The year is 2022, the place, Binghamton, New York, a small but booming city in the heart of the state. It is a warm sunny day in May. Two women, each twenty two years of age excitedly anticipate tomorrow’s BU graduation ceremonies. They rent living space together overlooking the Chenango River on Wall Street. Exiting the building, they proceed to Court Street and head east to the Grand Royale Hotel to greet their parents. One couple is from India, the other from China. They have traveled from their native countries to celebrate their daughters’ achievements.
This article by Joseph Kirchner was originally published in the Press and Sun Bulletin: http://www.pressconnects.com/story/opinion/2015/10/09/guest-viewpoint-binghamtons-future/73642078/
The parents were sight-seeing in front of the domed courthouse; taking photos and talking accented English when the young women appeared. There were hugs and kisses. The pedestrian-friendly roundabout led the six along the revitalized Chenango Street corridor to The Little Venice Restaurant where they would view centuries old paintings, while enjoying a delicious Italian meal.
After touring art galleries on State Street, they noted the stunning stonework of the Episcopal Church, while to their left, glass elevators moved tourists, appreciative of the view, down from the Metro Center garage.
The young ladies led their folks through The Metro Center lobby and outdoors into Promenade Lane. Two round metal columns, three feet in diameter, painted fiery red, flanked the gateway into the pleasant cool shade of spring green trees, their trunks staggered, surrounded by intersecting coble stone circles. In the left corner, a mounded pink flowering dogwood branched out, with three blossoming purple rhododendrons arching behind, and three white azaleas out front. In the right corner, two feathery blue hydrangeas further softened the scene for sidewalk diners patronizing four eateries.
A small circular performance stage was sheltered under a silver-grey umbrella, whose curved wooden brown handle was anchored atop a tall cement shaft at its center. A suited man’s alto saxophone breathed sultry melodies softly through the canyon, where some strolled by or sat to chat. Pathways wound walkers around beneath leafy canopies, yielding to an open sky at Court Street where a towering metal sculpture, brilliantly colored, from Albert Paley’s mind’s eye, peaked out over the old bank roof, dominating the attractions to downtown. Visitors walked underneath Binghamton’s signature landmark piece, staring upward exploring different views, and taking pictures to share with people around the world. Parents and daughters joined in, capturing images of the amazing work of art with themselves included.
“Can you imagine”, one graduate commented, “the old mayor wanted to turn this into a parking lot!”