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Utica, New York

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City of Utica
Utica Panorama.JPG
Stanley facade.jpg
Utica 97 002.jpg
Liberty Bell, Utica, NY.jpg
Utica Harbor Lock Overlook.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 Tower and harbor lock, Union Station, Adirondack Bank Center, Liberty Bell Corner, Stanley Theater
Flag of Utica
Official seal of Utica
Official logo of Utica
The Handshake City, Sin City, Elm Tree City[1]
Location in Oneida County and New York
Location in Oneida County and New York
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
State New York
RegionCentral New York; Mohawk Valley
Land grant (village)January 2, 1734[2]
Incorporated (village)April 3, 1798[3]
Incorporated (city)February 13, 1832[4]
 • TypeStrong mayor-council
 • MayorRobert M. Palmieri (D)
 • City17.02 sq mi (44.07 km2)
 • Land16.76 sq mi (43.41 km2)
 • Water0.26 sq mi (0.66 km2)
456 ft (139 m)
 • City62,235
 • Estimate 
 • Density3,565.04/sq mi (1,376.50/km2)
 • Urban
117,328 (U.S.: 268th)[7]
 • Metro
297,592 (U.S.: 163rd)[6][a]
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
13501-13505, 13599
Area code(s)315
FIPS code36-76540
GNIS feature ID0968324[10]

Utica (/ˈjuːtɪkə/ (About this soundlisten)) is a city in the Mohawk Valley and the county seat of Oneida County, New York, United States. The tenth-most-populous city in New York State, its population was 62,235 in the 2010 U.S. census. Located on the Mohawk River at the foot of the Adirondack Mountains, it is approximately 95 miles (153 kilometers) west-northwest of Albany, 55 mi (89 km) east of Syracuse and 240 mi (386 km) northwest of New York City. Utica and the nearby city of Rome anchor the Utica–Rome Metropolitan Statistical Area comprising all of Oneida and Herkimer Counties.

Formerly a river settlement inhabited by the Mohawk Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy, Utica attracted European-American settlers from New England during and after the American Revolution. In the 19th century, immigrants strengthened its position as a layover city between Albany and Syracuse on the Erie and Chenango Canals and the New York Central Railroad. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the city's infrastructure contributed to its success as a manufacturing center and defined its role as a worldwide hub for the textile industry. Utica's 20th-century political corruption and organized crime gave it the nickname "Sin City."[11]

Like other Rust Belt cities, Utica underwent an economic downturn beginning in the mid-20th century. The downturn consisted of industrial decline due to offshoring and the closure of textile mills, population loss caused by the relocation of jobs and businesses to suburbs and to Syracuse, and poverty associated with socioeconomic stress and a depressed tax base. With its low cost of living, the city has become a melting pot for refugees from war-torn countries around the world, encouraging growth for its colleges and universities, cultural institutions and economy.


Several theories exist regarding the history of the name "Utica".[12] Although surveyor Robert Harpur stated that he named the village,[12] the most accepted theory involves a 1798 meeting at Bagg's Tavern (a resting place for travelers passing through the village) where the name was picked from a hat holding 13 suggestions.[12][13] Utica was included because Utica (in modern-day Tunisia) is a city of antiquity: several other upstate New York cities had adopted classical Mediterranean city names earlier, such as Troy (1789) and Rome (1796), or would later, as with Syracuse (1847).[14][15]


Iroquois natives and European settlement[]

A black-and-white map, depicting buildings and roads in simple, small black outlines. The text "Utica in 1802" is at bottom right.
An 1802 engraved map of Utica. The Mohawk River is at the top, and Bagg's Tavern is at the center right.
This 1883 index map shows the development around Utica and Bagg's Square, with the Erie Canal (now Oriskany Street) and Chenango Canal towards the upper-right.

