e: info@northsideup.org | ph: 315.470.1902

115 W Fayette Street Syracuse, NY 13202

What's Happening

Monthly Archives: December 2015

Laura and Cindy Named One of Syracuse’s Top Creators in 2015

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 30, 2015


Syracuse.com’s list of “9 people who are redefining CNY creative culture” includes Laura Serway and Cindy Seymour of Laci’s Tapas Bar and Laci’s Lunchbox. With creative force, these two women help power the changes happening in Hawley-Green and inspire us all to “live large.” To read the full article, click here.

Photo Friday: Season’s greetings

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 25, 2015

A warm winter makes us reflect on all the icy wonderlands of seasons past, including these icicles as the sun sets on Cawtaba. We wish our friends, partners, and colleagues a very warm, safe, and happy holiday.

Happy Holidays 2

Neighbor Spotlight: Jai Subedi

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • December 23, 2015

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. Her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.


Jai collage


Just mentioning Jai Subedi’s name in Syracuse gets responses like, “he’s so busy,” “Jai is involved in everything!” and “he is such a great guy.”

Our interview started with Jai saying, “I have to leave by 3:45 so I can get my daughter to City Hall. She is going to be on the Mayor’s Christmas card!” That was my first hint as to just how connected and active Jai is in the City.

Jai plays numerous roles in the Syracuse community. He is a local business owner, a Northside resident, an InterFaith Works case manager, and he is active on multiple committees. But one of his overarching duties is using his experience as a Bhutanese refugee to help other refugees acclimate to a new country while keeping their culture alive.

When asked about his transition into American culture from Bhutan in 2008, Jai simply said it was, “So much, so much.”

He came to this country with only his family and two bags of clothes. His first job was at Subway, and eventually he began a second job as an interpreter for InterFaith Works. Today, Jai is a case manager at InterFaith Works and also owner of the All Asian Grocery Store on Pond.

After living in the United States for just three years, Jai was able to buy a home. Since then he has seen 80 other refugee families become homeowners. These hardworking families have brought valuable skills to the community, and by working to create a better life for themselves, they are also moving the Syracuse economy forward. “By creating more jobs for refugees,” Jai said, “good things will happen in the long-run.”

Not only are these New Americans adding to the local economy, they are adding to the diverse culture of the city. “We live in a humanitarian time,” Jai explained. By accepting each other’s differences and sharing traditions, we can all learn from each other.

Jai has worked with refugees from Burma, Nepal, Somalia, Ukraine, and many other countries. He reminds us that these individuals come from very different backgrounds and are working to learn a completely new culture. Jai experienced this himself when he was given a turkey for his first Thanksgiving in the United States. He laughed as he remembered trying to break the frozen bird into smaller portions, and then struggling to decide how to cook it. His story was humorous, but it reminds us that there are many daily tasks that differ from culture to culture.

While Jai helps people become accustomed to a new way of life in Syracuse, he also encourages the sharing of different traditions so that multiple cultures can thrive—it isn’t one or the other, he repeats, but a blending of customs.

One way this is accomplished in his community is through a Nepali class that is held every Saturday for the younger generations, so they can learn about and grow to appreciate their heritage. Jai also stressed the importance of events like World Refugee Day, an annual event that takes place each June in Syracuse, where New Americans are encouraged to share their cultures with the entire community.

WRD Collage

When New Americans move to this city, learning a new way of life can be intimidating, so families try to take shelter from all of the new things surrounding them. But, hiding from the change not only prevents individuals from learning a new lifestyle, it can also create fear in the minds of long-time residents: Why are these people hiding? What are they hiding?

That is why events like World Refugee Day are so important to this community—they breed understanding by showing us that while we might come from different places, we are all people with traditions to celebrate. Our human similarities will always outweigh our differences.

People like Jai remind us that though we may have various traditions and customs, sharing those differences can help bring us together and that those differences ultimately add to the richness of the city we call home.

