You can’t help but gape as you wander the streets of the city of Troy, once among the wealthiest of American cities, known as the Collar City when the Arrow Shirt Company detachable-collars-and-cuffs factories and the Iron Works were going full blast in the first decades of the last Century on the banks of the Hudson River. The ancient red brick commercial buildings now empty, but the stately Victorian townhouses fully occupied. Cock an ear, I swear you can hear the ghostly sighs of the children and immigrant women at their machines in the mills and the grunts of the Irish laborers on the docks. But that aside, Troy is a grand old city that has adapted.
On a Saturday in July, I left my adopted city, Albany, to motor seven miles north along the Hudson to the two-day Annual Troy Pig-Out in Riverside Park – succulent barbequed ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, and blues and rock bands having replaced shirt cuffs, collars, horseshoes and iron cannon as the City’s new export. The Troy Pig Out is officially sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Association, who supplied a team of 38 KC BBQ Society licensed judges to select the Grand Champion from among 30 competing chefs from all over New York, from New England, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
I ate very well this time but not as memorably well as last year. The year before, I saw a giant pig on a spit (Remember, being from NYC, all pigs look like giants to me) from which you’d get to eat a slice. Alas, no pig on a spit this year. When, on the next afternoon, the judges selected the Grand Champion and awarded him ‘Victor’, a life-sized golden pig, I was absent so I don’t know who won. Guess I just prefer real pig.