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Troy, New York: A Former Steel Town Makes A Comeback

As New York prepared for its primary Tuesday, we stopped by the city of Troy in Upstate New York. It’s a city that had its heyday in the mid 1900s, but it has fallen on hard times. A quarter of the population is now living in poverty.

Known as “collar city,” Troy used to be a manufacturing hub for detachable shirt collars, which have seen a prolonged period of decline in recent decades. It was also an important center for steel manufacturing in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Here & Now’s Robin Young visited Troy to look at what’s happening with the city now. She spoke with Gene Bunnell, professor emeritus at University at Albany (SUNY) and Stanley Hadsell, manager of Market Block Books in Troy.

She also spoke with Andrea and Chris Burt at Lil Nicky’s Pizzeria, a restaurant they recently bought.

Reporter

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Market Block Books owner Stanley Hadsell (left) and Professor Gene Bunell. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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Market Block Books owner Stanley Hadsell (left) and Professor Gene Bunell. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
At Market Block Books in Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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At Market Block Books in Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
Market Block Books owner Stanley Hadsell holds a framed view of historic downtown Troy. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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Market Block Books owner Stanley Hadsell holds a framed view of historic downtown Troy. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
A view of the weekend farmer's market in Troy, New York. (Professor Gene Bunnell)
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A view of the weekend farmer's market in Troy, New York. (Professor Gene Bunnell)
Customers at the weekend farmer's market in Troy, New York. (Professor Gene Bunnell)
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Customers at the weekend farmer's market in Troy, New York. (Professor Gene Bunnell)
Chris and Andrea Burt are the mother-son team behind Lil Nicky's Pizzeria in Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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Chris and Andrea Burt are the mother-son team behind Lil Nicky's Pizzeria in Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
Chris Burt is pictured in the kitchen at Lil Nicky's Pizzeria in Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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Chris Burt is pictured in the kitchen at Lil Nicky's Pizzeria in Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
Welcome to Troy, New York, a city of about 50,000 people on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. (Jill Ryan/Here & Now)
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Welcome to Troy, New York, a city of about 50,000 people on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. (Jill Ryan/Here & Now)
A 3D printer at an incubator space in Troy called Tech Valley Center of Gravity. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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A 3D printer at an incubator space in Troy called Tech Valley Center of Gravity. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
Inside the incubator space in Troy called Tech Valley Center of Gravity. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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Inside the incubator space in Troy called Tech Valley Center of Gravity. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
A view of downtown Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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A view of downtown Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
Homes in Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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Homes in Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
A mother-son team recently opened Lil Nicky's Pizzeria in Troy. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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A mother-son team recently opened Lil Nicky's Pizzeria in Troy. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
Inside Market Block Books in Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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Inside Market Block Books in Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
A view new downtown Troy. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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A view new downtown Troy. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private research university in Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private research university in Troy, New York. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
South Troy Diner is a family-owned restaurant that serves breakfast, brunch and lunch. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
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South Troy Diner is a family-owned restaurant that serves breakfast, brunch and lunch. (Robin Young/Here & Now)