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WHAT'S HAPPENING

“What’s For Dinner?”: Featuring Anna Rupert

Written by Rachel Nolte  • September 20, 2017

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Editor’s Note: Rachel is serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) at NEHDA for the year. Her roll involves a variety of tasks, such as recruiting volunteers and applying for funding opportunities to plan really cool, really fun events that benefit the community. Rachel graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a BFA in Sculpture and a minor in psychology. She spent the past year serving in another AmeriCorps program where she traveled the state of New York to help out with various environmental projects. As part of Rachel’s work with NEHDA, she is writing some posts for us to share. All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. To learn more about NEHDA, visit their website and Facebook.

 

 

Anna

 

 

Anna works for NEHDA as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). Her job duties include grant research, community outreach, and administrative support for the Northside Business Partnership.  We look forward to seeing what she accomplishes during her time with us. 

 

Question: Where are you from?

Anna: I was born in Syracuse, at St. Joe’s.

 

Q: So you haven’t strayed far. Do you like it here or do you eventually want to end up elsewhere?

A: I want to experience living in other places, definitely. I wouldn’t necessarily say, 100% I would never come back here and live. But I definitely don’t plan on being here forever and not living other places first. I like it here, I just don’t necessarily want to stay.

 

Q: What keeps you in the area?

A: My boyfriend and his job. I went to school here, because it was cheaper.

 

Q: What did you study?

A: I studied Spanish and I studied sociology.

 

Q: So how did you end up here at NEHDA?

A: Well, I wanted to do something a little bit more meaningful with my break in between college and grad school, and I wanted a break because I wanted some time to figure out what I want to go to grad school for. So I found AmeriCorps, my mom gave me a flyer. I applied for all of the jobs that they offered in Syracuse . .  Mike ended up calling me, and I came here and I kind of loved it, so I ended up staying.

 

Q: Do you have a sense of what you want to go to grad school for at this point?

A: I’m torn between law or public policy, and education.

 

Q: So how does that relate back to your undergraduate degree?

A: Spanish education. So I would teach Spanish and dance, or law and public policy. There’s a whole bunch of different ways that Spanish and Hispanic culture and things like that tie into law and public policy. Whether it’s advocating for the Hispanic community, or just needing to translate, stuff like that.

 

Q: What initially drew you to this area of advocacy?

A: Well, I started dancing Flamenco when I was probably 7—

 

Q: How did you get into that?

A: I was looking for a new studio because the one that I had been going to, the woman terrified me and kind of made me not want to dance anymore. So, I was looking to switch, but before I committed myself to a studio, I wanted to take a sample class and see how the studio’s vibe was and what their teaching style was like, what the atmosphere of the studio was, ‘cause I didn’t want to bounce right back into another place just like the one I had left. So I went to Guzmán’s out in Fayetteville and took a sample class and the class that they had running at the time was Flamenco. I just kind of kept going with it, and I never really stopped. So then I started taking Spanish and traveling to Spain and studying Flamenco there, and it just kind of evolved.

 

Q: What is your favorite thing about being here so far?

A: I really like going out into the community and meeting all of the community members. It’s really cool to be around people who really care about their neighborhood and have a strong sense of neighborhood community because growing up, my neighborhood had a very, very strong sense of neighborhood community, and I took that for granted, as like, “Everywhere is like this, and everybody has really great neighbors and knows all of their neighbors and their neighbors birthdays, and that’s just a normal thing. Everybody in the neighborhood is just like their family. Totally.” And then living other places, it just made no sense to me, that people that I went to college with didn’t know the names of any of their neighbors and my boyfriend didn’t know the name of the person who was living directly below him, and I was kind of shocked. So it’s really cool to be back around people who share that strong sense of neighborhood community.

 

Q: What do you see as being your biggest challenge you will face this year?

