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Upstate life intrigues
newcomer to region


I graduated from CUNY Brooklyn just as the coronavirus pandemic was starting. After spending a year stringing for local Brooklyn publications and covering Black Lives Matter protests, I was ready to embrace a different lifestyle when I was offered a position as staff reporter for the Freeman’s Journal.

I’m not a sentimental person when it comes to where I live. I lived for three years in Flatbush Brooklyn, which was neither hipster nor trendy.

Instead, I spent my nights huddled up alone in my apartment watching anime and listening to the countless amounts of gunshots and firecrackers all night.

Compare that to moving to Oneonta, where the only thing that broke the silence was the freight train rolling past Neahwa Park and the occasional drunken college students chattering outside.

The weirdest thing about moving to Oneonta though was the fact that everybody seemed to be happy, a foreign concept in the city, apparently.

It seems like most New York City residents fled to Long Island, my home region, which I never liked, and New Jersey. I chose to go Upstate. I guess I’m just a singular experience in that growing trend.

But it was really the job that made me come here. There was nothing I wanted to do more than journalism, and I was finally being given a way to make that tricky career choice of
mine work.

One thing I’ve learned is that some of the most impactful work you can do as a journalist is in small towns and cities. New York City, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. have no shortage of journalists, all of them competing for the same positions and stories.

In the end, my decision to work for a local paper, one which had been around for literal centuries, seemed like a no brainer, because I was committed to the importance of local journalism.

Loneliness is a bigger issue than anything else I’ve faced so far. In an effort to meet people, feel alive and be happy, I’ve done things I’ve never expected that I would do: I took pictures at a burlesque show, I’ve gone to Main Street and played guitar, I’ve eaten cold cheese pizza at Tino’s, drank coffee and read a book outside the Green Toad Book Store and somehow I’ve had random conversations with complete strangers about nothing in particular.

You can’t really do that in Brooklyn.

Well, yeah you can, but it would be a fruitless endeavor. Nobody is interested in you personally. In New York City, you’re a cog in the machine. You’re just one tiny spec among millions of other tiny specs. You may love the city, but it is unrequited. The city will never love you back.

Oneonta might be strange, different, even bizarre, at least from the perspective of a Long Island kid who moved to Brooklyn, but I can’t believe that the City of the Hills doesn’t care about me. It just doesn’t have that vibe.

For that, I’m grateful.


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