Utica was established on the site of Old Fort Schuyler, built by American colonists for defense in 1758 during the French and Indian War, the North American front of the Seven Years' War against France.[3][16][17][18] Prior to construction of the fort, the Mohawk, Onondaga and Oneida tribes had occupied this area south of the Great Lakes region as early as 4000 BC.[19] The Mohawk were the largest and most powerful tribe in the eastern part of the Mohawk Valley. American colonists had a longstanding fur trade with them, in exchange for firearms and rum. The tribe's dominating presence in the region prevented the Province of New York from expanding past the middle of the Mohawk Valley until after the American victory in the Revolutionary War, when the British-allied Iroquois were forced to cede their lands as allies of the defeated British, and the American-allied Iroquois were forced to cede land in exchange for shelter and supplies following brutal fighting.[19]

The land housing Old Fort Schuyler was part of a 20,000-acre (81 km2) portion of marshland granted by King George II to New York governor William Cosby on January 2, 1734.[20] Since the fort was located near several trails (including the Great Indian Warpath), its position—on a bend at a shallow portion of the Mohawk River—made it an important fording point. The Mohawk called the bend Unundadages ("around the hill"), and the Mohawk word appears on the city's seal.[13][21][22]

During the American Revolutionary War, border raids from British-allied Iroquois tribes harried the settlers on the frontier. George Washington ordered Sullivan's Expedition, Rangers, to enter Central New York and suppress the Iroquois threat. More than 40 Iroquois villages were destroyed and their winter stores, causing starvation.[13] In the aftermath of the war, numerous European-American settlers migrated into the state and this western region from New England,[23] especially Connecticut.[13]

In 1794 a state road, Genesee Road, was built from Utica west to the Genesee River. That year a contract was awarded to the Mohawk Turnpike and Bridge Company to extend the road northeast to Albany, and in 1798 it was extended.[3][24] The Seneca Turnpike was key to Utica's development, replacing a worn footpath with a paved road.[25] The village became a rest and supply area along the Mohawk River for goods and the many people moving through Western New York to and from the Great Lakes.[26][27]

The boundaries of the village of Utica were defined in an act passed by the New York State Legislature on April 3, 1798.[28] Utica expanded its borders in subsequent 1805 and 1817 charters. On April 5, 1805, the village's eastern and western boundaries were expanded,[29] and on April 7, 1817, Utica separated from Whitestown on its west.[3][30] After completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, the city's growth was stimulated again.

The municipal charter was passed by the state legislature on February 13, 1832.[3][4] In 1845 the United States Census ranked Utica as the 29th-largest in the country (with 20,000 residents, more than the populations of Chicago, Detroit or Cleveland.[31][32])

Industry, trade, and slavery[]

A black-and-white pencil drawing of a bustling, smoky, industrial city.
Bird's-eye view of Utica over Bagg's Square in the 1850s, showing the smoke from numerous factory chimneys

Utica's location on the Erie and Chenango canals encouraged industrial development, allowing the transport of anthracite from northeastern Pennsylvania for local manufacturing and distribution.[33] Utica's economy centered around the manufacture of furniture, heavy machinery, textiles and lumber.[34] The combined effects of the Embargo Act of 1807 and local investment enabled further expansion of the textile industry.[35] Like other upstate New York cities, mills in Utica processed cotton from the Deep South, produced by slave labor.

In addition to the canals, transport in Utica was bolstered by railroads running through the city. The first was the Mohawk and Hudson Rail Road, which became the Utica and Schenectady Railroad in 1833. Its 78-mile (126 km) connection between Schenectady and Utica was developed in 1836 from the right-of-way previously used by the Mohawk and Hudson River railway.[36][37] Later lines, such as the Syracuse and Utica Railroad, merged with the Utica and Schenectady to form the New York Central Railroad, which originated as a 19th-century forest railway in the Adirondacks.[38]

During the 1850s, Utica aided more than 650 fugitive slaves; it played a major role as a station in the Underground Railroad. The city was on a slave escape route from the Southern Tier to Canada by way of Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester.[39][40] The route, used by Harriet Tubman to travel to Buffalo,[41] guided slaves to pass through Utica on the New York Central Railroad right-of-way en route to Canada.[41] Utica was the locus for Methodist preacher Orange Scott's antislavery sermons during the 1830s and 1840s, and Scott formed an abolitionist group there in 1843.[40] The 1835 initial meeting of the , in Utica, was disrupted by an anti-abolitionist mob, including local congressman Samuel Beardsley and other "prominent citizens".[42] (It adjourned to Gerrit Smith's home in nearby Peterboro, New York).[43][44]

20th century to present[]

Two young newsboys smiling and standing in the snow. One boy is holding a bag.
Newsboys for the Utica Saturday Globe, 1910

The early 20th century brought rail advances to Utica, with the New York Central electrifying 49 miles (79 km) of track from the city to Syracuse in 1907 for its West Shore interurban line.[45] In 1902, the Utica and Mohawk Valley Railway connected Rome to Little Falls with a 37.5-mile (60.4 km) electrified line through Utica.[46]

Looking north towards the corner of Genesee and Bleecker streets, c. 1900–1915. Streetcars can be seen crossing a bridge over the Erie Canal.

