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Utica, New York

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Utica, New York
City of Utica
Utica Panorama.JPG
Stanley facade.jpg Utica 97 002.jpg
Liberty Bell, Utica, NY.jpg Utica lock.jpg
Utica Memorial Auditorium Interior- December 15, 2013.jpg Union Station Utica new.jpg
Clockwise from top: Panorama of downtown from I-790, Looking south on Utica's Genesee Street, Utica Harbor lock, Union Station, Utica Memorial Auditorium, Liberty Bell Corner, Stanley Theater
Flag of Utica, New York
Official seal of Utica, New York
Official logo of Utica, New York
City logo
Nickname(s): The Handshake City, Sin City, The City that God Forgot, Elm Tree City[1][2]
Location in Oneida County and New York
Location in Oneida County and New York
Utica, New York is located in USA
Utica, New York
Utica, New York
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 43°05′41″N 75°16′33″W / 43.09472°N 75.27583°W / 43.09472; -75.27583Coordinates: 43°05′41″N 75°16′33″W / 43.09472°N 75.27583°W / 43.09472; -75.27583
Country  United States

 New York

Metro Utica–Rome
County Oneida
Land grant (village) January 2, 1734[3]
Incorporated (village) April 3, 1798[4]
Incorporated (city) February 13, 1832[5]
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Mayor Robert M. Palmieri (D)
 • City 43.0 km2 (16.6 sq mi)
 • Land 42.3 km2 (16.3 sq mi)
 • Water 0.7 km2 (0.3 sq mi)
Elevation 139 m (456 ft)
Population (2010)[6]
 • City 62,235
 • Estimate (2014[7]) 61,332
 • Density 1,471.3/km2 (3,818.1/sq mi)
 • Urban 117,328 (U.S.: 268th)[8]
 • Metro 296,615 (U.S.: 163rd)[9][a]
Demonym Utican
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 13500-13599
Area code(s) 315
FIPS code 36-76540
GNIS feature ID 0968324[10]

Utica (pronounced Listeni/ˈjtɨkə/) is a city in the Mohawk Valley and the county seat of Oneida County, New York, United States.[11] The tenth-most populous city in New York,[12] its population was 62,235 as of the 2010 U.S. census. Located on the Mohawk River at the foot of the Adirondack Mountains, Utica is approximately 90 miles (145 km) northwest of Albany[13] and 45 miles (72 km) east of Syracuse.[14] While Utica and the neighboring city of Rome have their own metropolitan area, the cities are often represented and influenced by the commercial, educational, and cultural characteristics of the Capital District and Syracuse metro areas.[15][16]

Formerly a river settlement inhabited by the Mohawk tribe of the Iroquois confederacy, Utica's immigrants helped strengthened its position as a stopover city between Albany and Syracuse by way of the Erie Canal, Chenango Canal, and railways such as the New York Central Railroad. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the city's infrastructure would contribute to its success as a center for manufacturing while defining its role as a worldwide hub for the textile industry.[17][18] In the 20th century, Utica's political corruption and organized crime gave it the moniker "Sin City"[19] and later, "the city that God forgot."[20]

Similar to other Rust Belt cities, Utica's economic downturn has challenged the city to recover from subsequent urban decentralization to nearby suburbs, industrial decline from globalization, and poverty associated with the city's socioeconomic stress and political issues.[21][22] With a low cost of living, Utica has become a melting pot for refugees relocating from war-torn countries around the world, spurring growth for its colleges and universities, cultural institutions and economy.[23][24]

According to the 2010 census, the Utica–Rome Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) contains 299,397 people within Oneida and Herkimer counties;[25] counties in the Mohawk Valley region have a combined population of 622,133.[b] As of 2014, the population of Utica is estimated at 61,332.


Settlers depicted crossing a ford in the Mohawk River east of Genesee Street, 1759.