A: I would say being able to take all of the big ideas that people, including myself, have, and put them into something that’s actually realistic. Because, it’s very easy to get into this whole, “Yeah, this would be great if we could do this, and add this . . .” and create this really big, ideal world project, and then once you get down to trying to actually implement it, it can be very disheartening if you haven’t really thought about what’s actually realistic. For instance, yes, it would be fantastic if I could get public trashcans all over the Northside. That would be amazing. I would love to do that. But, is that actually realistic? Who’s going to maintain them? There’s a lot of other things that don’t necessarily come up at first, so I think it will be a challenge to keep that in mind and not try and catch a whale instead of a fish . . . I had a ballet teacher, growing up, one of my favorite teachers, who always said, “In an ideal world, this is what would happen.” She was usually referring to, “In an ideal world, you would all have perfect turn out, and be much more flexible than you actually are.” But, her point was just, “This would be ideal, but this is what you have, so work with what you have.” That’s a hard concept to grasp sometimes.

 

Q: What’s for dinner?

A: Leftover Chinese food from China Café in Armory Square.

 

Q: What did you get?

A: I . . . (pause) This order is for two people. Just keep that in mind. (Laughter) It’s gonna be a little scary. So, two orders of fried wantons, pork fried wantons, then a large pork lo mein, no vegetable, a large pork fried rice, no vegetable, two egg rolls, a small sweet and sour chicken, and a large General Tso’s chicken. Oh, and two things of white rice.

 

Q: Does your boyfriend not like vegetables?

A: No. He gets creeped out by the little corns.

 

Photo Friday: Sea Sighting on Howard Street

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 15, 2017

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Run for Refugees: September 30

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 14, 2017

Run for Refugees

“I grew up internationally, so I’ve always had a heart for international issues and affairs. With issues such as the Syrian refugee crisis and the current political climate, I felt like I needed to do something to support local refugees. I’m also an avid runner, so it made sense for me to use my love for running and host a 5K. Ultimately, my desire is to see the Syracuse and CNY community as a whole support our refugees in a fun and exciting way.” - Adrian Mellinger, co-organizer of the Run for Refugees

 

WHAT: Run for Refugees 2017

WHEN: Thursday, September 30 from 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM

WHERE: Long Branch Park, 3813 Longbranch Park in Liverpool

 

Grab your sneakers. Adrian Mellinger and InterFaith Works are hosting Run for Refugees, a run/walk of solidarity with refugees in our community. The event is family-friendly and the 5K course is un-timed, allowing for participants to go their own pace and bring friendly dogs (on leashes), children, and strollers.

Interested? You must register for the event in advance by September 23. The cost is $25 and proceeds support the Center for New Americans at InterFaith Works. For more information, visit InterFaith Works’ website and Facebook event.

Photo Friday: Before and After

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 8, 2017

Spurred by a NY Main Street grant several years ago, the building at 507-513 North Salina Street has continued to receive new improvements, restoring its historic facade and adding new windows on the upper floors.

Awesome job, George Angeloro! Keep up the amazing work.

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Photo Friday: The Welcome Garden

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 1, 2017

Named after the Swahili word for “welcome,” the Karibu Garden is a bright, burst of color on Lodi Street. Thanks to Hopeprint, the fence got a new coat of paint and a mural along the back wall this summer.

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“What’s For Dinner?”: Featuring Maggie Moore

Written by Rachel Nolte  • August 31, 2017

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Editor’s Note: Rachel is serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) at NEHDA for the year. Her roll involves a variety of tasks, such as recruiting volunteers and applying for funding opportunities to plan really cool, really fun events that benefit the community. Rachel graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a BFA in Sculpture and a minor in psychology. She spent the past year serving in another AmeriCorps program where she traveled the state of New York to help out with various environmental projects. As part of Rachel’s work with NEHDA, she is writing some posts for us to share. All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. To learn more about NEHDA, visit their website and Facebook.

 

 

“I am most excited to work at NEHDA because of the people. Everyone here is so friendly and passionate about what they do. I feel privileged to serve my year as an AmeriCorps VISTA at NEHDA.” - Maggie Moore

“I am most excited to work at NEHDA because of the people. Everyone here is so friendly and passionate about what they do. I feel privileged to serve my year as an AmeriCorps VISTA at NEHDA.” – Maggie Moore

 

Maggie works for NEHDA and the NPC (Neighborhood Preservation Coalition) as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). She is a welcome new presence in the office and we look forward to seeing what she accomplishes during her time with us. 

 

Question: Where are you from?

Maggie: I was born in Vallejo, California, which is across the bay from San Francisco. I spent most of my time growing up in Cazenovia, New York, outside of Syracuse.

