Note: This is the sixth and final in a series of stories that are being done by participants of the HooHaa Holga Challenge. The series ran Sunday through today. See links for the rest at the bottom of this post.
This has been quite a challenge – especially in a photography way.
The others in this challenge, it seemed, had bigger areas to explore, discover and shoot. That’s one of the reasons I made this challenge within a 15-mile radius of your home area.
When this first started, I went back and forth with Mike about his “town,” which is Waco, Texas. His “town,” you see, is a city. With the space and population he has (including a major college), there were many possibilities for him.
See Jeff, who brought us to Seattle.
We also had close-ups of places like Geneva, Switzerland and what life was like in Kuwait and England.
And then there’s me, with Delhi (pronounced Del-hy, not Del-ee, like the city in India), a small town in upstate New York.
Nestled in the Catskill Mountains, Delhi is a wonderful little town. It’s an outdoorsman’s paradise in some places. We have a lot of history here and during the summer, it’s quite the peaceful place.
During the other months, our population swells up with an additional 2,000 or so people when the students of the local two-year state school come back for the year.
Despite all of these outdoorsy things, it’s still sometimes hard to get creative with photography. For someone who is a city dweller, I’m sure this would be a great place. The chances to shoot nature and see something different other than a concrete jungle would likely be welcomed.
For me, the city is where I’d like to be. Maybe not a place the size of a New York City, but somewhere slightly smaller, such as Albany, our state capital.
A lot of people say their places are small – as Mike. He thought Waco was small. But when I say Delhi is small, I mean small.
In the 2010 Census, the village of Delhi had a population of 3,087. If you go a little bigger and make it the town of Delhi, we’re now up to a whopping 5,117.
Let’s put this into a bit more perspective.
Delaware County, which is where Delhi is located, had a total of 47,890 people, according to the 2010 Census. The county isn’t small, either, as it’s a total area of 1,468 square miles. Of that land mass, only 22 square miles are water!
We’re surrounded by rolling hills and mountains. Trees are abundant. If the Census counted cows, our population would drastically rise.
It’s a great place to be and a nice area to raise kids. The crime rate isn’t high (crimes do happen, though) and, for the most part, one can feel safe being outside at most hours of the day.
In Delhi, there isn’t much to do.
If you’re under the age of 21, you can scratch off the local bars for hangouts, too, so it becomes even less exciting. Despite being the county seat, Delhi doesn’t have any movie theaters, malls or shopping areas.
There’s an outdoors basketball court and a few parks. There are also some softball and baseball fields; soccer fields and some nature trails.
Heck, we don’t even have a village pool anymore, though they are trying to raise funds to put one in again.
Oneonta, which is in Otsego County, is the nearest “city.” It’s not even that big with a population just shy of 14,000. There are movie theaters there and some other activities people can get involved in, but it’s a 20- to 25-minute ride.
As I said, that makes challenges like this quite difficult as you need to open up and see things slightly different.
The village became incorporated in 1821 and has been featured in some pop culture places.
The Courthouse Square gazebo was even featured in the Saturday Evening Post on July 7, 1951. It was the cover for that magazine for that edition.
Delhi was also the setting for the award-winning children’s book, My Side of the Mountain.
The village has a size of 3.2 square miles, none covered by water, outside of the West Branch of the Delaware River, which runs through and opens up the chance to canoe, kayak or tube down the river.
Delhi isn’t perfect by any means. Many people who graduate high school here leave for better opportunities. Much of the village is off the tax rolls, be it for government buildings, non-profit places or whatever else. It’s also a village with an older population.
Being the county seat means Delhi is home to the county office buildings, courthouse and jail. The DMV is also located in town.
Recent years have shown a gradual push toward some better things, such as a few restaurants, a better nightlife and local events that draw the village residents together. Still, there’s not much to keep the younger generation here as jobs aren’t as plentiful and getting decent-paying employment isn’t easy to do.
That leads to houses sometimes being sold to people who turn them into student housing and now college students sometimes mix in with everyday residents and that doesn’t always end well. Town-gown relations are up-and-down, depending on the day.
Some kids are respectful and quiet after a night of partying, while others are loud and destructive. I witnessed one year (and called police right away) a couple of kids walking up the street and kicking cars, breaking mirrors and whatever else – seemingly just to be destructive.
Politics are not the greatest here, either, as can be expected in a small place such as this. The good ole boys network is still prevalent with some things and not with others. But many times it is definitely who you know. I imagine many small towns and villages are like this, but when you live in an area, you notice it much more.
Delhi is a massive part of my life and has been, even when I was away. And, with the latest happenings in my world, I’m realizing it will likely be part of my past soon enough. This area is tough to keep people, as I’ve noted. And I’ve tried and tried to stay here, but things aren’t working out and reality is, I’ll be heading elsewhere sometime.
No matter what, though, Delhi is always a part of me. I’m actually writing this on my laptop in one of the local parks – the Courthouse Square. It’s peaceful and a nice place to go and write and people watch. It’s times like this that I’ll miss when I move on. I have a feeling it would be hard for me to go to a park in a place like NYC and do what I am doing here, without being a bit worried anyway.
The photos I chose for this story aren’t necessarily the biggest or best things about Delhi or the area, but it’s some of the things I always relate with my home area. And it’s the things I’ll take with me when I move on.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your trip through Delhi!
Here are the rest of the photos from my challenge:
HooHaa Holga Challenge:
- Day 1: Totness, England
- Day 2: Waco, Texas
- Day 3: Geneva, Switzerland
- Day 4: Seattle, Washington
- Day 5: Kuwait City, Kuwait
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