The lighter side of real estate

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

It’s an Upstate thing.

Kris Norton

144 articles, 0 comments

1. Only Upstate New Yorkers Know The True Meaning Of Chicken Wings

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand


The rest of the country might think they like wings, but they don’t even know wings until they’ve had them from Upstate.

2. For Upstaters, There’s No Joy Like Seeing Half Moons Packed In Your Lunch

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Epicurus

Who needs a Snack Pack when you have a baggie of half moons in your lunchbox? Thanks, mom!

3. Everyone In Upstate New York Knows Where Beef Belongs

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Wikipedia

That’s right. Beef on weck. And that better be a kummelweck roll or else it’s just beef on a roll.

4. In Upstate New York, One Man’s Garbage Is Another Man’s Dinner

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Road Food

Nick Tahou’s Garbage Plates aren’t just a novelty. They’re a work of culinary art. And the dirtier you make them, the better.

5. All Upstaters Believe That Dinosaurs Will Never Go Extinct

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Dinosaur BBQ Facebook

Dinosaur BBQ is legend in Upstate New York. Although the original in Syracuse is inarguably the best, they’ve branched out quite a bit over the years, even beyond state borders.

They’ve brought the quality of real barbecue to the Northeast, and that’s what really matters.

6. Upstate NY Folks Know Just How Much Salt A Potato Can Take

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Wikipedia

Salt potatoes are an Upstate delicacy that seem to only be able to be done right by real Upstaters. Try as you might, outsiders, but you will fail.

7. Upstaters Truly Understand How Versatile A Hot Dog Can Be

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Paul Baxter Facebook

A Double Dog from Heid’s, White Hots or Red Hots in Rochester, mini dogs in the Capital District, or a Texas Hot from Rudy’s…Whatever makes the menu, it’s bound to be the best you’ve ever had.

8. Upstate Folks Have Spiedie Sense

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Serious Eats

Spiderman isn’t real. Spiedie senses, however, are very real. Upstaters know they’re within 30 miles of Binghamton when their spiedie senses activate.

9. Upstate New Yorkers Know What Having Three Football Teams Is Like… But Not Really

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Buffalo Bills

The Jets and The Giants are both only New York teams in name. They both practice and play their games in New Jersey.

The Buffalo Bills are the only New York NFL team that plays on New York soil, making them the only real New York football team. The Bills might not win very much, but at least they don’t jump the fence.

10. Upstate New Yorkers Know That If Wegman’s Doesn’t Have It, You Probably Don’t Need It

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand


For the few regions of Upstate that still don’t have a Wegman’s, just hang in there a little longer and keep praying!

11. In Upstate New York, It’s Not A Party Unless There’s New York Beer

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Saranac Facebook

Upstate New Yorkers love their New York beer. There’s Utica Club for the college kids, but once you get older and can pay your own bills, nothing beats an ice cold Saranac.

12. A Taco Isn’t Mighty Unless It Comes From Upstate

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Alison DiLouie Facebook

Thanks to the geniuses at Mighty Taco, of course. Ring as many bells as you want, but no other taco chain will ever come close.

13. Upstaters Know The Only Thing Better Than Sponge Candy Is Sponge Candy Ice Cream

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Ice Cream Informant

It might not get as much press, but the day that sponge candy was turned into an ice cream flavor was even more monumental than the day someone figured out sliced bread.

14. Upstate New Yorkers Have Learned That Maps Mean Nothing, Basically

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Wikipedia

Every region north of New York City might be Upstaters to everyone else, but in Upstate New York, there’s the Northern New Yorkers crew, the Southern Tier, CNY, WNY, and the Capital District (no relation to The Hunger Games.) Western New York takes particular exception to being called Upstate because, well, they’re western.

15. Upstate Locals Know That There Are Bagels, And There Are BAGELS

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: NY Daily News

Take a seat Long Island. Upstate New York has the world’s best bagels and they come straight from Bruegger’s, who just so happened to land in Guinness for this 868 pound beast.

16. An Upstate New York Day Isn’t Complete Without Stewart’s

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Stewart’s Shops

Coffee in the mornings, ice cream after school, milkshakes just because. Stewart’s is always there for you.

17. Upstate New Yorkers Understand That Their SUNY School Is The Best

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: SUNY Stony Brook

Cortland and Albany (party pants), Stony Brook and Geneseo (smarty pants), Purchase (arty pants), and everyone at Buffalo is way too cool for everyone else. With 64 SUNY campus schools across the state, there are bound to be some stereotypes.

