Amsterdam NY: The Undiscovered Beauty of The Rust Belt

Amsterdam NY - The Factory City

Not long ago, nearly all of the things we enjoyed in our daily lives were made in America, in cities not unlike Amsterdam, NY. Handsome brick-clad communities, nestled in green valleys, along meandering rivers, in some of the most beautiful regions of the world.

Amsterdam, NY - Photo by Sparrow Hall

During the Industrial Revolution, these cities represented the promised land. Italians, Poles, Lithuanians moving in caravans to communities like Amsterdam where they would build a future, raise a family, and weave themselves into the fabric of America.

Market Street - Amsterdam NY
Market Street / Amsterdam NY / Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Amsterdam, NY - Photo by Sparrow Hall

Though today much of the industry has moved on, the buildings remain a testament to our proud past, waiting to be re-inhabited by a new creative movement of Americans.

Amsterdam, NY - Photo by Sparrow Hall

I’m a huge fan of Amsterdam, and I’m always thinking of ways the city could reshape itself. One idea is the development of a liberal arts college with a focus on design, technology, and textiles – industries the city was once known for (Amsterdam once served as the headquarters of Mohawk Mills Carpet, as well Coleco, makers of one of the first video game consoles, ColecoVision, and the iconic Cabbage Patch Kids).

Amsterdam, NY - Photo by Sparrow Hall

The buildings comprise entire “campuses” built up along the hillside, and on the banks of the Mohawk River. A few of the buildings have been converted into multi-purpose spaces, including artist lofts and yoga studios, while others are waiting for the next great start-up to move upstate.

Amsterdam, NY - Photo by Sparrow Hall

All photos by Sparrow Hall (unless otherwise noted)

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