Binghamton looks to many visitors like any other post-industrial city in the Northeast: The historic buildings are in disrepair, and the rundown strip malls hide years of slow progress towards a revitalized Binghamton.
For years, the strategy for rebirth has been to perk up a storefront here, tear down a building there.
That's in evidence at the "Southside Commons," a concrete open space across the river and Route 434 from Binghamton's city center. The space offers a raised area where bands can play in the summer, and a few tables and chairs scattered around the single lot wedged between two buildings.
It doesn't look like much, but a significant amount of work went into making it happen.