18. Upstaters Do Lakes Better

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Wikipedia

Upstate has The Finger Lakes, two Great Lakes (take a bow, Ontario and Erie!), the Catskills, Adirondacks and all the lakes that fall in between.

These are the best lakes in the world. I’d tell you to cry a river, but that would just pale in comparison, too.

19. Upstate NY Folks Can Pronounce Native American Names Without Hesitation

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Quick Meme

So you think you’re all up on Upstate lingo after visiting and being able to pronounce Allegheny and maybe even The Adirondacks?

Think again. Try Skaneateles, Waccabuc, Shekomeko, Tioughnioga, Nissequogue… When you’ve mastered those, then you can move onto the hard ones.

20. Upstaters Understand Everything Snow Related

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Turtle Boy Sports

Driving in the snow? Piece of cake. Preparing for a blizzard? Got the milk and bread three days ago, sucker! Favorite sledding spot? (Lincoln Park to the Albany crew!) And everyone knows how bond over making fun of southerners who can’t drive in it. And if you had to live under 1,000 feet of snow every winter, you’d find a way to brag about it, too.

21. Upstate New Yorkers Know The Adirondacks Are The Best Place On Earth

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Wikipedia

With the largest park in the country and a view like that, if you hear an Upstate New Yorker talk about The Adirondacks like it might be the gateway to heaven, you’d be a bit of a fool to try and argue.

22. Upstate New Yorkers Understand That It’s Not Called New York City State

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Voya Internet

Having to clarify “The state, not the city” every time you tell someone you’re from New York gets old pretty fast. So it’s got a Statue of Liberty. Big deal. Jersey has half custody of her anyway.

23. Brand Loyalty Is In The Upstate DNA

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Meme Gen

Whether it’s their favorite grocery store or their favorite hot dog company, it doesn’t matter. When an Upstate New Yorker likes a brand, especially one they’ve grown up with, they’re loyal forever.

24. Upstaters Know What’s On The Table At Every Potluck

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Julia’s Child

You’re in for a plate full of chicken riggies. Thanks, Utica!

25. And Where The Best Green On Your Plate Came From

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Spoon University

That’s right, Utica for the win again! Utica greens are nothing to mess with. Step back, broccoli rabe!

26. Upstate New Yorkers Understand That Miracles Are So Real

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand


In 1980, the American Olympic hockey team—made up of collegiate players and amateurs—managed to dethrone the Soviet Union of their seventh gold medal in an upset in Lake Placid, NY, crowning them The Miracle Team.

Now, an Upstater might not come right out and say that the Miracle Team are probably, almost definitely, responsible for ending the Cold War. But if the coincidence fits…

27. Upstaters Do It For The Love Of Melba Sauce

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Albany Eats

You order a basket filled with deliciously crispy mozzarella sticks. What do you dunk them in? If you’re almost anyone, you probably answered marinara sauce. If you’re from the Capital District, the answer is melba sauce.

28. How Huge Is It? Upstaters Know.

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Gross Misconduct Hockey

Billy Fuccillo is single-handedly responsible for making it so that no Upstater can ever say something is huge without saying “it’s HUUUUUUUUUUGGGGE!” Whether they like it or not.

29. Knowing That Upstate New York Is Everything Great About America

29 Things Only People From Upstate New York Understand

Source: Mens Journal

Try to think of a state that is such a perfect representation of everything great that makes up the country and you’ll come back to New York every time.

Lakes, farms, countryside, mountains, and all four seasons – when spring cooperates, anyway – and all that glorious food. It’s a little bit of everything rolled into one fantastic state. And all without the help of that big city down below.

Did we miss anything? Tell us what you think is unique about New York in the comments below!

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posted on: April 9, 2015
314,806 views, 77 comments


  1. Ryan

    You forgot to mention How we love our North Face hahaha.

  2. frrsco

    Upstate ny has the best pizza ever

  3. Rich Taber

    Non farm people typically don’t know that for years New York State has been the number three dairy cow and milk producing state in the country, behind California and Wisconsin! Also, of New York’s thirty million acres of land, 60%, yup, 60% of NY is covered in forest, about 18 million acres!! That’s a lot of autumn foliage, wood products, wildlife habitat, maple syrup, and watershed protection!

  4. beth lollars

    summer soft serve ice cream. No matter where you are, mom and pop soft serve ice cream stands are still everywhere ! I happen to think the best is Donnelly’s in Lake Clear NY. I think I have tested hundreds!

