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Syracuse & Central New York in Pictures
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Syracuse, New York
Niagara Mohawk art deco building, Syracuse New York MONY Towers, Syracuse New York

Niagara Mohawk:
(Left) Possibly one of the prettiest art deco structures in the world, the Niagara Mohawk Headquarters has dominated the western part of downtown since 1932.

MONY Towers:
(Right)  The "twin towers" of downtown Syracuse, these buildings (now known as the AXA Towers) are famous locally for their ability to display the current weather using flashing codes.

Clinton Square, Syracuse New York State Tower Building, Syracuse New York Classic Architecture:
(Left)  Syracuse is well-known for the varied styles of architecture that remain in the city, even after it was brutalized during urban renewal.

State Tower:
(Right)  Syracuse's tallest building at 22 stories, the State Tower is one of many buildings in the area on the National Historic Register.

Syracuse Savings Bank, Clinton Square Clinton Square 2003, Syracuse New York Syracuse Savings Bank:
(Left)  This beautiful structure was the tallest and most ornate building in the city in 1876 when it was built. While it has been surpassed in height, no other building in the area can compete with its grandeur.
Christmas Tree:
(Right)  The bank enjoys a prominent position on Clinton Square.
Clinton Square 2002, Syracuse New York Clinton Square:
The true heart of the city, Clinton Square has been Syracuse's main focal point since the early 1810s. The square was recently renovated in 2001 and the ice rink you see was installed where the Erie Canal originally flowed. When visiting the square now you can still view the original canal foundations.
irit of Light Art Deco Statue, Syracuse New York Niagara Mohawk:
The artistic detail found on the Niagara Mohawk building just cannot be found on modern structures. The statue in this photograph is called the "Spirit of Light" and is the focal point of the building's remarkable facade.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (barbeque) , Syracuse New York Dinosaur Bar-b-que:
Surprisingly, Syracuse is home to the best bar-b-que joint in the nation. The Dinosaur is well known as a motorcycle / blues bar with plenty of interesting people to watch as you eat the best pulled pork you've ever had.
NY State Fair Horse, Syracuse New York New York State Fair:
The original and one of the largest state fairs in America, the NY State Fair brings livestock, carnival rides, butter sculptures, and tons of traditional fair food to the salt city. The fair is located on the massive fairground complex (375 acres) which holds less exotic events throughout the year.
Clinton Square Ice Rink, Syracuse New York Clinton Square Rink:
.What does one do to help pass the time during the seemingly endless winter? You ice skate, of course! With the recent renovations of Clinton Square which included a great new ice rink, I took a great cultural step and learned how to ice skate. It is a really fun activity and helps burn off the extra hot chocolate you consume all winter.
Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Clinton Square, Syracuse New York Soldiers & Sailors:
Dedicated to the memory of the fallen soldiers of the Civil War, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument (1910) is a fixture in Clinton Square. The large monument was completely restored in 2001 and looks fantastic.
Salina Street:
The main street of downtown Syracuse, Salina Street is an eclectic collection of gorgeous structures, abandoned buildings, beautiful parks, ethnic districts, empty department stores and signs of development to come.
Lombardi's Fruits & Imports, Syracuse New York

Little Italy:
Traditionally, Syracuse has been a city of immigrants with districts that took on each ethnicity's flavor. One of the largest districts is "Little Italy" which has had a resurgence over the past few years. One of my favorite stores is Lombardi's Imports, which carries hundreds of items imported directly from the motherland.

Columbus Bakery Baking Company, Syracuse New York Columbus Baking Company:
There are few things in life better than a great loaf of Italian bread, and the Columbus Baking Company makes the best I've ever had. The family-owned bakery has been crafting 4 types of bread for over a century using beautifully simple ovens and skilled hands. Mmmm, I can smell the loaves baking now...
Columbus Circle, Syracuse New York City Hall, Syracuse New York

Columbus Circle:
(Left)  Columbus Circle is the cultural and religious center of downtown, with a huge cathedral and large performing arts center. Pictured is the Columbus monument along with the Onondaga County Courthouse.
City Hall:
(Right)  Easily confused with a church, City Hall (1892) is an architectural gem which thankfully was saved from urban renewal.

