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800 North Salina Street Syracuse, NY 13208


Photo Friday: Winter on the Northside

Written by admin  • December 19, 2014

Photo Friday_Winter

On the Calendar: Celebrate Christmas at Inspiration Hall

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 18, 2014

This Friday, check out CNY Crossroads special event: Celebrate Christmas, an inspirational performance from Danny Gokey with special guests:  7eventh Time Down and All Things New. Warm and soulful, Gokey will perform songs from his latest album, Hope In Front Of Me.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of. Special VIP passes are also available for $30 and $35. Purchase tickets here.

To learn more about Celebrate Christmas, watch the video below or check out CNY Crossroad’s website here.


The Ghost of Northsiders Past

Written by Joe Russo  • December 11, 2014

Editor’s Note:  Joe Russo is a “Nortsider”, a retired teacher, and an aspiring writer. We’ve asked him to share his stories of the past and offer his perspective on the present and future of our neighborhood. His posts will appear each month under the category, “Old Times on the Northside”.


I have often wondered, what makes a northsider a northsider? I left the Northside in 1960. I moved first to Taunton then to California and then Oswego. In fact I have lived in locations other than the old Northside longer than I did on the Northside. But still I consider the Northside to be my identity, my home. I have always been and always will be a northsider. I remember so many personalities and endeavors on the old Northside. Looking back I feel that I was always an observer taking notes on relationships and community activities.

Recently, at a business breakfast meeting I sat at a table full of strangers. As we talked and introduced ourselves I mentioned that my connection to this breakfast meeting was Northside UP. An organization dedicated to making positive changes on the northside. As the conversation continued I explained my life growing up on the northside and how we maintained a family business on the northside until 1992. One person at the table said, “Whenever anyone mentions the northside they smile.” Everyone at the table agreed. What quality is it that made everyone smile?

I remember how people cared about each other. A family down on its luck didn’t have to beg for institutional help. The neighborhood would help in a quiet way that did not embarrass the family. We didn’t have food pantries. I experienced the delight of making a surprise delivery of a food basket to a needy family just before Christmas. We didn’t have television advertising or a large organization between the families. It was personal, face-to-face quiet gestures to help someone, not a tax write off.

This past October I made a trip to Knoxville, Tenn. Wallace Casnelli, my wife’s uncle, had passed away and we attended the wake and funeral. I did not know “Uncle Cas”, as he was called, when he was alive. But in the 5 days we spent in Knoxville I found out enough about his life to make me wish I did know him.

He was a very successful businessman. Uncle Cas got his start servicing medical equipment for hospitals as he was recuperating from an injury while in the Air Force. Uncle Cas was a compulsive tinkerer. If something didn’t work he would take it apart to find out why. It was that attention to detail that helped him build a business of installing and servicing x-ray equipment in hospitals all across the southeastern states. From Tennessee to Florida to Alabama his company grew and prospered. This is where the story connects to the northside.

The northside I remember was a community that helped and supported each other. Father Hofstetter, a confidant, friend and family priest to Uncle Cas for more than 60 years told us how Cas reached out and supported not only members of his community but people he didn’t even know. One day at the peak of his success Uncle Cas visited Father Hofstetter and gave him a check book. He told the priest he trusted and respected him. Father Hofstetter told us that Cas wanted him to be able to help a family that didn’t have enough money to buy groceries or help a deserving student who didn’t have enough money for his or her college tuition. If the good Father ran out of money all he had to do was give Uncle Cas a call and a deposit would be made in the checking account.

Wallace Casnelli wasn’t a northsider but he lived in the spirit of the northside. The ghost of northsiders past is a friendly ghost. At that business breakfast memories of northsiders from the past put smiles on everyone’s face. Just as the many individuals at the wake for Uncle Cas smiled as they told stories about his generosity. Yes Cas had some quirky behavior and his own way of solving problems but his heart seemed to be in the right place. If Uncle Cas lived on the northside he would surely fit in with all the other ghosts who helped their neighbors, family, and friends create a community whose spirit lives beyond the old northside.

Joe Russo Post_December

Networking Event at Sparky Town: Recap

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 10, 2014

Networking event collage

Thanks to all of the business and property owners that gathered at Sparky Town for a our fall Northside Networking Event. Hosted by the Northside Business Partnership (NBP), these events are an opportunity to engage with community members, share ideas, and make important connections over a spread of appetizers and beverages.

The evening was also a great way to celebrate Sparky Town, a long-time NBP member that will officially close at the end of the year in order to explore other interests. We’re very thankful for their contribution to our neighborhood and are excited to see what the future holds.

To learn more about the Northside Networking Event, email business@northsideup.org.

NBP is a collaboration between Northside UP, the Greater North Salina Business Association and CenterState CEO that works to promote, support and engage Northside businesses.

