Alternate History

Poughkeepsie (1983: Doomsday)

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Timeline: 1983: Doomsday

OTL equivalent: Portions of Dutchess County, New York
NYC Flag Alternative PoughkeepsieSeal
Flag Seal
Google Map Poughkeepsie
Poughkeepsie controls the highlighted area

Excelsior (English)

Capital Poughkeepsie
Largest city Poughkeepsie
Other cities Vassar College
Language English
Ethnic Group American
Mayor Kieran Lalor
Chief Thomas Mauro
Area 550 km²
Population 61,948 
Currency US Dollar, Bartering

Poughkeepsie is a city-state in former New York State along the Hudson River, covering about 200 sq mi of land. It is one of the dominant political entities along the Hudson River.


Before Doomsday

Before European settlement, the Poughkeepsie area was home to the Wappinger people. The site of Poughkeepsie was purchased from these natives in 1686 by Robert Sanders, an Englishman, and Myndert Harmense Van Den Bogaerdt, a New Netherlander Dutchman. The settlement grew until it became an incorporated village in 1799 and a city in 1854.

Poughkeepsie gained temporary fame during the American Revolution, during which it was a temporary capitol of New York.

Throughout the nineteenth century, Poughkeepsie grew with the help of several industries, including shipbuilding, paper production, and breweries. The owner of some of these breweries founded the women's only Vassar College to the east in 1861, though the school became coeducational by 1969. Several New York City wealthy families would also build homes in the area.

After Doomsday

Initially after Doomsday, Poughkeepsie's police forces kept some semblance of order. However, as the entire force only had about 100 officers, it was only able to keep order in the city itself, and not in the surrounding countryside. This allowed raiders to cause much damage throughout Dutchess county, and placed the city under a virtual state of siege for a few years.

In recent years, Poughkeepsie has vastly expanded its police force, effectively turning it into a military, armed with everything from modern guns to bows and arrows. One controversial action was the demolition of the Poughkeepsie Bridge. Used as a walkway and trade route throughout the 80's and 90's, the bridge gave downtown Poughkeepsie a vulnerable weak spot for raiders to take advantage of. Using explosives produced specifically for the task, the center of the bridge was demolished in 2003.

The destruction of the landmark Poughkeepsie Bridge ironically marked the beginning of a new Golden Age for Poughkeepsie. The city has grown in recent years due to the safety offered by its large defense force. Today, it is possibly the greatest city in the Hudson River valley.


Poughkeepsie's government is very loosely based upon the pre-Doomsday Dutchess county government, and thus includes an executive and a 25-member legislature. However, as the borders of Poughkeepsie are unclear, traditional elections are largely impossible. Instead of being locked into districts, people vote for their preferred representatives from anywhere in the state. The 26 people who receive the most votes receive a position in the legislature, except for the one who has the highest number of votes, who gets the executive mayoral seat.

The Poughkeepsie area is traditionally conservative, and many politicians still consider themselves part of the old Republican tradition. However, due to the parliament-like voting process, a number of political philosophies are represented within the legislature, including left wing and libertarian views.

The current mayor and thus head of state in Poughkeepsie is Kieran Lalor, a retired police member.


Today, the police has become the de facto military of the state, with about 3,500 members stationed around the region or patrolling at any given time. The police force is the only entity in Poughkeepsie legally permitted to own firearms, and also uses batons for hand-to-hand combat and occasionally bows and arrows for additional firepower. Due to the rarity of petroleum in the region, cavalry is often used for patrolling and attacking bandits.

Poughkeepsie's Police Force is technically a tool of the civil government. However, the force has a major influence on civil decisions and affairs, due to its size and power. Most politicians are former members of the police force, and invest much of the national income to police activity.

Thomas Mauro

Thomas Mauro, the current Chief of Police.

The current Police Chief is Thomas Mauro, who has been a member of the force since before Doomsday.


The flag of Poughkeepsie is a tricolor flag with orange, white, and blue. It is a simplified version of the pre-Doomsday county flag, which also had an insignia in it. The insignia was removed due to the absolution of the former government, which ceased to exist as an entity.

Although the Poughkeepsie region lacks an official state symbol, such as a bird or mammal, the local media often represents the country as a beer brewer. This image, borrowed from Vassar College, is inspired by the region's history in the beer-making business. Ironically, there is only one brewery in Poughkeepsie's borders, and it is outside of the city proper.


About 60,000 people with within Poughkeepsie's greater borders or protection, though only a fraction of that number, about 20,000, live within the city proper. That said, thousands of more people live outside of Poughkeepsie's boundaries but support the local economy by selling food or other resources.

Most of Poughkeepsie's residents were born in the area, either before or after Doomsday. Most of the exceptions consist of refugees and the descendants of refugees that fled to the area for protection.


Poughkeepsie acts as the economic hub of the area. Farms surround the city proper, employing about 40% of the region's work force, and spare produce is brought into and sold within the city. The city has a sales tax on goods sold within the city, as well as property taxes that largely go towards providing for the police force.

As a riverside city, Poughkeepsie engages in some trade with other parts of former New York. These include territories protected by the Rangers. The river is also used for fishing, which provides a large portion of the local protein diet.

Agriculture in the Poughkeepsie area is aided by the nearby water and warmer climates than further up north, but is hurt by the relatively poor soil. Primary products include corn, potatoes, hay, apples, and dairy products. Dairy in particular is very important, as cows can be raised in areas unsuitable for other forms of agriculture. Despite this, however, Poughkeepsie consumes slightly more food than it produces. Therefore, the city primarily imports foodstuffs, while exporting manufactured products.

As a large portion of the local population, Poughkeepsie's police force is an integral part of the economy. Among other things, the spoils of defeated enemy raiders are sent directly to the city's bank, and become a part of the treasury. Poughkeepsie also uses its military as a "big stick" to influence the affairs of surrounding communities. Although there has never been a formal war between Poughkeepsie and any of its neighbors, there have been violent clashes between the Poughkeepsie Police and raider settlements.


Poughkeepsie draws its water from the Hudson River that forms its western border. Many tens of thousands of gallons are used on a daily basis, for drinking, cleaning, agricultural, and industrial purposes.

A recurring problem for Poughkeepsie is radiation from downstate New York City. Although the river flows south towards the city, salty and radioactive water can flow up the river during the dry summer months, causing health problems in the area. In recent years, Poughkeepsie has stored water during the winter and rationed it as necessary during the summer.


Only one radio station is active in the Poughkeepsie area: Vassar College's WVKR-FM. The station provides a combination of music, news, and educational programing. Of particular note is daily elementary school classes, played in order to help educate people outside of areas with schools.

Downtown Poughkeepsie is the site of the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, where many shows are held by an amateur company. Many classical shows are held, but one ones are also written and shown. Theater is widely considered the higher form of entertainment, with trips to the theater being a minor luxury.

Due to Poughkeepsie's high literacy rate and the large number of books within its borders, reading is a popular past time. Although pre-Doomsday books are the majority, several authors have made a living from writing.


Poughkeepsie offers public education to those lying within its boundaries. The state operates a multi-building school system within the city, and also sends teachers outside the city to teach primary education in public buildings in places where children can not reach the city-system safely or easily. Radio programs also provide instruction.

Vassar College lies within Poughkeepsie's boundaries, and today remains the center of education in the region. It is one of the few functioning higher schools of education in this part of the world, although it operates to a much lesser degree than before Doomsday. Vassar's library contains hundreds of thousands of volumes. Much of the more advanced technology and systems used in Poughkeepsie are the result of thorough research of pre-Doomsday volumes.

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