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Monthly Archives: August 2016

CCOC Responds to Comments About the Northside

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 31, 2016

CCOC blog

Last week Catholic Charities of Onondaga County (CCOC) added their voice to the dialogue spurred by a Syracuse.com article earlier this month, “GOP Senate candidate Wendy Long links rising crime with Syracuse mosque.” CCOC’s response was written by their Executive Director, Mike Melara, and published on their blog.

In Response to Recent Comments about the Northside

“Catholic Charities believes that everyone—including people of every faith tradition—is worthy of dignity and respect.  Ms. Long’s comments deeply offend many individuals in our city and our core values as an agency.

We know the reality of challenges on the Northside. We live it every day as we work with residents and community members to ensure all individuals have their best chance at success. We know the enormous potential of recent refugees and all those we work with throughout Onondaga County.”

To read the entire blog post, click here. CCOC’s mission is to “car[e] for those in need while promoting human development, collaboration, and the elimination of poverty and injustice. We strive to empower those served to transform their lives in the spirit of God’s love and compassion.” To learn more, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

“Fun Fact” About The First Great NY State Fair

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 30, 2016

State Fair

In 1841 10,000 – 15,000 people ventured to the Northside for the very first Great New York State Fair! Thanks to our friends at Visit Syracuse for this “Fun Fact:”

“New York’s very first fair (September 29-30, 1841) was located in a square bounded today by North Salina, Division, Townsend and Ash Streets, with the old Onondaga County Court House serving as an exhibit hall.  It was deemed a tremendous success and attracted between 10,000-15,000 spectators – many traveling by railroad.  Although the location has changed slightly, Syracuse remains the home of the Great New York State Fair, where you can still venture to the Fairgrounds by train, via Amtrak!”

For more “Fun Facts” about Syracuse, make sure to sign up for Visit Syracuse’s newsletter and follow them on Facbeook.

Photo Friday: Repose

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 26, 2016

Bird photo Friday

NEHDA’s New Look

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 22, 2016

Neighborhood News

Our friends at NEHDA have been busy revamping their neighborhood newsletter and website this summer. We love the playful structure of the newsletter, especially the “Everything Else” section that keeps us informed of all the events and happenings on the Northside and beyond.

To subscribe to “Northside News” click here and stay up-to-date on their work by following NEHDA on Facebook.

Mary Salibrici’s “Letter to the Editor” Showcases Her Love for the Northside

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 18, 2016


Photo credit: Syracuse.com

This morning, a letter from Mary Salibrici, a longtime resident of the Northside, was published on Syracuse.com. Her letter is in response to an article published on Monday that explores “poverty and crime” on the Northside, comments that Salibrici says is “only part of the story.”  

“I’ve lived in the center of the North Side for almost 40 years, and as I think about why I continue to live here, I admit to realizing that, yes, there are problems when it comes to a challenging increase in poverty and blight. But that’s only part of the story [. . .]

I see many different kinds of people living and working just on my one block alone. I can hear as many as four different languages as people walk by. I know neighbors who have fled from terror and torture and found protection and a future here. I see them working, watching their children play, staying together.

And I know there is also a wealth of support here. Neighbors who reach out to young people and ignite their love of soccer and teach them neighborhood pride. A hospital helping to restore and rebuild its surrounding neighborhood. A learning center where you can watch so many people walking to and from their English classes every day. There are Asian markets, African markets, Nepali and Burmese community organizations, and religious gathering places — Christian, Muslim, Buddhist. All this is mixed in with the Italian and German connections that are still plentiful — markets, restaurants and bakeries like no other in the city.

The North Side is a place where futures are being built all over again. Is it poor? Well, yes, partly because so many of the people who come here now, just like they did in 1900, come with next to nothing, start over with next to nothing, try hard to adapt while still holding on to the cultures they left behind sometimes willingly, sometimes not. You can look here and see problems. Or you can look here and see energy. I choose to embrace what’s here as a sign that Syracuse has a future, right here, right now.”

To read the entire article, visit Syracuse.com.

Laci’s 6th Annual Give Back Party

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • August 16, 2016

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. All of her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.

Laci's Give Back 3

On Thursday, August 18th, Laci’s Tapas Bar will be celebrating their 6th anniversary with a party that “pays it forward” to the Syracuse community.

Every year since Laci’s opened, owners Laura and Cindy have hosted a Give Back Party that benefits one nonprofit in Onondaga County. Leading up to the event, Laci’s organizes a nomination and voting process on their Facebook page, allowing all of their followers to select the year’s awardee. What does the winning organization receive? All of the proceeds earned through the event. Yes, ALL of the proceeds.

In total, the annual Laci’s Give Back event has raised over $70,000 for local organizations. Past winners include NEHDA in 2011, the Q Center at AIDS Community Resources in 2012, ‘Cuse Pit Crew in 2013, Helping Hounds in 2014, and, most recently, David’s Refuge in 2015. All of these past winners will have tables in front of Laci’s so visitors can stop by and learn more about how the Give Back Party helped support their work.