Utica, a village originally inhabited by the Mohawk people of the Iroquois confederacy, was established on the site of Old Fort Schuyler, built in 1758 during the French and Indian War.[26][27][28][4] The tract of land on which the fort sat was part of a 20,000 acre (80.94 km²) portion of marshland granted by King George II of Great Britain to William Cosby, Governor of New York, on January 2, 1734.[29] Since the fort was located near several trails, including the Great Indian Warpath, its position on a bend at a shallow point in the Mohawk River made it important for fording purposes. The Mohawk tribe would name the bend Unundadages, meaning "around the hill" in the Mohawk language, later present on the city seal.[30][31][32]

During the American Revolution, border raids from British-affiliated Iroqouis tribes were used as an excuse to allow the Rangers to enter Central New York and displace the Iroquois from their settlements.[32] The destruction of the villages and settlements would then allow for the arrival of immigrants from New England.[33]

In 1794, a state road was built west from Utica to the Genesee River and was then named Genesee Road. A contract was awarded the same year to the Mohawk Turnpike and Bridge Company to extend the road northeast to Albany, and in 1798, the road was extended,[34] the same year the village was named and incorporated.[4] The creation of the Seneca Turnpike became the key growth and development of Utica, replacing a worn footpath with a paved road.[35] The village became the resting area on the Mohawk River for goods and people moving through Western New York and past the Great Lakes.[36][37]

An 1802 engraved map of Utica. The Mohawk River is shown at the top of the map, while Bagg's Tavern is depicted at the center-right.
A bird's eye view of Utica in 1855

Several theories exist surrounding the etymology of the village's name;[38] while surveyor Robert Harper claimed he named the village "Utica",[38] the most common theory involves a 1798 meeting at Bagg's Tavern, a resting place for travelers passing through the village, where the name was selected in a drawing from a hat with thirteen entries.[32][38] With the village's new name chosen, its boundaries were defined in an act passed by the New York State Legislature on April 3, 1798.[39]

Utica expanded its borders in subsequent charters in 1805 and 1817. On April 5, 1805, the eastern and western boundaries of the village were expanded,[40] while on April 7, 1817, the village separated from Whitestown to the west.[4][41] The city charter was passed by the state legislature on February 13, 1832.[4][5] The growth of Utica during the 19th century is accounted from the rise of its population, with the U.S. Census ranking the city as the 29th largest in the country with 20,000 residents in 1845, surpassing the populations of Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland.[42][43]

Utica's location on the Erie and Chenango canals stimulated its industrial development, allowing for the transportation of anthracite coal from northeast Pennsylvania to be used in local manufacturing and distribution.[44] The economy of Utica was centered around manufacturing sectors in furniture, heavy machinery, textiles, and lumber.[45] The combined effects of the Embargo Act of 1807 and investments from local entrepreneurs would allow the city to have a firm grasp on the textile industry, and its economy began to take off.[46]

In addition to canals, Utica's economy was bolstered by railways which were constructed through the city. The earliest railroad in Utica was the Mohawk and Hudson River Railroad Company, which later became the Utica and Schenectady Railroad Company in 1833. The railway was a 78-mile long connection between Schenectady and Utica, formed in 1836 using the right-of-way previously occupied by the Mohawk and Hudson River Railroad.[47][48] Later railroads such as the Syracuse and Utica Railroad would merge along with the Utica and Schenectady Railroad to form the New York Central Railroad, heavily used as a forest railway in the Adirondacks during the 20th century.[49]

A department store fire rocks Genesee St, May 13, 1905.

With a population of over 650 fugitive slaves during the 1850s, Utica played a major role in the Underground Railroad, as the city was located on a slave escape route from the Southern Tier to Canada by way of Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester.[50][51] The route, used by Harriet Tubman to travel to Buffalo,[52] allowed fugitive slaves to pass through Utica utilizing the New York Central Railroad right-of-way heading west on their journey to Canada.[52] Utica was the focus city for Methodist preacher Orange Scott's antislavery sermons during the 1830s and 1840s, and was the city where he formed an abolitionist group in 1843.[51] Despite the efforts by local abolitionists to support the antislavery movement, anti-abolitionist riots and mobs forced many abolition meetings to other cities.[53]

Genesee Street, 1911
Newsboys for the Utica Saturday Globe, 1910

The early 1900s brought advancements in railways to Utica, with New York Central electrifying 49 miles of rail from the city to Syracuse in 1907 for its West Shore Line interurban service.[54] In 1902, the Utica and Mohawk Valley Railway connected Rome to Little Falls via a 37.5-mile electrified railway through Utica.[55]

Throughout the early 20th century, Utica was known as "Sin City," owing to the extent of its corruption and control by the political machines of the Democratic Party.[56][57][58][59] The 1950s saw trucker Rufus P. Elefante come to power,[60][61] though he never ran for office.[62] Formerly a Republican, Elefante's power was influenced by the support of New York governor Franklin D. Roosevelt.[63] From the turn of the 20th century to the 1980s, the city had an organized crime presence, largely made up of the American mafia.[59][64]

