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Old Mar 24, 2010, 1:01 PM   #1
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Default First IBM Building -- Endicott, NY

In 1911, a company that manufactured time recorders in Endicott -- a neighboring village to the city of Binghamton in upstate New York -- merged with three other local companies to form “Computing-Tabulating Recording Company” (CTR). In 1924, CTR changed its name to IBM. For this reason, Endicott became known as "the birthplace of IBM".

For a long time, IBM’s R&D and manufacturing took place at Endicott. Products later included some of the processors for IBM’s flagship mainframe architecture at the time, the S/370. (S/370 has been replaced by S/390.)

In 2002, IBM abandoned the plant “after a large area of Endicott was found to be contaminated with volatile organic compounds”. It now leases the buildings to local firms.

Last weekend, our daughter took me and my wife to Endicott to show us the historic IBM buildings there. I was surprised to see the buildings still bear inscriptions of “International Business Machines” and its one word slogan, “Think”. I also wondered why I don't remember seeing IBM in New York State’s glossy tourism publications. Tourists on the way to Niagara Falls can stop there as a side attraction.

I was also surprised that for such a remote village the streets were bustling with cars and pedestrians. I had to wait long for traffic to clear before I can take my shots. I also remember people stopping to wait for me to finish my shot with my tripod-mounted camera before continuing on their walk.

While my wife was taking closeup shots of the building (she likes taking close-ups while I roam around taking panoramic landscape shots) a cop in his patrol SUV pulled by and asked why she was taking pictures. My wife said because it was historic and asked if there was a problem.

I was nearing the end of my photography when I saw the police SUV so I hurriedly walked towards them. Still in his SUV, the cop said he was just wondering if there was any particular reason we were taking pictures and if we were affiliated with something.

I remember his words being very vague. I can sense he didn’t know what to make of us. Our son, daughter, and our daughter’s friend were with us along with our new kitten in our daughter’s arms. We can’t possibly have negative intents. So I said we’re just husband-and-wife photography hobbyists. I added that our daughter went to Binghamton University.

And this is where my wife and son have conflicting recollections as to what the cop said next. Mind you, the cop wasn’t at all intimidating in his appearance -- I'd say he was actually homey and it felt like chatting with a fellow parent at a kids’ soccer game.

According to my wife, the cop said, “We don’t normally let people take pictures of the buildings.”

But according to our son, the cop said, “We don’t normally see people take pictures of the buildings.”

In any case, he drove off with what seemed like a confused look. Sort of like what you sometimes see in movies where a small town sheriff doesn’t know what to make of strangers swaggering in his streets. He seems to have driven off with a foreboding sense that he had just turned his back on unfinished business.

I and my wife trusted our son’s recollection more only because he felt surer than my wife. But whatever the cop said, we still could only come up with one explanation -- we ruffled some people’s feathers and someone called the cops.

Maybe the village of Endicott just isn’t used to seeing tourists. I would think, however, that any far off small town would be excited to see tourists. In Scranton last year, a cop with a big childish grin on his face drove out of a parking lot so he can give me a clear shot at an old building.

I also considered the possibility that the cop may actually be jumping for joy at the prospect that we might be photographers for a magazine. But then my wife and I agreed that if so then the cop would have quickly answered, “No, not at all,” when she asked if there was a problem instead of him taking his time to answer.

The brief encounter with the cop at Endicott is to us pretty mysterious.

And the mystery only deepened when later I searched online and found the IBM buildings at Endicott blurred on Google’s satellite maps.

On wikianswers, someone asked, “Why is IBM Endicott blurred out on google maps?” The answer was, “To make people in the Southern Tier forget how IBM, the company the region gave birth to, abandoned them.”

The “Southern Tier” is the part of western New York State that bordered with Pennsylvania. Endicott, with its population of 13,000, is in the Southern Tier.

I am hoping that our experience is no more than a quirk. But after reading all that, I can’t help but think, what a sad little town.

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#5. There were several buildings like this lining North Street. They reminded me of a military barracks.



#6.


Thank you for looking! C&C welcome.

Last edited by vvcarpio; Mar 24, 2010 at 8:23 PM. Reason: Missed an "in", a "to", etc. I was in a hurry during lunch hour at the library...
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 7:04 PM   #2
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Beautiful pictures!

Interesting story. The Town Police of Carmel N.Y. once tried to get me from shooting Lake Glenida, because across the street was the dinky County Courthouse. The officer told me it was a terrorist target, and for me to stop shooting...

But your story tops mine. Endicott? Sheesh!

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Old Mar 24, 2010, 8:17 PM   #3
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Thanks a lot, Dave, for the compliments.

I forgot to mention about the terrorism aspect -- we talked about that, too, in fact it was our first theory. We didn't think we looked like one -- see pic of the kids below. But then again, I guess you never know how a terrorist looks like nowadays.

#7.


Regarding your story, I couldn't see how a County Courthouse can be a terrorist target either unless the "terrorist" is local. But I could be wrong. I remember one Tom Clancy novel had terrorists attack several small town centers throughout the country all at the same time. I forgot which novel.
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 8:33 PM   #4
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I added one more pic.

#8. Three identical buildings.
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Old Mar 26, 2010, 12:18 AM   #5
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Very nice photos. Police and security guards at times can be a problem here in St. Louis. I do not know where they receive the training on terrorists, but if I were one, I would not be carrying a tripod, DSLR and a digicam. You tend to stick out of the crowd that way. A cell phone with a camera would make more sense...
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Old Mar 26, 2010, 12:25 AM   #6
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But sometimes the ones that stick out actually make themselves less suspicious. Because it is to obvious. There is actually many different scenario that comes into play. So honestly you really do not know who is a treat. You just need to keep a watchful eye out. And that is really all they can do.
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Old Mar 26, 2010, 1:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
But sometimes the ones that stick out actually make themselves less suspicious. Because it is to obvious. There is actually many different scenario that comes into play. So honestly you really do not know who is a treat. You just need to keep a watchful eye out. And that is really all they can do.
I do not know about that. With a cell phone it is hard to tell if a person is taking a picture or reading a text message. Maybe they do use DSLR's who knows. Sorry VVCARPIO did not mean to hijack your thread. Please do not consider this an act of terrorism.
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Old Mar 26, 2010, 5:31 AM   #8
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Excellent, vv,

Verticals impeccable. You really struggled with angels, sorry, angles, and managed very well

We have an IBM house in this city, if I may

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Old Mar 26, 2010, 6:15 AM   #9
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Interesting story and interesting shots... but the sky looks kinda weird in the IBM Building shots (why is it so noisy?)
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Old Mar 26, 2010, 8:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ancientritual View Post
I do not know about that. With a cell phone it is hard to tell if a person is taking a picture or reading a text message. Maybe they do use DSLR's who knows. Sorry VVCARPIO did not mean to hijack your thread. Please do not consider this an act of terrorism.
It's all weird logic. One doesn't need a camera to find out where the County Court House is, or the World Trade Center. One doesn't need a camera for sitting on a plane or a bus. One doesn't need a camera for any of this stuff. Everyone and their Mother-in-Law will at one time or another take pictures - So everyone is a potential terrorist. And the bigger the camera the more likely you are one. I would never have been stopped at Carmel if I had been using a P&S camera, instead of a DSLR with a 14 inch lens.

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