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On River Street in Troy, N.Y. — the city where I was born and raised — there is a brownstone building that I’m particularly fond of. It overlooks the Hudson River and has a pair of commemorations on its front doorframe. On the right, an engraving recognizes the spot where the great fire of 1820 was halted. On the left, a worn bronze plaque reads: “Twas the night before Christmas when all thro’ the house…” (Many will recognize the popular Victorian poem credited to Clement C. Moore, but may not know it was first published in Troy in 1823.)
Running my fingers across the stone, tracing the script and touching the edges of the raised metal letters, I realize how much I enjoy my connection to a…READ MORE