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Monthly Archives: January 2013

On the Calendar: Pastels on View at the Library

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • January 29, 2013

One of the first things you learn while working at Northside UP is just how vibrant the Northside really is. There’s an energy in this office and throughout the neighborhood that inspires you to look at things differently—suddenly every empty storefront is an opportunity for anything new, necessary, and original. This buzz of creativity is not lost upon White Branch Library, a vessel of the community that serves patrons but also reflects their needs and interests. “Libraries have to bring in the community,” Aran West, Adult Services Librarian at White Branch explains. She believes in libraries as community spaces that reflect the needs and interests of their patrons, and she believes that exhibiting local art at the library helps achieve this. In fact, art is prominent in the Northside in many ways: as the backdrop and subject for art (à la Sarah Averill’s Lodi Laundromat Project), as the expression of the lives and ideas of its residents (à la The 7 Days Gallery), and as the pursuit of various Northsiders, such as Norma Yennock.

Norma is a pastel artist who lives on the Northside. The library will exhibit her work throughout February and March, with an artist’s reception on February 7th from 5 PM-7 PM. Norma is a long-time patron of the library who one day told Aran, “I have my art, it’s in my car.” When she brought in her pieces, Aran thought they were so colorful and fun she gushed, “We can show them here. It’ll brighten up the library.”

And they are fun. Norma clarifies, “I don’t have an artist’s statement. The main idea is fun. It’s all about color.”  Terry Lacey, Norma’s artist friend and “partner in crime,” explained, “I see an apple and it’s red. She colors it purple, green, yellow, and it works.” While Norma prefers to do portraits, she’s only sketched a few: “you don’t get many people,” she says, explaining that her niece can’t sit still for five minutes. She sketches mostly still lifes during the afternoons once a week when she teams up with Terry to sketch. Norma makes scrambled eggs and they find objects around the house and in the backyard to draw. “I’ll say, ‘I’ve got an avocado, wanna do that?’” laughs Norma. One lucky day a young girl was walking past the house and Norma and Terry sketched her while she posed for a short time.

“I’m the Northside,” Norma says proudly. She grew up in this area, attended Our Lady of Pompeii as a child, and now continues to reside here. “I went around the world,” she goes on, “They offered me a job in D.C. and I said, ‘No, I gotta go home.’” Norma worked as a teacher for fifth and sixth grade, but has been interested in art her whole life.  In the 20’s her uncle was an artist. Everyone considered him a “hippie” and he was “not somebody admired.” In order to deter her eight children from the visual arts, Norma’s mother enrolled her children in violin and piano lessons, which Norma dropped. “My liking art was not appreciated. I’d copy pictures and hide them.”

Now Norma is able to enjoy her art and display it openly. Her nieces and grandnieces own much of her artwork. Her exhibit at White Branch Library is her first, and while she’s incredibly humble about it, there is a proud energy that slowly beats underneath (after all, she is the Northside).

Norma’s artwork is the second exhibit at the library that Aran has organized. She beams when she talks about art in the library and hopes to continue showcasing more local artists.

There will be light refreshments at the artist’s reception. Norma’s work will be on display in the Adult section of the library for February and March.

NBP Member: Nino’s Italian Bakery

Written by admin  • January 28, 2013

Nino’s Italian Bakery is an old style, hard-to-come-by, traditional Italian bakery specializing in pastries, cookies, cakes and breads. When visiting their charming storefront location on 1401 Lodi Street, you will find they use the freshest ingredients while keeping prices affordable! With a special cookie featured every month and a “Nino’s Express” Vespa parked inside, this is a place you will quickly fall in love with.

Editors Note: Each Monday, we’re introducing a community spotlight piece highlighting one of our Northside Business Partnership (NBP) members in an effort to showcase the diverse and unique businesses that make up the Northside. 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. 



Photo Friday: Leap

Written by admin  • January 25, 2013

Craft Chemistry is closing! Stop by the store by February 2nd to receive 25% off all wares, bid your farewells and get on update on Briana’s next moves.






The Mayors Challenge

Written by admin  • January 24, 2013

We’re currently hard at work helping our city and partnering organizations develop an application for the Mayors Challenge! Want a sneak peek into the process? Check out this video from the Ideas Camp Bloomberg Philanthropies hosted in New York.

The Mayors challenge is a competition created by Bloomberg Philanthropies to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life – and that ultimately can be shared with cities across the nation. More information on the challenge can be found HERE.

On the Calendar: Dana Cooke at Sparky Town

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • January 22, 2013


This Friday, stop by Sparky Town for dinner and live music by Dana “Short Order” Cooke. With his quirky personality and ironic but poignant lyrics, the evening promises fun and laughter.

