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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Christmas Morning under the Tree

Written by Joe Russo4 Comments • December 25, 2013

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”.

Joe Russo and Train

Is there anything more exciting for a youngster than Christmas morning? Sometimes you made a list and you knew what was going to be there. Other times it was a complete surprise. And sometimes it was a knockout surprise. Back in the 1950’s, we actually had a coal fired furnace and coal bins full of black coal. I remember the noisy trucks backing up to our house and setting up an elaborate system of metal funnels to move the coal from the truck, through the cellar window and into the coal bin. I would be bugging my parents about what I was going to get for Christmas for weeks. They would of course tease me and say things like, “why do you think we filled up the coal bins last week?” and “I think Santa Claus must know you’ve been giving the sisters at Pompeii some trouble lately”, this was always said in a serious tone and with a serious face.

I always wanted everything to be perfect for Christmas. Setting up the tree was a big event. The lights, the bulbs and the manger scene had to be just right. I helped anyway I could. My mom directed, my father and I followed those directions. My mother always seemed more important than anyone else around Christmas time. I don’t know why for sure but I made it a point to do things that made her happy. My father seemed to fade into the background and just enjoy the good feelings created by the celebration of Christmas.

Of course I had to make a good impression with Santa as well. I had to write a letter explaining the many ways I had been very good all year. And I had to leave a cookie and a glass of milk. My father suggested I leave a carrot for Rudolph. I complied without question. Everyone must understand that my letter to Santa wasn’t completely honest. I needed every opportunity I could get to make a positive impression.

All of my classmates at Our Lady of Pompeii School were as anxious as I was as we got closer to Christmas. One friend wanted a BB gun, another wished for a pair of mouse trap shoes, a very popular item back in the fifties. I liked building things like model airplanes and battle ships.

What I didn’t realize was that I was being set-up for one of the biggest surprises of my young life. First of all, I didn’t realize how skilled my parents were at saying things with a straight face.  Secondly, I didn’t understand how well they understood my wishes. Thirdly, I had no idea how crafty they were at creating something really fun without spending a lot of money.

I remember arriving home after midnight mass somewhat sleepy but at the same time anxious about Christmas. Under my father’s direction I made sure to leave a cookie with a glass of milk for Santa. The letter to Santa was neatly folded and placed next to the cookie with a carrot for Rudolph. Early Christmas morning I was awakened by my father who said, “I think Santa brought you a surprise.” I jumped out of bed and ran into the living room. There on the floor was a Lionel train and a complete village with tunnels all mounted on a large piece of plywood. I had never felt such joy before on a Christmas morning. I don’t remember what I said but do remember spending the entire morning running the train around the track, stopping in the village to pick up imaginary passengers and shooting through the tunnels like a real train.

I was convinced this magnificent present came from Santa Claus. What I didn’t know until years later was that my father spent many after work hours building the village and hand painting the grass, mountains and tunnels. He then cleverly hid the entire model so that even a curious little boy couldn’t find it and kept it a secret until Christmas morning. Yes Joey, there is a Santa Claus, he just happened to be my father. “On Dasher, on Vixen, on Donner, on Blitzen, Dash away, Dash away …. Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!” quoth the poet, Clement Clarke Moore.

Buy Local Month: Get Pampered on the Northside

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 23, 2013

Pamper  Collage

Preparing for the Holidays requires much strength of mind, patience, and running around. After all that work, don’t forget to reward yourself. The salons in the neighborhood are perfect for a pick-me up and a relaxing change of pace. Clean scents, funky decor, and skilled stylists will provide an instant calm. All locally-owned and active in the community, here are our picks for best places to get pampered:

Adagio Salon

GiGi’s Little Italy Salon

Hairanoia Salon

Photo Friday: Between the Layers

Written by Stasya Erickson  • December 20, 2013


The Votes Are In!