Photo Friday: “Lights on the Northside”

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 18, 2015

Voting for the holiday lighting contest presented by the Northside Business Partnership ends at 11:59 PM tonight! Make sure to “like” your favorite display on the Northeast Hawley Development Association, Inc. – NEHDA, Inc.‘s page: https://goo.gl/7uCrNG

Lights on the Northside collage

AmeriCorps VISTA Position Openings: Coop Fed and NWSI

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 17, 2015

idealist banner

Coopertaive Federal and the Near Westside Initiative are looking to fill two different positions through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Details for each position are below!

Cooperative Federal

“Coop Fed’s VISTA will help prepare our credit union for ongoing growth in service and community impact by building our organization’s programmatic capacity and enhancing our alignment with community-based development initiatives.” Read the entire position description here.


Near Westside Initiative 

“The VISTA will create systems to assist business owners, property owners, and potential entrepreneurs to invest in their properties, plans, and ideas, within the geographic location of the Near Westside neighborhood.” Read the entire position description here.


As part of their VISTA-ship, individuals will serve under the Community Prosperity Initiative and will work collaboratively with CenterState CEO and other VISTA sites, including Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility (SMNF) at the Southwest Community Center, Northeast Hawley Development Association, Inc., and Home HeadQuarters.

Additionally, there will be a third VISTA position open at SMNF in the next few weeks.



Celebrate the Holidays Vinomania-Style

Written by Liz Wierbinski  • December 16, 2015

Liz2Liz is a graduate of SUNY Albany with a master’s degree in Social Work. She’s currently working with NEHDA and Northside UP as our Community Prosperity AmeriCorps VISTA.

As part of our collaboration with NEHDA, we’ve asked her to write guest posts for us each month as she explores the Northside, its businesses and residents.  All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. You can learn more about the organization by visiting their website and Facebook


Vinomania banner

The holidays are in full swing, and Gary Decker (a.k.a. the VinoMan) knows you might need a little liquid courage to get through them. It’s also a special time, so why not branch out of your comfort zone a little? The VinoMan will point you to some superb deals on quality wine and liquor so that you can find that unique bottle to “wow” your guests, while still staying within your budget. Stop in during his holiday hours from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM on Sunday, December 20th for a free wine tasting!


Here are a couple wines, a gin, and a whiskey that pair perfect with the holidays:

Scout’s Honor: A Napa Valley zinfandel blend. This fruit bomb has a concentrated assemblage of aromas, with black fruits, crushed blue herbs, violets, cherry, licorice and anise.  $40
Fuerza: A great value Spanish red blend with smoky features and potent aromas of blackberry jam and cinnamon. $10
Russel Henry London Dry Gin: A stellar, classic gin displaying herbal botanicals of juniper, coriander, orris root, and lemon peel. $45
A Midwinter Night’s Dram: A limited edition small batch rye whiskey made by High West that shows off a perfect marriage of vanilla, caramel and cinnamon, enhanced with raisin and spice accents.  $75


Make your classic Manhattan a little classier this holiday season with one special ingredient – Amaro Lucano. This Italian blend of 30 herbs produces a slightly bitter aromatic cordial, and when added to the high end whiskey, will be just what you need after a long day of holiday festivities.


Signature Cocktail by the VinoMan: Classy Manhattan

½ shot Amaro Lucano

2 ½ shots Barrell Whiskey

Maraschino cherries

Take a rocks glass filled with ice. Pour the 2 ½ shots of Barrell whiskey in first, then add a ½ shot of Amaro Lucano. Stir and top it off with a maraschino cherry. Enjoy!


To learn more about Vinomania and stay up-to-date on all their events, visit their website or “like” them on Facebook.

Photo Friday: Flowers in December

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 11, 2015

flower 2

Northside Memories and Business Wisdom as told by George Angeloro: Part II

Written by Liz Wierbinski  • December 9, 2015

Liz2Liz is a graduate of SUNY Albany with a master’s degree in Social Work. She’s currently working with NEHDA and Northside UP as our Community Prosperity AmeriCorps VISTA.

As part of our collaboration with NEHDA, we’ve asked her to write guest posts for us each month as she explores the Northside, its businesses and residents.  All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. You can learn more about the organization by visiting their website and Facebook


George Angeloro, the President of the Northside Business Partnership’s Board of Directors and a property owner on the Northside, continues to discuss his hopes for the Northside. If you missed Part I of our conversation, click here to read more about the Angeloro family’s roots in our neighborhood and his experiences with the business association.