Jerry Rescue Building, Syracuse New York Cathedral Stained Glass, Syracuse New York

Jerry Rescue Building:
(Left)  It was from a balcony on this building, facing City Hall, that Daniel Webster gave his famous speech which supported the Fugitive Slave Act.
Cathedral:
(Right)  As an important city during the great building boom of the late 19th century, Syracuse has many impressive structures including the cathedral which stands on Columbus Circle

First Baptist Church & Mizpah Hotel, Syracuse New York Church Steeple, Syracuse New York First Baptist Church & Mizpah Hotel:
(Left) Once a true rarity, the  church with a hotel on the top is now a vacant reminder of the city's decadent past and uncertain future.
Church Steeple:
(Right)  It is sad to see so many beautiful structures empty and even more depressing to see how the city has deteriorated
Dey Brothers, Syracuse New York "Home", Syracuse New York Deserted Downtown :
(Left)  Following suit with many other rust-belt cities, residents and businesses deserted the city center after World War II. Parts of downtown have once again come to life, but the glory days seem to be long gone.
The Home:
(Right)  Originally a lavish senior home, this building (one of my favorites) sadly has been converted to public housing and seems to be in a state of decline.
Tipperary Hill Upside Down  Traffic Light, Syracuse New York Coleman's Irish Pub, Syracuse New York

Tipperary Hill:
(Left)  Located on a hill overlooking the west side, the Irish section of town, Tipperary Hill, still holds on to a decidedly Irish flavor. One unique feature of the area is the upside-down traffic light (green on top, for Ireland) that is still used.
Coleman's Irish Pub:
(Right)  A Syracuse landmark, Coleman's has been serving great beer and Irish "cuisine" since the end of prohibition.

Historic Homes, Syracuse New York Greenway Place Rowhouses, Syracuse New York Architectual Gems:
(Left) Tucked away in the diverse city neighborhoods are beautiful homes that represent many architectural styles.

Greenway Place:
(Right)  After I graduated from SU, I had the good fortune to live in Greenway Place, a series of downtown rowhouses which are listed on the National Historic Register.
Franklin Square, Syracuse New York Franklin Square Bridges, Syracuse New York Franklin Square:
(Left) Franklin Square was once Syracuse's premier industrial district before it fell into a state of almost irreversible repair. Thankfully the area has witnessed a resurgence and is now home to an ever-increasing number of lofts and restaurants.
Industrial Bridges:
(Right) Industrial relics produce interesting  patterns when covered with a fine layer of snow
Syracuse University
Hall of Languages, Syracuse University

Hall of Languages:
Built in 1870 as the original university building, the Hall of Languages is the unofficial emblem of Syracuse University and is listed on the National Historic Register. More interestingly, the Hall of Languages was also the inspiration for the Addams Family's house.

Hendricks Chapel, Syracuse University

Hendricks Chapel:
Syracuse University's own little Pantheon, Hendricks Chapel is the stately multi-denominational chapel for the university community. Besides its chapel functions, Hendricks also serves a very important function most fall Saturday's as the marching band plays free concerts on the front steps

Crouse College and Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Crouse & Maxwell:
Looming over the university is the hauntingly beautiful Crouse College, which is now the School of Visual and Performing Arts. Within the tower are original chimes which are rung daily. Also pictured is the Maxwell School, which is Syracuse's well-known school for public policy and social sciences.

Syracuse University Snowscape

Campus Scene:
Syracuse University has been Syracuse's intellectual beacon to the outside world since 1870.
(More photographs are coming soon)

Lyman Hall, Syracuse University   

Lyman Hall:
(Left)  Less-recognized that many structures on campus, Lyman Hall would be a centerpiece at most universities. This building is mostly used for classroom space for science and history courses.

 

Skaneateles, New York
Clift Park Gazebo, Skaneateles Lake, New York Skaneateles Gazebo:
Skaneateles is a charming Finger Lakes community just to the west of Syracuse. The town is quintessentially upstate, with its main street dating from the late 1700s, a pristine lake with the country's second cleanest drinking water, and stately whitewashed wooden houses with large porches.
Shadowy House:
The architecture in Skaneateles is beautiful in its simplicity. There are few modern structures in this village, so a walk through the neighborhoods is like stepping back a hundred years.
Classic Front Porch with American flag,  Skaneateles, New York Classic Porch:
Sadly absent from most modern houses, the porch signifies a time when life was spent outside with neighbors, not inside with the television or radio. Skaneateles is full of houses with grand porches and on a cool summer evening people can still be found on their porches, chewing the fat with passersby.
Patriotic Decorations:
Skaneateles has also been known as the playground of presidents. Franklin Roosevelt's extended family owned an impressive mansion on the lake and most recently the Clintons vacationed here during the presidency. Even today American Flags and bunting can be found throughout the village, which compliment the classic structures well.
The Sherwood Inn, Skaneateles, New York The Former Skaneateles Savings Bank, New York

Sherwood Inn:
(Left)  The Sherwood Inn, circa 1807, was originally a stagecoach stop. Now it is a clamorous Inn with one of the prettiest views in upstate NY

Bank Clock Tower:
(Right)  The Skaneateles Savings Bank clock tower is a dominating presence on the village main street.

Red Barn and Silo, Skaneateles, New York A Horse Is A Horse, Of Course, Of Course..., Skaneateles, New York

Country Barn:
(Left)  Just outside of the village the landscape is dotted with small family farms and windy country roads.

Horse Carriage:
(Right)  Every winter the village sponsors horse-drawn hayrides through the heart of the village.

Holiday Decorations, Dickens Christmas Carol, Skaneateles, New York Charles Dickens, , Dickens Christmas Carol, Skaneateles, New York Holiday Decorations:
(Left)  The village comes alive each winter with bows, wreaths, and classic holiday decorations

Charles Dickens:
(Right)   December in Skaneateles means it is time for Dickens' Christmas, a Victorian Christmas celebration in which the entire village participates.

Fresh Snow, Only Five Cents!,  Dickens Christmas Carol, Skaneateles, New York Victorian Santa Claus, Dickens Christmas Carol, Skaneateles, New York Saleswoman:
(Left)  The Dicken's Christmas celebration is a photographer's dream as many actors walk the village in full costume and character. This girl was selling samples of snow for only five cents. Not surprisingly, she had few customers.

Santa:
(Right)  What is a Christmas celebration without Santa?

Liverpool, New York
Onondaga Lake Park, Liverpool, New York Onondaga Lake:
Stretching from downtown Syracuse all the way to Liverpool, Onondaga lake is deceptive, because no matter how beautiful it looks it still is the country's most polluted lake. The lake is polluted with mercury, which covers the bottom of the lake and inhibits most forms of life. Fishing, however, is making a comeback, but the fish are not safe to eat.
Onondaga Lake Park Bench and Trees at Onondage Lake Park, Liverpool, New York Jet Ski Personal Watercraft at Onondage Lake Park in Liverpool, New York

Winter Scene:
(Left)  Onondaga Lake Park is a serene spot in the winter for a nice stroll. During the short summer, the park is home to vehicle-free running and bicycle paths and has plenty of other activities for those who love the outdoors.

CNY Summer:
(Right)  Only a few more months and the snow will be gone...

Syracuse, New York


Central New York Travel Resources

Map of New York State: See an interactive map of New York State.

Syracuse Then And Now: See Syracuse's history through old post cards.

NY Central Railway Restoration:
Read about the transformation of the NY Central Railway Station from an abandoned bus terminal to one of the city's architectural showpieces.

You Know You're From Syracuse...: A lighthearted list of ways to know you live in Central New York.

Syracuse.com: The official website for the Syracuse newspapers, updated hourly.

Syracuse New Times: Syracuse's alternative newspaper looks at the city through a different perspective.

Syracuse University: One of the northeast's best universities and the reason I ended up in the arctic.

Ernie Davis:
Read about #44, Syracuse's only Heisman winner whose story is filled with tragedy and pride.

SU Athletics.com: The official site of Syracuse's pride and joy, the (usually) successful university athletics program.

Clinton Square Renewal
: Read about the latest incarnation of Syracuse's main public space.

Thom Hanford's Syracuse Photographs: Don't just take my word for it, view another photographer's interpretation of the city.

Uniquely Syracuse
: Once one America's major industrial cities, Syracuse is the birthplace of many of America's best known products.

Syracuse Crunch: Surprisingly, a good time can be had at Crunch hockey games, the top minor league team for the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets.

Syracuse Skychiefs
: One of the legacy institutions from when Syracuse was a city of national prominence, the Skychiefs are the AAA affiliate for the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club.

Syracuse Nationals: Not many people know that Syracuse used to be home to an NBA team.

Onondaga Nation
: Central New York is the ancestral home of the Iroquois Nation. Read about the Onondaga Tribe, whose nation is located on the border of southern Syracuse.

Armory Square: This district of eclectic shops, bars, and restaurants gives the city a pulse which help make the long winters a little more tolerable.

Carrier Corporation
: Once the areas most important employer and my current employer, Carrier is rapidly closing facilities and is moving to greener pastures.

National Championship: The Syracuse University basketball team rode a magical season to an improbable national championship in 2003.

Syracuse City Website:
View the official website for the City of Syracuse.

Erie Canal Museum: Housed in the unique and historic Weighlock building (1850), the Erie Canal Museum is a treasure trove of upstate NY canal history.

DestinyUSA: On the drawing table for almost two years, the plan to build America's largest mall has yet to come to fruition.

Brannock Device: Have you ever wondered where that little metal device they use to measure your feet came from? Well, wonder no more...

Syracuse Snow Facts
: Is that the world's biggest snowplow at your airport or are you just happy to see me?

Erie Canal Online: Learn about America's original superhighway

Carousel Center: Syracuse's large mall is an excellent example of successful urban renewal the impressive and useful mall was constructed on a toxic waste dump.

Forbes.com: Willis Carrier's Ghost: A superbly written article which details the debacle that is Syracuse public policy.

Skaneateles
: Visit Syracuse's closest Finger Lakes neighbor, the charming little village known as Skaneateles.

Onondaga Lake Pollution:
:Once a pristine and wildly popular recreation area, Syracuse sadly now sits on the most polluted lake in the United States.

Syracuse China History: Whenever you eat out, take a look under your plate and chances are you are eating on famous Syracuse China!

History of Salt: Read a history of the essential element which helped build Syracuse into a major power (at the time, of course!)

History of Syracuse Industry:
Once a major industrial power, Syracuse used to be home to salt, automobile, typewriter, and textile manufacturers.

Urban Renewal: Unfortunately, much of Syracuse was destroyed during urban renewal, with two major intestates crossing through the city and parking lots and ugly concrete boxes where towers and mansions used to stand.

Village of Liverpool: Visit the small village along the shores of Onondaga Lake.

Heid's of Liverpool: One of CNY's treasures, this classic hot dog stand had been a Liverpool fixture since 1883.

Onondaga County Parks: Thankfully, there are many quality parks to spend the few nice days Syracuse gets each year...

Gianelli Sausages:
There are few things in life as fulfilling as a good Italian sausage.

Everson Museum of Art: While the museum collection is far from massive, this museum is notable as it is one of the first structures designed by noted architect I.M. Pei.

News 10 Now
: A recent addition to the Syracuse media landscape, News 10 Now is a 24-hour a day news network focusing solely on upstate NY news. Want to take any bets as to how long this will last?

Pan Am 103 Memorial: Syracuse University lost 35 students during the terrorist attack on Pan Am 103. View the memorial here.

Syracuse University Virtual Tour
: Take a tour of the architecturally significant and exceptionally beautiful campus of Syracuse University.

Lemoyne College: Syracuse is home to Lemoyne College, a small college tucked away in the shadow of Syracuse University. It is also home of a most ridiculous nickname, the Dolphins. For those who have visited Syracuse in the winter, they know that the only dolphins in the area are in the cans of tuna.

Indian Land Claim
: Not surprisingly, there is quite a bit of opposition to the Indian land claim, which dates back to treaties created during the 19th century.

Best of Syracuse (2003): Make the most of a visit to Syracuse by visiting the best the area has to offer.

New York State Flag: Information about and history of New York State's flag.


Travel Comments
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Questions and Answers

Time Visited: 1996 to the present

Main Cities Pictured: Syracuse, Liverpool, Skaneateles

Modes of Transportation: Automobile, train, bus, boat, airplane

How I Ended Up There: I attended Syracuse University from 1996-2000 and have worked at Carrier Corporation in Syracuse since graduation. I recently started attending graduate school at Syracuse University so I will be here for a few more years at least.

Memorable Foods: Salt potatoes, Finger Lakes wine, Hoffman Hot Dogs, Dinosaur Bar-b-que, Columbus Italian bread, Gianelli sausage

What I Liked: History, beautiful upstate scenery, central location within northeast USA, quality education at Syracuse University, usually-decent NCAA Division I athletics to watch. There is also minimal traffic and if you can stand the cold the quality of life is quite good.

What I Disliked: The city is still for the most part in a sad sense of decay and in many areas it is getting worse. The taxes are abnormally high and business continues to move away which provides few opportunities for growth. Did I mention that it snows a lot?

Where I Stayed: Hotels, dorms, houses, apartments... just about everywhere

Central NY in Five Words: historical, diminished, arctic, heritage, uncertain

My Thoughts: The Central New York (CNY) region is an interesting part of the country that seldom is heard about these days except for the rare athletic successes of Syracuse University and the not-so-rare lake effect snow that makes Syracuse the snowiest metropolitan area in America. However, behind all the snow is a historian's dream, as Central New York is home to many significant people and places in American history. While on the surface the area may appear to be yet another decaying rust-belt metropolis, when you peel back the many layers and take the time to explore the area you will find one of the more interesting regions of the country.

© David Metraux 1996-2006

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