 1,241,203
1988 52.49% 1,506,011 46.71% 1,340,248
1984 60.17% 1,765,919 34.49% 1,158,830
1980 47.93% 1,327,072 41.65% 1,153,234
1976 55.57% 1,555,430 44.06% 1,233,220
1972 63.45% 1,805,076 36.30% 1,032,633
1968 49.60% 1,330,622 44.12% 1,183,698
1964 31.73% 873,257 68.18% 1,876,429
1960 54.05% 1,552,646 45.87% 1,317,838
Downstate New York
Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 30.14% 1,320,570 69.86% 3,060,928
2004 33.39% 1,409,657 65.42% 2,761,973
2000 27.42% 1,054,391 68.64% 2,638,820
1996 25.53% 882,981 67.58% 2,337,100
1992 31.24% 1,187,369 57.97% 2,203,247
1988 43.57 1,575,860 55.51% 2,007,634
1984 49.04% 1,898,844 50.64% 1,960,779
1980 45.64% 1,566,759 45.88% 1,575,138
1976 41.47% 1,545,361 57.87% 2,156,338
1972 55.31% 2,387,702 44.44% 1,918,451
1968 40.84% 1,677,310 53.44% 2,194,772
1964 31.05% 1,370,302 68.80% 3,036,727
1960 42.86% 1,893,773 56.86% 2,512,247

The People, Events and Ideas of Upstate New York

The Arts

See The Arts of Upstate New York

Athletes and athletic events

Crimes and criminals

Educators and Librarians


"Go West, young man!" said Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, and many Upstate New Yorkers did. The dream of moving west or south, or abroad, is common to this day. Here is a link to a list of Upstate New Yorkers who in Huck Finn’s phrase, "lit out for the territories":

Emigrants from Upstate New York


  • Acid rain, caused in Upstate New York by Midwestern coal-fired power plants[53375]

Flora and fauna


  • White nose syndrome (WNS) is a poorly understood malady associated with the deaths of hundreds of thousands of bats. The condition was first identified in several caves near Albanymarker in February 2006.

Endangered species


Invasive species

Superfund sites

(for a comprehensive list see [53376])

Historic events

Innovation and business

See Inventors and Business Leaders of Upstate New York



Upstate New York companies that have moved manufacturing away


Legends and hoaxes

Physicians and Scientists

Political figures

See Political Figures of Upstate New York


Social, political and religious movements

Spiritual and religious figures


Unsolved mysteries

Places of Upstate New York

Major cities

Major highways

Major tourist attractions and destinations

Major universities and colleges


See also

External links


Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address