By the 1950s, Utica was known as "Sin City" because of the extent of its corruption at the hands of the Democratic Party political machine.[47][48][49][50] During the late 1920s, trucker Rufus Elefante rose to power[51][52] although he never ran for office.[53] Originally a Republican, Elefante's power was enhanced by support from New York governor Franklin D. Roosevelt.[54] Waves of Italian, Irish, Polish and Lebanese Maronite immigrants worked in the city's industries in the early part of the 20th century. Until the 1980s, organized crime had a strong role in the city.[50][55]

Strongly affected by the deindustrialization that took place in other Rust Belt cities, Utica suffered a major reduction in manufacturing activity during the second half of the 20th century. Textile mills were undercut by competitors in the southern United States.[56] The 1954 opening of the New York State Thruway (which bypassed the city) and declines in activity on the Erie Canal and railroads throughout the United States also contributed to a poor local economy.[57] During the 1980s and 1990s, major employers such as General Electric and Lockheed Martin began to close plants in Utica and Syracuse.[58][59]

City jobs were moved to the towns and villages around Utica during the suburbanization of the postwar period. This led to the expansion of the nearby Town of New Hartford and the village of Whitesboro. Utica's lack of quality academic and educational choices, when compared to Syracuse under an hour away, contributed to its decline in local businesses and jobs as some economic activity moved to Syracuse during the 1990s.[60] Utica's population fell while population in the county increased, reflecting a statewide trend of decreasing urban populations outside New York City.[61] Residents who remain in the city struggle to handle poverty issues stemming from social and economic conditions caused partially by a smaller tax base; this adversely affects schools and public services.[62][63] Despite the city's economic decline, it has benefited from a low cost of living,[64][65] attracting immigrants and refugees from around the world.[66][67][68]

In 2010, Utica, the focus of local, regional and statewide economic-revitalization efforts,[69][70][71] developed its first comprehensive master plan in more than a half-century.[72][73]


Photo of the region from space. Mountains can be seen throughout most of this picture.
November 1985 photo of the Mohawk Valley from Space Shuttle Challenger, with Utica center-left and Albany center-right

According to the United States Census Bureau, Utica has a total area of 17.02 square miles (44.1 km2)—16.76 square miles (43.4 km2) of land and 0.26 square miles (0.67 km2) (1.52 percent) of water.[74] The city is located at New York's geographic center, adjacent to the western border of Herkimer County, and at the southwestern base of the Adirondack Mountains.[75] Utica and its suburbs are bound by the Allegheny Plateau in the south and the Adirondack Mountains in the north,[76] and the city is 456 feet (139 m) above sea level; this region is known as the Mohawk Valley. The city is 90 mi (145 km) northwest of Albany[77] and 45 mi (72 km) east of Syracuse.[78]


A marshland with waterfowl and patches of aquatic plants in it, and dense vegetation in the background
The Utica Marsh is a series of wetlands north of the city

The city's Mohawk name, Unundadages ("around the hill") refers to a bend in the Mohawk River that flows around the city's elevated position as seen from the Deerfield Hills in the north.[21] The Erie Canal and Mohawk River pass through northern Utica; northwest of downtown is the Utica Marsh, a group of cattail wetlands between the Erie Canal and Mohawk River (partially in the town of Marcy) with a variety of animals, plants and birds.[79][80] During the 1850s, plank roads were built through the marshland surrounding the city.[81] Utica's suburbs have more hills and cliffs than the city. Located where the Mohawk Valley forms a wide floodplain, the city has a generally sloping, flat topography.[75]


Utica as viewed from the northern hills of the city

Utica's architecture features many styles that are also visible in comparable areas of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse,[82] including Greek Revival, Italianate, French Renaissance,[83] Gothic Revival and Neoclassical. The modernist 1972 Utica State Office Building, at 17 floors and 227 feet (69 m), is the city's tallest.[84]

Streets laid out when Utica was a village had more irregularities than those built later in the 19th and 20th centuries. As a result of the city's location (adjacent to the Mohawk River), many streets parallel the river, so they do not run strictly east–west or north–south. Remnants of Utica's early electric-rail systems can be seen in the West and South neighborhoods, where the rails were set into the streets.[21][85][86]