George banner collage 2


Liz :  What have been some of the toughest challenges for the Northside?

George :  Right now, I think the toughest challenge is poverty. A lot of the neighborhood, especially the near Northside, has a lot of housing stock that is deteriorated and in poor condition. However, many of the ethnic communities are really taking hold of some properties and starting to rehabilitate houses. Things are, in my opinion, turning the corner and starting to go in the right direction. But there’s no question that poverty is the Northside’s biggest challenge.

Ten years ago, I would have said that one of the biggest challenges was the infrastructure. The buildings on N. Salina Street were in terrible condition. It was not uncommon to have buildings that had been vacant for twenty years with roofs leaking and storefronts boarded up. Fortunately, due to programs like Syracuse’s Main Street and the Streetscape project, more attention began to be paid to the Northside. It was branded “Little Italy,” which I think really helped the Northside. Some very successful restaurants opened during that time – Asti’s, Frankie’s, and Francesca’s all opened during that period. Restaurants bring a lot of people to the Northside because people see this as a destination for dining. They begin to think to themselves, “Wow, this is a nice area,” and in some cases, they end up opening businesses here. You need that domino effect where one business spawns another business. Then you hit this critical mass where it becomes a great place to be.

One topic we previously had on our agenda for the business association was distressed properties. The good news is that this topic has largely gone by the wayside because almost every one of those properties has been sold in recent years and are either currently under development or have plans to be developed, and that’s an important thing that will bring new businesses into the area.



L :  What are some of the biggest opportunities for development on the Northside?

G :  The Northside is a great place to start a businesses. A lot of the buildings here are small-to-midsize. They’re not so big to where they would be overwhelming for a new business owner. They’re affordable. The architecture on the street is an important asset. I think people are drawn here because they like the character of the turn-of-the-century style and want to be part of that. It reflects well on a lot of the businesses that are starting up here. This is a great place to be and interact; it becomes a friendly place to work and live. The Northside really is an extension of downtown. Literally, you are a five-minute drive and a ten-minute walk to downtown. That’s important. Within a few years, we’re also going to be in the middle of the Inner Harbor development. I think that is going to be the biggest thing to happen to the city of Syracuse and downtown Syracuse yet, and the Northside is the natural corridor between the two.

Urban living is obviously becoming the new trend. I don’t know that it’s new for New York City and Chicago and other big cities, but it’s new for Syracuse. Everybody moved to the suburbs, and now you have to encourage some of them to move back. And that’s happening. Young adults are flocking to downtown Syracuse, and that’s a wonderful thing. It is definitely an opportunity for the Northside. At the turn of the century, an awful lot of these buildings were storefronts on the first floor, apartments on the second floor, and on the third floor, in a lot of cases, the owner of the business lived. That is starting to be true again. A lot of people are living above their businesses and developing apartments.

We are entering some very good times for the Northside. I think we have hit that critical mass, we have that momentum, and things are going in the right direction. Back in the 70s, my brother and I thought we were getting to the point where we were going to hit that critical mass. He and I each restored a building on Salina St. and there had been a few other people that did the same, and I remember thinking that if we had one or two more that happened every year, eventually we would hit a point where they all would start to be restored. But, unfortunately, we hit a recession around that time and there wasn’t another building restored for almost 15-20 years. There have been about twenty buildings that have been restored in the last five years, at least ten currently under renovation, and more to come.

We also have a lot of new businesses on the Northside, which is important because it brings jobs, workers, and customers coming in and out of the area. This leads to people becoming more familiar with the Northside. Familiarity makes you more comfortable in a place and will help you to see yourself living and/or working in that place.

Another opportunity is the wonderful community of ethnic and international restaurants and businesses in the area. I think branding a section of the Northside as the international village would be great. The memories I have from my youth are of it being a European village – Italian and German, specifically. The area of Lodi St. and McBride St. – that triangle with Di Lauro’s Bakery and a grocery store there on the corner – was the center of the Northside at the time with 15-20 grocery stores, meat markets, etc. It was a great place to live and work. We could do the same thing for an International Village.