As a rust belt city, Utica was heavily affected by deindustrialization, which caused a major reduction in manufacturing activity during the latter half of the 20th century. The opening of the New York State Thruway in 1954 which bypassed the city, decline of activity on the Erie Canal, and the decline of railroads in the United States also contributed to the downfall of the local economy.[65] In the 1980s and 1990s, major employers such as General Electric and Lockheed Martin began to close plants in Utica and Syracuse.[66][67]

With urban jobs relocating to the towns and villages surrounding Utica, suburbanization allowed for the expansion of the nearby town of New Hartford and the village of Whitesboro, causing a severe decline in the urban population, a reflection of the statewide trend of population decreases outside of New York City.[22]

Despite the city's economic decline, Utica has benefitted from its low cost of living,[68] attracting immigrants and refugees from around the world as a result of global conflicts such as the Bosnian War and Iraq War.[69][70][71] The city continues to be the focus of local, regional, and statewide economic revitalization efforts.[72][73][74] In 2010, Utica developed its first comprehensive master plan in over fifty years.[75][76]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43 km2), of which, 16.4 square miles (42 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (1.57%) is water. Utica is located at New York's geographic center, adjacent to the western border of Herkimer County, New York, and at the southwest base of the Adirondack Mountains.[77] The city and surrounding suburbs are bound by the Allegheny Plateau to the south and the Adirondack Mountains to the north.[78] The geographic coordinates of the city of Utica are 43°5′41″N 75°16′33″W / 43.09472°N 75.27583°W / 43.09472; -75.27583 (43.094718, -75.276013),[79] with an elevation of 456 feet (139 m) above sea level.

November 1985 photo of the Mohawk Valley from Space Shuttle Challenger, with Utica to the center-left and Albany to the center-right.
The Utica Marsh is a series of wetlands north of the city.


The city's Mohawk name Unundadages, meaning "around the hill," refers to its elevated position as viewed from the Deerfield Hills to the north.[30] The Erie Canal and Mohawk River pass through northern Utica. Northwest of the city's downtown along its edge is the Utica Marsh, a series of cattail wetlands with a variety of animals, plants and birds, sandwiched between the Erie Canal and Mohawk River, and partly in the Town of Marcy.[80][81] During the 1850s, plank roads were constructed to handle the marshland surrounding the city.[82] While Utica's surrounding suburbs feature more hills and cliffs than the city, its position where the Mohawk Valley forms a wide plain gives much of the city a slanted, flat topography.[77]


The Utica State Office Building, the tallest building in Utica
Eighteenth and nineteenth century families, individuals and landowners became the namesakes of many streets in Utica.

Utica's architecture embraces many qualities that defined Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse,[17] including Greek Revival, Italianate, French Renaissance,[83] Gothic Revival and Neoclassical styles. Constructed in 1972, the modernist-style Utica State Office Building stands at 17 floors and 227 feet, the city's tallest building.[84]

With no master plan created for the city, early settlers and property owners heavily contributed to its layout, with many families and individuals contributing to street names.[85] Streets created when the city was a village had more irregularities than streets that came later in the 19th and 20th centuries. As a result of the city's position adjacent to the Mohawk River, it is offset at an angle, where only some streets run north-to-south or east-to-west. Remnants of the Utica's early electric rail systems can be seen in the West and South neighborhoods of the city, as they were constructed within the city streets.[86][30][87]


Historically, neighborhoods in Utica have been defined by the characteristics of their residents, allowing them to develop their own individuality.[43] The arrival of different racial and ethnic groups, the advent of social and economic separation, as well as the development of infrastructure and new modes of travel have also shaped neighborhood demographics and structure, with groups shifting between them as a result.