You may have heard of Dana Cooke as a dynamic performer from the open mic nights at Happy Endings Cake and Coffee House, or as a nomination favorite of the Syracuse Area Music Awards, or as the head of the Folkus Project. In fact, Cooke has been an important figure in Syracuse’s music scene since the 90’s. He began doing open mic performances that eventually turned into coffee house shows that eventually turned into three albums: “Wildman” (1996), “County Fair” (1998), and “Snowball’s Chance” (2003).

Cooke has also received five nominations during his career: three for best album and two for best songwriter from the Syracuse Area Music Awards. While it’s been a while since his last album, Cooke spends much of his time as president of the Folkus Project and organizer of the  Songwriter Woodshed (also held at Sparky Town).

Check out free music downloads and a music video all courtesy of Cooke’s website.

Hopefully he’ll play favorites like, “My Father’s Bald,” “The Past Gets Bigger Every Day,” and “Christmas in Cooperstown,” this Friday night. What a good accompaniment to a Brie and Pear panini!

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • January 21, 2013

The first Martin Luther King Day was observed in 1986 in order to celebrate civil rights in the U.S. and the life and work of one of its greatest activists. Many Americans will celebrate today by volunteering in their own communities as part of the MLK Day of Service. Today is a great day to reflect on our neighborhoods and become inspired through volunteerism, kindness, and understanding.

Check out this inspiring postcard on MLK available for purchase at the PosterWorks Store of Artage Gallery. The original painting is by Robert Shetterly, who had a show there in the fall of 2010. More information on his work can be found at www.americanswhotellthetruth.org.


Photo Friday: Glow

Written by Stasya Erickson  • January 18, 2013

Feels Like Home

Written by Hopeprint  • January 17, 2013

Editor’s Note:  We’ve asked Nicole Watts, Executive Director of Hopeprint, to write guest articles for us on a monthly basis. All of her posts are organized under the “Hopeprint” Category. You can learn about her organization and read more of her writing at hopeprint.org.


The turning of the year found me in the heart of Ethiopia’s Somali Region, an area that is almost entirely inhabited by the Somali people. The years of their presence in the capital city and other towns have born out in street after street lined with little shops making for the quintessential African market. Fresh fruit and vegetables sprawl out across woven mats. Scarves drape down walls in all kinds of colors, matched by the head coverings adorning all of the women in the semi-crowded streets.

Several of our meals included delicious cuisines of Somali food. I couldn’t help but feel like I was flashed back to African International Restaurant and my friend Muyheidin on N. Salina Street. [Some say when you go to the real deal, you can’t go back to the States version. I must say, Muyheidin, your food is legit! And the decor looked pretty similar too (smile).]

After the sun set, we took our third trek in for the fresh delivery of camel meat. (Wait until morning and it will be gone.) The grinning butcher talked with meat and blood covered hands, expressing the goodness of the camel hump that we ought to try. The streets were crawling with a different energy in the darkness of the night, but surprisingly not the kind you would expect. Rather, their was a gleeful spirit of laughter and enjoyment of life. Young people greeted one another across the road, shops were bustling, and the daytime swarms of begging children had died down a bit.

After spending a week in the former home of many of our new Americans, I felt a renewed sense of vision towards this blooming project for Syracuse’s Northside business incubator and international village. Within 72 hours of my plane landing back in town, I sat in a meeting with some of the key players of this vision and plan, and was filled with an even greater excitement than before.

Our New American population is bursting with entrepreneurial potential and filled with a longing for the sense of community and life that a gathering space which sells practical and necessary things can bring. While we tend to celebrate the find-everything-here-supermarket, the richness of the small markets with known owners and specialties is lost.

The clock is ticking and steps are moving towards the re-birth of such community spaces in our own city, re-branded and re-worked to highlight the ethnic treasures and diversity that now reside in our streets… I can hardly wait.

Winter Fest on the Northside

Written by Joe Russo5 Comments • January 16, 2013

Editor’s Note:  Joe Russo is a “Nortsider”, a 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 a couple of times each month under the category, “Old Times on the Northside”.


On the old Northside it was a virtual Winter Fest. My father, Armondo, grew up on Division Street just a half block away from the original Danzer’s Restaurant. According to my father, back in the 1920’s and 1930’s when it snowed they didn’t plow the streets. The Northside was a walking neighborhood and those who had cars put them up on blocks for the winter. Imagine being 10 years old and school is closed because there is so much snow. No snow plows to clean the streets and no cars on the road, but your trusty Flexible Flyer is ready to soar down the Division Street hill. In your childhood imagination you are headed straight for DiLauro’s Bakery, leaning, steering, leaning toward DiBello’s Grocery store, as good a run as your waxed rails could deliver. Maybe one day your Flexible Flyer would have enough speed to reach North Salina Street.

