Recently Renovated 141-Year-Old Seeking Anyone


I’ve never done anything like this before, so I guess I’ll just say it: I’m lonely.

I’m old, I like to say mature, and I know that can scare people off at first. Which is why the last two years I’ve tried to get myself back out there, reinvent myself with a brand new look, and meet new people.

Yet ever since my ribbon cutting in September, I’ve only met the occasional jogger or lost freshman struggling to open the door to the Tioga skybridge. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong so I can get back in the walking game.

A Sustainable Urban Development senior named Alexa Brockamp told me it might be because I “lack green space.”

I admit I’m not quite as green as I could be. During my renovation, I cited studies from the Journal of Urbanism and the Journal of Health that found green areas make people less depressed and are better for the environment.

When I go back to that 2011 plan I made, it’s not quite the same. I decided to segment the space and leave more room for bikers and walkers. Did I screw up?

And some of this is my fault. I suppose I could be more inviting.

When I was planning my new look, I wrote on my vision board that I wanted to provide space for the “community to interact, learn and play.” I’m an entertainer, and I’ve always wanted to bring people together, but in my rush to get noticed I forgot to add benches, tables or sittable spaces for student’s to interact, learn or play.

I guess I thought I would be attractive enough.

Some things I can’t change, though. Students like Nicole McCarthy say I am “not very useful” right now. That’s because I don’t lead to any classrooms. There isn’t a lot of reason to use me.

Why do I have to do something? Why can’t I just be me?

At the same time, students say I am more attractive than ever. I am well manicured with all new bricks and a couple of great staircases. I also installed red train-crossing lights that scare people at night into thinking any second they could be hit by an oncoming ghost train. So don’t worry, I kept my edge.

In a recent interview, my friend Milt Tremblay, the Director of UWT Planning and Sustainability, said that I shouldn’t care what everyone thinks just yet. He said I was “one of those projects that is about more than just the university.” That I’m “regional.” If that’s true, why do I still feel so disconnected?

Everyone is telling me to wait. That in a few years I’ll be back to my former glory, stretching from Dock Street to 26th, and the entire city will depend on me again.

But if no one wants me now, how can I be sure things will be any different?

I can still change; I’m not that old. And I’d be willing to change for the right people. Maybe add some benches?

I hope you can see past what I am, to what I could be. I’m just like everyone else, lonely and looking for love in the city I adore.

Please visit soon—you don’t want to be the one who missed out on me when you had the chance.

Photo by Cliff Bennet

Photo by Cliff Bennet

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