The Other Pebble Drops; NYCO’s Blog

Update: check out Sean Kirst’s article in the Post-Standard on NYCO’s Blog

Head over to NYCO’s Blog and you’ll see a very short post dated October 29th entitled First Draft Finished. One sentence ; “the first draft of NYCO’s Blog is now completed.” and the ominous words “Comments off” below the post.

Back in February of 2008, I wrote a post about ishikoro–the japanese word for pebbles–but also another term for abandoned blogs. I stated that it was looking pretty grim for local bloggers writing about their communities, neighborhoods and everyday life:

But are we losing the spark of independent voices joining the fray? Look at the blogroll listing of 27 Syracuse area blogs on NYCO’s Blog, the acknowledged hub of local blogging about local issues: 6 are non-profit organizations listing events, 1 is exclusively on national politics and 4 are blogs by reporters. Of the 16 remaining independently produced blogs: 5 haven’t posted in 2008 and 3 have only a few token posts in 2008.

That leaves only 8 active, independently-produced blogs talking about Syracuse issues. Please let me know if I’ve missed any blogs or if I’m totally off-base. I’d really like to be wrong on this. Even better, set up a blog to criticize my point and to talk up the state of blogging Syracuse.

Well, the other pebble has now certainly dropped. NYCO’s Blog is on leave, a grand experiment in local voice, temperament and opinion has gone dark.

This was no “6 Surefire Ways To Sell Shit On The Internet” This was no bloviating political blog flacking the latest talking points of one or another party. This was a blog that sought to have a dialogue with the community and it set the bar high.

A typical post was along the lines of her final substantive post: “What does indigenous mean,” a reflection on the use of the word indigenous by white folks in this area, given the long and profound history in our region of indigenous Native American Indians. No one in the local blogosphere has written so interestingly and respectfully of what has often been a history marked by tragedy and farce, in an area where “white activists” have been overtly racist and some native groups rapaciously corporate.

NYCO’s Blog wrote extensively about the attempts in the Southern Tier to ram high power transmission lines through the region to provide cheap power for NY City. Even though the plan wouldn’t have directly hurt Central NY, NYCO quite shrewdly pointed out that this is the exact type of action that puts all of upstate NY at risk–CNY’s autonomy controlled by NYC and corporate interests because we no longer hold our own economic or political destiny in our hands.

NYCO might have written about big picture issues, but she also was as local as can be. NYCO loves her some Fairmount! From photos of the weeds springing out of the median on W. Genesee St. near Fairmount Fair, to loving remembrances of the old Genesee movie theatre, to an in depth history of the community–there were scores of posts on her much loved community.

Several years ago, when several folks with local blogs were debating in each other’s comments section on the issue of neighborliness, NYCO’s posted a spirited defense of the suburbs and their oft-maligned design–blank space, not much common area, geared toward car traffic etc. She ably tweaked the New Urbanist design folks, arguing that the suburbs exist because not everyone wants the urban ideal–some people want space, grass and privacy. I’ll never forget her phrase critiquing my urban-centric beliefs: not everyone wants to “live up each others’ noses in perfect harmony.”

Anyway, I hope that there will someday be a “second draft” of NYCO’s blog, because the greats have always known that it’s the re-writing that makes great writing great.

Thanks Ellen.

6 thoughts on “The Other Pebble Drops; NYCO’s Blog

  1. It’s too bad that the list only includes blogs that talk mainly about Syracuse and its issues. I’ve talked about some local issues and events, but it’s not the crux of my blog. There are many people we both follow on Twitter that write blogs and talk about Syracuse, but not exclusively, including some folks who write for the university.

    Other than that, I’m not sure what to say, so I’ll just stop here.


    1. @Mitch: that’s absolutely true. I follow a bunch of local people on various platforms that talk about a wide variety of issues. I do not want to denigrate them (and I certainly enjoy reading your blogs.) Heck, I get sidetracked from Syracuse issues w/ my incessant Springsteen posts.

      NYCO’s Blog was different because of its focus, its amazing writing and the function it served as a hub for people from all over CNY to connect.

      @Sean–you’re right. let’s do this!


  2. Maybe it could be a party with arm wrestling to see who claims the title of “blogging hub”?

    Phil, thank you for your kind words… and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that you didn’t fall asleep during all those NYRI posts.

    I am serious about creating a second draft, and I want to at least make everyone’s wonderful comments on NYCO’s Blog over the years to be searchable or more accessible. Your words are all part of what was written there.


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