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Best Upstate New York and Hudson Valley Merch 2021



Best Upstate New York and Hudson Valley Merch 2021

Chloe Anello

Chloe Anello writes about everything from skin care to bedsheets. Most of all, she loves asking celebrities what they can’t live without.

Photo-Illustration: retailers

I live (and have always lived) in the Hudson Valley. According to Google and the egocentric New York City residents, upstate is anywhere north of New York City. This means I am in Upstate New York. (To those in upstate cities such as Rochester or Albany, who claim that the term refers to areas closer to Canada than New York City I’d like to point out that I went college in Syracuse. To people in the city, my part of upstate has always been prime long-weekend territory — a place to visit but nowhere to live. It was fashionable to claim that I live in Hudson Valley during the pandemic. With everyone living in cramped apartments and a need for nature, it became trendy to say that. And based on some of the clothes at J.Crew, Aerie (its “upstate” sweatshirt is actually so popular it is now sold out), and Revolve, it’s also cool to dress like you’ve been there.

But just as a New Yorker wouldn’t necessarily parade around the city in an I ❤ NY T-shirt (with no disrespect to the design’s creator, New York co-founder Milton Glaser), folks who actually spend time (or live) in upstate New York would not wear those. You can get a more authentic upstate look by investing in subtle, cool merchandise that will be appreciated by locals rather than snarky glances. Some of the best options, including everything from artist Dan Colen’s Sky High Farms in Ancramdale, sell out almost immediately, but there’s still plenty of great clothing to be had. Below, I’ve rounded up the best of it: T-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, and more, all sold by local businesses throughout the area.

Bethel Woods Yasgur Farm T Shirt

You don’t need a Woodstock poster to make you smile, this Yasgur farms T-shirt will do the trick. This reference is only for those who are well-informed. Buying it from Bethel Woods, the museum for the festival and popular concert venue, will give you an additional level of clout — and directly benefit the institution that preserves the memories of the festival.

Last Outpost Dummy Light Enamel Mug

Anybody who has ever spent time in Beacon knows about this dummy light that loosely directs traffic at an intersection on Main Street. It’s a nightmare to drive there, so celebrate your success with this really cool mug from Last Outpost.

Phoenicia Diner-Mug Pin

The Phoenicia Diner Merch, one of the most iconic landmarks in Catskills has become quite common. But putting this subtle mug pin on a denim jacket or tote (as you travel the state) is a great way to support it without looking like you’re trying too hard.

Vintage '90s Cooperstown New York White T-Shirt

Cooperstown merch is also quite common since 300,000 people visit every year the Baseball Hall of Fame to shop at the local merchandise stores. A vintage tee such as this will make you stand out from other baseball fans who visit the town. And in case this shirt sells out, it’s also offered here and here in different colors and sizes.

Store 716 It's Better In Buffalo

Unexpectedly, Buffalo has some of the best merch I’ve ever seen. It’ the largest city in the state, just after New York City, and people from there seem to really have a lot of pride. This shirt tells you everything.

Oxford Pennant

This Oxford Pennant shirt, made by the well-known pennant manufacturer Oxford Pennant, makes a promise that Buffalo is unable to keep.

Big Mouth Coffee Beach Hippo Tee

Aside from equally popular Trax and Bank Square (which don’t sell merch online), Big Mouth is one of Beacon’s main coffee suppliers. Lots of local coffee shops stock their coffee, and because they’re stationed smack dab in the middle of Main Street, they’re easy to spot. You can wear it to show your knowledge of the best coffee spots in any area.

New Paltz's Shawangunk Ridge Skytop Beanie

Shawangunk Ridge in New Paltz, better known as “The Gunks,” is one of the biggest climbing locations in the country and a fairly popular biking trail. This beanie is perfect for late-fall hiking and features a beautiful patch of the view along the trail.

Boneshaker Records'

This funny T-shirt, designed by Ryan Williams and Boneshaker Records (a Catskills-based record company), supports a very specific movement to create a Kingston skate park.


Marlboro.NY was established by Patrick Merryman (a Hudson Valley resident and a friend). I bought this cheeky shirt from his shop earlier this year because it’s possibly one of the coolest upstate New York shirts I’ve ever seen.

Marlboro.NY Apple Champion Sweatshirt

For a more subtle nod to the Hudson Valley, I’m fond of his apple logo sweatshirt, too.

Hamilton & Adams Keyhole T

Hamilton & Adams, a Kingston-based brand devoted to showcasing what upstate New York has to offer, is best known for their “Upstate and Chill” merchandise. It would be a good idea to also check out their other designs like this vintage-looking keyhole t-shirt. This shirt feels more like a thrift store purchase than a gift shop purchase.

Woodstock Film Festival 2021 Long-Sleeved Shirt

The Woodstock Film Festival will take place at the end September. It spans four days, and features independent films by both established and rising artists. A pass can be purchased here. A tee can be purchased to support both the non-profit organization as well as emerging creatives.

Hudson Valley Brewery Silhouette Sweatshirt

Beacon’s Hudson Valley Brewery has been a popular weekend stop. If you need something to remember your visit by (or to inspire you to get up there), the brewery’s merch is nearly as good as its beer.

Marist x Walkway: Hudson Valley Pocket Tee

The Walkway Over the Hudson opened in 2009 as a historical park, long after a fire destroyed the original property in the ’70s. The bridge goes straight across the Hudson River from Highland to Poughkeepsie, with beautiful views that tourists can’t seem to resist. This limited-edition tee features a subtle and cute drawing of the bridge.