Utica, New York
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: Weatherbase[88]

West Utica, or the West Side, was historically home to German and Irish immigrants, while the Corn Hill neighborhood in the city's center had a significant Polish and Jewish population.[89] East Utica, or the East Side, was a cultural and political center of the city dominated by Italian immigrants, a trend that continues today.[90][91] North of downtown is the Triangle neighborhood, which would serve as the home of the city's African American and Jewish populations. Neighborhoods formerly dominated by one or several races would later see different groups arrive, such as the introduction of Bosnians and Latin Americans in former Italian neighborhoods, and the Welsh in Corn Hill.[43]

Bagg's Square and Bagg's Square West, the historical centers of Utica, are located in the northeast portion of downtown, anchored by Genesee Street to the west and bounded by Oriskany Street to the south.[83]


Utica exhibits a continental climate with four distinct seasons, and lies within the humid continental climate, or warm summer climate (Köppen Dfb)[92][93] zone, generally characterized by cold winters and moderate summers, average summer daytime temperatures of 70–82 °F (21-28 °C), with average winter daytime temperatures lower than -3 °C (27 °F).[93] Since Utica lies in USDA plant hardiness zone 5a, native vegetation can withstand temperatures from -10 °F to -20 F (-28.9 °C to -26.1 °C).[94]

Daytime highs during the summer are generally between 75 °F (24 °C) and 85 °F (29 °C), with some days not reaching 70 °F (21 °C) being common. Summer nights usually bottom out somewhere between 50 °F (10 °C) and 60 °F (16 °C).

Winters in Utica are very cold and snowy, as the area is susceptible to lake effect snow from Lake Erie and Lake Ontario to the west.[95][96][97] On average, Utica is also colder than other Great Lakes cities as it is subject to northerly winds from the south and is situated in a valley, where cold air from the hills flows downward onto the city.[98] As a result, temperatures in the single digits or below zero are not uncommon for winter nights in Utica. The lowest recorded temperature in the city was -28 °F (-33 °C),[99] which occurred first on February 18, 1979, and again on January 12, 1981.[99] The highest recorded temperature for the city was 100 °F (38 °C), which occurred on July 19, 1953. Normal yearly precipitation based on the 30-year average from 1981–2010 is 42.1 inches (1,069 mm), falling on an average 171 days.[88]


In 2010, Utica's population recovered from a forty-year decline; this recovery was influenced by an influx of refugees and immigrants.
Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 17,565
1860 22,529 28.3%
1870 28,804 27.9%
1880 33,914 17.7%
1890 44,007 29.8%
1900 56,383 28.1%
1910 74,419 32.0%
1920 94,156 26.5%
1930 101,740 8.1%
1940 100,518 −1.2%
1950 100,489 0.0%
1960 100,410 −0.1%
1970 91,611 −8.8%
1980 75,632 −17.4%
1990 68,637 −9.2%
2000 60,523 −11.8%
2010 62,235 2.8%
Est. 2014 61,332 [7] −1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[101]

While the population of Utica is predominatly White, the city's population has diversified since the 1990s with the introduction of immigrants and refugees, especially Bosnian Americans displaced from the Bosnian War.[102] This is attributed to Utica's low cost of living associated with its industrial and economic decline. Over 15 different lanugages are spoken in the city.[103] The city is the tenth-most populous in New York, the seat of Oneida County, and the focal point of the six-county Mohawk Valley region, along with the city of Schenectady. The U.S. Census reported that the Utica–Rome Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased in population from 299,397 in 2010 to 296,615 as of July 1, 2014.[12] The population density was 3,818.1 people per square mile (1,471.3/km²).

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of the city was 62,235, where Whites made up 69.0% of the population; 64.5% of the population was non-Hispanic white. Blacks or African Americans comprised 15.3% of Utica's population, American Indians and Alaska Natives were 0.3% of the populations, Asians were 7.4% (3.5% Burmese, 1.5% Vietnamese, 0.7% Cambodian, 0.4% Indian, 0.2% Chinese, 0.2% Korean, 0.1% Japanese, 0.3% Other Asian),[104] while Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders were 0.1% and Hispanics or Latinos of any race represented 10.5% (6.8% Puerto Rican, 1.5% Dominican, 0.4% Mexican, 0.3% Salvadoran, 0.2% Ecuadoran, 0.1% Cuban, 0.9% Other Hispanic or Latino)[105] of the population of the city. Other races were 3.9% of the city's population, while multiracial individuals were 4.0% of the population.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,916, and the median income for a family was $33,818. Males had a median income of $27,126 versus $21,676 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,248. About 19.8% of families and 24.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.0% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those age 65 and over.

Racial composition 2010 [25] 1990[106] 1970[106] 1950[106]
White 69.0% 86.7% 94.1% 98.4%
 —Non-Hispanic 64.5% 84.8% 91.2% n/a
Black or African American 15.3% 10.5% 5.6% 1.6%
American Indians and Alaska Natives 0.6% 0.3% 0.2% n/a
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 10.5% 3.4% 0.9%[d] n/a
Asian 7.4% 1.1% 0.1% n/a
Other race 3.9% 1.5% 0.1% n/a
Two or more races 4.0% n/a n/a n/a


An early Savage Arms advertisement, 1904
Infrastructure projects, such as the construction of the North-South Arterial Highway and New York State Route 840 have continued to provide jobs for area citizens.

