"Where do you consider the beginning of Upstate New York to be?" is an age-old question many of us New Yorkers have debated at some point over. It goes hand in hand with the lovely, "bet you can't pronounce this town name" pop quiz you'd give your cousins from out of state over the holidays.

The Hudson Valley is full of town manes that people commonly mispronouce, one of the most popular being Coxsackie.

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The fact of the matter is most of these difficult to pronounce names have fascinating origins. Here are a few:

Accord, NY

This deceiving name doesn't look like it'd be difficult to pronounce, alas many fumble over it. DISCLAIMER: Yes, Accord is a hamlet, not a town, but it gets mispronounced a lot thus earning it a spot in this article.

Accord was originally named Port Jackson. With it having multiple waterways and ports, it was a transportation hub for lumber and other natural resources. Once most of those good turned to rail transportation, the ports became a bit moot, so the town lobbied for a new name.

Accord, New York
Google Maps

As the story goes, according to Modern Accord Depot, they couldn't agree on a new name, or shall I say, they could not "come to an accord" on a new name, so simply settled on Accord. Pronounced: ACK-ord.

Esopus, NY

Many in the area are aware that Esopus is named as such in honor of the Esopus tribe that once lived here. New York State states that Esopus is "a Dutch word with origins in the Indian language." But basically, "Esopus" is what the Dutch understood to be the Native American phrase for "small brook" (Esopus Creek).

The tribe then became known as "the Esopus Tribe" becuase they happened to live in the newly established "Esopus Creek."

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Poughkeepsie, NY

I would actually argue that Poughkeepsie gives more people a spelling issue than a pronunciation issue. Neverthless, the meaning behind the name is pretty fascinating. Once again, Poughkeepsie's name has Native American origins. According to the Poughkeepsie Public Library District, it all comes back to a very conventional meaning.

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The true original name for Poughkeepsie started as "Uppuqui-ipis-ing" which means "the reed-covered lodge by the little water place." In it's earliest stages, Poughkeepsie, or "Uppuqui-ipis-ing" was used a place to get some of the best cattail reeds, which were used for building lodges and other structures.

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Well, now the next time you quiz someone on pronunciations of these local towns, you have a little background to use for tie breakers or bonus points.

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Gallery Credit: Brian Cody TSM Albany

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Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio