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The Collar City: My Visit to the Hidden Gem of Hudson Valley, Troy, N.Y.

Last week I was lucky enough to attend the Orchestrating the 21st Century Symphony in Albany, N.Y. Upstate New York has remained a mystery to me. My only connection to Albany is attack ads during political season. You know “Tell Albany to Get to Work!” that kind of stuff. I pictured Albany as an large congressional board room with fat chubby older men eating sub sandwiches while pretending to sign important documents.

Yet, I was not to meant to be in Albany. My hotel and workshop actually took place in Troy, N.Y, which is across the river from Albany. My cab driver made it clear Troy “isn't Albany, people will get mad if you confuse the two.” Albany Symphony booked me and the eleven other composers an amazing hotel room. After I checked in, I wondered around. I noticed right way many abandoned building especially churches.

This building in particular caught my imagination. Stylistically I fell in love with it. I pictured several possible story lines: Twilight Zone episodes, ominous story-lines about men trapped in time, a very hip recording studio with a menacing curse.

Twilight Zone Abandoned Building

Or this abandoned Catholic Church. In person, the church is massive and stunning. I always become sad and shocked when a beautiful building is abandoned.

Curved architecture always wins me over:

Just one of many gorgeous buildings in Troy

Apparently Uncle Sam was a real person, who lived and died in Troy, N.Y. Thus beer, burgers and bowling alleys would be named Uncle Sam something or another:

Uncle Sam Lanes – just gorgeous and fun mid century bowling alley.

In addition to Uncle Sam tributes, Troy also loves stairs. So many in fact, Troy – should be renamed "Stair City" or get an elevator.

Look at all these stairs I had to climb twice a day:

The infamous stairs at EMPAC, climbed daily

I was climbing and complaining at the time this photo was taken

Other things I enjoyed in Troy:

This dumpster

An unemployed Dante now writes on dumpsters

The bar with live plants inside:

The Tiffany Church Glass

Composer David del Tredici speaks about his music at St. Paul Episcopal Church

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