During the mid-1800s, Utica took advantage of its canals and railroads, vital assets to industries producing goods such as furniture, locomotive headlights, steam gauges, firearms, textiles, and lumber.[45][83] World War I allowed for the growth of Savage Arms, who produced the Lewis gun for the British Army,[107] while the city itself was one of the richest per capita in the United States.[108]

Fermentation tanks at the Matt Brewing Company plant in West Utica, producer of Saranac.

After the rapid decline of the local textile industry in the early-1900s, the city's economy was dependent on electronics manufacturing, machinery and equipment, and food processing,[109] led by companies such as General Electric manufacturing the transistor radio.[110] In the latter half of the 20th century, Utica's recessions were longer than the national average.[111] The outmigration of defense companies, such as Lockheed Martin, formed from the merger of the Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta in 1995, and the electrical manufacturing industry heavily contributed to the city's economic stress.[111] From 1975 until 2001, Utica's economic growth rate was similar to that of Buffalo, with other Upstate New York cities such as Rochester and Binghamton outperforming the cities.[111]

Today, the Mohawk Valley's economy is based upon logistics, industrial processes, machinery, and industry services.[112] In Rome, the former Griffiss Air Force Base has developed into a regional employer by developing into a center for technology. The Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona has become a regional tourist destination, with multiple expansions during the 1990s and 2000s.[113]

In the city of Utica, larger employers include the ConMed Corporation, a surgical device and orthotics manufacturer,[114] and Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare, the city's primary healthcare system.[115] Construction jobs such as those for the North-South Arterial Highway project continue to provide growth for the public sector job market.[116] Although passenger and commercial traffic on the Erie Canal has declined since the 19th century, its function as a barge canal has allowed heavy cargo to travel through Utica and bypass the New York State Thruway and intermodal railroads.[117]

Law, government, and politics

Utica, New York
Crime rates (2013)
Crime type Rate*
Homicide: 7
Forcible rape: 27
Robbery: 102
Aggravated assault: 225
Total Violent crime: 361 Decrease
Burglary: 449
Larceny-theft: 1,998
Motor vehicle theft: 82
Total Property crime: 2,529 Decrease
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
Arson data not provided; 2013 est. population: 61,808
Source: Utica City Police Department

Robert M. Palmieri is the current Republican mayor of the city, elected in 2012.[118] Candidates for the office of mayor are elected at large.

The common council consists of ten members, six of which are elected from single member districts. The other four are elected at large, including a council president.[119] The council operates eight standing committees handling city issues including transportation, education, finance and public safety.[120]

At the federal level, Utica lies within New York's 22nd congressional district, which has been represented by Republican Richard L. Hanna since 2013.

As present-day politics maintain a relative balance between the Democratic and Republican parties, they represent a shift from the predominantly single-party structure of the 20th century.[121]

According to the comptroller's office, in 2014, the city of Utica's governmental expenses totaled US $79.3 million, with a net increase of US $940,000 from the previous year.[122] The 2015-2016 budget proposes a general funds spending of US $66.3 million dollars.[123]

City taxes collected in 2014 amounted to US $25,972,930, with a tax rate per thousand of US $25.24.[123]

Utica is served by the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, with offices in the Alexander Pirnie Federal Building.[124]

Crime and public safety

According to the Utica City Police Department, there were seven murders, 102 robberies, 27 forcible rapes, and 225 aggravated assaults in 2013, a decrease from the previous year, representing a violent crime rate of 0.6%. There were 432 burglaries, 1,826 larcenies, and 108 motor vehicle thefts, a decrease from 2013, representing a property crime rate of 4.1%. The total crime for 2014 was 2,755, a decrease from the previous year, with an overall crime rate of 4.7%. When compared to other cities in New York, Utica's crime rate is generally lower.[125][126]

The city of Utica is patrolled by the Utica Police Department and is also under the jurisdiction of the Oneida County Sheriff's Office and the New York State Police, performing both law enforcement and peace functions.[127]

The Utica Fire Department controls four engine and two truck companies, rescue, HAZMAT and medical operations with a 123-person crew.[128]