A CSX train sharing Schuyler Street in West Utica

Utica's neighborhoods have historically been defined by their residents, allowing them to develop their own individuality. Racial and ethnic groups, social and economic separation and the development of infrastructure and new means of transportation have shaped neighborhoods, with groups shifting between them as a result.[32]

West Utica (or the West Side) was historically home to German, Irish and Polish immigrants. The Corn Hill neighborhood in the city center had a significant Jewish population.[87] East Utica (or the East Side) is a cultural and political center dominated by Italian immigrants.[88][89] North of downtown is the Triangle neighborhood, formerly home to the city's African American and Jewish populations.[32] Neighborhoods formerly dominated by one or more groups saw other groups arrive, such as Bosnians and Latin Americans in former Italian neighborhoods and the historically Welsh neighborhood of Corn Hill.[32] Bagg Commemorative Park and Bagg's Square West (Utica's historic centers) are in the northeastern portion of downtown, with Genesee Street on the west and Oriskany Street on the south.[83]

Historic places[]

The following are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:[90][91][92][93][94]


Utica has a humid continental climate (or warm-summer climate: Köppen Dfb) with four distinct seasons,[95][96] characterized by cold winters and temperate summers. Summer high temperatures range from 77–81 °F (25–27 °C).[96] The city is in USDA plant hardiness zone 5a, and native vegetation can tolerate temperatures from −10 to −20 °F (−23 to −29 °C).[97]

Winters are cold and snowy; Utica receives lake-effect snow from Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.[98][99][100] Utica is colder on average than other Great Lakes cities because of its location in a valley and susceptibility to north winds;[101] temperatures in the single digits or below zero Fahrenheit are not uncommon on winter nights. Annual precipitation (based on a 30-year average from 1981 to 2010) is 45.7 inches (116 cm), falling on an average of 175 days.[102]

Climate data for Utica (Rome, New York), (1991–2020 normals,[b] extremes 1961–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 67
Average high °F (°C) 30.1
Daily mean °F (°C) 21.5
Average low °F (°C) 12.9
Record low °F (°C) −31
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.50
Average snowfall inches (cm) 31.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 12.9 14.2 13.2 15.5 14.9 14.0 13.1 13.7 13.4 17.1 15.7 17.0 174.7
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 15.9 11.7 8.2 2.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 4.2 13.5 56.7
Average relative humidity (%) 66.0 66.2 65.0 64.1 63.3 66.8 66.0 68.2 72.7 69.8 72.3 72.3 67.9
Percent possible sunshine 42 46 52 58 64 66 65 60 54 48 43 40 53
Source 1: NOAA (snowfall 1981–2010),[103][104][105] Western Regional Center[106]
Source 2: Weatherbase[107]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[108]

The city's growth during the 19th century is indicated by the increase in its population; in 1845 the United States Census ranked Utica as the 29th-largest in the country (with 20,000 residents, more than the populations of Chicago, Detroit or Cleveland.)

As of 2014, the city is the tenth-most populous in New York and the sixth-most populous metro region in New York.[109] It is the seat of Oneida County,[110] and a focal point of the six-county Mohawk Valley region. According to a U.S. Census estimate, the Utica–Rome Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased in population from 299,397 in 2010 to 296,615 on July 1, 2014[109] and its population density was about 3,818 people per square mile (1,474/km2).

The Bosnian Islamic Association of Utica's mosque near City Hall.

Utica's population has remained ethnically diverse and has received many new influxes of immigrants since the 1990s. New immigrants and refugees have included Bosnians displaced by the Bosnian War, Burmese, Latinos, Russians, and Vietnamese.[111] More than 42 languages are spoken in the city.[112][113] Utica's population halted a forty-year decline in 2010, influenced by this influx of refugees and immigrants.

In the 2010 United States Census, Utica's population was 62,235. According to the 2013 American Community Survey, the Italian American population has declined since its peak of more than 40%. Italian Americans however remain the most prominent ethnic group, constituting 20% of the city population.[114]

The remainder of sizable ethnic groups include, as approximations: Slavs (18%) broken down as Poles (8.3%), Bosnians (7%) and Eastern Slavs at a combined (2.7%). Irish (11.3%), African Americans (10.5%), German (10.3%), ethnically English or American residents (8%), Puerto Ricans (6.8%). Burmese (3.5%), French and French-Canadians (2.7%), Arabs and Lebanese (2%), (non-Hispanic) Caribbean West Indies (1.8%), Dominicans (1.5%), Vietnamese (1.5%) and Cambodians (.7%). Iroquois or other (non-Hispanic) Amerindians (.3%).[114][115]

