Schenectady, New York
Nott Memorial Hall, Union College
|Name origin: Mohawk word meaning Beyond the pine plains|
|- elevation||324 ft (99 m)|
|Area||11 sq mi (28 km2)|
|- land||10.9 sq mi (28 km2)|
|- water||0.1 sq mi (0 km2)|
|- metro||6,570 sq mi (17,016 km2)|
|Density||6,012 / sq mi (2,321 / km2)|
|Government||Schenectady City Hall|
|Mayor||Gary McCarthy (D)|
|Timezone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|- summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP code||12301–12309, 12325, 12345|
|GNIS feature ID||0964570|
|Wikimedia Commons: Schenectady, New York|
|Website: City Website|
Schenectady (pron.: //) is a city in Schenectady County, New York, United States, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 66,135. The name "Schenectady" is derived loosely from a Mohawk word for "on that side of the pinery," or "near the pines," or "place beyond the pine plains."
When first encountered by Europeans, the area that is now Schenectady was the land of the Mohawk nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. When Dutch settlers arrived in the Hudson Valley in the 17th century, the Mohawk called the settlement at Fort Orange (present day Albany, NY) Schau-naugh-ta-da, meaning "over the pine plains." Eventually, this word entered the lexicon of the Dutch settlers, but the meaning was reversed, and the name referred to the bend in the Mohawk River where the city lies today.
Schenectady was first settled by Europeans in 1661 when the area was part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Settlement was led by Arent van Curler, a prominent figure in the colony who had emigrated from Nijkerk in the Netherlands, after purchase from the Mohawk Nation. Some of the Dutch brought African slaves to the region as laborers, as did the later English. In 1664 the English seized the Dutch colony and renamed it New York. Settlers purchased additional land from the Mohawk in 1670 and 1672. Twenty years later (1684) Governor Thomas Dongan granted letters patent for Schenectady to five trustees.
On February 8, 1690, during King William's War, French forces and their Indian allies attacked Schenectady by surprise, leaving 62 dead. American history notes it as the Schenectady massacre. In 1748, during King George's War, the French and Indians attacked again.
In 1765, Schenectady was incorporated as a borough. Union College was founded in 1795. During the American Revolutionary War the local militia unit, the 2nd Albany County Militia Regiment, fought in the Battle of Saratoga and against Loyalist troops. Most of the warfare in the Mohawk Valley occurred further west on the frontier.
The settlement was chartered as a city in 1798. In the 19th century, after completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, Schenectady became an important transportation and trade center, as it was part of connecting the Hudson River to the Mohawk Valley and the Great Lakes. The Albany and Schenectady Turnpike (now State Street), established in 1797, connected Albany to the Mohawk Valley. The Erie Canal (now Erie Boulevard), opened in 1825, passed through here, as did the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad, opened in 1831 as one of the first railway lines in the United States. Commodities and commercial products were shipped to the East and New York City through the Mohawk Valley and Schenectady.
In the antebellum years, Schenectady became a center of abolitionist activities. The last slaves in New York did not gain freedom until 1827, although the state had passed a gradual emancipation act in 1799, which first freed the children of slaves. Union College had established a school for black children in 1805, but discontinued it after two years. Parents had been unsuccessful in having their children admitted to public schools in the city. In 1836, Rev. Isaac Groot Duryea was a co-founder of the interracial Anti-Slavery Society at Union College. An Underground Railroad route ran through the area.
In 1837, Duryea helped found the First Free Church of Schenectady together with other free people of color; it provided space in the basement for a school for their children. The abolitionist Theodore Sedgwick Wright, who was based in New York City, spoke at the dedication of the church.
In 1887, Thomas Edison moved his Edison Machine Works to Schenectady. In 1892, Schenectady became the headquarters of the General Electric Company. It became a major economic force and helped establish the city and region as a manufacturing center. GE became important nationally as a creative company.
Schenectady is home to WGY-AM, the second commercial radio station in the United States, (after WBZ in Springfield, Massachusetts, which was named for Westinghouse.) The station was named for its owner, General Electric (the G), and the city of Schenectady (the Y). In 1928, General Electric produced the first regular television broadcasts in the United States, when the experimental station W2XB began regular broadcasts on Thursday and Friday afternoons. This television station is now WRGB; for years it was the Capital District's NBC affiliate, but is now the CBS affiliate.
Schenectady is located at  The altitude above sea level is 211 to 275 feet (64 to 84 meters).(42.8041, −73.9293).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.0 square miles (28.49 km2), of which, 10.9 square miles (28.23 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.27%) is water.
