As 2016 fades, we wish all our friends and neighbors a bright and peaceful new year ahead!
Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder • December 30, 2016
As 2016 fades, we wish all our friends and neighbors a bright and peaceful new year ahead!
Editor’s Note: Rachel is serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) at NEHDA for the year. Her roll involves a variety of tasks, such as recruiting volunteers and applying for funding opportunities to plan really cool, really fun events that benefit the community. Rachel graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a BFA in Sculpture and a minor in psychology. She spent the past year serving in another AmeriCorps program where she traveled the state of New York to help out with various environmental projects. As part of Rachel’s work with NEHDA, she is writing some posts for us to share. All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. To learn more about NEHDA, visit their website and Facebook.
Frank is a volunteer for NEHDA and chairperson to the Hawley-Green Neighbors, Inc. He comes in twice a week and brings his trusty side-kick, Orzo, a friendly little white terrier. Their welcoming presence is a beloved staple to the organization.
Q: How long have you lived in the neighborhood?
A: Frank moved here 12 years ago. He found himself spending significant amounts of time in Syracuse for his work with an insurance company. While visiting, he would meet up with different people to play volleyball and cards. In this way, he met his future husband, who resided in the Hawley-Green neighborhood. So, Frank moved into the neighborhood and 12 years later, he’s happily still here!
Q: What made you decide to get involved with NEHDA?
A: Frank’s step son, Ben, was working at NEHDA and encouraged Frank to get involved. Frank found that he really enjoyed the environment of NEHDA because of the positive attitude of the staff. He observes that they have a “frank way” of dealing with problems (pun intended!) where the focus is on practical ways to improve rather than the issues themselves. If a problem cannot be tackled immediately, it isn’t ignored, but is rather kept “on the back burner” until they can focus on it.
Q: What is your current role at NEHDA?
A: When asked this question, Frank pointed to a cabinet labeled with an assortment of terms, including everything from “Veggie Garden” to “Website.” He then explained that he does all sorts of things to help out with the general operation of NEHDA, such as answering phones and minding the office, as well as specific tasks, such as searching and applying for grants, building relationships with other local groups, filling out taxes, and doing other corporate work.
Q: If I gave you $100 to spend on anything from a Northside business right now, what would you get?
A: Responding almost immediately, Frank declared, “It would have to be food.” He said that he would probably split the money between cheeses at Thanos Import Market and eating at Laci’s Tapas Bar. However, he did go on to mention that he is biased in his support of these businesses because he can walk to them, something he really appreciates.
Q: What is your favorite Northside event?
A: Frank first had to look through NEHDA’s pamphlet of various events to spark his memory before answering this question (We put on so many wonderful events, it is hard to keep track of them all!). He decided on the appreciation picnic, because “My mother taught us to say thank you and welcome.” Frank explained that the appreciation picnic is NEHDA’s way of saying “thank you” to all the people who make NEHDA a success; while there’s not an event for “welcome,” NEHDA does hand out Welcome Packets to those who are new to the neighborhood. Frank then added that the annual caroling event is a lot of fun, but that he had answered my question before he had gotten as far as December in the NEHDA pamphlet of events.
Q: What development on the Northside are you most excited about?
A: When Frank moved to the Hawley-Green neighborhood 12 years ago, there were known drug houses and prostitutes. There were regularly occurring murders and stabbings. At one NEHDA appreciation event, a few police offers were in attendance. In the middle of the party, they had to leave to do a drug bust right next door, and then they returned after the bust was over. Frank is therefore proud of the tremendous reduction in crime present in the neighborhood. The most recent community meeting featured an update from the police that there were no notable crimes from the past month. Unrelated, Frank is also extremely excited about his grandsons (he saw them on Thanksgiving!).
Q: What’s for Dinner?
A: Black Bean & Salsa Soup
Frank says: It’s easy & you can make it in 15 minutes!
Take 2 cans of black beans, a half jar of salsa (use mild, medium, or hot according to personal taste), a beef bouillon cube, and blend them up. Heat and add 1 tsp of cumin. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and diced chives.
Last week, the Buffalo News published an article exploring the mystery of the Golden Snowball trophy, an award given each year to the snowiest city in NY since the late 1970s. But, the original trophy vanished and a replacement was made in Syracuse by a shop on the Northside.
“Whatever happened to the first Golden Snowball, the venerable Stanley Cup of Upstate snowfall?
That trophy was a statement, a renowned symbol of our epic winters.
Then it vanished.
The actual trophy, last seen in Buffalo, was created after the great winter storms of the late 1970s. It represented annual snowfall supremacy among the big Upstate cities – specifically Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester. The three cities are almost always ranked high among the snowiest big cities in the nation.
