I want to know all of York State. I want to have some sort of memory to recall for every village, township etc. in York State. I'll make a map to show how much of York State I need to know(what I consider York State) which also includes how much I know so far. Cities aren't interesting, I want to find the most middle of nowhere place. For me to know a village it needs to have some sort of main street, some sort of structure(s) to represent that community -something to give it a center or consciousness(or at least an apparent one, so I can form a picture to go with the name on the map.)
I figure most everything west of the Hudson to Jamestown, everything from the NY-PA border well into the Adirondack's and Watertown are my borders. The villages of the western and southern Catskills are of a different sort than those of the Adirondack Park, so the Catskills will probably be more prominent in my formation of York State. Although, just south of the St. Lawrence there are probably some true-blue York State hamlets -but an expansion of my York State conciousness will have to wait until I've mapped out everything south of Lake Ontario and west of Rockland County. I want to know all of York State.
I know where the people of Tunnel go to get their mail, I know that the most depressing bar south of the Finger Lakes Region is in the Town of Lisle, I think Triangle might not be more than a general store and an antiques shop. I need to have some sort of memory to associate with any village someone mentions, or writes about, or with words on a directional sign when I'm on my way somewhere. My father can recall some random thing about every town he's been in; he's probably been in every middle of nowhere place in southern and central York State. He grew up in Norwich, I can ask him what's more 1980's: Greg's Big M grocery store in Whitney Point or the Great American grocery in Cooperstown, and he knows what I mean and replies that the Great American in Cooperstown is probably more 1960's. It's actually slightly disturbing that he can't recall that I have my degree in anthropology, but can recall arcane information about where the name White Sulphur Springs came from besides for there being sulphur springs.
In Tioga County there is a town which is the crossroads to all of central York State, this is Richford -birthplace of John D. Rockefeller. My girlfriend recently asked me where I wanted to live if I could live anywhere, and I told her Richford. She knows what Richford is; it's a gas station across from a tiny ice cream/hot dog stand and some streets with houses. She was baffled as to why I'd want to live there, but I would -and I'd go to the potato festival there or whatever festival it is, and I'd own the ice cream stand -right there at the crossroads. I would probably come into contact with a ton of York Staters venturing north to Cortland, west to Ithaca, south to Newark Valley, or east to Greene who are from even more middle of nowhere places than Greene. They could tell me something about their town, and I could probably tell them something about how an abandoned mausoleum across from a cemetary there reminds me of a certain horror movie -or I can ask them if the guy with the bad brain tumour that they were collecting change for in the gas stations ever had that operation.
There are places like German, Fishes Eddy, and Beaver Meadows that I'm not sure have any type of main street, but I still have some memory to associate with the places. They can't be considered for winner of absolute middle of nowhere because they don't have any type of apparent center(I don't think the one-lane bridge over the eddy in Fishes Eddy counts, even if everyone travels over it everyday.) I figure there's some township north of Olean and southeast of Buffalo that may win it all. Although I'm not counting out the space north-west of Oneonta and East of North Norwich.
There's too much going on in the Adirondack's and Catskills during the different seasons for their towns to pull most middle of nowhere place, sorry Swan Lake. Last summer I was lost trying to get to my favorite two townships in north PA, which will remain nameless, and ended up in some village with a million antique stores, a lumber yard, a small grocery/bait shop and a couple bars. I went into a bar for a sandwich and there were already 4 or 5 regulars drinking at 1 or 2 in the afternoon. I learned quite a bit about the town from the walls, plus some interesting gossip from the patrons and bar tender. It was strange to me that there were regular working people that lived in the Catskills all year round; since my picture of humanity in the Catskills has always been either that of the Bed and Breakfast patron from downstate, the outdoors family vacationers, or the old men who kick it with Rip Van Winkle outside the saloon(Jesus, I can't remember, maybe it was by some tree.) to escape doing work or being nagged by their old dutch wives. In fact many towns in the Catskills are as York State as Palmyra, and there is even a secret city there called Liberty!
I wonder if people who've briefly stopped in Johnson City remember the shopping mall, or massive Christian store -which is named 'Arrowhead' for some reason, or if they went down Main Street and thought that there sure were alot of dollar stores and dirty-looking diners. Maybe they've been there before and wonder what happened to the gay bar, eyesore abandoned factories, or strip club that were on or just off Main Street. I want every town in York State to feel familiar, for whatever reason even if no specific memory can be recalled -but it's even better if I can picture the castle of Walton or the bar me and my friends walked in and then out of in Hancock(across from a crappy auto-dealer with a stupid car pedestaled into the air) when the bar-flies eyed us--when someone says they're from a village between Hancock and Walton.
-Posted by Joe