It is part of the Capital District, the metropolitan area surrounding Albany, New York state's capital. Along with Albany and Troy, it is one of the three principal population and industrial centers in the region.
The city was a manufacturing center known as "The City that Lights and Hauls the World" – a reference to two prominent businesses in the city, the Edison Electric Company (now known as General Electric), and the American Locomotive Company (ALCO). GE retains its administrative core in Schenectady, but it relocated thousands of manufacturing jobs to the Sun Belt and abroad. ALCO produced steam locomotives for railroads for years, and then in the later years became famous for its "Superpower" line of high-pressure locomotives, such as those for the Union Pacific Railroad in the 1930s and 1940s. As diesel locomotives began to appear, ALCO joined with GE to develop diesel locomotives to compete with the EMD division of General Motors. But corporate restructuring to cope with the changing locomotive procurement environment saw the slow downward spiral of ALCO. Its operations fizzled as the company went through acquisitions and restructuring in the late 1960s. Its Schenectady plant closed in 1969. In the late 20th century, the city experienced difficult financial times, as did many upstate New York former manufacturing cities. The loss of employment caused Schenectady's population to decline by nearly one-third since 1950.
In the 21st century, Schenectady began revitalization. GE's establishing a renewable energy center brought hundreds of employees to the area. It is part of a metropolitan area with improving economic health, and buildings have been renovated for new uses. Numerous small businesses, retail stores and restaurants have developed on State Street.
In the census of 2010, there were 66,135 people, 26,265 (2000 data) households, and 14,051 (2000 data) families residing in the city. The population density was 6,096.7 people per square mile (2,199.9/km²). There were 30,272 (2000 data) housing units at an average density of 2,790.6 per square mile (1,077.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 54.38% White, 28.19% African American, 0.69% Native American, 3.62% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 10.24% from other races, and 5.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 20.47%(14.1% Puerto Rican) of the population. There is a growing Guyanese population in the area.[original research?] In 2010, Schenectady became minority-majority, due largely to an influx of ethnic Puerto Ricans moving to the area.
Using 2000 data, there were 26,264 households out of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.0% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.5% were non-families. 38.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city the year 2000 population was spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city in 2000 was $29,378, and the median income for a family was $36,458. Males had a median income of $30,869 versus $25,292 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,076. About 19.1% of families and 23.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.5% of those under age 18 and 5.6% of those age 65 or over.
The acting mayor is Gary McCarthy, City Council President. He took over when elected mayor Brian Stratton resigned to accept a position with the State of New York on April 3, 2011.
Rail transportation 
Schenectady had a local streetcar system and an electric interurban passenger line from Gloversville, Johnstown, Amsterdam, and Scotia into Downtown Schenectady. This was on the electrified Fonda, Johnstown, and Gloversville Railroad. The nearly 200 leather and glove companies (178) in the Gloversville region generated considerable traffic for the line. Sales representatives carrying product sample cases would begin their sales campaigns throughout the rest of the country by taking the interurban to reach Schenectady's New York Central Railroad station, where they connected to trains to New York City, Chicago and points between.
The bright orange FJ&G interurbans were scheduled to meet every daylight New York Central train that stopped at Schenectady. Through the 1900s and into the early 1930s, the line was quite prosperous. In 1932 the FJ&G purchased five lightweight Brill Bullet cars (#125 through 129) from the JGBrill Company. These interurbans represented state of the art design: the "bullet" description referred to the unusual front roof that was designed to slope down to the windshield in an aerodynamically sleek way. FJ&G bought the cars believing that there would be continuing strong passenger business from a prosperous glove and leather industry, as well as legacy tourism traffic to Lake Sacandaga north of Gloversville. Instead, roads were improved, automobiles became cheaper and were purchased more widely, tourists traveled more widely, and the Great Depression decreased business.
Ridership continued to decline, and in 1938 New York state condemned the line's bridge over the Mohawk River at Schenectady. This bridge had once carried cars, pedestrians, plus the interurban, but ice flow damage in 1928 prompted the state to restrict its use to the interurban. When in 1938 the state condemned the bridge for interurban use, the line abandoned passenger service. The desirable Bullet cars were sold. Freight business had also been important to the FJ&G, and it continued over the risky bridge into Schenectady a few more years.
Places of interest 
- Proctors Theatre is an arts center. Built in 1926 as a vaudeville/movie theater, it has been refurbished in the 21st century. It is home to "Goldie," a Wurlitzer theater pipe organ. Proctor's was also the site of one of the first public demonstrations of television, projecting an image from a studio at the GE plant a mile [2 km] away. Its 2007 renovation added two theatres: Proctors is home to three theaters, including the historic Mainstage, the GE Theatre, and 440 Upstairs.