Formerly a movie palace, the Baroque-style Stanley Center for the Arts opened in 1928.
Runners participating in the annual Boilermaker Road Race

Utica's position in the heart of the Northeastern United States has allowed for the blending of different cultures and traditions. The city shares similarities with other cities in the Central New York region, including its dialect, Inland Northern American English, which is present in other Rust Belt cities such as Buffalo, Elmira, and Erie, Pennsylvania.[129]

The city shares cuisine similarities with the Mid-Atlantic states, with local and regional influences to cuisine. Utica's melting pot of immigrant and refugee groups,[130] including Dutch, Italian, German, Irish, and more recently Bosnian,[69] have played a role in developing cuisine, introducing international dishes such as ćevapi and pasticciotti[nb 1] into the community.[131][132] Examples of Utica's staples include Utica riggies,[133] Utica greens,[134] half-moons,[135][136] and tomato pie.[137] Other popular dishes in the city include pirogues, penne alla vodka, and sausage and peppers.[138][139] Utica's history is also rooted in the brewing industry, with the family-owned Matt Brewing Company ranked as the 15th-largest brewery in the United States by sales volume in 2012.[140][141]

The Fort Schuyler Club, a traditional gentlemen's club, was formed in 1883.[142]

The Boilermaker Road Race, the city's annual marathon organized with the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, attracts runners from the region and around the world, with representation from nations such as Kenya and Romania.[143][144] The Children's Museum of Natural History, Science and Technology, adjacent to Union Station, opened in 1963. In 2002, the museum partnered with NASA, featuring exhibits and events from the agency.[145][146] The Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, an art museum founded in 1960, is operated with the Pratt Institute and features its two-year college, permanent art collections and rotating exhibits.[147]

The Utica Psychiatric Center, formerly a Greek Revival insane asylum, was the birthplace of the Utica crib, a restraining device which was frequently used at the asylum from the mid-19th century to 1887.[38][148][149][150] The Stanley Center for the Arts, a mid-sized concert and performance venue, was designed by Thomas W. Lamb in 1928 and features theatrical and musical performances from local organizations and touring acts.[151] The Hotel Utica, designed by architectural firm Esenwein & Johnson in 1921, was a nursing and residential care facility until the mid-1970s[152] and has featured guests including Franklin Roosevelt, Judy Garland, and Bobby Darwin.[153][154]


The Utica Memorial Auditorium during a Utica Comets game, 2013

Utica is home to the Utica Comets, an affiliate of the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks. Formerly the Peoria Rivermen, the team relocated to Utica and began playing in the American Hockey League in the 2013-14 AHL season.[155][156] The 3,815-seat Utica Memorial Auditorium opened in 1960 and is the home of the Comets and Utica College Pioneers.

The Utica Devils were a member of the American Hockey League (AHL) from 1987-1993, while the Utica Bulldogs (1993–94) Utica Blizzard (1994-97), and Mohawk Valley Prowlers (1998-01) were members of the United Hockey League (UHL).[157]

Utica was the home of the Utica Blue Sox (1939-01), a New York–Penn League baseball team formerly an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, with their last affiliation being with the Florida Marlins. Former baseball teams also include the Utica Asylums (1900) and the Boston Braves affiliate, Utica Braves (1939–42).[158]

Metro area collegiate teams

School Nickname Colors Association Conference
SUNY Polytechnic Institute Wildcats Blue, White, and Gold NCAA Division III NEAC
Hamilton College Continentals Buff and Blue NCAA Division III NESCAC
Utica College Pioneers Navy and Orange NCAA Division III Empire 8
Mohawk Valley Community College Hawks Sea Green and Gray NJCAA Region III
Herkimer County Community College Generals Hunter Green and Gold NJCAA Region III

Parks and recreation

Utica's park system contains over 677 acres of parks and recreation centers, with most city parks containing community centers and swimming pools.[10] Architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., who designed New York City's Central Park as well as Delaware Park in Buffalo, designed the Utica Parks and Parkway Historic District, a national historic district in Utica.[159] Olmsted also designed Memorial Parkway, a four-mile, tree-lined boulevard connecting the district's parks while encircling the city's southern neighborhoods.[160][161] The district includes the Roscoe Conkling Park, F.T. Proctor Park, the Parkway, and T.R. Proctor Park.[162][163]