Over the years, the Golden Snowball attracted some big-time attention. They’ve talked about it on the Weather Channel. They’ve laughed about it on Saturday Night Live.
The trophy was iconic, inspired in no small part by the great Blizzard of 1977, in Buffalo.
Today, for reasons no one can explain, it is missing.
“It doesn’t exist. There’s no physical thing. That’s a long time gone,” said Jim Mitchell, a meteorologist and a colleague of Hitchcock’s, in Buffalo.
He was speaking of the original trophy. A newer version absolutely exists, a glittering trophy created by Roseanne Anthony of the A-1 Trophy Shop in Syracuse. She donated it to the mayor’s office in Syracuse more than a decade ago, because that city pretty much wins the thing every year.”
To read the entire story, click here.
On December 16th, NEHDA announced the winner of NBP’s holiday lighting contest:
“And the winner of the Lights on the Northside 2016 Holiday Lighting Contest is…. Laci’s Tapas Bar! Congratulations! They came in first with an amazing 205 votes. In second place we have Hairanoia with 110 votes, and in third place we have Syracuse Northeast Community Center with 88 votes.
NBP would like to sincerely thank everyone who made the contest possible. Special thanks to our nine participating businesses, who took time out of their busy schedules to brighten their communities. Individuals such as yourselves are the ones that make the Northside such a great place to live, work, and play.”
The team at Laci’s always works hard to make their restaurant feel warm and welcoming to guests. Plus, their menu is often filled with comfort foods like chicken riggies and beef wellington, all done in tapas style for easy sharing.
Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder • December 15, 2016
Today is the last day you can vote for your favorite decorated business on the Northside! Visit the “Lights on the Northside” photo album on NEHDA’s Facebook to view the contestants. Each “like” is equivalent to 1 vote.
In addition to the Facbeook voting, the Northside Business Partnership (NBP) has also appeared at two events to gather votes: SyracuseFirst’s Buy Local Bash and NEHDA’s Northside Holiday Party. These votes will be added to the “likes” on Facebook in order to determine the winner.
Because the decorations are so detailed this year, NBP encourages the community to visit the storefronts in person during holiday shopping trips in the neighborhood. Participating businesses include, Cooperative Federal, Laci’s Tapas Bar, Red Olive, Syracuse Northeast Community Center, Syracuse Soapworks, Thanos Import Market, Speach Family Candy Shoppe, Hairanoia, D’bautista Beauty & Barber Shop.
Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder • December 14, 2016
“We’re here in a building that was once looked at as a liability,” explained Northside UP’s Dominic Robinson, “A crumbling, tax delinquent building on the Northside that now is going to be an engine for economic opportunity and a cultural tool.”
Earlier this month, a crowd of elected officials and community partners packed into With Love Restaurant’s light blue space, sipping on Pink Chai and examining the colorful maps that hung on the walls, eager to celebrate a project long in the making. They were there to commemorate the opening of With Love, a teaching restaurant and entrepreneur incubator at 435 North Salina Street, and to hear remarks from some of the players who helped make this project possible.
The story begins when Dominic and Kathy Ruscitto, President of St. Joseph’s Health, had a meeting with Casey Crabill, the new President of Onondaga Community College (OCC). “We started sharing an idea we had for a restaurant incubator and training space . . . and so, we decided to work together to make this happen,” Dominic explains.
OCC began to develop programming and the idea quickly took shape. The College agreed to operate the restaurant, using it as a teaching venue for their food service training program. Every six months, a new entrepreneur will cycle through the program to test out their recipes and gain valuable experience in running their own restaurant. Up Start, a collaborative business development program housed in CenterState CEO and originally piloted on the Northside, will lend support to each entrepreneur along the way. Dominic explains, “The idea is we give entrepreneurs a chance to test their ideas, build an identity, build confidence, build a following, and then translate all of that into hopefully opening up a restaurant of their own.”
But, the idea still needed a physical space to operate in. Katelyn Wright at the Land Bank helped secure the former La Cuisine space on North Salina, along with help from the county and state governments, including the Onondaga County of Industrial Development Association (OCIDA).
During the initial stages, Mike Metzgar, Associate Vice President of Workforce Development at OCC, needed someone who could not only manage the program running out of With Love, but could also “carry it across the finish line.” Dominic recommended Adam Sudmann for the job: “I happen to have a friend who is also working with us in the Up Start program . . . He has a business called My Lucky Tummy and this is what he does.”
Fast forward to late fall. Adam and his team of OCC students and chefs have been tweaking menus, learning the ins-and-outs of the kitchen, and how to function seamlessly as a team. “Whenever I tell people what I get to do, they’re like—I can see it in their face—they’re instantly jealous,” Adam jokes. “They should be jealous. This is awesome.” He explains that when he first arrived in Syracuse from Brooklyn he was driving through the Northside and saw all the different people walking along the street. He said to himself, “Wow. That is a crazy resource. We can make something here . . . and eat a lot.”