 

Q: What drew you to NEHDA?

M: I knew I wanted to do AmeriCorps and I knew I wanted to stay in Syracuse. So NEHDA just seemed like a great organization. I was especially interested in the work that you did helping different businesses and things like that (Side note: Throughout my VISTA year, I’ve done a lot of work with the Northside Business Partnership). I thought that was cool and different from some of the other AmeriCorps programs that I saw.

 

Q: What do you like about the area?

M: Well, I’m married so I wanted to live with my husband. We just got married, so I’m not sick of him yet (laughter). Maybe in a couple of years, I’ll move away for a program.

 

Q: What are you most excited about with your new position?

M: I’m mostly excited to learn more about advocacy with the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition. I know I get to go to a few meetings in Albany with my site director, Mike [La Flair] and so I’m excited to see how those meetings go.

 

Q: For those who are not familiar with the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, could you tell me a little more about it?

M: Yeah. The Neighborhood Preservation Coalition (NPC) is based out of Albany, and then they have them all over. So, New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, and they even have rural NPCs. NEHDA is actually an NPC. They’re nonprofit organizations that do community development in a specific area. So for Syracuse, there’s some on the Northside of Syracuse, the Southside, the Westside, and the different neighborhoods. Ithaca has an NPC, Watertown has an NPC, so they’re different nonprofit organizations that fall under the community development umbrella. A lot of times, they do work with affordable housing.

 

Q: Do you have a strong interest in housing?

M: I think growing up in Syracuse, I always saw all the empty and boarded-up houses, and it’s really too bad, I know a lot of people need affordable housing. So when I interviewed with NEHDA it was cool to see—on their walls, they have pictures of houses that they have worked on or given money to work on. So it was cool to see that they care about the way that their community looks and that people have access to affordable housing. Then it makes your neighborhood look better, too.

 

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Q: Do you have a favorite business on the Northside yet?

M: I don’t. I just had lunch at Mi Casita today and it was SO delicious and I’m stuffed. It was great.

 

Q: Speaking of food, What’s for Dinner??!

M: My vegan friends visited and inspired me to try cooking tofu.

 

Tofu Stir Fry:

- Pre-marinated and baked tofu, teriyaki flavored (“Tofubaked” is the brand!)

- yellow squash

- zucchini 

- red + green bell peppers

- red onion

- broccoli

- rice

Cook desired amount of rice.

Combine veggies in a frying pan with some oil, salt, pepper, and any spices your heart desires. Add a stir fry or teriyaki sauce. Cook veggies, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes and then add in chopped tofu. Cook another few minutes until veggies are tender and tofu is warm.

*Feel free to use any vegetables you have on hand, this just happens to be what I have in my fridge at the moment*

Top rice with tofu mixture and enjoy!

 

Photo Friday: NEHDA’s Community Photography Show

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 25, 2017

Photo credit: David Haas. To view all of the submissions to the Northside Photography Show, visit: www.facebook.com/pg/NehdaInc/photos/?tab=album&album_id=839331309570203

Photo credit: David Haas. To view all of the submissions to the Northside Photography Show, visit: www.facebook.com/pg/NehdaInc/photos/?tab=album&album_id=839331309570203

This collage by David Haas was submitted to NEHDA to be considered for their Northside Photography Show on September 8th.

Do you have photos of the Northside? Submit your image by September 1st by sharing it to NEHDA’s Facebook page. Check out their album for details about how your photo could be displayed at their event.

 

From Syracuse.com: “Like a well-made jacket . . . “

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 24, 2017

Earlier this week, Andrea Henderson published an article and series of photos on Syracuse.com about Middle Earth Leather, a staple of the Northside business district. The shop, lined with leather bags and jackets, counters ready with patterns, vintage sewing machines, and rolls of leather show the love and attention each product receives from this family-owned business on North Salina Street.

 

Photo Credit: Syracuse.com / Andrea Henderson

Photo Credit: Syracuse.com / Andrea Henderson

Like a well-made jacket, Middle Earth Leather weathers the changing retail climate

 

“While at the factory, Frank unexpectedly found his passion for custom leather making. He inherited the ability of pattern making from his mother, but had never used his talent until the day he purchased a poorly designed hat.

