A few years ago, former Mayor of Schenectady Al Jurczynski picked me up in his Uber on Broadway in Saratoga Springs and drove me to a haircut. During the short drive, I remember him telling me about his time at the Mayor’s Office, and how, whenever he had a chance to visit Saratoga, he was in constant awe of it, no matter the season. “Saratoga never ceases to amaze me,” he told me. “Everything is so new, and it’s so prosperous compared to the other cities.” Many of us take that for granted on a daily basis; our city is one that, for the most part, isn’t crumbling or in dire need of a facelift. It’s something us Saratogians can all be proud of on a daily basis.
That hasn’t been the case for a number of our Capital Region and Upstate New York neighbors—and many of them are putting their collective foot down by applying to be featured on HGTV’s Home Town Takeover next year.
For all you cord-cutters out there, HGTV announced last month that it would be launching a new spinoff series in 2021 called Home Town Takeover, starring Ben and Erin Napier of the already popular series Home Town, in its fourth season, which follows the hosts as they set out to renovate and beautify dilapidated homes in their hometown of Laurel, MS.
The new show’s concept is just about what you’d expect it to be: HGTV and the Napiers roll into some town in the US, in dire need of a makeover, and work their magic. The catch is that towns needed to have a population of 40,000 people or less; and apply, digitally, by “[highlighting] aspects of their town that make it special, fascinating, historic or unique—including distinctive features like vintage period architecture, special destinations or a classic main street,” per HGTV. The deadline was February 4.
The nearby towns and villages that have applied include Albany County’s Ravena; Rensselaer County’s Hoosick Falls; Washington County’s Whitehall, Fort Edward, Cambridge and Salem; Fulton County’s Gloversville and Johnstown; Broome County’s Endicott; Erie County’s Angola and Evans; Delaware County’s Deposit; St. Lawrence County’s Massena; Cattaraugus County’s Franklinville; Franklin County’s Malone; Madison County’s Oneida; Chemung County’s Elmira; Oneida County’s Boonville; Orleans County’s Albion; Dutchess County’s Wappingers Falls; Ulster County’s Ellenville; and Herkimer County’s Little Falls (which launched its own microsite as part of its pitch). Amsterdam, the birthplace of the late Kirk Douglas, originally told the Daily Gazette that it’d create a video, but ultimately didn’t apply to the HGTV show.
Who’s got the best pitch? Take a look at some of the best entries below.
Salem (~45 minutes from Saratoga)
Whitehall (~1 hour from Saratoga)
Deposit (~2 hours from Saratoga)
Elmira (~4 hours from Saratoga)
Albion (~4.5 hours from Saratoga)
Franklinville (~5 hours from Saratoga)
Malone (~2.5 hours from Saratoga)
Boonville (~2.5 hours from Saratoga)
Massena (~3.5 hours from Saratoga)
Ellenville (~2 hours from Saratoga)
Angola (~5 hours from Saratoga)
Wappingers Falls (~2 hours from Saratoga)
It’s unclear when HGTV and the Napiers will be choosing the one lucky town to be featured in Home Town Takeover—and a quick Google search reveals all of the competition that these locations face. But from the looks of it, Upstate New York has made a pretty profound statement. Which spot gets your vote for the show?