SUNY Oneonta has a bit of a …reputation. Get in on the joke with this crewneck from a brand that’s embraced it: Stoneota.

Compas Life

Albany-based brand Compas Life trademarked the slogan “Upstate of Mind,” a feeling that comes through clearly on this somewhat motivational vintage-y T-shirt.

Charlie's Print Shop Syracuse's Hungry Chuck's Bar T-shirt

This Hungry Chuck’s Bar tee will bring back lots of memories for any Syracuse alum who attended before the bar was replaced with luxury condos. This T-shirt will be more relevant than ever since the notorious seniors-only spot will reopen in the fall.

Yesteryear Wear Red Apple Rest Crew Neck Unisex Sweatshirt

The Red Apple Rest closed in 2006, but for 50 years before that, this restaurant and motel along Route 17 was a beloved Catskills destination. In 1965, the business served over 1,000,000 people. Its iconic gigantic apple still sits atop the building (although it’s abandoned and worn down). This sweatshirt will be a fitting tribute to it.

Lil Deb's Oasis

Popular Hudson restaurant Lil Deb’s Oasis has some particularly charming and funky merchandise, like this cheeky tee.

The Lake George Steamboat Company Adult Butter

Another popular summer destination is Lake George. The T-shirt is in a soothing butter shade that screams vacation without being overly cheesy.

Bread Alone Retro T-Shirt

Any baker will probably recognize Daniel Leader’s bread-baking books, especially his most recent one, Living Bread, which won a James Beard award last year. Each book features the secrets, recipes, as well as baking tips that Leader has learned while running Bread Alone Bakery in the Hudson Valley. There are many fun merchandise, but this vintage Bread Alone Tshirt stands out.

The Chance Theater Beanie

Photo: Eli

Every local high-school or college student has probably gone to at least one concert at the Chance in Poughkeepsie.

The Capitol Theatre Vintage 1970s Tee

Up until the early ’70s, the Capitol Theatre in Portchester was a popular concert venue for big name artists like Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead. After a brief shutdown in the early ’80s, it now showcases artists like Sheryl Crow, Billy Idol, and Elvis Costello.

Storm King Climate Change Socks

Although it has lately become a checkpoint for Instagram influencers trying to show off their culture, Storm King’s 500-acre outdoor museum is still a wonderful place to visit. Instead of (like any other clout-thirsty tourist) getting a tee that says simply “Storm King,” try these socks, which are based on artwork featured in the exhibition Indicators: Artists on Climate Change.

West Point Stadium Crew Pullover

It’s still a huge deal to watch the annual Army Navy football match. With Army merchandise, you can support West Point by picking sides just like a local.

Ithaca Tie Dyes Ice-Dyed Long-Sleeved Tee

Ithaca Tie Dyes Ice-Dyed Tee

Whatever you do, please do not buy an “Ithaca Is Gorges” tee. The pun references the Ithaca waterfalls, otherwise known as “The Gorges,” and it is probably the most touristy shirt you can find in the area. If you don’t mind the judgement of others, they can be found here. Ithaca Tie Dyes offers a great alternative. The brand offers lots of different clothing items, from tees to socks, and while it doesn’t explicitly say “Ithaca” on it, you’re supporting a local business — and when you get compliments (which you will), you can say where it’s from.

The Culinary Institute of America Legacy Relaxed Twill Adjustable Hat

Are you a member of the Central Intelligence Agency? You may not know. This sweatshirt, which is a bit less scary, is also a good option.

Ithaca Beer Co. Flower Power Long Sleeve Tee

Ithaca Beer is now available nationwide. However, it was originally made upstate. Support the brewery by wearing this subtle nod to its best -selling beer “Flower Power.”

Seneca Lake State Park Apparel Store Crewneck Sweatshirt

One of the most popular Finger Lakes is Seneca Lake, which has a large state park at its north end where you can fish, boat, picnic, and more. This sweatshirt, which is collegiate-inspired, is a lovely tribute.

NYRA Saratoga 1863 Club Unstructured Twill Cap

Upstate is home to some of the most important horse racing tracks in the country such as Belmont Park and Saratoga Springs. With the recent rise of preppy clothing, perhaps now’s a good time to sport this hat supporting Saratoga Springs — the oldest racetrack in America.

Mohonk Mountain House Children's Rainbow Hood

Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz is an all-inclusive resort that draws people from all walks of the globe. From personal experience, I can confirm that it’s truly magical. This actually-kind-of-cute rainbow hoodie is for kids, so if you’re one of those people who can fit into children’s clothing, then this is a good choice.

Syracuse Mets Salt City Mets Royal Ringer Tee

Syracuse was once the country’s largest salt producer. While that’s no longer the case, the city is still referred to as “The Salt City.” Support Syracuse’s Mets-affiliated minor-league team with this T-shirt bearing the reference.

Fortunes Ice Cream T-Shirt

Fortunes Ice Cream in Tivoli has received rave reviews from many magazines, Food & Wine naming it the best icecream in New York State. You can also get some of the most stylish T-shirts. It is possible to order one online or in-store by emailing the item to its website.

Adirondack Mountain Club Nalgene Bottle

Nalgene was created by an accidental scientist who wanted to create the first plastic pipette. The lightweight bottles were quickly popularized by hikers when lab techs used them on a 1960s hiking trip to Adirondacks. Given this history, it seems only right to sport an Adirondack Mountain Club Nalgene, which we’ve coincidentally dubbed a status water bottle — so you kill two birds with one stone.

River Valley Ink

If you call it the “The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge,” you’re clearly not from around here.

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