Utica on the Map

Utica on the Map
Smack in the Center

Friday, June 24, 2011

What's Wrong With City Hall

This morning I had to go to City Hall to get a permit for a garage sale. I forgot to take pictures, so I am using a standard photo from Google Image, but I will go back and take photos so you can see the plastic lawn chairs out front in Hanna Park and the uninspired fountain, not to mention the overall, overwhelming ugliness of the building and the parts in need of repair.

As if to provide me with the perfect metaphor, on the bench in front of the building a couple in jeans and dirty tee shirts were smoking and reading the classifieds.

When I went inside, the large lobby was virtually empty and in the city clerks' office several people were standing around expressing their opinions regarding a colleague, I assume.

What is wrong with Utica is exemplified by our current City Hall (see above) and our old City Hall (see below), which the city tore down in the 1960's. Why would any city officials destroy such a magnificent architectural treasure and worse, rebuild in its place this piece of utilitarian nothing that nobody will remember or want to remember. I'm sure they cited heating expenses at the time or parking problems or any excuse to explain why they had no foresight or vision for the city's future.

There would be no London or Paris if the citizens of those cities had torn down every building that became expensive to keep up. The architecture a city preserves will repay it many times over in the future--and that applies not just to great cities but small cities like Saratoga Springs, Cooperstown, and   Skaneateles, NY. to name a few.

But not Utica. My experience in City Hall this morning is what defeats me here, what leaves me, in spite of all the local efforts this blog has been noting of late, feeling hopeless about Utica. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree-- and I know many Upstate cities that have destroyed their own history and beauty for the sake of ugly, supposedly "efficient" utilitarian buildings. Honestly, Upstate NY modern architecture SO resembles the gray, unsightly industrial ruins of the Soviet Empire. Very sad to see those old beauties go.