Schenectady to Launch Anti-Utica Campaign
Published March 22nd, 2015
Utica, New York
SCHENECTADY – Fed up with criticism that his city is rife with drugs, urban decay and gun violence, Mayor Charlie McCarthy plans to start a public awareness effort to educate the public that “Utica is far more disgusting” than the Electric City.
“This is a matter of civic pride,” McCarthy told the Albany Smudge in an off-the-record conversation. “It’s not about Utica being a bad place to live. It’s about Schenectady being a much better bad place to live than Utica. I cannot be clearer.”
But insiders say the mayor clearly plans to smear Utica on billboards along the Thruway.
One billboard — shown to the Smudge by a city employee Tim Nugget on the condition of anonymity — stated: “Rome Collapsed. Too Bad Utica Did Not.”
Another billboard read: “Utica – Far More Disgusting Than Schenectady.” And another sign mocked the Mohawk Valley city’s namesake vegetable, saying: “Utica Greens? Aren’t They’re Supposed to Be Yellow?”
Schenectady (66,135) and Utica (62,235) have similar populations. Local political junkies described McCarthy’s effort as a subtle attempt to sway future gamblers away from the Turning Stone Resort and Casino near Utica, and lure them to Schenectady’s soon-to-be built casino on the Mohawk River.
“What better way to get an early jump on the competition?” said Mackey Holson, an online professor who specializes in upstate urban history at Folgers College. "Schenectady couldn't convince a drunk hooker it is better than, say, Syracuse. But Utica? Um, yeah."
Frank Pencil, another local politico, noted Utica lays claim as the homeland of the tomato pie, a pizza rival that never quite got off the ground but is sold in Schenectady.
Pencil said McCarthy likely launched the Utica smear campaign as a pre-emptive strike to keep reputed Utica Mayor Rocco “The Croatian” Marscarpione from branding Schenectady as a ‘”copycat city.”
Marscarpione, who was vacationing in Staten Island, could not be reached.
Bryce Waterson, a spokeswoman for the city of Amsterdam, suggested that her municipality was “just as depressing with a lot less to do” than either Schenectady or Utica.