  5. John Saponaro

    A true Upstater (and possibly only a true Upstater) would have mentioned tomato pie.

  6. Margaret

    Fly Fishing at the West Branch of the Delaware.

    The Penguin Ice Cream (actually now “Country Cream” but EVERYONE still calls it “The Penguin”) Best Icecresm ever.

  7. Ashleigh

    Upstate? These hardly hold a candle to “real” upstate. 1. We have a love for all things apple and have festivals to prove it. 2. We are the makers of the Michigan and it will blow your mind when you try it. 3. Know the meaning of real ice cream 4. We know what it is like for it to be snowing one day and hot the next. 5. That summer lasts possibly 2 months out of the year and sometimes stumbles into September. 6. Snow is not match for schools, you go even if there is ten feet. We are professionals at maneuvering in it. 7. We know what upstate it and it includes realizing that we are closer to Canada than the city. 8. We are pretty much aware of every Canadian holiday because they come to shop in our towns. 9. We wear shorts when it is 40-50 degrees because to us that’s warm. 10. We know how to drink 11. We go crazy when someone assumes we are from the city when we say we are from New York. 12. Fall is an event, people travel from all over to see the colors of the trees and we think about how much raking is going to need to get done. 13. We can incorporate a snow suit into ANY halloween costume or brave the cold like no other. 14. We know what a “46er” is and are proud of those who complete it.

    Just a few.

  8. Pat

    Tomato pie=Utica

  9. gale

    How about our boiler maker race brings in thousands of ppl from all over the USA and other counties to utica,new york,

  10. chris

    Highest taxes. A over reaching, micromanaging governor… nothing here to make people stay.

  11. PMC

    This list can’t have been made by a REAL upstater. You never even mentioned WINE COUNTRY!! I love Wegmans, but I’ve never heard of Dinosaur, Mighty Taco, or sponge candy. And Saranac is good, but Ithaca beer is the BEST! (Ithaca Nut Brown ROCKS!)

  12. KB Manning

    You forgot some of the items only found in the northern NY area! Croghan bologan, jerked meat, cheese curd and the worlds largest cheese cake!

  13. Stacey

    What about thousand Islands? Alex Bay? Clayton? Summer tours on Uncle Sams Boat Tours to Boldt Castle? Sackets Harbor? Burrville Cider Mill? Many Upstae NY areas not mentioned

  14. Heather

    I think they forget about the endless months of road construction. My favorite saying was welcome to NY where our 4 seasons are : construction, more construction, preconstruction and winter.
    Also being from the finger lakes we are crazy about our wine! Not just red cat or white cat!

  15. Chris

    What about the baseball hall of fame,Buffalo wing subs, and 1000 Islands?

  16. Katie

    The article made me proud… Then to read the comments makes me ashamed. Apparently New Yorkers ( from all parts ) are a bunch of whiners!

  17. Tina

    how can people forget Brooks house of BBQ?

  18. Chantelle

    Cams pizza, jrecks!!!, crohgan Bologna, cheese curd Adirondacks, Abay, cider mill maple syrup, salt potatoes, and how everyone can’t wait to leave but yet miss it when they do ❤️ dubtown

  19. DeWitt Bunch

    You seem to be missing… curd cheese, birch beer, Genesee beer, Widmer and Taylor wines….

  20. Jason

    Everyone knows that the “go to” place is Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, not Stewart’s! Stewart’s doesn’t even come close to Nice N Easy. Valid effort though.

  21. kama

    I think this was posted for non New Yorkers, after living outside New York for 20 plus years the rest of the country does dived us into The City or upstate. Only true New Yorkers know we are a huge state and proudly identify with our roots. I’m still a proud CNY girl.

  22. Martie

    The Finger Lakes Region produces some of the best wines in the world and we are quickly gaining recognition for our microbreweries and distilleries. Not to mention some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.

  23. M Jane Parry

    I’m from Northern New York, Jefferson County. Didn’t see any mention of Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans, or Croghan Bologna, or Cheese Curd! They don’t have them down here in Florida.

  24. Sharon C

    One word: ABBOTTS!!

  25. Karen Bernardo

    I live in the Southern Tier, and I consider myself to be an Upstate New Yorker because otherwise people would wonder “Southern Tier of What?”

  26. Tom

    If there was a separate state called Upstate New York I would still be a NY resident instead of Florida.

