|The Stockade District|
As it is absolutely freezing outside I doubt many people want to travel farther than they have to. This usually means students are contained within campus walls as the prospect of leaving the comforts of the campus also comes into play. I am well aware that Schenectady doesn’t have the best reputation, however I decided to see for myself just what this town has to offer. Having no expectations I was quite thrilled when I left campus to discover that Schenectady does, in fact, have many charming attributes. I’m not saying all of Schenectady is a walk in the park, but for the most part this town has a lot to offer young college students.
1. State Street
This street has much to offer us Union students. Although it seems to go on forever and ever without an end, all that we really need is located within walking distance to the campus. Given it can be a very cold 15 minutes walk in the winter, it is worth it to go catch a movie or make a quick run to pick up goodies for your dorm room. A few of my favorite places on State Street include: CVS, the Bowtie Cinema, Bombers, and the Paul Mitchell hair salon. I am a frequent shopper at this CVS as I have an obsession with dying my hair at the most random of times. The CVS offers a lot of different hair color options and has the perfect college dorm room snacks. My favorite is the multi-pack of Nature Valley bars they have started selling. It is also a good place to pick up an misc. items from a new toothbrush to deodorant. No one wants to pay a million dollars at the book store for something they can get for a discounted price right around the corner. I also love the Bowtie Cinema as it reminds me a little of the Spectrum 8 Cinema in Albany where I used to work. I love the tiny theatre feel and the fact that I can order chicken wings and fries, even though it takes ten years before they are prepared for you. They also show a good variety of movies and although they don’t show independent films I usually like all the movies playing. Bomber’s Burrito Bar is also located on State Street and makes my life a little bit brighter. On top of loving the food there, I also love the environment. It reminds me a lot of Union with all the college paraphernalia on the walls and the homey feel to it. I enjoy my trips to Bomber’s so much that I have even applied for a job there! The Paul Mitchell hair salon is also a fantastic place. Because it is a school the rates are reduced and you can get a gorgeous haircut for a reasonable price. The atmosphere is also nice as many students are in their twenties and are very easy to relate to.
2. Jay Street
Ahhhh, Jay Street. This is fast becoming my favorite street in Schenectady. In fact I was just there yesterday at one of my favorite restaurants. It is full of colorful shops selling bizarre, funny, and delicious items. Some of my favorite places on this brightly lit street include Chez Daisie, The Open Door Bookstore, and Tattoo Blues. Chez Daisie is absolutely incredible. It sells homemade crepes that are some of the best crepes I have ever eaten. The first time I dined there I skipped the dinner crepes and went straight for a dessert of banana, peanut butter, and nutella deliciousness. When I went yesterday I had my first actual dinner crepe there which consisted of red peppers, diced chicken seasoned with Cesar dressing, greek olives, and so much more. It was incredible, especially because it was followed up with a crepe filled with strawberries and nutella. I was in heaven. The next shop I love is the Open Door Bookstore. I can honestly spend hours in this little place browsing the bargain books and staring entranced at the giant books filled with all sorts of interesting images. It also sells various odds and ends such as picture frames, candles, and knick knacks. I have already bought three novels from this store and have great difficulty not buying a book every time I walk past. Tattoo Blues is my next favorite store on this enchanted street. I love to walk past and look in the windows at the people getting tattooed. I have always been fascinated by the thought of tattoos, of someone forever staining their skin with something that means so much to them. I find all the books filled with images of thousands of different tattoos incredible. I have a hard time resisting the urge to tattoo myself. It is like they say, once you get one it is almost impossible to stop there.
3. The Stockade
And now for my final locale. The Stockade District is a historic site in Schenectady that has one of the largest concentrations of colonial houses in all of the United States. Upon first visiting this historic area I made the correct choice of visiting it with my parents. They knew more about the area than I did and therefore almost gave me my own personal tour through the tiny, winding streets. The area is just incredible, full of these gorgeous, old colonial structures that are bursting with history. I loved seeing the authentic plates on each house dating the time of its construction. Some of the houses had sadly fallen into disrepair, but I saw glimpses of hope as many older, more shabby looking houses were in the process of being restored. I had no idea so much history was lurking down the street from Union College. I encourage everyone to go and visit the Stockade. It was truly a treat to be able to see these beautiful houses. My favorite part of that day was finding a small park located alongside the river where my parents and I took a little stroll together. I remember discussing my future at the college and all that I hoped to accomplish while gazing out at the river surrounded by so much history and promise. It was one of the most peaceful days of my life.