(Joe) Hi there everybody! Welcome to another edition of Around Central New York. I'm Joe Kelly. Can you tell where we are this week? Well, here are a couple of hints...there are plenty of pillars, lots of marble, skylights, and not very comfortable long wooden benches. Well if you haven't already guessed it, we're at Utica's Union Station. A beautiful building it is. It opened in 1914 at a cost of one million dollars. That was a lot of money back then and his station was designed by the same people who designed New York City's Grand Central Station. Frank Tomaino, our go-to guy whenever we're talking local history. Boy, I'll tell you, if this place could tell stories, Frank, it used to be such a busy place.
(Frank) Busy, busy place. From the day it opened until just a little after World War II.
(Joe) Yeah, World War II, Frank, was really when this place was jumping.
(Frank) Yup, you had fifty-five, fifty-six passenger trains stopping here everyday. You had a USO station on the southwest corner. It was a busy, busy place.
(Joe) Of course, we've got a restaurant here, we've got Amtrak, we have two rail lines, we've got the Blue Flag Restaurant and all the county office buildings too. But boy back in the day, Frank, they use to come down...they actually use to go out to those train tracks by tunnel.
(Frank) Right, there was a tunnel...a subway to the tracks. I took it many times as a kid.
(Joe) And in fact, you were spending some time on these long wooden benches.
(Frank) Right, when I was in the service I use to wait here for my train, taking me back to Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts.
(Joe) That's it for today. Tune in next week for another edition of Around Central New York with Joe Kelly. By the way, if you have a suggestion on where we should visit, log onto CNYhomepage.com.