The city's municipal golf course, Valley View, was designed by golf course architect Robert Trent Jones and is located south of the city near the village of New Hartford.[10] The Utica Zoo, a regional zoo located south of the city, and the Val Bialas Ski Chalet, an urban ski slope featuring skiing, snowboarding, outdoor skating, and tubing are located within Roscoe Conkling Park.[164]

Other district parks within Utica include the Addison Miller Park, Chancellor Park, Seymour Park, and Wankel Park, among smaller neighborhood parks.[165]


An aerial photo looking from south to north of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, partially within North Utica and the Town of Marcy

Similar to Ithaca and Syracuse, Utica has a mixture of both public and private colleges and universities, with three state colleges and four private colleges in the Utica–Rome metropolitan area. The SUNY Polytechnic Institute, located partially within North Utica and the town of Marcy on an 850-acre campus, enrolls over 2,000 students[166] and is one of eight technology colleges and 14 doctoral-granting universities within the State University of New York (SUNY).[167][168] Empire State College and Mohawk Valley Community College, the largest college between Syracuse and Albany,[169] serve the cities of Utica and Rome, with Mohawk Valley enrolling nearly 7,000 students.

Formerly a satellite campus of Syracuse University, Utica College is a four-year, private liberal arts college home to over 3,000 students.[170] Established in 1904, St. Elizabeth College of Nursing partners with regional institutions to provide degrees in nursing.[171] A satellite college of the Pratt Institute, PrattMWP College of Art and Design offers programs in the fine arts, while the Utica School of Commerce offers business-related programs throughout its campuses in Central New York.[172][173]

Utica is served by the Utica City School District, which had an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students in 2012.[174] The district includes the Thomas R. Proctor High School, James H. Donovan Middle School, and twelve high schools. Formerly the city's original public high school, Utica Free Academy closed in 1987.[175] Utica is also home to Notre Dame Junior Senior High School, a small parochial high school founded in 1959 by the Xaverian Brothers.[176]


The Utica Public Library, a historic Neoclassical-style building, opened in 1903

The Utica market is served by five stations affiliated with major American television networks, including WKTV (NBC), WUTR (ABC), WFXV (FOX), and WKTV-DT2 (CW). WTVH, the CBS affiliate in Syracuse, serves as the de facto CBS affiliate for the Utica TV market.[15] Additionally, PBS affiliate WCNY-TV in Syracuse operates translator W22DO-D in the area, which broadcasts on analog channel 22 and digital channel 24. Some low-power television stations also broadcast in the area, such as WPNY-LP (MyNetwork TV). Cable television customers are served by the Syracuse offices of Time Warner Cable, which also offers a local news service, a local sports channel, and public-access channels.[177] Dish Network and DirecTV also serve local satellite television customers with local broadcast channels.[178][179]

Utica's daily newspaper is the Observer-Dispatch, while the Utica Phoenix, established in 2002, operates as an independent newspaper.[180]

The Utica area is served by 26 FM radio stations and nine AM radio stations. Major radio station operators in the Utica area include Townsquare Media and Galaxy Communications.

Although Utica has had minor references in popular culture,[181][182][183][184] the city was the major subject of Slap Shot (1977), and television shows such as The Office.[183][185][186]


Despite the decrease in rail traffic through Utica, the city's rail yard remains active.
An early Federal Highway Administration map of the Interstate Highway System in Utica. Interstate 90 and I-790 are shown in the shaded pattern.


While Griffiss International Airport in Rome primarily serves military and general aviation, regional, domestic and international passenger air transportation in the Utica–Rome metropolitan area is generally provided by Syracuse Hancock International Airport and Albany International Airport.[187]

Amtrak's Empire, Maple Leaf, and Lake Shore Limited train services all have stops at Utica's Union Station. Utica's public bus transportation service is provided through the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority (CENTRO), a Syracuse mass transit operator which runs a total of twelve lines in the city and has a hub in downtown Utica.[188] Intercity bus service is provided through Greyhound and Birnie Bus Company, with weekday and Saturday service to Syracuse[189] and both services stopping at Union Station.[190][191]

Genesee Street traverses through downtown Utica to the village of New Hartford.

