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Death of a Town

downtown.jpg

Just like everyone else, I'm pretty fascinated by the Google Maps satellite application. I've been checking out my neighborhood, my friends' neighborhoods, my relative's neighborhoods...I'm basically a stalker now, so never tell me where you live.

Mostly, I've been checking out the town where I grew up, Amsterdam, New York, population: 18,355. And with all due respect to current residents...a town that's past it's prime, a prime that included a robust industrial sector (Amsterdam rugs were known around the globe) a professional sports team (Yankees single A club) and a vibrant downtown.

This is an image of the killer, the Amsterdam Mall. Celebrated as the future of the city when it went up. Holzheimer and Shaul women's clothing, Mortan's Men's Store, Lumart's shoes...stores that had been part of the community for decades, they all moved in immediately, as malls were the rage in the 70's nd 80's, and we needed one. Now it's a hollowed-out shell, a few professional offices and a chinese take-out place are all that remain. You see that road that it's basically sitting on? That was Main Street. The few buildings to the left that remain...they're all empty.

And you know what's about three miles up the road now? Yup, Walmart.

The only reason I post this, apart from just depressing the hell out of myself, is that it's probably the tale of dozens of towns across the U.S. How cool would it be if someone leveled that monster in the middle of the picture, and brought downtown Amsterdam back to the way it was? Any takers.

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