Buildings for Sale on North Salina

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 9, 2014

Land Bank Properties

The Land Bank is seeking proposals for two properties on North Salina Street:  435 North Salina, former home of La Cuisine, and the building directly next door, 437 North Salina. This section of the business corridor is home to Adagio Salon, Asti’s Cafe, and Rocky’s News, creating great potential for property developers and business owners. All proposals must be submitted to the Land Bank by January 6, 2015.

Open Hand’s Artistic Director to Retire in 2015

Written by admin  • December 1, 2014

Melinda Johnson wrote an excellent piece about the retirement of Geoffrey Navias, Artistic Director of Open Hand Theater, in 2015. We’re going to miss this creative visionary, but look forward to seeing what comes next for this theater and museum!

“SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Geoffrey Navias, artistic director and a founder of Open Hand Theater, will retire in May. For 34 years, Navias has been involved as a performer, writer, director, mask and puppet maker and administrator of the arts organization. He has overseen its transformation from its beginnings in a warehouse on Walton Street in Armory Square to its current landmark location in a former mansion on Syracuse’s northside. It is known as Open Hand Theater – At the Castle on North Salina Street.”

Open Hand_Web

Read the full article on Syracuse.com.


Salt Works on Livable CNY

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • November 24, 2014

Liveable CNY Salt Works

Livablecny.com recently profiled Salt Works on their website in the article, Wood Work: Artisanal Craftsman Jobs for Syracuse Immigrants. They beautifully capture the stories of Pedro Ignacio Díaz Ramos and  Luis Vilella, two of the craftsman behind Salt Works’ sustainable furniture. “Before becoming a carpenter with Salt Works, the most extensive woodwork Pedro Ignacio Díaz Ramos had done was chopping down trees to sell as firewood in his hometown of Guantánamo, Cuba. Whenever money was tight, which was often, he would bike nearly 10 miles to the mountains where the wood made for good kindling—not far from the mountain range where Fidel and Ché plotted the Cuban Revolution. “Day after day, my situation—my life—became much harder,” said Ramos. While Ramos, 47, sold the bundles of wood for only 20 cents each in Guantanamo, he now helps pull in several thousand-dollar woodworking projects for Salt Works . . .” Read the entire article here.

Photo Friday: Hawley-Green Under Light Snow

Written by admin  • November 21, 2014


On the Calendar: 5th Annual Buy Local Bash

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • November 18, 2014

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We’re excited for SyracuseFirst’s annual fundraiser, the Buy Local Bash, presented by AmeriCU: a celebration of all things local, complete with food and beverage tastings, shopping, and live music. This year, the party will be held at the Landmark Theatre and will feature a special toast sponsored by the Syracuse New Times and a short performance by dancers from Syracuse Ballet’s The Nutcracker.

Some of our Northside businesses will be in attendance, including Laci’s who will be sampling some of the menu items for their new lunch spot and Rocky’s News and Cigars who will be collecting donations to the Food Bank and giving away  custom-branded Buy Local Bash cigars with every donation. Our UP Start Syracuse entrepreneurs will also be at the Bash, giving out samples of food and coffee and selling bags of beans and jewelry.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Purchase them HERE. Stay up-to-date with all things Buy Local Bash by joining the Facebook invite.

Work Train Aims to Fill Jobs in Local Manufacturing

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • November 17, 2014

This Work Train update was originally published in CenterState CEO’s November/December newsletter, CEO Essentials

CEO Newsletter

As of early October, there were more than 430 unfilled manufacturing-related jobs in Syracuse, Liverpool and East Syracuse alone, according to the New York State Department of Labor Job Bank. Many of these employers may pay above minimum wage, offer fringe benefit packages and support continuing education for employees in good standing. Some operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet customers’ needs. Others face potential expansion but worry about not being able to fill orders if they cannot hire the right people in time.

At the same time, there are many un- or underemployed individuals in the community. Given the right training and support, these people could be excellent candidates for local employers seeking to fill jobs.

Enter Work Train—a CenterState CEO-led initiative that cultivates industry partnerships to create a pipeline of job applicants to fill positions that might otherwise go unfilled. Work Train works with businesses to identify and aggregate employer hiring needs. Once the skills have been documented, Work Train networks with community-based organizations and educational institutions to identify, recruit, assess, prepare and then refer potential job candidates for interviews with employers that have job openings.

Work Train is looking for manufacturing sector businesses that want to be part of this process. To learn more about participating, contact Rosemary Jonientz, Work Train assistant director, at rjonientz@centerstateceo.com or call 315-460-5507.

Work Train’s Roots: Work Train initially piloted this platform on the North Side of Syracuse with St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in health care and construction jobs. Work Train is now scaling up its efforts, most recently partnering with Loretto to hire certified nursing assistants for The Cottages in Cicero. Work Train is staffed by CenterState CEO and guided by a collaborative consisting of leaders from business, philanthropy, economic and workforce development, training and education, local government, and community-based organizations.