Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Another 'best of' restaurant list fails from the beginning

A website called is the latest entity to proclaim a "best of" list of restaurants, this one purportedly covering Upstate's 50 largest cities and towns.

Regular readers of this blog know my opinion about such lists. They generally are based on guesswork, arbitrary placement, wobbly criteria, and often based largely only on readers' "votes." That means, in essence, they are at best a very narrow view cobbled together from only the readers of the particular blogs or websites -- Yelp and TripAdvisor in this case -- who bother to vote, and, at worst, just one more attempt at getting publicity.

Well, this one works on that latter score. After all, I am mentioning it here.

Among the venues the website cited in New York's "50 biggest cities and towns" are everything from fine-dining spots to diners, food carts to hot dog joints, and anything else that shouldn't be judged in competition with each other.

Excellent establishments all, I'm sure, though many people might quibble about them being the absolute  "best" their particular community has to offer. What is perhaps more important to ascertaining whether this overall list actually has any validity is that it claims to represent Upstate's "50 biggest cities and towns."

In reality, it does not.

For starters, the ranking lists the Erie County village of Lancaster as 50th among the "50 biggest cities and towns" Upstate. In fact, Lancaster had a mere 10, 279 residents according to the latest U.S. Census. There are more than 200 Upstate cities, towns and communities that are larger than Lancaster.  So much for "50 biggest."

Going a step deeper into the list we find Amsterdam being represented as the 25th largest Upstate community. In fact, at only 18,206 residents it is nowhere near that level. Colonie, Bethlehem, Guilderland, Clifton Park, Halfmoon, Milton, Glenville, Niskayuna, Rotterdam, and Queensbury all are significantly larger, and that is in the Greater Capital Region alone. Looking across all of Upstate, the number is staggering.

OK, that's enough time spent on debunking yet another flawed "best of" list. To those whose establishments were ignored simply because the basic premise was bad, don't feel left out. For those who were included, enjoy the moment of positive notoriety. Just don't include it in your advertising or you'll look silly.

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
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• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

1 comment:

  1. I don't want to split hairs here, and I hate going off information from the Internet.

    That said, it would seem that the Village of Lancaster has a population of 10k, but the Town of Lancaster has a population of 40k. And while the City of Amsterdam has a population of 18k the Core Based Statistical Area of Amsterdam is 50k.

    There are a lot of ways to skin a cat.