Last night, I experienced something in downtown Binghamton which warranted this post. Many will credit this to the sultry weather or the fact that the SUNY students are back in town. Okay, I will give you both of those; however, I refuse to give them both full credit.
There were more people walking and talking on the sidewalks than I have seen in a very long time. Every few feet on Court St there were small groups of people clearly enjoying each other's company. These groups encompassed every age group; hence my hesitation in crediting the return of the students. There were couples strolling hand in hand stopping to look at window displays or simply gazing into each other's eyes.
The only other times that I have witnessed this downtown has been on First Fridays. First Friday participants have more of a sense of purpose about them. They have set in their minds and their outward demeanor which of the featured venues they would be attending.
This was different. For the first time, I observed people actually enjoying all that is downtown as well as the company of others.
My only disappointment about this entire experience would be that many of the downtown businesses along Court St and Washington St were not capitalizing on this increase of foot traffic. For example, I was approached by a couple in the 60's who asked if I knew when M & D-R Nuts was open. They had their hearts set on stopping in to buy some to take home. I also overheard a much younger group of people comment that they wish Curry's of India was open as it would have been a nice choice for dinner. I, myself, was disappointed to find Washington St dark as I parked my car; with the exception of Binghamton Hots and Cafe Oasis.
The downtown core is clearly on the path to be a destination place other than for work or business. Let's not take it for granted.