This year’s winning nominee is Purpose Farm: a free mentorship and animal rescue program that pairs youth that have faced emotional trauma and/or abuse with animals that have been rescued from similar circumstances. With David’s Refuge receiving $18,000 last year, the goal is to raise $20,000 at this year’s event.

Like past years, the Hawley-Green triangle will be closed to create space for the street festival—meaning that Hawley Avenue and Green Street will be filled with booths from local vendors. Live music will play in front of the former Laci’s Lunchbox, and a DJ will be positioned on the front porch of Laci’s Tapas Bar.

If you’re nervous about how far you will have to park and then walk to the event, don’t worry! This year, Laci’s has teamed up with CNY Cubby Cabs to pick up guests from their cars and bring them to the Give Back Party. Just like in NYC, visitors can call a Cubby Cab and be picked up and delivered to Laci’s in a bicycle-driven carriage.

At the restaurant, ticket holders will receive 5 samples of tapas and 5 samples of an alcoholic beverage, with the option to purchase a VIP scotch flight for an additional fee. While the $30 ticket gets you into this exclusive party, no tickets are required to stroll through the booths that create the Hawley-Green street festival.

Some Hawley-Green favorites, like Syracuse Soapworks, will have a vendor booth, and the Red Olive will be giving out free samples. Thanos Import Market will also be staying open late to let visitors explore their new space and sample some of their products. These vendors will be joined by nearly 30 other organizations looking to increase their visibility and support the mission of Purpose Farm.

While the cost of the event is absorbed by Laci’s Tapas Bar, they believe that bringing attention to the good being done in our community is worth it. Even simply through the nomination process, organization have the opportunity to boost their visibility and gain attention. The Laci’s Facebook page has nearly 17,000 followers—meaning that one post sharing information about a small nonprofit can get their mission in front of thousands of new eyes.

And that is the true purpose of the Give Back Party—to show support and showcase all of the amazing work being done in our community. To experience the party for yourself, visit Laci’s website to get your advance-sale ticket! Tickets will also be available at the door for $40.

Photo Friday: Unexpected Harvest on Townsend Street

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 12, 2016

Clothesline 3

Exotic Liquor Tasting at Vinomania

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 11, 2016

Vinomania collage

When: Friday, August 12th from 4:30 – 6:30 PM

Where: Vinomania

Kick-off the weekend with a free tasting from the VinoMan! Guests can enjoy a spread of appetizers and taste several exotic liquors, including a Cappelletti Vino Aperitivo Americano Rosso and a Miro Vermouth. Each liquor is available to taste on its own or as part of a specialty cocktail.

To stay up-to-date on Vinomania’s tastings, follow them on Facebook.


Photo Friday: Summertime Staff Bonding

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 5, 2016

Staff photo

Liz Says Goodbye and Shares Her Favorite Northside Spots

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 4, 2016

Liz collage

For the last year, Liz Wierbinski has been exploring the Northside and writing guest blogs for us under a shared Americorps VISTA position serving Northside UP and the Northeast Hawley Development Association (NEHDA). At the end of July, as her term of service was ending, Liz took me to some of her favorite Northside spots and shared what she loved about her work as a VISTA. “Place-based work is super important,” Liz says as she reflects back on her  year, “especially in order to get to know the community, the people in it, and it’s strengths and needs . . . Working as a VISTA has helped me bridge the gap between my background in clinical social work and my current work in community development. It has allowed me to see issues from a larger perspective and how those issues can have an impact at the individual, community, and societal levels. ”


Liz’s Favorite Northside Places


1. Hawley-Green

Hawley-Green Collage

“That’s a Dr. Seuss tree.”

“I like that there’s a different character in this neighborhood and how unique it is. There’s so many different types of people and everybody who lives here is very proud. A lot of people want to see this neighborhood succeed. Having NEHDA here and coming to work everyday makes it special to me.”


2. Lock Alley

Lock Alley Collage

“I just like alleyways. I think they’re cool.”

“I like the feel of it. The mural represents the Northside. It’s so colorful and there’s many different colors on the Northside–people wear different colors, the storefronts are different colors, houses.”


3. Al Madina Halal Meat & Grill

Madina Halal Meat & Grill Collage

“The Chicken Shawerma is my favorite.”

“I’ve been here five times already since they opened. I would come here every day probably. I brought my dad there and he loved it. It’s not a place Dad usually goes, but sometimes people need to venture out of their comfort zones. I bought a jar of pickled turnips there yesterday. It’s amazing all the things they have in that space–take out, grocery, meat. And they seem like they enjoy what they do. That makes me happy to eat there.”


Through her time as a VISTA, Liz says she was reminded that Syracuse is “a great city:” “When I came back from school last summer, I was amazed at all the exciting things happening and the awesome people working to make them happen. I loved coming to work everyday and being surrounded by such brilliant, ambitious, and motivating people. It’s just a great place to be!” Liz will stay in Syracuse and continue to work on the Northside at the YWCA. To read any of her past blog articles, click here.