- The Stockade Historic District features dozens of Dutch and English Colonial houses from the 18th and 19th centuries. It is New York's first historic district, designated in 1965 and named after the historic stockade that originally surrounded the colonial settlement.
- The Schenectady County Historical Society has a History Museum and the Grems-DoLittle research library. They are housed at 32 Washington Avenue in the Stockade District. It has adapted a house originally built in 1895 for the Jackson family. It was used by the GE Women's Club from 1915 until 1957, when it was donated to the Historical Society. The History Museum tells of the History of Schenectady, the Yates Doll House, the Erie Canal, and the Glen-Sanders Collection, etc. The research library has many collections of papers, photographs, and books. It welcomes people doing local and genealogical research.
- The Mabee House in nearby Rotterdam Junction is owned and operated as a house museum by the Schenectady County Historical Society. It features the oldest house in the Mohawk Valley, with many events, school programs and exhibits scheduled for it.
- The General Electric Realty Plot, located near Union College, was built for General Electric Company executives in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It features an eclectic collection of grand homes in a variety of architectural styles, including Tudor, Dutch Colonial, Queen Anne, and Spanish Colonial. The Plot is home to the first all-electric home in the United States, and it is one of the first planned residential neighborhoods in the US. The Plot hosts an annual House and Garden Tour.
- Union College, adjacent to the GE Realty Plot, is the oldest planned college campus in the United States. The Union campus features the unique 16-sided Nott Memorial building, built in 1875, and Jackson's Garden, eight acres (32,000 m²) of formal gardens and woodlands.
- Central Park is the crown jewel of Schenectady's parks. It occupies the highest elevation point in the city. The Common Council voted in 1913 to purchase the land for the present site of the park. The park features an acclaimed rose garden and Iroquois Lake. Its stadium tennis court was the former home to the New York Buzz of the World Team Tennis league (as of 2008). Central Park was named after New York City's Central Park. Both Central Parks were designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead.
- The Schenectady Museum features exhibits on the development of science and technology. It contains the Suits-Bueche Planetarium.
- Schenectady City Hall is the focal point of government in the city. Designed by McKim, Mead and White, it was built in 1933 during the Great Depression.
- Schenectady's Municipal Golf Course is an 18-hole championship facility sited among oaks and pines. Designed in 1935 by Jim Thompson under the WPA, the course was ranked by Golf Digest among "Best Places to Play in 2004" and received a three-star rating.
- Jay Street, located between Proctors and City Hall, is a short street partially closed to motor traffic. It features a number of small, independently operated businesses and eateries and is a popular destination.
- Schenectady Light Opera Company (SLOC) is a small community theater group on Franklin St in downtown Schenectady.
- The Empire State Aerosciences Museum, in nearby Glenville, features extensive exhibits and materials on aviation.
- The Edison Tech Center, exhibits and promotes the physical development of engineering and technology from Schenectady and elsewhere. It provides online and on-site displays that promote learning about electricity and its applications in technology.
- Upper Union Street Business Improvement District, near the Niskayuna boundary, is home to almost 100 independently owned businesses, including a score of restaurants, upscale retail, specialty shops, salons and services.
- Vale Cemetery, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it includes more than 30,000 burials of noted and ordinary residents of the city. It includes the historic African-American Burying Ground, where Juneteenth and Emancipation are celebrated annually.
In popular culture 
- The 2008 film Synecdoche, New York is partially set in Schenectady (and a few scenes were filmed in Schenectady), and plays on the aural similarity between the city's name and the figure of speech synecdoche.
- The 2009 film, "Winter of Frozen Dreams" was entirely filmed in Schenectady County, but is set in Wisconsin. It features the City of Schenectady, the town of Rotterdam, NY, and the Village of Scotia, NY. The film stars Thora Birch as real life Wisconsin murderer, Barbara Hoffman, and Keith Carradine as the detective who is determined to catch her.
- The remake of the film The Time Machine starring Guy Pearce, features Schenectady's Central Park in the ice skating scenes. This park was substituted for New York City's Central Park.
- The 1973 film The Way We Were was filmed on location in Schenectady at Union College, and in nearby Ballston Spa.
- The 1980's film "Heart Like a Wheel" starring Bonnie Bedelia as female race car driver Shirley Muldowney, is mostly set in Schenectady, but was not actually filmed there.
- The 1996 made for TV film "Unabomber, the True Story" starring Robert Hays as David Kaczynski, brother of unabomber Ted Kaczynski, was partially set in Schenectady, but also not actually filmed there. David and Linda Kaczynski lived in Schenectady when they solved the mystery of the unabomber's identity.
