It seems like I am constantly thinking about why I love Binghamton. Rather than keeping these thoughts to myself, I thought it might be worthwhile to actually take a second to try to compile the main reasons I love Binghamton and share them with all of you. I have lived here since 1997, and over the years I have come to realize that it is actually a great place to live, at least for me. Sure, it has its pros and cons. But hey. The sun is shining, it’s a beautiful spring day, and today I want to look on the bright side. So here goes.
6 Reasons Why I Love Binghamton:
1) The Location. Not only is our area located at the confluence of two beautiful, rushing rivers (and that is awesome in and of itself thank you very much!), but we are in a PRIME geographical location in general. On any given day, we could get in our car and get to:
…the beautiful fingerlakes region in under 2 hours. This includes some amazing towns and wineries!
…the majestic Adirondack Mountains (!!!) in a little more than 2 hours. [Little known fact: The Adirondack Park is bigger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Smoky Mountains Parks COMBINED. And it’s within driving distance of us!]
…New York City in 3 hours.
…Philadelphia in 3 hours.
…Boston in 5 hours.
…Need I go on?
My point is, we are within a reasonable driving distance of a TON of great places. There are lakes, gorges, waterfalls, an ocean, mountains, forests, you name it, within a 6 hour radius of us. We can visit major cities quite easily, but still enjoy the minimal traffic, easygoing lifestyle, etc. of living in a small city like Binghamton. We are in a very central location and I absolutely love that fact.
2) Just the Right Size. The Binghamton area is, in my opinion, not too big and not too small. It’s big, in that there is a lot to it when you consider that it basically encompasses the area from Owego all the way to Conklin and everything in between. But it’s also small enough that it’s not overwhelming, and anyone who lives here can attest to the “small town feel.” When you meet someone new, chances are you can find out about a mutual acquaintance within a few minutes of conversation. It’s big enough that there is always something new to discover or explore in terms of places as well as activities, but it’s small enough that people notice when things are going on and news gets spread by word of mouth in a very old school kind of way. For example, there is a new ice cream place opening near where I live, and almost everyone I’ve talked to seems to know about it. People notice these things around here, whereas in a bigger city they might not.
3) The Weather. Now hear me out. I’m not saying that I love the cloudy, rainy days that Binghamton is so famous for, because those can get a little rough sometimes when there have been too many in a row. But, that being said, what I DO love is that when the weather IS nice, people very obviously appreciate it around here. I can’t help but smile when I see people wearing shorts and t-shirts when it’s 45 degrees out. And the only reason they’re doing that is because they’ve gotten so used to it being FREEZING cold, that it feels downright balmy to them. Right when the weather starts to turn from winter to spring around here, you’ll notice people cruising down the road with their windows down like it’s the middle of summer. That attitude is contagious. Everyone seems to be in a hopeful, happy mood when the sun does shine here (no matter how occasionally that may be), and it’s easy to get on board with that.
4) Anything is possible. Our area has been through a lot in the last 50 years or so, with some big industries and companies downsizing or leaving entirely, not to mention the floods of 2006 and 2011. I don’t know about you though, but lately I’ve noticed that there’s something in the air around here. A certain sense of optimism and hopefulness, a unified vision for what is to come. No matter who I talk to, there seems to be a growing consensus that things are on the up and up, that the future is bright for our area. Downtown Binghamton is definitely changing to accomodate the needs of the thousands of students that have moved there (thanks to the opening of 20 Hawley Street and Twin River Commons), and since BAE Systems and its employees started working out of the former IBM campus, the North Side of Endicott has experienced a mini-revival, with businesses there extending their hours and services. It’s changes like this that re-energize people and make them want to invest in the greater Binghamton area, and those investments are being seen every day.
5) The Food. We have a really awesome food culture around here. First of all, no matter where you are in the greater Binghamton area, you are probably within minutes of a good place to eat, whether you’re in the mood for bar food, classic diner fare, a pizza, or authentic ethnic foods like Italian, Indian, Greek, Ukrainian, Turkish, Czechoslovakian, Korean, Chinese–you name it, we’ve probably got it. Not to mention the different festivals that are held throughout the year at area churches, which often have some really unique and amazing ethnic foods to offer as well (think the Greek festival in Vestal, the Ukrainian festival in Johnson City, or the St. Anthony’s Bazaar in Endicott!). For someone who loves to try different foods, Binghamton is a wonderland.
6) The People. At the end of the day, this is the clincher for me. I absolutely love the people around here. Just about everyone that I come into contact with, no matter what the setting, is generally friendly and down-to-earth, willing to have a conversation and connect on some level. Negative interactions are definitely a rarity. This is probably due in part to that small-town feel that I mentioned previously, but I think it’s also just something about Binghamton.
I could go on and on about what I love about living in Binghamton, but these are the major reasons that are at the forefront of my mind. Sure, it has its downsides, but so does any area, really. I’m not saying that it’s perfect and doesn’t have room for improvement. But at some point in life, we have to decide to bloom where we’re planted. And personally, I’m happy to be planted here, in Binghamton.