Median income per Utica household was $30,818. Per capita income was $17,653, and 29.6% of the population were below the poverty threshold.[74]

Racial composition 2010[74] 1990[116] 1970[116] 1950[116]
White 69.0% 86.7% 94.1% 98.4%
 —Non-Hispanic 64.5% 84.8% 91.2% n/a
African American 15.3% 10.5% 5.6% 1.6%
American Indians and Alaskan Natives 0.3% 0.3% 0.2% n/a
Asian 7.2% 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
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 10.5% 3.4% 0.9%[c] n/a


During the mid-19th century, Utica's canals and railroads supported industries producing furniture, locomotive headlights, steam gauges, firearms, textiles and lumber.[34][83] World War I sparked the growth of Savage Arms, which produced the Lewis gun for the British Army,[117] and the city prospered as one of the wealthiest per capita in the United States.[118]

In the early 20th century, the local textile industry began to decline, which had a significant impact on the local economy. The boll weevil adversely affected southern cotton crops in this period. During the late 1940s, air-conditioned mills opened in the southern United States, and jobs were lost as factories were moved south, where labor costs were lower because "right to work" laws weakened unions. Other industries also moved out of the city during a general restructuring in older industrial cities.[119] New industries to rise in the city were electronics manufacturing (led by companies such as General Electric, which produced transistor radios),[120] machinery and equipment, and food processing.[121]

Large, ovoid tanks in a brewery
Fermentation tanks at the Matt Brewing Company in West Utica, producer of Saranac beer

The city struggled to make a transition to new industries. During the second half of the 20th century, the city's recessions were longer than the national average.[122] The exodus 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 played a major role in Utica's recent economic distress.[122] From 1975 to 2001, the city's economic growth rate was similar to that of Buffalo, while other upstate New York cities such as Rochester and Binghamton outperformed both.[122]

In the early 21st century, the Mohawk Valley economy is based on logistics, industrial processes, machinery, and industrial services.[123] In Rome, the former Griffiss Air Force Base has remained a regional employer as a technology center. The Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona is a tourist destination, with a number of expansions during the 1990s and 2000s.[124]

Utica's larger employers include the (a surgical-device and orthotics manufacturer)[125] and Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare, the city's primary health care system.[126]

Construction, such as the North-South Arterial Highway project, supports the public-sector job market.[127] Although passenger and commercial traffic on the Erie Canal has declined greatly since the 19th century, the barge canal still allows heavy cargo to travel through Utica at low cost, bypassing the New York State Thruway and providing intermodal freight transport with the railroads.[128]

Law, government, and politics[]

Utica City Hall
The United States District Court for the Northern District of New York has offices in the Alexander Pirnie Federal Building
Utica, New York
Crime rates* (2014[129])
Violent crimes
Aggravated assault237
Total violent crime390 Increase
Property crimes
Motor vehicle theft107
Total property crime2,384 Decrease

*Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.

Arson data not provided; 2014 est. population: 61,332

Source: Utica City Police Department

Democrat Robert M. Palmieri, elected in 2011, is Utica's current mayor.[130][131] The common council consists of 10 members, six of whom are elected from single-member districts. The other four, including its president, are elected at-large.[132] Utica has a Strong mayor-council form of government. The council has eight standing committees for issues including transportation, education, finance and public safety.[133] There is a relative balance between the Democratic and Republican parties, a change from the predominantly single-party politics of the 20th century.[134] Throughout the 1950s, Democrats held the mayor's office and a majority on the city council.[135]

Utica is in New York's 22nd congressional district, which has been represented by Republican Claudia Tenney since 2021. The city is served by the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, with offices in the Alexander Pirnie Federal Building.[136]

According to the comptroller's office, Utica's governmental expenses totaled $79.3 million in 2014 (a net increase of $940,000 from the previous year).[137] The 2015–16 budget proposes general-fund spending of $66.3 million.[138] City taxes collected in 2014 were $25,972,930, with a tax rate per thousand of $25.24.[138]

According to the city's police department, there were six murders, 125 robberies, 22 rapes, and 237 assaults in 2014 (an increase from the previous year, representing a violent-crime rate of 0.6 percent). There were 432 burglaries, 1,845 larcenies and 107 motor-vehicle thefts (a decrease from 2013, representing a property-crime rate of 3.8 percent). Compared to other cities in New York, Utica's crime rate is generally low.[139][140] The Utica Police Department patrols the city, and law enforcement is also under the jurisdiction of the Oneida County Sheriff's Office and the New York State Police.[141] The Utica Fire Department coordinates four engines, two truck companies, and rescue, HAZMAT and medical operations with a 123-person crew.[142]


