The city of Troy is only a quick three-hour drive up I-87 from New York City, but oh, what a difference those three hours can make!
Located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, this city with a small-town feel has close ties to nearby Albany and Schenectady, forming a region popularly called the Capital District.
Through much of the 19th and early 20th centuries, Troy was one of the most prosperous cities in the entire US. Its wealth came from the steel industry; ore and coal from the Midwest was shipped on the Erie Canal to Troy, where it was processed before being sent down the Hudson River to New York City.
Although the steel production industry moved west after the Civil War, Troy was the site of the introduction of architectural elements made from steel, and visitors to the city will enjoy viewing the beautiful ironwork on its historic homes. The city also has a large number of intact Tiffany stained-glass windows in their original settings. Troy’s abundance of 19th-century architecture has persuaded Hollywood to film several major movies here, including Ironweed and the Age of Innocence.
Another bit of trivia for visitors to Troy: on December 23, 1823, the Troy Sentinel was the first newspaper to publish the now-famous Christmas poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (aka “Twas the Night Before Christmas”). The poem was published anonymously, and to this day there is disagreement about who the actual author was.
But today’s Troy looks forward, not back. The city is home to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one of the highest-ranked engineering schools in the country. Founded in 1824, RPI is the oldest technological university in the western world, and is known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace. Though affected by industrial decline and job migration, Troy has developed a small high-tech sector, particularly in video game development, because of the presence of RPI. The school is also the city’s largest private employer.
Troy is successfully recreating itself as a tourism and destination city. The “Antique District” on River Street downtown is host to new cafes and art galleries. The city hosts many free shows during the summer, on River Street, in parks, cafes and coffee shops. The popular Troy Farmer’s Market occurs every Saturday on River Street during the summer.