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Monthly Archives: September 2016

Photo Friday: Scenes from the Northside Festival

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 30, 2016


Open Meeting on I-81’s Impact on the Northside: Recap

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 28, 2016


Over the last several months, neighborhood stakeholders have started meeting over concerns for the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plans for the I-81 reconstruction. The group, made up of leaders from Northside UP, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, the Mission Landing Home Owners Association, Northside Business Partnership, Northeast Hawley Development Association (NEHDA), ACTS Moving People Transportation Coalition, and American Institute of Architects (AIA), were especially interested in the “Common Features” of the plan that would impact Franklin Square and the Northside.

Last week, these concerns were brought to a public meeting at the Samaritan Center to get input from the community and urge DOT to explore a design that would not interrupt the revitalization of our neighborhoods. 150 residents, business owners, developers, and public officials came to the meeting to hear more about these “Common Features” that could demolish 19 buildings on the Northside and Franklin Square, including commercial, residential and historic properties.

Douglas Sutherland of  Franklin Properties, LLC presented on the features for the first half of the meeting. Comments and concerns from the audience followed, many of which emphasized the importance of preserving jobs, exploring other types of transportation, and staying involved in DOT’s process as plans move forward.

Our Director, Dominic Robinson, stressed, “We should be prioritizing quality of life over the ability to get out of the city.” He continued to explain that DOT is listening to the concerns raised and that the community should stay involved with the process.

Barry Lents, a member of the Moving People Transportation Coalition and one of DOT’s stakeholder advisory groups, urged everyone to attend DOT’s fall Open House event where many of the “Common Features” will be explored further.



Photo credit: Scott Willis / WAER News


In the days following the meeting, several news outlets interviewed stakeholders and reported on their concerns, including “Will I-81 rebuild destroy historic Syracuse buildings, block off North Side from city?” from Syracuse.com, “Syracuse’s Northside Stakeholders Say I-81 Project Would Significantly Impact Neighborhoods” from WAER, and “Northside Urban Partnership Director Says I-81 Proposal Would Hurt Neighborhood” from TWC News.

Yesterday, an editorial on Syracuse.com entitled “Community needs more details about I-81’s impact on Syracuse’s North Side,” further explored the concerns on the Northside and in Franklin Square: “Our own reporting has shown that the 690-to-81 ramps are likely to plow through 19 buildings, many of them historic, in the Hawley-Green, Little Italy and Franklin Square neighborhoods. That’s a whole lot more than DOT’s own estimate of two to five building acquisitions contained in its April 2015 scoping report.

This week DOT also released the details for their fall Open House event: Thursday, October 6th, 3:00 – 8:00 PM at the Oncenter (800 South State Street). At this meeting  Project Director Mark Frechette will give a brief project overview and project team members will answer questions. Attendees will also expect more information about the current status of the various alternatives under development, new traffic information showcasing travel times to various destinations, and anticipated property impacts for the different alternatives.


Concerns about the Northside were voiced three years ago when DOT first began conversations about I-81 and requested feedback from the community. At that time, representatives from the Northside drafted a letter to the editor that outlined their goals for the I-81 project, stating, “We on the North Side are proud to be a part of a resurgent Syracuse and are committed to continuing our progress – which is why the conversation about Interstate 81 is so important to us.” The public meeting was an extension of this conversation that will extend to the DOT’s Open House on October 6th.

Up Start Update: Aloha Japanese Bento Express

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 26, 2016


Last November, Zaw Nyein and his wife, Thaw, opened Aloha Japanese Bento Express, the first restaurant in Syracuse that fuses the flavors of Burma, Japan and Hawaii. Located at 217 South Salina Street, Aloha was the dream of Zaw, a geologist from Burma who left his home country to find other economic opportunities.  He moved to Japan first, and then Hawaii, where he took a series of restaurant jobs. As he learned the ins-and-outs of running a restaurant and creating traditional Japanese and Hawaiian dishes, he started to contemplate opening his own restaurant in a city where his daughter could also receive a good education. He chose Syracuse.

Click below to watch Zaw’s update on Vimeo!



Video by Daylight Blue Media

To learn more about Aloha and take a look at their menu, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

Stay tuned to learn more about some of our first Up Start entrepreneurs as we celebrate Up Start’s birthday.

Up Start is a collaborative business development program that connects entrepreneurs to the resources, tools, and networks to help their businesses thrive. 



Photo Friday: Lunch Date with Daddy at Oompa Loompyas

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 23, 2016


Welcoming Week 2016

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 22, 2016


September 16th marked the start of National Welcoming Week  (Sept. 16 – 26), a movement “recognizing that immigrants and refugees make our communities stronger economically, socially, and culturally.” This week and throughout the year we’ll be sharing stories gathered from our own work, as well as the work of our friends and partners, about New Americans whose talents have made our city a better place to live, work, and play.

Below is a list  which includes a collection of stories from the archive that discuss how our city has been shaped by New Americans, past and present. Many thanks to organizations such as InterFaith Works, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County, Hopeprint and the Northside Learning Center for all of their hard work in helping make Syracuse a friendly and welcoming place for these newcomers.

42 Million Have A Name by Hopeprint (2012)

Nicole Watts reflects on the question, “Why do we as America open our gates wide to the immigrant and the refugee?”: “It is not possible to objectify the refugee. They are no longer simply 42 million; they are one and another one. They are orphaned children and homeless families. They are uprooted business men and blossoming adults. They are teenage girls and old men. They are Ah Shim, Jerome, Rana and Bhim. They are friends and they are strangers. They are people. And some of them are our neighbors.”