Many people running a marathon on a street. There are trees in the background.
Participants in Utica's annual Boilermaker Road Race

Utica's position in the northeastern United States has allowed the blending of cultures and traditions. It shares characteristics with other cities in Central New York including its dialect group (Inland Northern American English, which is also present in other Rust Belt cities such as Buffalo, Elmira and Erie, Pennsylvania).[143]

Utica shares a cuisine with the mid-Atlantic states, with local and regional influences. Its melting pot of immigrant and refugee cuisines,[144] including Dutch, Italian, German, Irish and Bosnian,[66] have introduced dishes such as ćevapi and pasticciotti[d] to the community.[147][148] Utica staple foods include chicken riggies,[149] Utica greens,[150] half-moons,[151][152] ,[153] and tomato pie.[154] Other popular dishes are pierogi, penne alla vodka, and sausage and peppers.[155][156] Utica has long had ties to the brewing industry. The family-owned Matt Brewing Company resisted the bankruptcies and plant closings that came with the industry consolidation under a few national brands. As of 2012, it was ranked the 15th-largest brewery by sales in the United States.[157][158]

Vegetables in a skillet
A skillet of Utica greens

The annual 15 km (9.3 mi) Boilermaker Road Race, organized by the city in conjunction with the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, attracts runners from the region and around the world, including Kenya and Romania.[159][160] The Children's Museum of Natural History, Science and Technology, next to Union Station, opened in 1963. In 2002, the museum partnered with NASA to feature space-related exhibits and events.[161][162] The Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, founded in 1919, features a PrattMWP program in cooperation with the Pratt Institute, and permanent collections and rotating exhibits.[163]

The Utica Psychiatric Center is in a Greek Revival structure, the site of a former insane asylum that was the birthplace of the Utica crib, a restraining device frequently used at the asylum from the mid-19th century to 1887.[12][164][165][166] The Stanley Center for the Arts, a mid-sized concert and performance venue, was designed by Thomas W. Lamb in 1928 and today features theatrical and musical performances by local and touring groups.[167] The Hotel Utica, designed by Esenwein & Johnson in 1912, became a nursing and residential-care facility during the 1970s.[168][169] Notable guests had included Franklin D. Roosevelt, Judy Garland and Bobby Darin. It was restored as a hotel in 2001.[169][170]


A brightly lit hockey arena, clad in metal panels.
Adirondack Bank Center after renovations, 2016

Utica is home to the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League (AHL), a team affiliated with the National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils. The team was established in Utica for the 2013–14 season when the Vancouver Canucks relocated their AHL franchise.[171][172] The 3,815-seat Adirondack Bank Center, which opened in 1960, as the Utica Memorial Auditorium, is home to the Comets and the Utica College Pioneers. The Utica Devils played in the AHL from 1987 to 1993, and the Utica Bulldogs (1993–94), Utica Blizzard (1994–1997), and Mohawk Valley Prowlers (1998–2001) were members of the United Hockey League (UHL).[173]

Since 2018, the city is also home to Utica City FC, a professional indoor soccer team playing in the Major Arena Soccer League.[174]

The city was home to the Utica Blue Sox (1939–2001), a New York–Penn League baseball team also affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays and, later, the Miami Marlins. Other former baseball teams included the Utica Asylums (1900) and the Boston Braves-affiliated Utica Braves (1939–42).[175] Since 2008, the city has been home to a collegiate summer baseball team also called the Blue Sox.