In my father’s time they played street hockey in the winter and football was so much fun in the snow. A roof covered arena with a synthetic turf field wasn’t necessary. Because, as Armondo would say, “…kids back then, they were tough.” They also invented their own games, negotiated their own rules created their own adventures. A big adventure back in that era was a toboggan ride from the round top at Schiller Park. The round top was the highest point in Schiller Park and had a beautiful view of the Syracuse city scape. The park roads back in the 20’s and 30’s were not blocked off, so a toboggan ride had a free run all the way to Park Street near the current Riley’s Restaurant. My father remembered eight kids placed strategically around the toboggan. I imagine in a way like the Olympic Bobsled teams getting ready to run for gold. In unison all eight were sliding the toboggan back and forth, back and forth until the rhythm was just right. Then they would run to build up speed. Each Olympic Northsider jumped on at the right time and the downhill fun began, destination Park Street.

In my time a snowball fight on the way to or from school was commonplace. My sister Maria and I walked to Our Lady of Pompeii School with the Morelli brothers, Joey and Patsy. We always encountered other neighborhood kids willing and ready to test their arm strength and accuracy. Patsy Morelli made the perfect snowball. They were round, tightly packed, and made us feel like we could hit the bull’s eye almost every time. He would make several snowballs for each of us. When we passed kids from Franklin Elementary or Grant Junior High on the way home we were ready to let the snowballs fly. Later in life, Patsy moved to New York City and became an artist and sculptor. He is most famous for his 10 foot bronze sculpture “Behold”. It is a father holding up an infant toward the sky. He donated the statue to the Martin Luther King historic site in Atlanta, Georgia. It is currently on display at this site.

My father and my uncle Harold Seib enjoyed the snow and became sculptors as well. In the photo below you will see a wonderful snow sculpture that could win the gold medal in any Winter Fest contest. I remember the joyful way they gathered up the backyard snow and built it into a mound. Then carefully and slowly they used pieces of wood to sculpt and shape their creation. The triumphant moment came while posing for pictures. I remember my mom, Sarah, carefully squeezing the shutter button on her Brownie Hawkeye and capturing the moment in black and white.  As I look back over the last 40 to 50 years it seems that I enjoy the old black and white photos the most.


On the Calendar: On View at the Library

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • January 15, 2013

While attending medical school and working at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, Sarah Averill became more and more interested in the city’s Northside. She was intrigued by the diverse cultures and people in these neighborhoods and wanted to learn more about the community where she worked. But, she needed a way to gain access to Northside residents and a legitimate reason to be in the neighborhood. Enter: Averill’s camera. “There’s a cultural understanding of taking pictures as a reason to be there,” Averill explains, recalling a similar “social experiment” where she touched-up colors on a mural in order to chat with people at the bus stop on E. Fayette St.  Art is a way to learn about a neighborhood and its people, to “engage with them just by taking pictures.”

People who aren’t particularly familiar with a neighborhood may feel like an outsider and become nervous when venturing into any new place. “I was curious and skeptical,” she explains, especially because Averill really hoped to develop “meaningful relationships with the people in the neighborhood,” and not just document the community. Her biggest surprise during the project: “That I could actually do it.”

In fact, not only did Averill make friends, but her photographs capture our “sameness” in a way that highlights the universal experience of being human. We can all relate to the people in her pictures as they laugh, recline on picnic blankets, and spend afternoons on front stoops. The simple black and white prints allow us to focus on facial expressions and body language. And yet, diversity still shines through as Averill rejects color in order to participate in the timeless tradition of documenting immigrant neighborhoods.

Taking inspiration from Zoe Strauss who exhibited her photos underneath a highway underpass in Philadelphia, Averill prefers her “snapshots” displayed in unique spaces. In September her pictures were hung at Lodi Laundromat, “a place,” Averill explains, “everyone ends up.” This month those same photographs can be seen at the White Branch Library. These community spots help cement Averill’s goals for her project because they bring the community together and celebrate diversity in a public space.

“It feels like a small act,” Averill confesses, “It’s not like I got everybody healthcare.” After all, her work in hospitals creates a broad perspective of the needs of a community. “I do feel,” she goes on, “it had a very powerful impact on me.” She considers the project “a gift” in her own life. But her photos do serve as a small gift to the Syracuse community, as well, depicting the Northside in a way that is fun, honest, and simply human.

Sarah Averill

Sarah Averill during the Lodi Laundromat opening

Display at White Branch Library

Photograph included in the Lodi Laundry Project collection

Photograph included in the Lodi Laundry Project collection

Photograph included in the Lodi Laundry Project collection