  27. Sue

    What about Bison chip dip, Sahlen hotdogs,Chiveta’s and Timmy Ho coffee.

  28. Adam

    Living in the southern tier y’all forgot how we bring in the spring by climbing a side hill and digging leaks for a ham and leak dinner, pickled leaks, and leak sandwiches.

  29. Amy

    Born in Buffalo, lived in Watertown & now live in ROC. No mention of Genesee beer, Niagara Falls, or Letchworth. I’ve always considered myself from WNY! I ❤️ NY but despise the taxes & politics.

    And yes… we do love our North Face!

  30. Penny

    glacier hot dogs…best hot dogs ever..BTW I am from the north country,lol

  31. Colleen Gray

    Left out, Bill Gray’s, Tom Wahl’s, Abbotts custard, Sal’s wing sauce, Country Sweet, Zweigles red and pork hot dogs, salmon fishing, Susan B. Anthony, George Eastman, the list could go on forever!

  32. Jennifer

    Byrne Dairy, Abbott’s Ice Cream, Zweigle’s hot dogs, Pudgies Pizza, Lilac Festival, Don & Bob’s, Pontillo’s Pizza

  33. gloria

    Broadway Market in Buffalo. Definitely Hoffmann hotdogs, Watkins, Niagara, and Oliver’s chocolates (sponge candy)

  34. Beverly Booth

    You can buy Maple syrup from a local almost in every city and town in Upstste New stork. It’s put on pancakes, ice cream, baked apples, substitute for sugar, waffles, cereal, the best is over fresh snow from your yard!

  35. Marge Gross

    What about Letchworth State Park in western NY? Rated the best state park in the USA!!!

  36. paul

    Tomato Pie!!!

  37. Sally

    For Western Yorkers there is also:
    Pontillos Pizza and Bison brand chip dip!

  38. Andrea Smith

    What about the Italian food and pastries?

  39. Mary

    How about cornell BBQ sauce for chicken. Then on Fridays fried haddock at the American legion (my favorite in trumansburg ) a great place for clam bakes and salt potatoes is at hinerwadels.

  40. deb alton

    Don’t forget about Rudy’s Lakeside Resturant It’s been an Oswego icon for years

  41. Mary Ann

    Niagara Falls — one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World??? Wineries, carousels, cheeses and dairy farms, the site of the Pan American Exposition (Buffalo) and one of the finest Art Galleries in the world….There is too much to mention in such a short article!!

  42. Alyssa Tyler

    Schenectady is an Indian name. The Great Sacandaga Lake is beautiful and huge. Speaking of HUGE why, oh WHY bring up Billy F? Don’t forget Freihofer’s for bread and cookies! And Jumpin Jacks in Scotia for summer food! And the Erie Cana…ao much history right there.

  43. Sandy Clark

    Lake George and Story Town, renamed The Great Escape now Six Flags. Cooperstown! And Thacher Park/Indian Ladder

  44. Sherry Szkolnik

    First I wanna say that it’s Lake Placid not Lake Placed….anyway. I grew up in Syracuse and I move to Ohio. Let me just say how much I miss the food. The pizza here in Ohio is made with provolone cheese and it’s just wrong in so many ways and on so many levels. GROSS!!!! The Chinese food here is just as bad. I miss NY food so much.

  45. Karen Stevens White

    For years, Oneida/Sherrill was the home of Oneida Community Silverware. I still turn over forks when I go out to see if they’re made there where I was born.

  46. Patty

    All 4 seasons. The beautiful fall colors. The waterfalls everywhere! From Binghamton, last 15 yrs in Myrtle Beach.

  47. Barbara

    Then there’s Heluva Good Cheese curds, Colosse Cheese, Chobani yogurt, Byrne Dairy milk, and Terrell’s Chips! C’mon, folks, I know you know about more great New York State Foods!

  48. Ron

    Teds hotdogs, roadside veritable and fruit stands, Meyers cider mill, The Thousand Islands,pig and Whistle, and how about one of the great wonders of the world……Niagara Falls!!

  49. Dale Cornell

    Chittenango Falls, Green Lakes State Park and millions of acres of woodland – fresh air, Gramma Brown’s Bean and Bacon Soup –
    Beverage Outlets and gas stations and Supermarkets with taps.

  50. Judy

    ANY New Yorker knows that you spell it “Lake PLACID.”
    Nah, I don’t think a New Yorker wrote this.

  51. Julie Johnson

    Gianelli Sausage can’t forget that!!

