The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Our city's resurgence

As I peered out through Proctors office windows the other day I noticed State Street. Wow, big deal, you say … let’s move on to another blog. But hold on now -- I mean I REALLY noticed State Street.

Sometimes it’s easy enough to pass by or walk through a place and be oblivious of my surroundings because I was either on a pressing task, or on lunch, and the street was simply just my backdrop.

But as I stared out the window then, I noticed …. signs. Long, brightly lit, rectangular signs for businesses jutting out from the front sides of their buildings -– signs for Bomber’s, SEFCU, Paul Mitchell The School, Nico’s Pizzeria and CVS.

Then I noticed the buildings' newer facades, some of which had been brought back from their once destitute appearance and now repaired and reconstructed within the past year or so.

And today, as I was actually crossing State Street coming back to the office after conducting a “task," I noticed street lamps with flags posted on them lining both sides of State Street. The flags depict some of the best Broadway shows to have graced (or will in the near future) Proctors' stage, including "Phantom of the Opera," "Mamma Mia" and "Hair."

Why am I mentioning this? What’s the point? Well, I’ve been an employee of Proctors for some time now. I began my work here as an intern about 12 years ago. Back then, there were no signs. At least none like the ones that exist today. Back then, the signs that were on buildings for the most part had read as “Foreclosure,” “Closed” or “Condemned.” There were no street lamps with Proctors flags posted on them. The facades were weathered and pitiful looking.

Back then, if I wanted to go out for lunch, it was pretty much slim pickings, except for a few local restaurants that thankfully still exist today. There weren’t very many people walking around, and if there were, it was most likely because they were on a “task” themselves, only to go straight back to their offices, or places of work hurriedly. There was no real reason to linger about.

Today, however, I have a hard time believing my memory of what downtown used to look like; the deteriorating buildings that once existed, the cracked sidewalks, the destitute facades, and the ghost-town atmosphere that now have all seemingly faded into the past.

I know it’s been said time and again in newspaper articles and other media about the resurgence of downtown Schenectady -- and I’m probably beating a dead horse in terms of old topics -- but for some reason, in those moments of looking out our office window, and on that day that I was crossing State Street, I just had to take in what was a huge, huge, change from 12 years ago. Now, there is a reason to linger, to hang out, to stop and chat, to visit a shop, restaurant, etc. Now, when I go out for lunch, I’ve got a plethora of eateries to choose from.

I have to be honest here and admit that if someone had come to me over a decade ago with a crystal ball that foretold of what I’d see now in 2010, I wouldn’t have believed him or her. I‘m sure I would have been hopeful, but skeptical. I’m so glad I would end up wrong. I wonder what downtown Schenectady will look like in another 12 years. I imagine the transformation will continue and we’ll see many more changes…and many
more signs.

Francesca Mancino has worn many a Proctors hat in her 12 years, and might change into a few more in the next 12. As corporate advertising manager at Proctors, she handles all Playbill, ticket stuffer, web and movie advertising. If you are interested in advertising or would like more information regarding these options, please contact her at (518) 382-3884 ext 135 or

To learn even more about Proctors, visit or click HERE.

Enjoy this post? Share it!


December 31, 2010
8:07 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I couldn't agree more, Francesca. As a Stockade resident for 42 years, I have truly seen a rebirth.
Fred Heitkamp

January 4, 2011
3:58 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

For more perspective on downtown resurgence, read New Heights/New Horizons (Blogs > Community). -- Thom O'Connor

columnists & blogs