- In the television program, The Honeymooners, Trixie's mother was from Schenectady.
- In the song "Someone To Love" by Fountains of Wayne, Seth Shapiro, a fictional character in the song, moved to Brooklyn from Schenectady in 1993.
- Schenectady is referenced or is the setting for many of Kurt Vonnegut's books, most notably Hocus Pocus and Player Piano.
- Daisy Miller, the title character of the 1878 novella by Henry James, hails from Schenectady. This fact is revealed, in a passage notable for its humor, when Daisy's little brother, Randolph, explaining why his father has not accompanied the family on its trip to Switzerland, announces, "'My father ain't in Europe; my father's in a better place than Europe.'" His interlocutor "imagined for a moment that this was the manner in which the child had been taught to intimate that Mr. Miller had been removed to the sphere of celestial rewards. But Randolph immediately added, 'My father's in Schenectady. He's got a big business. My father's rich, you bet.'"
- Author Harlan Ellison has stated that anytime a fan or interviewer asks him the question "Where do you get your ideas?" he replies "Schenectady". Science fiction writer Barry Longyear subsequently titled a collection of his short stories It Came From Schenectady.
- Grace Adler, of the television comedy Will & Grace, is from Schenectady. In the series, Grace was raised in Schenectady and her mother, played by Debbie Reynolds, still lives there as of the end of the series' run. The city was featured in season one's "The Unsinkable Mommy Adler", season two's "Whose Mom Is It Anyway?" and season six's "Swimming From Cambodia" and "Fanilow". In the flashback season three episode, "Lows In The Mid-Eighties", Will and Grace visited Schenectady back when they were dating during college.
- The film The Place Beyond the Pines, featuring Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling, began filming in 2011 near the Schenectady Police Headquarters and other areas of Schenectady. The movie was released in March 2013.
- In the 1992 film Sneakers, the opening scene, featuring the young versions of the characters portrayed by Robert Redford and Ben Kingsley, shows Union College covered in snow.
Notable people 
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2009)|
- Stephen Alexander (1806–1883), astronomer, mathematician, and educator
- Horatio Allen (1802–1889), railroad engineer and inventor.
- Ralph Alpher (1921–2007), a cosmologist who won the National Medal of Science for his seminal work on the Big Bang Theory.
- Chester Arthur (1829–1886), U.S. president, lived in Schenectady while attending Union College.
- Andy Bloom (born 1973), Olympic shot putter.
- Jim Barbieri (born 1941), major league baseball outfielder.
- Pat Cadigan (born 1953), science fiction author, was born in Schenectady.
- Jimmy Carter (born 1924), U.S. president, studied briefly at Union College.
- Billy Connors (born 1941), major league baseball pitcher.
- Jackie Craven, architectural writer
- Mary Daly (1928-2010), feminist theologian
- Ann B. Davis (born 1926), actress (Alice on The Brady Bunch) was born in Schenectady
- Amir Derakh, guitarist for the rock band Orgy, was born in Schenectady
- Paul "Legs" DiCocco (1924–1989), gambler and racketeer
- John Owen Dominis (1832–1891), prince consort of Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii
- Jamie Dukes (born 1964), American football player, born in Schenectady
- Harry J. Flynn (born 1933), Roman Catholic archbishop of Minneapolis and St. Paul, was born in Schenectady.
- Harold Gould (1923–2010), actor (The Golden Girls), was born in Schenectady.
- Kevin Greene (born 1962), American football linebacker, assistant coach.
- Joseph E. Grosberg (1883-1970), pioneer in the super market and wholesale foods industries.
- Patricia Kalember (born 1957), actress, born in Schenectady.
- Steve Katz (born 1945), guitarist (Blood, Sweat & Tears)
- Irving Langmuir (1881–1957), 1932 Nobel laureate in chemistry.
- George R. Lunn, (1873-1948), Mayor of Schenectady, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, New York Lieutenant Governor
- Sir Charles Mackerras (1925–2010), Australian conductor, was born in Schenectady.
- John Van Antwerp MacMurray (1881-1960), U.S. China expert
- Tom Moulton (born 1940), record producer.
- Shirley Muldowney (born 1940), professional auto racer, was born and raised in Schenectady.
- Ray Nelson (born 1931), science fiction author and cartoonist, born in Schenectady.
- Eliphalet Nott (1773–1866), president of Union College.
- Jean-Hervé Peron (born 1949), Germany rock musician, lived in Schenectady in 1967-1968 as an exchange student.