There’s no question that people from surrounding areas would love to come and shop at the ethnic grocery stores here – so many people are into all kinds of cooking whether that be Asian, African, Caribbean, etc. You want real, authentic ingredients, foods, and spices for those kinds of cooking. At these grocery stores, you can not only find what you are looking for but also learn from the shop owners and employees how to use certain ingredients and prepare meals. So, I think if we could make it a more welcoming place by branding it as the international village, it could be a great thing. And since we have individuals from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds living in that area – Vietnamese, Laotian, Burmese, Bhutanese, etc. – there’s no question that it already is an international community of Syracuse. I think that’s a huge opportunity for the Northside.


Photo Friday: Reflections after the rain

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • December 4, 2015


Grandma Doesn’t Speak English

Written by Joe Russo  • December 3, 2015

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.”

Grandma post

I have just returned from a wonderful trip to Italy. The trip gave me a chance to experience Italian culture and practice my Italian language skills. Both my mother and my father were fluent in the Italian language. My mother was born in Sicily and came to America when she was 7 years old. My father was born in the USA but everyone in his family spoke only Italian at home. My father never learned English until he went to school. Like many northsiders from my generation we did not learn to speak the Italian language. Our parents believed that the route to a better life started with speaking English well. I was always fascinated by my relatives who spoke Italian. It seemed I never had the time or the opportunity to learn.

The long flight back to Syracuse gave me a chance to reflect on my earliest attempts to learn Italian. Back in the days of summer when I went to Schiller Park every day, I ate lunch with my Grandmother. I remember my Aunt Antoinette asking, “How did you talk to Grandma?” “What do you mean?” I replied. “Grandma did not speak English and you do not speak Italian. How did you talk to each other?” she implored. At first I didn’t remember. Then as I reached back into my memory I recalled doing things like turning on the water faucet and saying “aqua.” Yes, Grandma didn’t speak English but we found a way to communicate.

On my trip to Italy I had to find a way to communicate. I took a couple of beginner conversational Italian courses with Frank Ricciardiello at Oasis. Frank is an old northsider, a good guy to learn from and a very good teacher. At first things seemed to be going well but I lacked confidence. When I said, “Buongiorno” the Italians smiled and replied “Molto Bene, e tu?” “These are just a couple of words but we understand each other,” I thought to myself. The big test would be when we were out on our own. On our visit to Ostia Antica we looked back in time at a city that was once an Etruscan seaport and then a Roman center of commerce.  After this wonderful tour that took us back in time more than 2,000 years we went to the modern city of Ostia for some wine and a wonderful meal. With a group of six we stopped at an unassuming Trattoria with large windows and a beautiful view. Our server was gracious but did not speak English. The test was about to begin. It quickly became obvious that I was not only going to have to translate for my wife and myself but for others in the group as well.

We sat at the table and looked over the menu. I first looked for familiar words. “Let’s see,” I thought to myself, “il pollo that’s chicken, l’aqua minerale is drinking water for the table, il polpo is octopus.” Once again I thought to myself, “no one is going to order octopus.” As we went around the table everyone was able to order what looked like a great meal. I helped with a few words here and there to make sure the waitress got the order right. And then much to my surprise one couple said they were really interested in the Baby Octopus with red wine sauce. “Oh no,” I thought, “I hope nothing goes wrong with this order.”

As you probably imagined something did go wrong. The fellow who ordered the Baby Octopus said, “I don’t think I can take all those little eyes looking back at me. I’m going to have to order something else.” The pressure is on. I have to figure out how to say we’d like to send the Octpus back and order something else without insulting anyone, not in English, but in Italian! I nervously got the attention of the waitress and began a conversation partly in English, partly in Italian and mostly with hand gestures and sign language. Somehow we got the message across and the waitress returned with a replacement entrée and a smile.

I felt satisfied that I had passed my Italian test with the help of both my Grandmothers. Knowing a few words and understanding a few hand gestures helped.  I gained confidence being able to communicate in Italian with my Grandmother while growing up on the old northside. Grandma helped me order a meal some 60 years later in Italia. Thank you Grandma, “Io ti amo”.