January 21st was a truly memorable day for Schenectady, the Capital Region, and Upstate NY as a whole! In only a few short hours, we witnessed the arrival of President Barack Obama to Albany Airport, listened to a powerful speech about Economic Growth by Obama on the GE campus, and watched him depart once again out of Albany.
For those of us watching the live news reports online, and reading the live twitter feeds, it was two hours of pure excitement. Some related it to a rock concert, as all work stopped and everyone tried to climb to their rooftops to catch a quick glimpse of Air Force One as it flew overhead.
I remember driving through Schenectady only a few years ago, feeling the desperation of a city– GE was once bustling (during World War II) with 40,000 employees, and now employs a mere 3,000. But despite the economic downfall in a once beautiful city, there has been a tremendous amount of growth in the past few years — Just take a drive down State Street and peek at the shiny building exteriors, and watch as the growth spreads little by little, eventually maybe turning corner after corner, and even (here’s optimism for you) slowly turn the entire Albany-Schenectady-Troy region into the truly vibrant place it once was!
My husband and I are transplants to Upstate NY who grew up in larger cities, but the excitement of watching a city grow keeps us here. It is the excitement of witnessing the dreams of your neighbors become a reality, and being a part of the rebirth of a region that has an important role to play, indeed.President Barack Obama shakes hands with the audience after delivering remarks at the General Electric plant in Schenectady, N.Y., Friday, Jan. 21, 2011. Obama traveled to the birthplace of the General Electric Co., to showcase a new GE deal with India and announce a restructured presidential advisory board to focus on increasing employment and competitiveness. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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