- Pat Riley (born 1945), NBA player and coach, was born in Rome, NY, lived in Schenectady.
- Don Rittner, author and historian, lives in Schenectady
- Ron Rivest (born 1947), cryptographer, co-inventor of RSA cryptography
- Margaret Rotundo (born 1949), Maine State Legislator
- Mickey Rourke (born 1952), actor and boxer, was born in Schenectady
- John Sayles (born 1950), film director, born and raised in Schenectady
- Vincent J. Schaefer (1906–1993), chemist, meteorologist.
- Amalie Schoppe (1791–1858), German writer.
- Ben Schwartz (born 1981), actor, (Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on Parks and Recreation), graduated from Union College in 2003.
- William H. Seward (1801–1872), U.S. Secretary of State.
- Nehemiah Shumway (1761–1843), teacher and musical composer, lived in Schenectady.
- Simon J. Schermerhorn (1827–1901), U.S. representative.
- Gerald Stano (1951–1998), serial killer.
- Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1865–1923), mathematician, electrical engineer, developer of alternating current.
- Brian U. Stratton, mayor, director of the New York State Canal Corporation
- Samuel S. Stratton (1916–1990), mayor, U.S. representative, father of Brian Stratton.
- Lynne Talley (born 1954), oceanographer, born in Schenectady.
- Marybeth Tinning (born 1942), serial killer.
- John Tudor (born 1954), Major League Baseball pitcher
- Deborah Van Valkenburgh (born 1952), actress (The Warriors) was born in Schenectady.
- Charles H. Veeder (1796–1871), Schenectady native, founder of Minden, Louisiana.
- Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007), author, lived in Schenectady while working for GE in the early 1950s.
- George H. Wells (1833–1905), Confederate officer, attorney and member of the Louisiana State Senate
- George Westinghouse (1846–1914), engineer and inventor, grew up in Schenectady.
- Charles Yates (1808–1870), brigadier-general during the American Civil War; nephew of Joseph Christopher Yates.
- Joseph Christopher Yates (1768–1837), governor of New York.
Sister city 
See also 
- Jonathan Pearson et. al., A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times, 30 July 2009. Retrieved on 28 September 2009
- "Schenectady Digital History Archive"
- "The Schenectady Massacre: Settlers Killed and Captured", Freepages, Rootsweb
- Theodore Sedgwick Wright, "Speech given during the dedication of the First Free Church of Schenectady, 28 December 1837", Emancipator, at University of Detroit Mercy, accessed 31 May 2012
- "African-American History", Historic Vale Cemetery, 2000-2011, accessed 31 May 2012
- Brian Belanger,Radio & Television Museum News, "Radio Station WGY"[dead link], Radio History, February 2006. Retrieved on December 1, 2008
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Foderaro, Lisa W. (February 28, 2010). "Union College Finally Admits Where It Is". The New York Times.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Scheltema, Gajus and Westerhuijs, Heleen (eds.),Exploring Historic Dutch New York, New York: Museum of the City of New York/Dover Publications, (2011) ISBN 978-0-486-48637-6
- The Time Machine (2002) - Filming locations
- Interview with Harlan Ellison
- It Came From Schenectady
- It's Always Fair Weather (motion picture)
- The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) - IMDb
- Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1967.
- "Great Inventors of New York's Capital District".
Further reading 
- "The Fonda, Johnstown, and Gloversville RR: The Sacandaga Route to the Adirondacks". Randy Decker, Arcadia Publishing.
- "Our Railroad: The Fonda, Johnstown, and Gloversville RR 1867 to 1893". Paul Larner, St. Albans, VT.
- "The Steam Locomotive in America". Alfred W. Bruce, 1952, Bonanza Books division of Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, NY.
- Morse, J. (1797). "Skenectady". The American Gazetteer. Boston, Massachusetts: At the presses of S. Hall, and Thomas & Andrews.
- Yates, Austin A. Schenectady County, New York: Its History to the Close of the Nineteenth Century Publisher: New York History Company, 1902.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Schenectady, New York|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article Schenectady.|
- City of Schenectady (official website)
- Schenectady County Historical Society
- Visit Schenectady (tourist information)
- Schenectady County Chamber of Commerce
- City of Schenectady Info
- Schenectady City Court information
- Schenectady/Nijkerk Council[dead link]
- Central Park Rose Garden
- Daily Gazette, the local newspaper on line
- Schenectady Museum and Suits-Bueche Planetarium
- Schenectady Museum Amateur Radio Association
- Stockade Historic District
- New York State Heritage Areas
- Capital District History
- Our Town: Schenectady Documentary produced by WMHT (TV)