What Makes Community: A Corning Outsider-Turned-Insider’s Perspective

Posted on Jan 14, 2016 in Community Voices, Interviews

Over the last several weeks, our Urban Corning team has had the pleasure of welcoming Victorian Strobel, a senior at Keuka College. She’s had an opportunity to become more well versed with our Corning community, and we thought it would be a nice opportunity to gather some input from an outsider-turned-insider’s perspective. Here’s what she had to say about joining the Corning community, in her own words:


Imagine, you open your eyes to the sound of seagulls and waves crashing. Your toes dig into the hot sand and a there’s cold drink in your hand. No kids, no job, no worries. It’s a Saturday in the Keys. Then, all of a sudden, you start to hear someone asking you about the proposals, and the budget, and the clients, and, and, and… and you realize it was a daydream at work.

Hi, my name’s Victorian. I’m interning with CreAgent. Therefore, I’m also interning with Urban Corning! Though sometimes I like to pretend that Little Joe is a lighthouse and the Chemung River is the ocean, with time, I’ve come to realize that you can’t beat the actual views and community here. Corning is a wonderful place, not only for the sights, but for your heart too.

Believe it or not, I’m not even from around here. I was born in Philadelphia, attend Keuka College, and reside in a small town about 45 minutes away from Corning. I guess you could say I’ve experienced a little bit of everything. From rioting Philly fans to roping cowboys, I have to admit that I like Corning the most. Though I do miss my cheese steaks… the pleasure of shopping on Market street comforts my soul when the temperatures drop. You have shoe stores, bars, pizza places, furniture stores, glass stores, museums, and even a stage for concerts off to the side. I’ve come to realize that if you have a bright smile, two legs, and a sense of adventure, you’ll love it here. For me, it’s a slow, happy addiction… kind of like shopping!

Around five years ago, I had a moment with Corning that I’ll never forget. It was about three days before my high school prom and I was panicking because I didn’t have a dress. I had searched every possible store, but none seemed to have just the right fit for me. I had my nails done and my hair appointment was scheduled, but I just didn’t have the dress. Yes, it was hard enough for me, but you would have thought the world was ending for my mom. She threw me in the car and dragged through every Market Street store that could possibly carry a dress. At one point, I found myself in Wooly Minded debating making my own. My mom didn’t appreciate the enthusiasm, so the search went on. We searched store after store, but nothing was found. I was on the brink of tears when she took me into an antique store called Home Again. Surprisingly, they carried older dresses and beautiful antique jewelry. Sure enough, I walked up the stairs and a beautiful red ball gown hung on the wall. It was gorgeous. I tried it on… and it was perfect. Market Street saved my prom. I couldn’t have been happier that night.

Sparkle, right on Market Street, happens to be my favorite event of the entire year. No, I’m not a crazy Christmas lady, and no, I don’t sing Christmas carols in November. I love Sparkle because of the people and the sense of community Corning conveys. Everyone smiles, everyone is kind, and their sense of spirit warms my soul, frozen from these New York temperatures. My absolute favorite Sparkle memory is giving away free hot coco with the North Baptist Church. It was one of the coldest Sparkles Corning has ever seen. I had four layers on, looked like the Michelin Man, and was still freezing. I could have left, but I didn’t. Sometimes giving up a little bit of your time for others can really lift your own spirits. Seeing people truly grateful for what we gave them was very rewarding. Some people even clapped for us when they received their warm cup of chocolate. From that moment on I appreciated what this small city gives me, an opportunity for the right kind of community.

Sure a beach may sound nice right now, but spending a month around Corning in the summer is fabulous, too. Being only 45 minutes away, I often enjoy walks on the river dike in the summer. It’s nice to see happy families picnicking, and I enjoy the smell of fresh air and joyful atmosphere. You’d think you could find at least one unhappy place, but you can’t. You can Kayak down the river, play catch in the grass, or even run through the fountain in the Riverfront Centennial Park. I absolutely love the area and the community it comes with. One time, I “loved” the community so much that I fell into the river by the YMCA while trying to show off to a cutie running in the distance. I had crouched down to throw some water in my hair and fell in face first. Needless to say, he wasn’t impressed and I remained single. I would give you some more specific memories about summer but I’d wind up writing a book about it, and you’d get upset at the end when you realized it’s still snowing out. You’ll just have to experience it for yourself when the nice weather kicks back in.

Corning is a great area to settle down. Though I don’t know what life holds for me after Keuka, I know that Corning has given me a taste of what I would like to be apart of. Even if I go off on a great adventure, I’ll be back for the Atlas pizza, Sparkle activities, and many more opportunities for my future family to make their own memories.

Though my moments in Corning won’t be found in a history book, they still impacted my love for the city and this community. Your own moments with Corning don’t have to be a Christmas celebration or high school prom. It can be a nice day in the park with your family. Maybe your first date happened at Aniellos or your first kiss was over at Harris Hill. You may even fall into the river trying to show off. Corning isn’t just a city, it’s an opportunity. Beaches and palm trees will always sound nice on a cold day, but Corning can keep you comforted throughout the entire year. Life shouldn’t be about the products; it should be about the experiences you make, and that’s just what Corning offers. So go outside! Walk down the street! Meet new people! You never know when Corning is going to give you a strange, beautiful moment that pulls you in to stay.

Have you had your moment with Corning yet?

Victorian Strobel

Victorian Strobel

Victorian is a senior at Keuka College. When she's not studying marketing or interning with various organizations, you can find her singing karaoke, volunteering at animal shelters and four-wheeling through the woods of Northern Pennsylvania.
Victorian Strobel

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1 Comment

  1. Val
    January 14, 2016

    What a wonderful article Victorian has written about the town of Corning. I personally have not visited Corning, but from what she has described, the small town sounds like it should be featured in a Life Time movie. I will have to included this on my list of places visit. Cheers! 🙂

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