Utica on the Map

Utica on the Map
Smack in the Center

Monday, June 6, 2011

Catch Up, Plus Good News for Utica via NPR

Little Italy

No, this is not East Utica! But the flavor is similar. It's Little Italy in Manhattan.

Warm greetings and apologies to my many followers, fellow bloggers, and cool people of Utica. My last post was May 17th, and one of the cardinal rules I have learned in the fleeting world of blogging is keep those posts coming or your blog will drop dead from lack of upkeep and interest.

I have been sick as a dog for most of this past winter, culminating in a horrible flu I acquired en route to Brooklyn, NY to visit my daughter. It began as a cough, then a sore throat, until it filled my chest and created a hacking cough and fever. I made it through two great dinners, an Israeli breakfast, a Circle Line cruise (my daughter, a true citizen of NYC, had never gone), and a visit to Little Italy, not to mention several climbs up and down her three-story building, before I collapsed on the way home a week ago Monday. Just got on my feet last weekend and I am more or less up and about today.

Which is when I came upon my neglected blog!!!

So let me begin to pick up the pieces with a piece that appeared in the Observer-Dispatch a few weeks ago regarding a program on National Public Radio (NPR) entitled "State of the Re:Union." Al Letson, the host, is doing a whole series of shows about forgotten and neglected cities and towns in the USA, and he gave Utica a pretty good review.

What really seemed to impress his producers was the acceptance here of the new mosque on Court Street. While the citizens of Manhattan were battling over the creation of a new mosque a few blocks from Ground Zero, the citizens of Utica were welcoming the Bosnian-Muslim community and its mosque.

If you haven't seen it, it's an old church transformed into something new and beautiful, a white mosque with gray accents.

The O-D article notes that people who listen to the NPR report on Utica (http://stateofthereunion.com/) will hear about the mosque as well as Rev. Maria Scates on her work to rehabilitate a drug-infested Cornhill neighborhood. "People outside of the area are noticing things here, and if we are smart enough to capitalize on this they can be trigger points for a much more prosperous future," said Gary Grates, executive with the independent PR firm, Edelman.

The "Re;Union" producers visited last January and spent a lot of time sampling the ethnic food on Bleecker Street in such restaurants as Thuy and the Florentine Bakery.

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