Corn Hill- Rochester’s oldest neighborhood

Corn Hill is the oldest residential neighborhood in Rochester built just southwest of Downtown and still has homes standing from the 1830s and 1840s. Fortunately much of the neighborhood’s historic residential architecture has been preserved. Its unclear if Corn Hill ever had a vibrant business district. The Southeast quadrant of the neighborhood was redeveloped in the early 2000s with generally historic looking and contextual development. A decent but auto centric mixed-use shopping plaza and apartment development was built in 2008 called Corn Hill Landing. At least this development brought much needed retail to the community.

Additional population and commercial amenities is the biggest need for Corn Hill. Other areas in which it could improve include more walkable schools, better cultural amenities, and better ADA infrastructure. 

Click here to view my Corn Hill album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Good public transit access and very convenient to Dwtn Rochester.
* Nice dedicated bike lane along the River front.
* Excellent racial and economic diversity. Average family diversity with about 31% of households as families.
* For sales homes are generally pretty affordable. Because of the newer townhouse development there are is a good # of 1-bedrooms selling in the 100Ks. 2-beds sell in the 100Ks and 200Ks 3-beds sell btwn 150K-300K and 4-beds with the same + some larger homes selling in the 300Ks.
* Significant % of the new housing was preserved for affordability.
* Park amenities are pretty good including a couple playfields, basketball courts, playgrounds, a rec center, waterfront trail, and the historic Lunsford Circle Park.
* Solid tree canopy.
*Good number of churches and a local public library branch.
* Generally a safe district but still some rough/dead spots.
* Excellent set of historic homes. The urban form of the in-fill housing is pretty good but architecture a bit tacky. The shopping center is very tacky and rather auto centric.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

*An ok grade school is located in the neighborhood. Several other schools in surrounding neighborhoods but not really walkable.
* Rentals are limited. What is listed is generally moderately priced.
* A handful of restaurants, bars, and shops thanks to the Corn Hill Landing shopping center. Major retail amenities missing include a supermarket, pharmacy, banks, and post office.
* Other than several restaurants & bars a couple art galleries limited cultural options. At least you are a 5 minute car ride to Dwtn though.
* Sidewalks are generally in tact but current ADA curbs hit or miss.
* Really no biz districts to speak of. The main arteries Ford St. and Exchange Blvd. function more like Blvds in the suburbs.
* Very quite neighborhood. Not a lot of vibrancy.

Highland Park- a comfortable middle-class neighborhood and home to a Fredrick Law Olmstead park

The neighborhood is named after Highland Park, an expansive park located on the neighborhood’s southern border that is one of several in Rochester originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted,

Highland Park was developed mostly between the 1980s and 1930s and is a comfortable historic middle class streetcar neighborhood friendly to families but also very economically diverse. The district shares a border with South Wedge along South Avenue giving it convenient access to the main retail amenities located there. Clinton Ave is another urban biz district running along the northern edge of Highland Park. This is a decent urban biz district with a good amount of services but quite a lot of auto centric development too. Other urban areas that could improve in Highland Park include better public transit access, more intersections with ADA compliance ramps, more dedicated bike lanes, several schools located within the neighborhood, more cultural amenities and more rental housing options.

Click here to view my Highland Park Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Very convenient access to Downtown.
* Excellent diversity esp. economic.
* Nice diversity of affordability & moderately priced for sale housing. 1-bed homes sell in the 100Ks, 2-beds in the 100Ks & mid 200Ks, 3 & 4 bedrooms anywhere between the 100Ks and mid 300Ks depending on size & condition.
* The expansive Highland Park sits squarely within the southern portion of the neighborhood’s boundaries. Also a nice but small neighborhood park called Ellwanger and Berry Park.
* Culturally there is a good array of restaurants, bars, and cafes. There is also the Lamberton Conservatory Warner Castle within Highland Park.
* Retail amenities include a small local Grocery store, a Pharmacy, a butcher, a decent # of boutiques, several dessert joints, and local stores.. There is also a local public library and a major hospital.
* Good urban massing along South Ave but its more residential here than in South Edge. Clinton is a mix of urban and auto centric massing. 

URBAN WEAKESSES:

* Public transit access is so  here.
* Good sidewalk coverage but most intersections don’t have current ADA ramps.
* Only on dedicated bike lane and not dedicated bike stations in Rochester.
* Rental housing is very limited but generally moderately priced.
* No schools within Highland Park but a couple goods schools in adjacent districts that are quasi walkable.
* No art galleries, live music venues, theaters, and few museum sites here.
* Modern in-fill is limited mostly to crummy auto-centric buildings.

South Wedge- Rochester’s Oldest Neighborhood


South Wedge is one of Rochester’s oldest neighborhoods outside of Downtown and began in the 1820s as a series of small houses owned by families tied to the Erie Canal trade. By the time Frederick Douglass moved to South Wedge along South Ave in the 1860s, the area was bustling and hosted the city’s first street railway.

After World War II the Wedge began a slow decline as residents moved to the suburbs. Businesses closed until the Wedge hit rock bottom in the 1970s. At this time around 25% of all housing units were vacant and crime was high along on South Avenue. But the fortunes of South Wedge really started to rise in the 2000s. Neighborhood groups worked hard to remove crime hot spots on South Ave and bring businesses back. Today South Avenue is one of the most interesting business districts in Rochester with lots of creative and locally owned shops. Architecturally the neighborhood has a nice variety of homes built between the 1840s and 1920s. Many handsome mixed-use buildings line South Avenue as well some decent urban in-fill development.

Main areas for South Wedge to improve upon include more rental housing options (something that is partially being helped with the new infill development along the River), better walkable schools, better cultural amenities, improved urban form along Mt. Hope Avenue, and a full service grocery store.

Click here to view my South Wedge album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Very convenient access to Downtown.
* 2 nice north to south dedicated bike lanes but no dedicated bike stations in Rochester.
* Nice diversity of affordability & moderately priced for sale housing. 1-bed homes sell in the 100Ks, 2-beds in the 100Ks & low 200Ks, 3 & 4 bedrooms anywhere between the 100Ks and mid 200Ks depending on size & condition.
* Several affordable housing buildings in the neighborhood..
* Great park amenities including the Genesse Riverway Trail/Gateway Park, Highland Park to the south, and a couple smaller parks within the neighborhood. Solid tree canopy as well.
* Culturally there is a good array of restaurants, bars, cafes, and a brewery. There is also the Lamberton Conservatory, Warner Castle, Sunken Garden within Highland Park along with walkable access to some cultural amenities Downtown.
* Retail amenities include a Co-Op and local small Grocery store, a Pharmacy, a bookstore, a butcher, a decent # of boutiques, several dessert joints, local stores, and home good stores. There is also a local public library and a major hospital.
* Some decent infill with several new mixed-use buildings along South Ave and new MF housing along the river.
* Generally good urban massing along the main biz district (South Avenue). Much less so along Mt. Hope and Clinton Avenue which often have a mix of auto centric and industrial uses.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Rental housing is very limited but generally moderately priced.
* A couple walkable schools within or nearby but generally not great ratings.
* Only 1 art gallery, live music venues, theaters, and few museum sites here.
* Retail wise only a couple banks and no chain supermarket, nor local post office.

Park Avenue- One of Rochester’s best Urban Neighborhoods

Park Avenue itself was first laid out in 1852 but did not assume its current form until 1875. Park Avenue became one of downtown’s earliest suburbs, filling out by the early 20th century. Decline began in the neighborhood as early as the Great Depression when many of the larger homes were subdivided into apartments. Revitalization efforts took off in 1969 with the creation of the Avenue Neighborhood Association in 1969 to focus on codes, preservation, and revival. Park Avenue, however, never experienced the same amount of decline as other Rochester neighborhoods and by and large retained its urban fabric and buildings.

Now Park Avenue is one of the most urban desirable neighborhoods in Rochester and especially caters to college or young professional. I would argue that the division of many large homes into apartments boosted its urbanity allowing more density and diverse housing options. Park Avenue hosts two attractive biz districts along Park Avenue (a collection of many urban nodes mixed with residential) and Monroe Street. Park Avenue also hosts decent schools, great cultural and retail amenities, great access to Dwtn , and is generally very safe.

Main areas where Park Avenue could improve include more park space. Yes, Cobb Hill Park is large and within a mile of the neighborhood, but there are really no other parks within the neighborhood. Racial and generational diversity is also very limited as this is a very white and young district. Public transit should also be much better considering how close Park Avenue is to Downtown and Monroe Street should have an overlay district to promote more urban and mixed use development to replace auto centric uses.

Click here to view my Park Avenue Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

.* Decent # of schools ranked moderately well. Several large specialty high schools here.
* Solid tree canopy and very safe district overall.
* Generally quality sidewalk and ADA infrastructure.
* Gorgeous historic architecture.
* Generally quality urban form in biz district. Monroe does have some auto centric spots but overall is pretty good. Park Avenue is great!
* Pretty vibrant district, especially for a midwestern City.
* Public transit is ok but pretty sub-par for an inner ring neighborhood.
* A couple north-south bike lanes but no bike share yet in the City.
* Excellent economic diversity.
* Even for a higher end district medium rent is quite affordable hovering around $1,000. A moderate amount of dedicated afford. units here.
* Only a handful of condos available. They sell in the 100Ks. 2 & 3 beds sell for anywhere btwn 200K-400K depending on size and condition. 3& 4-beds 200K-500K. 4 & 5 beds are a bit more expensive but top out at 500K.
* 1 bedroom rentals are a bit limited. 1-beds lease around 900K, 2-beds in the low-mid $1,000s, 3 beds in the mid to high $1,000s.
* Very good cultural amenities in Park Ave including many restaurants, bars, & cafes. Also many art galleries, a couple community theaters and convenient access to many museums in neighboring East Ave and Downtown.
* Retail amenities include 2 supermarkets, a couple drug stores, There are also several gyms, a rock claiming wall, tons of boutiques, home good stores, and dessert shops.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* The expansive Cobb’s Hill sits on the SE border of district. This an excellent park with lots of amenities but virtually no other parks exist within Park Avenue. For most residents this isn’t walkable.
* About 85% of the population is white so pretty poor racial diversity here. Not very many family households either.
* Public transit access is so . Very underwhelming for an neighborhood so close to downtown.
* Limited in-fill housing, and what exists is mainly auto centric.
* Okay racial diversity. Limited family households here.

East Avenue- Home to the George Eastman Estate and Many of Rochester’s Cultural Treasures

East Avenue is home to the City’s best collection of large 19th and early 20th century homes,  historic churches, and museums. This is the neighborhood where George Eastman constructed his mansion and estate in the early 1900s. It also is located just east of Downtown and has several nice urban biz districts (i.e. Park Avenue, East Avenue & Union, and University & Atlantic Ave.). The district also hosts a vibrant food and beverage scene, quality retail amenities, and a diverse array of often moderately priced housing options.

But there are also several areas that the East Avenue neighborhood does not excel at from an urban perspective. Its urban density of around 8,000 people per square mile creating many dead spots, its public transit service is wanting, there are several very autocentric stretches along University Avenue, and it has a very low percentage of family households. An ambitious densification plan and urban form overlay along University Avenue could go a long way towards improving the urbanity of this neighborhood.

Click here to view my East Avenue album on Flick

URBAN STREGNTHS:

* Quality sidewalk infrastructure, but plenty of intersections without ADA compliant ramps.
* Excellent access to dwtn.
* Excellent economic diversity.
* Even for a higher end district medium rent is quite affordable hovering around $1,000. A moderate amount of dedicated afford. units here.
* Very diverse array of for sale price points. Several condo buildings selling 1 bedroom units in the 100Ks. 2-beds sell for anywhere btwn 150K-400K depending on size and condition. 3& 4-beds 200K-500K. The large historic mansions sell btwn 500K-800K.
* Rentals are a bit limited but moderately priced. 1-beds lease around 1K, 2-beds in the low-mid $1,000s, 3 beds in the 2Ks.
* Decent # of schools ranked moderately well. Several large specialty high schools here.
* Excellent Tree canopy.
* Very good cultural amenities in East Ave including many restaurants, bars, & cafes. Also several theaters & live music venues, a handful of art galleries, and a concentration of the best museums in Rochester.
* Retail amenities include 2 supermarkets, a couple drug stores, a mix of chain and local retail. Chain retail is mostly along auto centric biz district and local retail in more urban biz districts. There are also several gyms, a rock claiming wall, and home good stores.
* Very safe district.
* Gorgeous historic architecture.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Transit is only so . Rather disappointing for a neighborhood adjacent to Dwtn.
* A couple north-south dedicated bike lanes but not bike share yet. Apparently this will come soon.
* This is a very young and childless district. Very few families reside here. Racial diversity isn’t’ much better as around 80-85% of all households are white.
* The expansive Cobb’s Hill sits on the SE border of district. This an excellent park with lots of amenities but virtually no other parks exist within East Avenue. For most residents this isn’t walkable.
* Mix of quality urban form and auto centric form in the biz districts.
* Most in fill is auto centric buildings. But new MF apartments replacing the inner belt along Union (district’s western edge), and these are of some urban quality.
* Vibrancy along Park Avenue and East & Union but rest of neighborhood is pretty dead.

Beacon, NY- Hudson Valley’s best Success Story

I only included the pre WW-II portion of Beacon in this evaluation.

Beacon was named to commemorate the historic beacon fires that blazed forth from the summit of the Fishkill Mountains to alert the Continental Army of British troop movements. During the 1800s, the city  became a big manufacturing town and was known as “The Hat Making Capital of the US. Its important to note that Danbury, CT makes this claim as well!

But like most Hudson River Valley cities, Beacon experienced economic decline especially by the 60s.and 70s. By 1990 almost 80 percent of the city’s commercial business spaces and factories were vacant. Starting in the late 1990s, Beacon really focused on an art’s based revitalization strategy beginning with the opening of  Dia Beacon, one of the world’s largest contemporary art museums Dia. This spilled over into the Main Street and other historic warehouse buildings.

Main Street has become so successful that quality urban in-fill is starting to fill the gaps. Beacon’s revitalization success has also spilled over into a high standard of living for its residents, quality schools, good parks spaces, and a great array of cultural and walkable retail amenities focused on Main Street. To help make Beacon a great urban environment, I’d like to see better bike and ADA infrastructure along with a strong emphasis on providing affordable housing as this is a pretty high cost place to live. 
Click here to view my Beacon, NY album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Wonderful historic architecture along the main St. Nothing spectacular
 in the residential areas.
* Dwtn Beacon is becoming such a strong market that there is not quality urban in fill being constructed.
* Good public transit in dwtn Beacon, but it drops off in the neighborhoods esp. east of Fishkill Creek. Beacon is connected to the Hudson line providing convenient access to Poughkeepsie. One can even get to Manhattan in 2 hours.
* Over 60% of households are family households.
* Strong middle class community but still with good economic diversity. Great racial diversity as well.
* Excellent main street overall with great vibrancy, streetscaping, and lots of diverse retail and stores.
* Solid park amenities including a great waterfront park, extensive sport fields at Memorial Park, the South Ave Park, and several other smaller community parks. 
* Crime is low here and blight is limited.
* Very nice array of public, private, and parochial elementary schools within the City core. Middle and high schools are to the north more on the outskirts of town.
* Good cultural amenities including a great array of restaurants, bars, and cafes, several nice live music spots, a performing arts center, movie theater, and one of the world’s largest art museums. Also a good array of art galleries and a couple local museums.
* Not surprisingly lots of boutiques, local creative retailers, a small nature grocery store and a full service grocery store, a drug store, a couple bookstores, several bakeries, a cheese shop, and many antique stores. There is also a dwtn library and post office.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Good sidewalk infrastructure but up-to-date ADA curb cuts are rare.
* A short bike lane along the Hudson is the only one in town.
* For sale housing skews expensive but still a good diversity of product. Start homes run in the 200K, 300Ks, medium sized in the 400-500Ks. Top of the market is 600Ks-700Ks.
* Rental housing is also pretty expensive but good amount of product. 1-bedrooms lease in the $1,000s,  2 & 3 bedrooms anywhere from the high $1,000s to $3,000.

Newburgh, NY- Historic headquarters of the Continental Army

Downtown is generally bound by Washington to the south, 1st to the north, Robinson to the west, and the Hudson River to the east.

Newburgh area was first settled in the early 18th century. During the American Revolution, Newburgh served as the headquarters of the Continental Army. Newburgh became quite prosperous during the Gilded Age helped by its situation on the Hudson River midway between New York City and Albany.

Things started to unravel in Newburgh starting in the early 20th century with mills and industry shutting down. By the late 1960s the city was in full economic decline and used urban renewal plan to demolish the historic waterfront area. Newburgh has struggled for several decades even as Beacon across the river has stabilized and prospered. Much of this has to due with a lack of civic vision and political continuity. Fortunately things have begun to improve in Newburgh. More and more residential properties are being renovated with many homes selling in the 200K and 300Ks. The smaller Liberty Street biz district has seen many new businesses. Broadway Ave is still pretty rough but have businesses and most of its historic urban form. 
Click here to view my Newburgh, NY album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Excellent connectivity Dwtn.
* Hispanic majority population but still good diversity.
* High percentage of family households.
* Good for sale diversity ranging from around 75K-350K depending on size and condition.
* Rentals are a bit more expensive but good amount of product. 1-bedrooms rent in the low $1,000s and 2-bedrooms in the mid $1,000s. This high end price range is pretty surprising given the blight of the neighborhood, but it is New York.
* Good park amenities with Washington Head Quarter’s historic site, a waterfront park, safe harbor’s green (a good civic space), and the expansive Delano-Hitch Park to the west of Dwtn with a swimming pool and many sport facilities.
* Decent cultural amenities including a handful ethnic restaurants, several cafes, and a good number of bars on Liberty, the Ritz Theater, a couple of art galleries.
* While rough the main street urban form is very much in tact. Streetscape still pretty rough. Liberty Ave has the most investment, Broadway has a ways to go still.
* Great density here. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Consistent sidewalks but lots of crumbling infrastructure and ADA
 curb cuts are rare.
* Not many jobs Dwtn but Beacon is only a 15 minute drive. Poughkeepsie is 35 minutes away.
* Public transit is very limited.
* No bike infrastructure really in Newburgh.
* Pretty high poverty Dwtn but some income diversity.
* Really no modern in-fill.
* Lots of blight remain in downtown Newburg. Crime is high but getting better.
* Retail amenities are more limited but include several nice boutiques and local stores on Liberty Ave, lots of small ethnic grocery stores, a florist, a bakery, a hardware store, and some other local retail. 
* The post office and library are located north of Dwtn. No banks dwtn, nor a pharmacy or full service supermarket.
* Only the Catholic grade school is located within New borough. A couple good school options north of Dwtn.
* Even with recent investment in dwtn Newburgh it still has a pretty bad reputation.

Poughkeepsie, NY- A historic Hudson River town with an incredible Walkway over the Hudson

As Poughkeepsie is a pretty old community with lots of development in the 1800s there are distinct neighborhoods and pockets. Figuring out exactly where the boundaries are is a bit undefined, a common problem with historic towns of this size. This review deals specifically with the Historic West End of Poughkeepsie. Its actually not an official neighborhood name but I use it to include the most historic parts of Poughkeepsie and the area west of Downtown. It includes the Union Street Historic District, which dates back to the late 1700s.

The Historic West End of Poughkeepsie is generally a walkable neighborhood with nice historic architecture, good park amenities and several small commercial nodes. It has great cultural amenities but limited neighborhood retail. Fortunately Downtown provides this and is walkable to most residents in the neighborhood. The district is also the main entrance to the Walkway over the Hudson, a spectacular pedestrian/bike bridge spanning the Hudson River. There are several places the neighborhood could improve including the need for walkable schools, more retail amenities, up to date ADA curb cuts, and better connectivity.
Click here to view my Poughkeepsie, NY album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Good density.
* Great public transit access and good access to jobs with the Historic West End being adjacent to Dwtn (where Poughkeepsie County offices are located) and Marist College is located just to the north.
* Good bike lanes in the neighborhood with a waterfront trail and the Walkway over the Hudson trail.
* Incomes are a bit on the low side but plenty of economic diversity here. Also a very racial diverse neighborhood and good generational diversity.
* Good for sale diversity ranging from around 75K-350K depending on size and condition.
* Rentals are a bit more expensive but good amount of product. 1-bedrooms rent in the low $1,000s and 2-bedrooms in the mid $1,000s. Several aff. hsg towers mixed in as well.
* Good park amenities including the Hudson walkway, Pulaski Park, Upper Landing Park and several other smaller parks.
* Cultural amenities include: a good array of restaurants, bars, and cafes clustered at several nodes, a couple community theaters, the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, and convenient access to Downtown’s cultural amenities
* Solid Tree canopy.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Connectivity is the not the greatest as the street grid is pretty erratic.
* Retail amenities are limited in the Historic West End. One generally needs to good Dwtn for this. The MidHudson Hospital is just north of the neighborhood.
* Some blight and crime is higher than the national average in Poughkeepsie.
* No schools in the Historic West End but a couple dwtn.
* Sidewalk infrastructure is good and consistent but up to date ADA curb cuts is rare. 

Downtown Troy, NY- one of American’s most beautiful Downtowns

Troy has a long history going back to the late 18th century when it was formally incorporated. Due to its access to the Erie Canal it quickly became a prosperous city. In 1824 the nation’s oldest private engineering institute opened here, the Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute. The industrial revolution continued to spur industrial and economic growth to the City helping Troy become the fourth wealthiest city in America around the turn of the 20th century. This wealth translated into amazing architecture, especially in Downtown  including many elaborate Victorian and Italianate rowhouses and brownstones along with several great churches containing Tiffany stained glass windows, Troy Music Hall,  Troy Public Library, and much more.

Like most industrial cities, Troy witnessed significant blight and disinvestment. Yet, unlike Albany, most of its historic building stock remains in tact. With new interest and reinvestment this become a great asset for Troy creating one of the most beautiful American Downtowns with great urban form and a truly live/work district. Many restaurants, bars, locally owned retail have opened the past couple decades. While not a major employment hub, Dwtn troy excels as a business incubator as it can provide cheap spaces in an attractive urban districts.

Areas that Dwtn can improve include removal of remaining blighted areas, new condos (for-sale housing is only rowhouses), walkable downtown schools, more bike lanes within the Downtown District, and a full service grocery store. 
Click here to view my Downtown Troy album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

*Great density for a Dwtn especially a mid-sized city. Much larger residential population in Dwtn Troy than Dwtn Albany.
* Wonderful historic architecture. Arguably the best preserved historic downtown in the United States.
* Good street tree coverage especially for a Downtown area.
* Overall a very comfortable pedestrian environment where most curb cuts have up to date ADA infrastructure.
* High quality transit service Dwtn and extending to all of Troy and connecting to Albany. In fact the entire Capitol Region transit system is quite good.
* The bike share system in place in Albany, Troy, Schenectady provides great coverage to all these cities. Several regional bike trails come close but don’t quite connect with Dwtn. Still easy to bike the last 1/2-1 mile without a fully dedicated bike lane.
* Wonderful street grid and connectivity. * Good racial diversity.
* Most for-sale housing options are larger rowhomes. One can purchase a 2-4 bedroom in the 100Ks & 200Ks. Plenty of options in the 300Ks-600Ks depending on size and value. This is great if you want to live Dwtn with a family. Condos are certainly a missing market here.
* Decent array of rental options too. Pretty in-expensive for a dwtn. 1-bedrooms lease btwn $800-$1,400, 2-bedrooms in the $1,000s and low 2Ks, 3-bedrooms in the $2,000s.
* Parks spaces consist of Chamberlin Waterfront Park, sage park, and Monument Square- the modest civic heart of Dwtn in the middle of an ambitious re-design. The extensive Prospect Park is located just SE of Dwtn.
* Good college population within or near Dwtn with Sage College and Renesselaer  Polytechnic Institute (8,500 students).
* Excellent urban form and massing. Surface parking lots are pretty limited in Dwtn Troy.
* Dwtn has an active BID charged with clean up, beautification, and special events.
* Culturally dwtn excells at in the food & beverage industry, several art galleries, several historic theaters, and great cultural amenities from its colleges.
* Retail amenities include a wonderful array of local, creative stores, bookstores,  boutiques, a hardware store, drug store, dwtn post office & library, a small organic grocer, and nearby hospital.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:


* No convention center or sport facilities downtown
* IF you include the universities total employment dwtn is only about 10K. But there are positives in the office market. Troy has lots of small start up companies and trend is very positive. They are attracted by Downtown’s cheap rents (around $12-$15 a square foot). There is also limited vacancy too.
* Portion of Dowtn north of Federal Street and east of 5th Ave is still pretty blighted. But reinvestment seems to be arriving quickly.
* Limited post WW II in-fill but some nice medium sized mixed-income buildings starting to pop up, a sign of Dwtn’s success. Bland mid century infill located north of Federal St. due to some haphazard urban renewal efforts. Lucky this was limited.
* No direct public transit connection between Dwtn and the airport. One needs to pass transfer at Dwtn Albany.
* Incomes generally pretty low in dwtn Troy (30% poverty rate) but this seems to be improving as more young professionals move here. 
* Family households account for 30% of the pop, while this is low note bad for a dwtn area. Also plenty of 3 bedroom + options with all of Dwtn’s rowhouses.
* Crime rate in Troy overall is pretty high. But dwtn generally feels safer other than a few sketchy and blighted spots.
* Without any modern skyscrapers, no traditional American skyline here. Kind of nice though as the historic bldgs and churches still form the skyline.
* No schools located within Dwtn but a couple good options a mile away.
* Given its historic blight and safety concerns, Dwtn Troy still struggles with aa unjustified negative perception.
* Streetscape is generally attractive but uneven in terms of investment.
* No full-service supermarket and large retailer dwtn. 

Saratoga Springs, NY- Historic Vacation Grounds for New Yorkers

Lots of great history at Saratoga Springs. The community was  incorporated as a village in 1826 and quickly became a tourism destination after the arrival of the Saratoga Schenectady Railroad. Its mineral springs and eventually horse racing & gambling led to an explosion of large hotels. By 1900 the town had a fulltime population of 12,000, which grew to 15,000 by 1950. Following WWII, Saratoga had a couple decades of decline but quickly rebounded in the 1970s as a major destination but also attracted lots new housing and quality mixed-use infill.

Saratoga Springs has some major of urban weaknesses that prevent it from being a great urban area… expensive housing, lack of residential density, limited bike infrastructure, limited public transit access. 
Click here to view my Saratoga Springs album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Good generational diversity and half of all households are family ones.
* Congress Park is a wonderful recreational amenity near Downtown. Several other nice park & recreational spaces in Saratoga Springs. Really wonderful in-fill development as well. Not just in Downtown but also in the residential streets.
* Vibrant downtown packed with great shopping and cultural amenities.
* Generally quality sidewalks and ADA curb cuts but lots out of date curb cuts.
* Low crime rate and limited blight through Saratoga Springs.
* Great urban form and streetscaping along Broadway.
* Schools are highly rated and most are located within the historic core.
* Great cultural amenities including ton of restaurants, bars, and cafes, several live music venues, Skidmore College theater, a cineplex, a good array of art galleries, museums and historic sites. 
* Retail amenities include a dwtn supermarket, lots of smaller specialty grocers, great array of boutiques & independent stores, some brand name retail, a couple drug stores, bookstores, public library, post office, Saratoga Hospital. Only retail amenities missing is a target and department stores.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Density not great.
* Decent local public transit but limited access to downtown Albany or Dwtn Troy. There are a fair amount of jobs in Saratoga Springs with it local tourism, the arts and Skidmore College
* 40-45 minute drive to either downtown.
* Bike infrastructure limited inside historic Saratoga Springs.
* Generational high incomes here but some economic diversity. Racial diversity on the other hand is very limited.
* For sale housing is runs expensive but decent diversity in price and type (mix of townhouses, condos, and SF). Starter homes run in the 200Ks. Better 3-bedrooms generally 300-400K. Nice 3 & 4 bedrooms between 400K-700K. Large homes and luxury product generally selling between 700K and 1 M.
* Lots of rental product but pretty expensive. 1-bedrooms leasing in the $1,000s and low $2,000s, 2-bedrooms in the mid $1,000s and $2,00s