  52. Michelle

    What about Loganberry?

  53. Debra

    How about Enchanted Forest and the ever famous Old Forge hardware store?

  54. Stan Bielowicz

    An excellent article – made me homesick (I grew up in the Finger Lakes and “played” in many other parts of upstate) Would almost consider coming home if y’all can get the taxes and government micro-managing under control.

  55. Kessie

    I’m a life long Upstater and I have to admit, I’ve never heard of Stewart’s until this article. One thing that I was disappointed not to see was Abbott’s Frozen Custard. Hands down the best!!

  56. Aimee G.

    Wellsville Texas Hots, Fish Fry every Friday night, Cuba Cheese, Friendship Cottage Cheese, everything Apple, Lake Effect Snow, Wine Country, Maple Syrup (including restaurants that are only open for two months a year during Syrup season!), measuring distance in minutes….
    Yes, NYS has its flaws, but don’t all states? Proud to be born and bred WNY/Southern Tier girl. :)

  57. Bob Fitzgerald

    Annnd Florentines cannolis in Utica, and Lori’s Pizzeria New Hartford

  58. ED Van

    Upstate New York knows that the best hot dog is a Hoffmann.

  59. Cherie

    Big Daddy’s Subs, Turkey Joints and fried cauliflower need them every time I get a chance to go back home.

  60. sarah

    This list isn’t even close to what I’ve experienced living in St. Lawrence county in NNY!!! Everybody is missing the point. No matter where you live, you should have pride in what your area has to offer. It just so happens that we have way more to offer in UPSTATE. . .the real upstate that is!

  61. Yvonne

    NY State Fair? Gianelli’s Sausage, SYRACUSE CHINA (alas, bought by Libby and now gone) Oneida Silverware, Corning Glass, on and on…

  62. john

    I miss my tim hortons and salen hot dogs and beef on wicks but i sure am loving the sun here in Florida.

  63. Pat O

    Speaking of pronouncing … how about Ska-neck-ta-dee? Schenectady, of course!

  64. Champ Villecco

    What about the TUNNEL in Downtown TUNNEL, NY and TUNNEL TECK Don’t knock the spelling – Pronounce it……

  65. Laura

    No one seems to have mentioned our lilacs and the Lilac Festival in Rochester….and we pronounce it lie-lock not lie-lack.

  66. Vinnie

    I get offended when people from NY refer to anyone outside of NYC “UPSTATE.” Anything is upstate from NYC. I was born and brought up in Central NY. Sorry folks but that is not Upstate. IT IS CENTRAL NEW YORK!!!!

  67. bonnie

    damn straight, we are more than the city, which people assume that’s where you are from, but we make it clear upstate is the best and not the city. cow country and wine country with hills and steams and NASCAR WHICH THEY ALL LOVE!!

  68. BookWyrm

    What everything comes down to is this- outside is being over taxed, NY has the best of everything to offer. No other state is as diverse as we are.

  69. Lin

    What is a tomato pie? I’ve lived upstate most of my life and I have never heard of tomato pie. Plattsburgh is about as far upstate as you can get .

  70. Paul


  71. Yvonne

    I was an upstater for many years and loved it, except the winters but why did you have to send Billy Fuccillo down to Florida !!!!!! Please take him back before I throw something through my T.V.screen !!!!!!!

  72. Peter

    Billy F…is a cancer in Upstate that spreads everywhere…no pride in his airwave pollution. Wonderful list of local uniqueness (with a emphasis on food apparently). Fish fry’s more plentiful in “upstate” than anywhere in the U.S. Surprised no mention of Lake George or the Hudson River but agree with the rest…Maple Syrup should also get a nod. Historically richer than most upstarters realize but none miss the beauty around us…all four seasons!

  73. Jeff

    What about SPAC in Saratoga? Just named the the greatest outdoor venue in America. Saratoga Battlefield, the turning point of the Revolutionary War? Saratoga Race Course? The potato chip being invented in Saratoga and the availability of Saratoga Chips on most restaurant menus?

  74. Mary

    Southern Herkimer County is Central New York, not Upstate. Mohawk Valley is Central until it meets the Capital District!

  75. Kim

    I can’t believe no one mentioned salt rising bread!

  76. Alex

    What about Michigans, Glazier Dogs, SUNY schools, Fort Ticonderoga, SPAC, the Ice Palace in Saranac Lake, Adirondack Scenic Railroad, Lake George???

  77. burt

    No mention of dirties lake in country either cny


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