Video: Monu Chhetri, video produced and edited by Ross Taylor (2014)

Monu, a young chef from My Lucky Tummy, shares her story about giving back to the deaf refugee community: “Humans are social creatures. They’re not meant to be alone and for them to be in their house all the time with absolutely no interaction is boring and sad and lonely. And it’s so important for them to come out and share their feelings whether they’re happy, whether their sad. They have a connection here seeing this. We’re all deaf. We all come from similar experiences that not a lot of people have.”


Fastest Hands on the Northside by Joe Russo (2012)

As a child, Joe Russo remembers visiting the Italian bakeries on the Northside: “Not so long ago I ran into an old school friend who now makes his home in California. ‘I’m back for a visit’, he said, ‘I gotta get a couple loaves. You just can’t get crust like this in California.'”


Green Train Students Act in Play About Their Past (2010)

The Post-Standard discusses the play, “Reflections of the Unsung Genocide of The Congo” developed by Emmanuel Irankunda and Mahirwe Dina Ndeze, graduates of Green Train and refugees from the Congo.


Dinner with Strangers by Adam Sudmann (2014) 

The founder of My Lucky Tummy talks about the food and stories shared as he meets with potential chefs: “I had an idea for a party. Maybe we could convince families to cook foods from home for a popup food court. And so over several weeks we trudged up sludgy snowbanks and into strangers’ homes. Lots of removing of shoes in the cold air. Lots of sitting on floors, being brought bottled water or pepsi or chai. And meals. Meals I will never forget.”


Neighborhood Spotlight: Jai Subedi by Lexie Kwiek (2015)

Our guest blogger from NEHDA introduces a Jai Subedi: “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.”


Newhouse Profiles Hari fro UP Start Syracuse, audio recording by Marwa Eltagour (2014)

Up Start entrepreneur and Bhutanese refugee, Hari, shares his idea for a restaurant: “There was nothing of the sort — momo and a few other food — that is not introduced to this place . . . we can make Syracuse as a ‘food of the world.'”

Northside Festival: September 24th

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 21, 2016


This Saturday, join the community in celebrating the Northside! The Northside Festival is a free, family-friendly event in Schiller Park featuring face painting, live music from the Jerry Cali Band, children’s entertainment by the Twin Magicians, a puppet making workshop by Open Hand Theater, and access to the Mobile Rec Unit from Syracuse Parks & Recreation. Games for both kids and adults will be available, as well as light snacks. Around 2:15 PM Senator Defrancisco will stop by the festival to share a few words with the community.

The Northside Festival is organized by members of the Northside TNT group and the Danforth/Pond/Butternut and the Court Woodlawn Task Forces. For more information, check out the event flier.


The Butternut Center’s Call For Volunteers

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 20, 2016


The Butternut Community Policing Center needs volunteers to help with a Free Electronics Recycling Event on Saturday, November 19 at Destiny USA. All proceeds from the event, sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, the Syracuse Police Department, and Destiny USA, will benefit the Butternut Center and it’s mission to “enrich the lives of area youth through education, recreation, and community involvement.”

A total of 60 volunteers are needed to unload the electronics from vehicles and place them on a pallet. Both adults and teens are welcome to volunteer by contacting Officer Kenn Burdick at 466-9029 or cop@butternutcenter.org. For a list of items that volunteers may be unloading from cars, take a look at the event poster.

Happy Birthday Up Start!

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 19, 2016

Happy Birthday Up Start

It’s been three years since we launched our Up Start program! Originally piloted on the Northside, this collaborative business development program has continued to connect entrepreneurs to the resources, tools, and networks to help their businesses thrive. Since its launch in 2013, Up Start has undergone some changes to help grow and sustain the effort under CenterState CEO‘s Economic Inclusion pillar, gaining inspiration from similar work at the Neighborhood Development Center in Minnesota and revamping its look with a new logo.

To celebrate the milestone we’ll be giving updates about some of the first entrepreneurs who graduated from the program and their businesses: Curtis Washington from That’s What’s Up food truck, Aaron Metthe of Salt City Coffee, and  Zaw Nyein of Aloha Japanese Bento Express. Stay tuned!

Photo Friday: By A Show of Hands

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 16, 2016


Place Your Vote For Best of Syracuse

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 12, 2016


Syracuse New Times needs your vote for the Best of Syracuse, an annual online event that celebrates local businesses in over 170 categories. We were excited to see a handful of Northside businesses nominated for the contest, including

Francesca’s Cucina for Best Date Night and Best Italian Restaurant

ArtRage for Best Art Gallery

Hairanoia for Best Hair Salon

New Century for Best Asian Restaurant

Columbus Bakery and Biscotti Cafe for Best Bakery

Karen’s Catering for Best Local Caterer

Red Olive for Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

Biscotti Cafe for Best Birthday Cakes

Vinomania for Best Liquor Store

Laci’s Tapas Bar for best LGBT-friendly Bar

Rocky’s Cigars for Best Smoke Shop

Another nominee on the list is Up Start entrepreneur Curtis Washington as Best Local Chef and his food truck, That’s What’s Up, for Best Food Truck/Food Stand.

Voting ends September 21st. You can place your vote here and learn more about the Best of Syracuse here. The winners will be announced in the October 5th edition of the New Times.