29 Things Only Binghamton, New York Natives Truly Understand (RIP, Smart Play USA)

Trying to explain Binghamton to anyone from outside of the upstate New York town is complicated. Even though people say they're "from Binghamton," what they probably mean is that they're from a small town within the general area — there are at least a dozen school districts, all within a 15 minute drive of each other or less. For example, I grew up in Vestal and Endwell, and have friends that lived a 10 minute walk away and went to a different schools for rival districts.

Even people who just went to college at SUNY Binghamton don't really get it. Sure, they've partied on State Street and eaten more chicken spiedies and Nirchi's pizza than their bodies can handle, but until you've gone to summer camp at the very haunted Roberson Museum, gotten your first kiss at Skate Estate, or been through the bubbles at the Discovery Center, you haven't lived a true Binghamton life. For those who did grow up in good ol' Bingo, you'll definitely understand the true Wild 104.1 and Star 105.7 battle, the need to collect every carousel button, and that it isn't truly summer until you've had a Joey's Italian Ice.

Ready to test if you're a true local? Here are 29 things you only know if you're a Binghamton native, born and raised.

1. You Know Spiedies Are The Best Sandwich Ever ...

It's ridiculous when you see a spiedie on anything but an enormous hero, because a hot dog bun just won't do.

2. ... And You Saw Your First Big Concert At Spiedie Fest

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It was probably O-Town, and you remember that time that Uncle Kracker couldn't come because "Follow Me" was really about drugs.

3. ... But You Never Actually Rode In A Hot Air Balloon

It was great to watch, but it was too damn expensive to really do.

4. You Are Team Lupo’s Or Team Salamida Until You Die

You also have a strong preference between chicken, pork, and lamb spiedies, but honestly, with that sauce, you'd eat any of it. And it's not just marinated chicken — it's more special than that.

5. The Rossi’s vs. Nirchi’s Pizza Debate Has Ruined Relationships For You

No matter how you feel about either of the pizza joints, you also have a strong opinion about Brozzetti's. It's a love or hate thing.

6. You Blasted Wild 104.1 Or Star 105.7

I was all about Louie G and Tanya, who still look great after all of these years. Is it just me, or have they not aged a bit?

7. The Knew The Best Birthday Parties Were At The Discovery Center

Sometimes you were a pilot, other times you were bagging groceries, but you always ended up in the giant bubble makers. The Ross Park Zoo was all right, too.

8. But Smart Play USA Was Your First Love — RIP

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This is not actually Smart Play, but that ball pit was no joke. So many games, so little time.

9. You Always Hung Out At Wegmans Or K&K’s Old Teahouse

What's better than 14-inch subs and bubble tea? Nothing, that's what.

10. Kamikaze Curve Almost Killed You Before They Tore It Down

The dreaded time when you get in the lane for 81 and really meant to go to 17 and have to merge over four times on the curve before it splits. Really, it wasn't so bad, and it made it worth it once they opened the Sonic near BCC.

11. You Remember When The Dick’s Open Was The BC Open


Really, it wasn't about the golf for me — it was all about the random concerts, like Hootie and the Blowfish and Maroon 5.

12. You Know Number Five Is The Fanciest Restaurant In Town

Now that I live in New York City, I realize it's not a little bite of the Big Apple, but it's still a big bite of my paycheck. For the record, Lost Dog Cafe is the best restaurant in Binghamton.

13. All Of Your Friends Lived In Different School Districts

Maine-Endwell and Union-Endicott were steps away, separated by Highland Park. Was it really necessary to have two different schools? And why are there so many elementary schools? If you went to Susquehanna Valley, I'm sorry you had to drive so far.

14. You Still Have Buttons From Riding All Of The Carousels

Gotta catch 'em all. Bonus points if you sat on one of the random carousel horses on the sidewalks downtown.

15. To You, Joey’s Italian Ice Will Always Be The Best Summer Treat

I would straight-up murder someone for a Gelati right now. A close second treat was Pat Mitchell's ice cream.

16. You've Eaten Way Too Many Cider Mill Doughnuts & Candy Apples

No cider will ever compare, although Wegmans' is a close second at half the price. You haven't live until you lost a tooth while eating a blue candy apple.

17. You Still Don’t Understand Why The Mall Doesn’t Have A Food Court

The Friendly's in the mall closed a few years ago, but Arby's is still open. Cinnabon left and then came back because the people demanded it, yet still no food court in the tiniest mall in America.

18. You Went To Roberson Every Christmas For The Tree Display

It was gorgeous and incredible, but everyone knew that place was haunted.

19. You've Danced At Touch Of Texas

The short-lived dance club for underage kids didn't last long, but it had an even better replacement...

20. You Were In A Mosh Pit At Magic City Music Hall

Sure, Ryan Cabrera and Bright Eyes played there, but it was all about Yellowcard and Motion City Soundtrack.

21. When You Were 18 You Partied At Boca Joe’s, Then Drank On State Street

Neither place looked like Sex and the City, but let's pretend, shall we?

22. You Drank Too Much At Parade Day Every. Single. Time.

There were way too many Jell-O shots to count, and you mostly stayed at the bars instead of participating in the actual parade.

23. You Went To Binghamton Mets Games For The Fireworks

Does Buddy the Bee scare anyone else still? No, just me? You probably went to some Binghamton Senators games, too.

24. Your First Kiss Was At Skate Estate

The kiss may have been in the laser tag room, during couple's skate, at the mini golf course, or even before you plunged down the terrifying water slide. It was the ultimate date night in middle school.

25. Your School Had A Fundraiser With Phil’s Chicken House

It was usually for orchestra or band and you had to play music for everyone while they ate chicken and didn't pay attention to you.

26. You've Gone Swimming In The Gross Greenwood Park Water

There was usually a class picnic involved first and you never felt clean again after jumping in.

27. IBM & Endicott-Johnson Jokes Are Second Nature To You


One of your relatives probably worked at one or both.

28. Your Home Or School Probably Got Flooded At Some Point

If you really had it bad, your school may have been torn down and completely re-built, but that didn't happen often.

29. And Of Course, You Say “Wicked” A Lot

I hope you're wicked excited to re-live your childhood now, everyone.

Images: joshbousel/binghamtonu/chriswaits/iccdude/minutiae/lisafischoff/jeepersmedia/ldrhcp/micahm/Flickr; Getty Images (3); Wild 104.1/Roberson Museum/Skate Estate/Facebook; Giphy (6)