After recognizing his skill set, he began making his own belts and sandals. Occasionally, he would sell some of his custom items to co-workers who were looking for a new belt or a pair of shoes.

‘I never wanted to work in a factory all of my life,’ Frank said. ‘I would dream of becoming more independent.’

Frank gained an entrepreneurial spirit from his mother, Dorothy Westfall. She owned and operated her own dressmaking business in Syracuse, was a college graduate before World War II ended and was handicapped all her life, with one foot longer than the other. Her principles to continue life with every ounce of energy resonated with Frank during his early days of running his company – and certainly now, during a bleak time within the retail industry.

‘I am just trying to survive my second phase: Internet shopping,’ Frank said.

To help maintain Middle Earth Leather Works presence during the age of online shopping, his daughter, Kalley, 30, who is formally trained in graphic design, runs the company’s website and social media platforms. Not only does Kalley bring younger experience to the company, but she also assists her father with sewing, designing and selling products.

‘The Internet has the ability to have the accessibility of anywhere,’ Kalley said. ‘That is something that my dad is very shy about, only because of the amount of products we are making and being able to supply the demand.’

As generations evolve, so do the buying habits. Internet wholesalers like Amazon have the buying power to sell products at a lower rate, but often extract sales from smaller businesses that rely on the local purchasing power. In an era of accessibility and affordability, Frank cannot lower his prices to compete with larger companies who sell at lower price points.

Even though Kalley is a millennial, her mindset is like her father’s when it comes to business. While continuing to learn patternmaking and entrepreneurship, she plans to grow the company by learning how to function in every aspect of the business, whether it be how to use new equipment or how to broaden the company’s selling scope via the web.”

Visit Syracuse.com to read the article and view all the photos. To learn more about Middle Earth Leather, check out their website and follow them on Facebook.

Photo Friday: Pineapple on Salina

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 18, 2017

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August 2013: “I suppose it is a matter of taste . . .”

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 17, 2017

If you have zucchini growing in your Northside garden, it’s time to do as Joe’s grandmothers did and cook up the delicate blossoms to share with loved ones (or, to savor all by yourself). We’re throwin’ it back to August 2015 when Joe was making omelets and reminiscing about the Northside gardens of his childhood.

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The Zucchini Flower (originally published August 15, 2013)

by Joe Russo

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”.

What would a backyard garden be without a few Zucchini plants? Famous for being productive and easy to grow, everybody likes Zucchini. In fact, the biggest problem most energetic gardeners have is they don’t have enough friends to take all the surplus zucchini. All the Northside moms and grandmothers traded zucchini recipes. Zucchini bread, fried zucchini, stuffed zucchini… how about zucchini with sundried tomatoes and goat cheese? The list goes on and on. Both my grandmothers had a special recipe they did not share with friends outside the family. It is a real delicacy.

I remember going into the backyard garden and watching either of my grandmothers carefully pick the biggest brightest zucchini flowers they could find. The flowers were delicate so they had to be handled with care. They made it clear that what they were about to prepare was very special.

The first step was to carefully clean the zucchini flowers. The second step was creating an egg batter. There are many variations and it seemed to depend on what herbs were in season. My grandmothers always used brown eggs. I suppose it is a matter of taste. Salt, a little minced garlic and whatever herbs seemed freshest that day were whisked into the egg batter. They would whip up the batter with one or two eggs depending on how many people wanted to eat. I always liked fresh chives chopped up with the garlic. I also like to add about 2 tablespoons of flour to the egg batter to give it a thicker consistency.

They did not deep fry the flowers but lightly sautéed them in olive oil. They cook very quickly so I would put only one or two at a time in the frying pan. When the oil was sufficiently hot the grandmothers dipped each flower in the batter coating as thoroughly as possible. Be careful to sauté the flowers for 2 minutes or less. I keep a few chopped chives and some minced garlic on the side and sprinkle them on each flower as they are cooking. Drain the sautéed flowers in a platter with paper towels for a moment or two. Make sure you eat them while they are still hot. No grandson can wait very long to taste one of these.

In recent years I have developed a Zucchini Flower Omelet, which is pictured below. My friends who did not have an Italian grandmother seem to prefer this more familiar style. Either way the taste is memorable.

 

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