The New York State Fair has a lot of competitions for kids, from dance to animal husbandry to even a spelling bee, but I wonder why they don’t hold a New York geography bee for kids at the fair. (Couldn’t be any more boring than some of the other stuff going on!) I was looking over a state map the other day planning another trip, and wow, there are a lot of places that have “twins” in other parts of the state – lots of opportunity for trick questions and competitive geekery. For example: Rensselaer, Rensselaerville, and Rensselaer Falls all being nowhere near each other. There’s a Cohocton, and a Cochecton – again, nowhere near each other. There’s Cortland, and Cortlandt Manor. And West Fulton, which is east of Fulton.
There’s also the curious case of Michigan, which when it comes to placenames, is sort of like a Bizarro Upstate New York. In Michigan, Lansing is a large city, while Ithaca is a small town. Aurelius is directly south of Lansing, as is Onondaga. Central New York is made of largely of placenames cribbed from the classics; central Michigan largely has placenames cribbed from Central and Western New York.