Area collegiate teams[]

School Location Nickname Colors Association Conference References
SUNY Polytechnic Institute Marcy Wildcats Blue and gold NCAA Division III NEAC [176]
Hamilton College Clinton Continentals Buff and blue NCAA Division III NESCAC [177]
Utica College Utica Pioneers Navy and orange NCAA Division III Empire 8 [178]
Mohawk Valley Community College Utica, Rome Hawks Forest green and white NJCAA Region III [179]
Herkimer County Community College Herkimer Generals Hunter green and gold NJCAA Region III [180]

Parks and recreation[]

Roscoe Conkling Park

Utica's parks system consists of 677 acres (274 ha) of parks and recreation centers; most of the city's parks have community centers and swimming pools.[181] Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., who designed New York City's Central Park and Delaware Park in Buffalo, designed the Utica Parks and Parkway Historic District.[182] Olmsted also designed Memorial Parkway, a four-mile (6.4 km) tree-lined boulevard connecting the district's parks and encircling the city's southern neighborhoods.[183][184] The district includes Roscoe Conkling Park, the 62-acre F.T. Proctor Park, the Parkway, and T.R. Proctor Park.[185][186]

The city's municipal golf course, Valley View (designed by golf-course architect Robert Trent Jones), is in the southern part of the city near the town of New Hartford.[181] The Utica Zoo and the Val Bialas Ski Chalet, an urban ski slope featuring skiing, snowboarding, outdoor skating, and tubing, are also in south Utica in Roscoe Conkling Park.[187] Smaller neighborhood parks in the district include Addison Miller Park, Chancellor Park, Seymour Park, and Wankel Park.[188]

The Utica Canal Terminal Harbor is connected to the Erie Canal and Mohawk River.



A highway, under construction, runs across the photo from top left to bottom right. Next to the highway is a large church and some buildings on the right.
NY Routes 5, 8, and 12 cut through the city as the North–South Arterial Highway.

Griffiss International Airport in Rome primarily serves military and general aviation, and Syracuse Hancock International Airport and Albany International Airport provide regional, domestic, and international passenger air travel in the Utica–Rome Metropolitan Area.[189] Amtrak's Empire (two unnamed trains), Maple Leaf, and Lake Shore Limited trains stop at Utica's Union Station. Bus service is provided by the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority (CENTRO), a Syracuse public transport operator which runs 12 lines in Utica and has a downtown hub.[190] Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound Lines, Short Line, Adirondack Trailways, and Birnie Bus Service, with weekday and Saturday service to Syracuse;[191] both stop at Union Station.[192][193]

Map of Utica area, with highways
Early Federal Highway Administration map of the Interstate Highway System in Utica; Interstates 90 and 790 are in the shaded portion

During the 1960s and 1970s, New York state planners envisioned a system of arterial roads in Utica that would include connections to Binghamton and Interstate 81.[194] Due to community opposition,[195] only parts of the highway project were completed, including the North–South Arterial Highway running through the city.[194][196] Six New York State highways, one three-digit interstate highway, and one two-digit interstate highway pass through Utica. New York State Route 49 and State Route 840 are east–west expressways running along Utica's northern and southern borders, respectively, and the eastern terminus of each is in the city. New York State Route 5 and its alternate routesState Route 5S and State Route 5A—are east–west roads and expressways that pass through Utica. The western terminus of Route 5S and the eastern terminus of Route 5A are both in the city. With Route 5 and Interstate 790 (an auxiliary highway of Interstate 90), New York State Route 12 and State Route 8 form the North–South Arterial Highway.[197]


Electricity in Utica is provided by National Grid plc, a British energy corporation that acquired the city's former electricity provider, Niagara Mohawk, in 2002.[198] Utica is near the crossroads of major electrical transmission lines,[199] with substations in the town of Marcy. An expansion project by the New York Power Authority, National Grid, Consolidated Edison, and New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) is planned.[200][201] In 2009 city businesses (including Utica College and St. Luke's Medical Center) developed a microgrid, and in 2012 the Utica City Council explored the possibility of a public, city-owned power company.[202][203][204] Utica's natural gas is provided by National Grid[205] and NYSEG.[206][207]

Municipal solid waste is collected and disposed of weekly by the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority,[208] a public-benefit corporation that coordinates single-stream recycling, waste reduction, composting, and the disposal of hazardous materials and demolition debris.[209] Utica's wastewater is treated by the Mohawk Valley Water Authority, with a capacity of 32 million gallons per day.[210][211] Treated water is tested for impurities including pathogens, nitrates, and nitrites.[210] Utica's drinking water comes from the stream-fed Hinckley Reservoir in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains,[211] with 700 miles (1,100 km) of piping throughout the city.[212]

Health care[]

Primary health care in Utica is provided by the Mohawk Valley Health System, a nonprofit organization that operates Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center.[213] The St. Luke's and Faxton hospitals have a total of 370 acute and 202 long-term beds, and St. Elizabeth Medical Center has 201 acute-care beds.[214] St. Luke's and Faxton are surgical centers, and St. Elizabeth is a trauma and surgical center.[213] The Mohawk Valley Health System plans to construct a new hospital in Downtown Utica by 2022, consolidating many operations at the existing hospital campuses.[215]


