Upstate New York

Tidbits about Upstate New York

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Welcome to our informational tidbit page. This is where you should come to find out all that information that you never thought to ask about and off-line travel guides never think to tell you. Some of the bits are more important than others, but we'll leave which ones you think are important up to you.



Also known as "creatures" (upstaters are known to use both pronunciations). Here is a hodge-podge of various creatures that have surprised visitors. Some of the animals listed are quite common throughout the northeast, east, or even the entire country. We list these at the request of some folks from outside the U.S.

These are also known as "lightning bugs". They are a small, flying insect, approximately half-inch (centimeter) in length. They are easily found at night because their abdomen glows in a blinking pattern. If you look across a field (or back yard) at night, you will see hundreds of tiny yellow blinking lights. They are completely harmless to humans. The blinking pattern is used to attract the opposite sex during courtship.

This is the creature that the infamous Pepe le Peux was patterned after. If you have ever seen a dead skunk on the side of the road you know why the flowers wilt in all the cartoons! If you have never been to the US, rest assured the odor emitted from a skunk is more than pungent! The smell will infect your clothing, hair and any other substance that remains in the area for very long.

Skunks are a nocturnal animal and generally ignore humans. However, they are not above invading campsites for foodstuffs that have been left out. They will eat anything you will eat and then some. Skunks are also known to carry rabies.



Sometimes, visitors have difficulty understanding what we upstaters are talking about. It's not that our accent is so pronounced - it's just that we don't necessarily pronounce words the way they're written. In an effort to foster clearer understanding for visitors, we have listed some places and things that we don't necessarily pronounce the way you'd expect ...

In short, most of us pronounce this: crick.

While this may look like a five-syllable word, let us take care of such misconceptions! It's actually a three-syllable name for a creek in the Capital/Saratoga Region. This is pronounced: KAY-der-oss.

What's this, you ask? Well, it's the name of a city in the Capital/Saratoga Region. This was the birthplace of the General Electric Company and the site of the first television station in the US (which is still in operation!). This is pronounced: skuh-NECK-tuh-dee.

This is a quaint little village in the Central Leatherstocking Region. It is also the name of a large creek which runs through the region. It is prounounced: sko-HAIR-ee.

This is a town located in the Hudson Valley Region. The correct pronunciation is: vuh-LAY-sha.


Sing a Song of Upstate

Just a couple of interesting little bits about songs concerning upstate New York. We think they're fun to know about and hope you think so, too.
The Erie Canal:
In short, this is the classic New York song that everyone seems to learn in their elementary music classes. While the original song was actually titled "Low Bridge! Everybody Down!", the words are essentially the same. The song pertains to the Erie Canal, which was the main route west during the early nineteenth century. It followed the Mohawk River from Albany, in the Capital/Saratoga Region, through the Central Leatherstocking Region and on into the Finger Lakes and the Greater Niagara Regions!

Buffalo Gals:
Yes, you're reading this right! The popular song Buffalo Gals was originally written for the Christy Minstrels way back in the 1800's. It's about the, um, ladies who worked in Buffalo's infamous Canal District. (With thanks to Morning Edition's Mark Wozniak of radio station WBFO 88.7 FM Buffalo, WOLN 91.3 FM Olean and WUBJ 88.1 Jamestown! (For more information about the growth of Buffalo, located in the Greater Niagara Region, see the book "America's Crossroads: Buffalo's Canal Street/Dante Place: The Making of a City", by Mike Vogel, Edward Patton and Paul Redding, published by The Heritage Press, WNY Heritage Institute, Canisius College, Buffalo (ISBN 1-878097-12-1).


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