June 28, 2015

PPOD 6/28/15: The Great Divide of Upstate NY

It was February 15, 2009.

I've been trying to recall the day that I began correcting media folks, out loud, every time they incorrectly describe the state of New York as being divided into only two parts: New York City, and the entire rest of the Empire State, collectively described as 'upstate.'

Six years ago, it was the horrible winter plane crash outside of Buffalo, which is easily understood to be in western New York, that was described as happening in upstate NY. And for the past three weeks, it's been "The Prison Break" which has confounded television and radio reporters I generally respect, as well as some print journalists about whom I know about as much as they do about the map of New York.

The Clinton Correctional Facility, located in Dannemora, is not in upstate New York.

Richard Matt,
who was killed by police last Friday, and David Sweat, who was captured by police Sunday afternoon, did not escape into the woods of upstate New York.

When he was apprehended, in fact, Sweat was about two miles from the Canadian border.

NBC. ABC. CNN. NPR. Fox.The Guardian. US News & World Report. The Wall Street Journal. Even our own syracuse.com.  All have referred, at one time or another, to the 'upstate New York' prison break.

Listen, if Poughkeepsie (the circle towards the bottom of the map of NY above) is in 'upstate' then Malone (in the circle at the top of the map), where David Sweat was initially treated after being captured, might as well be Greenland.

But it's not. It's in northern New York, some 285 miles or so away from Poughkeepsie.

Richard Matt is dead. David Sweat, at last report, was in stable condition, recovering from the two shots to the torso he took from a New York State Trooper.  Now that the story will die down, we can go back to understanding what's what, and where's where, in New York.

Excelsior, 'still higher', is our motto.  And forever more, northern New York will be 'still higher' than Upstate.