The very first entrepreneur in residence at With Love is Sarah Robin, a woman from Lahore, Pakistan who dreamt of opening her own food business. “Thank you so much for introducing me in this city,” Sarah said during the With Love opening. “There is no Pakistani restaurant and this is a huge opportunity for me to represent my food, my culture.” Her menu includes a Butternut Dal with star anise, cumin, and clove and a Halal chicken with “too many spices to list.”
The opening event ended with a flurry of press interviews and photo taking. The front door to the restaurant remained propped open to welcome any one who wandered in. “When I was in college,” Adam mentioned during his speech, “we studied this term, ‘xenia.’ Even when you’re in conflict with neighbors or even at war, ‘xenia’ is this notion that when someone comes across your threshold into your space, they are your guest. The people that come through this door they’re not our customer, they are our guest. Even in this strange cultural moment . . . it’s such a gift to be able to teach the notion of how do we treat strangers coming through our door. That’s what we’re going to work on here: how to treat strangers and what gifts strangers are bringing to us.”
To read more about With Love’s opening celebration, check out these articles from local and national news organizations:
Grand opening of OCC teaching restaurant in Syracuse from CNY Central
Teaching restaurant brings world cuisines to Syracuse from WRVO Public Media
With Love, Pakistan: Entrepreneurial Incubator Launches in Syracuse from Welcome Economies Global Network
Stakeholders on the Northside and Franklin Square continue to speak out about the impacts the I-81 redevelopment project will have on their neighborhoods. Recently, Syracuse.com published a story about the former National Biscuit Co. building.
“Developer Joshua W. Podkaminer and his partners spent $8.1 million in three years ago to convert the old National Biscuit Co. building into modern offices, including keeping the landmark chimney intact.
Now, the state Department of Transportation plans to widen Interstate 81 on the North Side of Syracuse, removing the nearby interstate ramp and eliminating Genant Drive in front of his building. And that landmark chimney that Podkaminer said cost $50,000 to $100,000 to restore?
The DOT told him “we’re not taking your building. But we’re taking down your smokestack,” Podkaminer said.
Podkaminer, other business owners and residents argue that the DOT’s plans for the North Side, which are part of the more than $1 billion project to redo I-81 in the city, are not necessary.”
You can read the entire article by Charley Hannagan here.
Senator DeFrancisco has also added his voice to the conversation, advocating for the tunnel option, originally rejected by NYSDOT because of the high cost. The Senator is calling for more input from the community and has organized a Public Meeting at Henninger High School on Wednesday, December 14, 6:30 PM. It is imperative that there’s a Northisde presence at this meeting to further emphasize the concerns of our neighborhood that will happen regardless of the tunnel, community grid, or viaduct options. In addition, NYSDOT will be at the meeting to answer questions from the community.
If you are unable to make this meeting, but would like your concerns to be heard, please fill out this I-81 Comment Sheet with the message: “The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) must include an alternative for the area north of I-690 without the missing link flyovers, without the additional lanes, and that maintains the direct connection between the Northside and Armory Square.”
Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder • December 9, 2016
Place your vote for your favorite decorated business by liking their photo on the Northeast Hawley Development Association‘s Facebook page: goo.gl/qmJNle. Voting runs until midnight on December 15 and the winner receives a free year’s membership to the Northside Business Partnership.
Participating businesses: Syracuse Soapworks, LLC, Syracuse Northeast Community Center, The Speach Family Candy Shoppe, Red Olive, Cooperative Federal, Laci’s Tapas Bar, D’bautista, Hairanoia, Thanos Import Market
This season, Open Hand Theater has two family-friendly shows to celebrate the holiday season: A Charlie Brown Christmas and Amahl and The Night Visitors.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
WHERE: The Castle, 518 Prospect Avenue
WHEN: Saturdays and Sundays beginning December 10 – 31. Click here for specific dates and times.
The stage adaption of the the classic TV special, features all the familiar Peanuts characters as handcrafted puppets made by the staff at Open Hand. Join Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Snoopy as they try to find the true meaning of Christmas. Check out Open Hand’s sneak peek review here.
Amahl and The Night Visitors
WHERE: First English Lutheran Church, 501 James Street
WHEN: December 9, 10, 11. Click here for a full list of times.
Amahl is a penniless shepherd boy who lives with his mother. In the night, they are visited by three kings carrying gifts for a new-born. Originally written in 1951 by Gian Carlo Menotti, Amahl is a magical opera, featuring both larger-than-life puppets and live actors. Check out Open Hand’s sneak peek preview here.