Written by admin  • December 18, 2013

Earlier this month, Joe Russo wrote an article asking for your contributions towards his family’s Feast of the Seven Fishes! The suggestions are in, the votes have been tallied, and the Seven Fishes menu is now ready to be revealed:

(1) Clams Casino

(2) and (3) Calamari & Scallop salad with pimento and black olives

(4) Baccala (Cod Fish) stew with potatoes and tomatoes

(5) Shrimp sauteed in a ginger garlic sauce

(6) Oysters Creole in a spicy tomato sauce

(7) Broiled Salmon with Pesto sauce and a side of risotto

Thanks to everyone for your contributions! We’ll make sure to get photographs of the big meal!





Snowy North Salina

Written by Stasya Erickson  • December 17, 2013

Our city does not halt for snow!

Snow Day_Web

Buy Local Month: Drinks on the Northside

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 16, 2013

Drinks Collage

Warm up and indulge this season with a variety of  drinks on the Northside. Purchase a bottle of wine or a six pack of microbrews, or stop at the bar for a cup of coffee or a refreshing cocktail to keep you going. Not only can you expect quality beverages from the local businesses in our neighborhood, but also a fun atmosphere. Here are our picks:

Attilio’s Restaurant & Bar

Rocky’s News & Cigar

Sparky Town


Editor’s note: This December, we’re celebrating Buy Local Month with several community spotlight pieces that highlight our diverse Northside Business Partnership (NBP) members.  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.

Buy Local Month: Unique Gifts on the Northside

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 9, 2013

Retail Collage

Finding really great, unexpected gifts for those on your shopping list can be difficult, especially at larger, more commercial stores. The locally-owned businesses on the Northside, however, are filled with such gems. Whether you’re looking for specialty imports, clothing, electronics, accessories, or art pieces, you’re sure to find something remarkable in our neighborhood and be greeted by knowledgeable, friendly experts. Here are some of our picks:


African & Caribbean Central Market

CMB Sportswear and the Lennex Boutique

Lewis Uniform Company

Open Hand Theater

PosterWorks at ArtRage Gallery, especially during their Fair Trade Sales Days this Friday and Saturday

Ra-Lin Discount

Sauro Photographic Art Studio

Thanos Import Market


Editor’s note: This December, we’re celebrating Buy Local Month with several community spotlight pieces that highlight our diverse Northside Business Partnership (NBP) members.  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: My Lucky Tummy

Written by Stasya Erickson  • December 6, 2013

my lucky tummy collage


Give yourself (or someone you love) the gift of a beautiful, multinational meal to look forward to when it’s icy cold out. Tickets to the next My Lucky Tummy dinner are $20 and on sale now through Friday, December the 13th at all Freedom of Espresso locations and the Alibrandi Catholic Center – Syracuse University, SUNY-ESF.

Throwback Thursday: Annalena Davis

Written by admin  • December 5, 2013

Salt City DISHES, one of our sponsored events, has added a third co-director to their team – Annalena Davis. Four and a half years ago, Annalena spent a summer working for us! Back then, we were the Northside Collaboratory. Here’s a photograph of her from 2009 and another photograph of her at the last DISHES dinner in May. We’re very happy to have her back with us through this volunteer position!

You can read more about Annalena on the DISHES blog.

Green Works Annalena Davis

Annalena Davis with Volunteer

Northside Statement on 81 Challenge

Written by admin  • December 4, 2013

We’re very proud to have co-authored this statement on syracuse.com:

“The opportunity is here to make thoughtful, measured decisions about what we consider the standard for a great and vibrant city should be — and how we can reach those standards. Therefore, we are calling for a plan that solves the ’81 Challenge’ while contributing to the greater challenge of restoring vitality to our proud city.”




Read the full article at Syracuse.com/opinion. 

This op-ed was jointly submitted by the Northside Urban Partnership; St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center; Greater North Salina Business Association; The North East Hawley Development Association; Patricia Body, Chair of the Danforth/Pond/Butternut TNT Task Force; Davco Performance; Thanos Import Market; Open Hand Theater; Laci’s Tapas Bar; and the All Asian Market