From the 1960s to the 1970s, New York state planners envisioned a system of arterial highways within Utica, some of which would include connections to Binghamton and Interstate 81.[192] However, as a result of community opposition,[193] only portions of the highway project project were completed, including the North–South Arterial Highway, which passes to the west of the city.[192][194] Of the existing Utica highway network, six New York State highways, one three-digit interstate highway and one two-digit interstate highway pass through the city. New York State Route 49 and New York State Route 840 are both east-west expressways running along the north and south borders of the city, respectively. Both expressways have eastern termini within the city. New York State Route 5 and its alternate routes, New York State Route 5S and New York State Route 5A are east-west roads and expressways which pass through the city, with NY 5S's western terminus occurring in Utica. Along with NY 5 and Interstate 790, an indirect auxiliary highway of Interstate 90 in Utica, New York State Route 12 and New York State Route 8 form the North–South Arterial Highway.

Power transmission lines cut through the Utica Marsh. Many transmission lines pass through Utica, transporting power to New York City.


Electricity generation in the city of Utica is provided by National Grid plc, a British energy corporation which acquired the city's former electricity provider, Niagara Mohawk, in 2002.[195] The city is also near the crossroads of major electrical transmission lines,[196] with substations in the town of Marcy; an expansion project is in the planning and development stages by the New York Power Authority, National Grid, Con Edison, and NYSEG, a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA.[197][198] In 2009, city businesses including Utica College and St. Luke's Medical Center created a microgrid, while in 2012, the Utica City Council explored the concept of a public, city owned power utility.[199][200][201]

The city's natural gas is provided by National Grid[202] and NYSEG.[203][204]

City garbage is collected and disposed of weekly by the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority,[205] a public benefit corporation which operates single-stream recycling, waste reduction and composting, and disposal of hazardous materials and demolition debris.[206]

Utica's wastewater is treated by the Mohawk Valley Water Authority, with facilities capable of processing 32 million gallons of water per day.[207][208] Water treated by the facilities is also tested for impurities including pathogens, nitrates, nitrites, and bacteria.[207] The source of the city's drinking water is within the Adirondack Mountains, where freshwater from streams and creeks flows into the Hinckley Reservoir in Ohio, New York to the municipal water supply.[208]


Primary healthcare services in Utica are provided by the Mohawk Valley Health System, a nonprofit organization which operates Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare and the St. Elizabeth Medical Center.[209] The St. Luke's and Faxton hospital campuses operate a total of 370 acute and 202 long term beds, while the St. Elizabeth Medical Center operates 201 acute care beds.[210] Both the St. Luke's and Faxton campuses operate surgical centers, while St. Elizabeth Medical Center operates a trauma and surgical center.[209]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ Estimated MSA rank as of July 1, 2014.
  2. ^ Calculated from the total populations of Oneida, Herkimer, Schenectady, Otsego, Fulton, and Montgomery counties as of the 2010 census.
  3. ^ Humidity data calculated from the averages of morning and evening relative humidities.
  4. ^ Population estimate from a 15 percent sample.
  1. ^ Locally known as pusties.[214][215]


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Further reading

  • Bartholomew, Harland (1921). A preliminary report on major streets, Utica, New York. Willard Press. OCLC 682139143. 
  • Bean, Philip A. (2004). La Colonia: Italian Life and Politics in Utica, New York, 1860-1960. Utica College, Ethnic Heritage Studies Center. ISBN 978-0-9660-3630-5. 
  • Bean, Philip A. (2010). The Urban Colonists: Italian American Identity and Politics in Utica, New York. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0-8156-3238-2. 
  • Hopper, Wilbert Clayton (1933). The marketing of fruits and vegetables in the city of Utica. New York State College of Agriculture. OCLC 63975458. 
  • Ferris, T. Harvey (1913). Utica, the heart of the Empire state. Library of Congress. ASIN B00486TJ2C. 
  • Kobryn, Nancy (1995). Guts and glory, tragedy and triumph: the Rufus P. Elefante story. Steffen Pub. OCLC 40756638. 
  • Pula, James S. (1994). Ethnic Utica. Ethnic Heritage Studies Center, Utica College of Syracuse University. ISBN 978-0-9668-1785-0. 
  • Shumway, Daniel (2014). Utica Beer: A History of Brewing in the Mohawk Valley. The History Press. ISBN 978-1-6261-9338-3. 
  • Utica Public Library (1932). A bibliography of the history and life of Utica; a centennial contribution. Goodenow Print. Co. OCLC 1074083. 
  • Webster, Dennis; Peck, Bernadette (2014). Haunted Utica: Mohawk Valley Ghosts and Other Historic Haunts. The History Press. ISBN 978-1-6258-4593-1. 

External links