The Thesis

Here’s the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of work. Hope you enjoy it!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Thank you for visiting this site! My name is Andrew Debraggio, a senior at Georgetown University majoring in Government and American Studies. I’m from Clinton, New York, a small town a short five minutes’ drive from Utica, New York. This blog is a facet of my senior thesis in American Studies and a reflection of my love for Upstate Central New York. The map at the bottom of this post is the map component of this project. I hope you enjoy it!

First, let’s listen to a Utica-inspired parody:

Why Utica?

I picked Utica because it’s a city near and dear to my heart. My hometown is just five minutes away from the city, and I think the latter is at a turning point. Exciting things are happening in Utica–re-development, the end of population decline, and Utica Comets hockey–and I want to showcase this  city. My thesis statement is: Emergent vibrant communities in Utica are reusing industrial sites and redefining space in ways that reflect the area’s burgeoning optimism and self-belief in the wake of decades of decline. As you progress through this project (and as you read my forthcoming written thesis) I hope you’ll agree with me–Utica is not “The City That God Forgot” anymore!


This project is an interactive map of Utica that focuses on the reuse of space. As you move your cursor over a specific site, information about its significance to the city will pop up. Some dots will have pertinent quotes, others will have videos, and a few will discuss representations of cities (more details below). This project is a one-stop database for information on Utica’s industrial past and present promising character. When some think of Utica they can only see what has left: jobs, people, and opportunity. I have the sense, however, that this narrative is changing and believe that this map will convey that optimism.

This map is not meant to be an exhaustive source for everything you should see in or know about Utica. Locals will probably decry some things I left out, and that’s OK! This map and the points I’ve selected are meant to be looked at as a whole. The local schools, the space that’s being re-used, the Utica Zoo… All contribute to one unifying idea–the current promise of Utica.


I want locals to look at and engage with this project. If you’re not a local, don’t worry–this project should have enough context to make you feel right at home in Upstate Central New York. This website has various pages you can explore, and the map below is a synthesis of most of what you will find on those tabs. This project is meant to showcase Utica’s industrial legacy, and anyone interested in Oneida County should be familiar with this integral component of the area’s history.


The story of Utica in the mid- to late twentieth century is tragic. Textile manufacturing and then tech industry departed the area. Jobs left, people left, and hope left. My project compiles a lot of information about former industrial space in the city and links it to what’s happening to these spaces at this moment. Warehouses past are a part of Utica’s identity, and this map venerates this component of Utica.

You will also see some concepts and sources that are not Utica-based. If you see a name you don’t recognize (e.g. Lehan), don’t fret! I’ll briefly explain the theory discussed, include a link to the source, and connect this thought to Utica.

In sum, there is not enough being said about Utica. This project adds to the burgeoning conversation about revitalization in the area, a discussion that includes the promise of nanotechnology and the reuse of spaces in Bagg’s Square.

To fully enjoy this map, follow these steps:

1. As you’re exploring the map, make sure you play some moe.! The band has some local ties, and to make it easy for you I’ve included a YouTube link to one of my favorite songs by them.  Be sure to have autoplay on, so you can continue to enjoy moe. as you explore the map. (

2. Scroll down to the map as the video is providing soothing background music.

3. Explore the map!

–>Orange dots are points of interest, typically involving the reuse of space (industrial, commercial, etc.). That being said, a point may be something that I simply think plays into the sense of Utica as a vibrant city on the cusp of something exciting. Click away and find out!

–>Red dots discuss representations of both Utica and cities more generally that help us understand this location in Upstate New York and how it functions. There’s a lot of text in each point, so be sure to keep scrolling down!

–>Purple dots include short and longer video links. Sit back, grab some popcorn, and see Utica.

–> The line is an approximation of the city’s limits from Google Maps and CartoDB.

There isn’t an order to which links you should visit first. Just go ahead and get clicking!

Without further ado…





Note: header image from:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment