Spurred by Link to 'Wonderful Life,’ Cohoes Renamed Pottersville

By Scott Salad

Published December 22nd, 2014

Falls View Park —  Cohoes

COHOES — The city council has passed a law permanently rechristening Cohoes as “Pottersville” — conceding its resemblance to the seedy alternative version of Bedford Falls from the holiday classic It's A Wonderful Life.

Cohoes — with its “All-American City” status, manufacturing history, small town-upstate New Yorky-ness and waterfall — has long been rumored to have been the inspiration for the location of Frank Capra's masterpiece. But as the city began to fall on hard times, some speculated that at some point during the mid-seventies, an angel gave a George Bailey-like city resident the choice whether to exist or not in Cohoes and the man chose the latter.

Council members, by an overwhelming vote of 6-to-1, agreed the “Spindle City” was closer in appearance and attitude to the town that would have taken shape had Bailey never been born.

Along with unemployment, crime and pharmacological error rates, council members cited a recent Census report claiming Cohoes had the highest number of spinster librarians and wheelchair-ridden antagonists per capita.

“Take a walk down Remsen Street and then tell me Cohoes isn't more Pottersville than Bedford Falls,” said Councilman Bernie Tuft.

“You got your dive bars and your pawn shops. Shoot, there's even a vacant lot where the old movie house used to be.”

Tuft went on to mention that at least four of the city's 10 cemeteries would have made ideal locations for Bailey Park-type affordable housing developments, had someone had the guts and know-how to put such a deal together.

Critics of the name change were quick to point out that the city's problems were likely the result of the free will of real life individuals that occupy key decision making positions within the city and not the effects of a void left behind by a well-meaning, albeit, suicidal hot-head, whose wish not to be born was granted by a self-proclaimed “second-class angel.”

“What's stupider than blaming all your mistakes on a person that never existed?” asked Clovis Scott, the council member who accounted for the lone dissenting vote. “How about blaming them on a fictional person that never existed?

“That's Cohoes for you... I mean, Pottersville,” he added.

“It's a Wonderful Life” has been shown on television repeatedly throughout this holiday season. Meanwhile, the city formerly known as Cohoes can be seen if you accidentally take 787 all the way to the end.


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