An aerial view of a school campus in a wooded area. The trees around the campus have red leaves. Roads cut through the middle of the wood toward the school.
Aerial view of SUNY Polytechnic Institute from south to north

Like Ithaca and Syracuse, Utica has a mix of public and private colleges and universities; three state colleges and four private colleges are in the Utica–Rome metropolitan area. SUNY Polytechnic Institute, on an 850-acre campus in North Utica and Marcy, has over 2,000 students[216] and is one of eight technology colleges and 14 doctorate-granting universities of the State University of New York (SUNY).[217][218] Mohawk Valley Community College is the largest college between Syracuse and Albany with nearly 7,000 students,[219] and an Empire State College location serves Utica and Rome.[220]

A long, three-story brick school building on top of a hill.
Thomas R. Proctor High School

Formerly a satellite campus of Syracuse University, Utica College is a four-year private liberal arts college with over 3,000 students.[221] Established in 1904, St. Elizabeth College of Nursing partners with regional institutions to grant nursing degrees.[222] Pratt Institute offers a local two-year fine-arts course.[223] The Utica School of Commerce, a for-profit business college, closed at the end of 2016.[224]

The Utica City School District had an enrollment of nearly 10,000 in 2012[225] and is the most racially diverse school district in Upstate New York.[226] District schools include Thomas R. Proctor High School, James H. Donovan Middle School, John F Kennedy middle school and ten elementary schools. Utica's original public high school, the Utica Free Academy, closed in 1987.[227] The city is also home to Notre Dame Junior Senior High School, a small Catholic high school founded in 1959 by the Xaverian Brothers.[228]


Observer Dispatch
Utica Public Library

Utica is served by three stations affiliated with major television networks: WKTV 2 (NBC; CBS on DT2; CW on DT3),[229] WUTR 20 (ABC), and WFXV 33 (Fox). PBS member station WCNY-TV in Syracuse operates translator W22DO-D on analog channel 22 and digital channel 24. Several low-power television stations, such as WPNY-LD 11 (MyNetworkTV), also broadcast in the area. Cable television viewers are served by the Syracuse office of Charter Communications (doing business as Charter Spectrum), which offers a local news service and public-access channels.[230] Dish Network and DirecTV provide satellite television customers with local broadcast channels.[231][232]

Utica's main daily newspaper is the Observer-Dispatch; the Utica Phoenix, established in 2002, is an alternative.[233] The city has 26 FM radio stations and nine AM stations. Major station owners in the area include Townsquare Media and Galaxy Communications. In addition to minor popular-culture references,[234][235][236][237] Slap Shot (1977) was partially filmed in Utica, and the city has been featured on the TV series The Office.[236][238][239]

The Mid York Library System serves Utica and is chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York. The library system has 43 branches[240] (including the Utica Public Library) in Oneida, Herkimer and Madison counties.[241]

Notable people[]

See also[]

Notes and references[]


  1. ^ Estimated MSA rank as of July 1, 2014.
  2. ^ Humidity data calculated from the averages of morning and evening relative humidities.
  3. ^ Population estimate from a 15-percent sample
  4. ^ Locally known as "pusties"[145][146]


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  • Bagg, M. M. (1892). Memorial History of Utica, N.Y.: From Its Settlement to the Present Time. Cornell University Library: D. Mason & Co. Publishers. OCLC 1837599.
  • Bottini, Joseph P.; Davis, James L. (2007). Utica. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-5496-9.
  • Childs, L. C. (1900). Outline History of Utica and Vicinity. New Century Club, Utica, New York. OCLC 1558992.
  • Switala, William J. (2006). Underground Railroad in New Jersey and New York. Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3258-1.
  • Thomas, Alexander R. (2003). In Gotham's Shadow. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-5595-1.
  • Thomas, Alexander R.; Smith, Polly J. (2009). Upstate Down: Thinking about New York and Its Discontents. University Press of America. ISBN 978-0-7618-4500-3.

Further reading[]

  • Bartholomew, Harland (1921). A Preliminary Report on Major Streets, Utica, New York. Willard Press. OCLC 682139143.
  • 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.
  • Utica Public Library (1932). A Bibliography of the History and Life of Utica; a Centennial Contribution. Goodenow Print. Co. OCLC 1074083.

External links[]

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