Good morning on this unseasonably warm Wednesday.
At what point along the 300-mile journey from New York City to the Canadian border would you consider yourself “upstate”?
Ask three New Yorkers, and you’re bound to get four different answers.
Some say upstate begins where Metro-North ends; a few cheeky Lower Manhattanites have told us it’s anywhere north of 14th Street.
We recently set off in search of a proper definition, and began by reaching out to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office.
“No public official worth their salt would ever get in the middle of that one!” Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, wrote in an email. He added that the office viewed New York as 10 distinct regions, “each with its unique local economy, its own strengths.”
A diplomatic answer, but an unhelpful one.
We turned to The Associated Press Stylebook, the arbiter of journalistic disputes, which advised that the term generally refers to anywhere in the state north of Westchester County. (The Times’s own stylebook doesn’t dare take on the topic.)
The results showed divisions that seem insurmountable: 25 percent said everything north of New York City; 29 percent said everything north of Westchester County; 22 percent said everything north of Poughkeepsie; 7 percent said everything north of Poughkeepsie, excluding the Buffalo area; 9 percent gave other answers; and 7 percent said they weren’t sure.
One man who has given the debate a lot of thought is Marcus Molinaro, the county executive for Dutchess County, the northernmost point serviced by the M.T.A. and the county sometimes referred to as where upstate meets downstate.
Throughout New York’s political history, Mr. Molinaro said, downstate and upstate have generally been used to describe the political, cultural and demographic differences between two areas: “New York City and not New York City.”
But the line has blurred over time.
“As New York City residents moved further outside of the city, and still maintained a relationship with the city, the line of upstate has moved further and further north,” he said. He added that over the last 10 years the upstate-downstate line had moved to Poughkeepsie from Beacon, and in another decade he expects it to be north of Dutchess County.
As our search began to feel futile, we turned to Jon Campbell, a reporter for the USA Today Network, who has become the unofficial moderator of the upstate-downstate debate, often taking the subject head-on with the #WhereIsUpstate hashtag on Twitter.
“I’m at peace with it that there is no right or wrong answer,” he told us. “Upstate is where you feel it is in your heart.”
Here’s what else is happening:
Where else but downstate would a New Yorker be looking at sunny skies and a toasty high near 60 at the end of November?
We’re confused, but not complaining.
It’s not going to last, though. Temperatures are forecast to drop tomorrow.
In the News
• A congestion pricing plan died in Albany nine years ago, but three men have been working to keep the idea alive ever since. [New York Times]
• In a city mostly scrubbed of smut, a PornHub pop-up in SoHo draws lines down the block. [New York Times]
• The man accused of killing eight people in the Oct. 31 terrorist attack in Manhattan pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges, some of which carry a possible death sentence. [New York Times]
• Staggering Manhattan rent increases have made for empty Manhattan storefronts. A City Council bill expected to pass this week could help. [New York Times]
• She suffered a stroke in 2014 on the subway, where she had been living for weeks. Now, she has a room of her own, and is working hard to regain language and motor skills. [New York Times]
• We talked to Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josh Groban, Audra McDonald and others about a charity they support and what motivates them to donate. [New York Times]
• A Brooklyn hospital will pay restitution to sexual assault survivors after illegally billing them for forensic rape examinations. [BKLYNER]
• A Harlem state senator is asking the Commission of Correction to look into violence at Rikers Island, after a captain at the jail complex was attacked by inmates last week. [New York Daily News]
• Staten Island’s North Shore is experiencing a building boom. [Wall Street Journal]
• Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “Revenge of the Suburbs”
• For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Morning Briefing.
Coming Up Today
• Let the holidays begin. Gwen Stefani and others perform at the Rockefeller Center Tree lighting in Midtown Manhattan. Beginning at 7 p.m. [Free]
• A discussion with CNN’s Brian Stelter, “The Inside Scoop on How to Succeed in TV News,” at SVA Theater in Midtown Manhattan. 6:30 p.m. [$10]
• Pushcarts, pretzels and plantains: Hear stories from New York City street vendors at Museum at Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side. 7 p.m. [$14]
• A dance performance, “Perfect Piranha” at The Chocolate Factory in Long Island City, Queens. 8 p.m. [$20]
• Knicks host Heat, 7:30 p.m. (MSG). Nets at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. (YES).
• Alternate-side parking remains in effect until Dec. 8.
• For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.
And Finally …
Forget the politicians and the polls: Who knows more about New York than New York Today’s readers?
We recently asked for your definitions of where upstate begins. Here are some of the responses:
“A working definition of where upstate begins: Where people stop saying ‘my bodega’ and start saying ‘my Wegmans.’”
— Alan Oberst, 40, Lower Manhattan
“When I went to college I was offended when my friends from Long Island and the city referred to northern Westchester as upstate. Then when I moved to the city, and now lower Westchester, I refer to anything north of me as upstate. Sorry, not sorry.”
— Paul Persichette, 32, Bronxville, N.Y.
“Upstate definitely starts when people say all their tax money goes to support New York City.”
— Stephen Stelzner, 72, Huntington, N.Y.
“Upstate for me is that moment I travel beyond exit 15 on the Thruway, feel a sudden sense of relaxation come over me, and take in the ever-increasing beauty as I continue north, wherever my journey may take me.”
— Lori Rocker, 52, Basking Ridge, N.J.
“I live in Inwood. It is the last stop north on the A train. I have heard my neighborhood referred to as ‘upstate Manhattan.’”
— Susan Newell, 68, Inwood
“Battery Park is upstate to me. I’ve lived on Staten Island my whole life — it’s that little dot of land that lies directly below the entire state of New York.”
— Susan Amesse, 59, Staten Island
Where do you think upstate New York begins? Let us know in the comments.
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