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Here’s Where New Yorkers Really Think Upstate Begins

Caitlin Horsfield Caitlin Horsfield

Here’s Where New Yorkers Really Think Upstate Begins
The eternal debate. We’re pretty sure this one will never actually end but after Cynthia Nixon’s faux pas claiming that upstate actually begins at Ithaca (what?) and after a slew of data has come out on the subject, we figured we’d chime in.

According to various sources and studies, New Yorkers are still widely in disagreement on the subject of where upstate actually begins. We all know that the term “upstate” actually just means “not the city,” but where is the line drawn for the majority of New Yorkers?

photo: exploringupstate.com
photo: exploringupstate.com

In a recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling (side note, you should read it because it’s hysterical) New Yorkers were asked:

“What do you think best defines upstate New York: everything north of New York City, everything north of Westchester County, everything north of Poughkeepsie, everything north of Poughkeepsie but excluding the Buffalo area, or something else?”

Results were varied:

-Everything north of New York City 25%

-Everything north of Westchester County 29%

-Everything north of Poughkeepsie 22%

-Everything north of Poughkeepsie but excluding the Buffalo area 7%

-Something else 9%

-Not sure 7%

photo: washingtonpost.com
photo: washingtonpost.com

So that solves it, no? Well not really. There’s obviously a lot of animosity surrounding this question as the concept relies on an imaginary boundary that separates New Yorkers from New Yorkers. The view one has on where upstate begins depends largely on where they are from. Someone from Westchester will obviously not concede that they are from upstate where as some Manhattanites define everything north of 125th Street as upstate (taking a bit to far).

A recent study published in the Washington Post polled 1,016 New Yorkers on the question “where does ‘Upstate’ begin” allowing respondents to use their own words. The most popular responses were Westchester County and Albany. However the author of the study admits that,

“the nature of this survey…results in responses from a group that isn’t random, so we can’t assume it’s representative of the state overall from a statistical standpoint.”

photo: washingtonpost.com
photo: washingtonpost.com

So we imagine that the debate will rage on. What are your standards for defining “Upstate”, and where do you think it really begins? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image: washingtonpost.com