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Category: Inspiration from the Neighborhood

Photo Friday: Thanks Theresa

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • April 7, 2017

Theresa’s (elraz) Instagram takeover this week featured photos from her time spent exploring the Northside. Check out all of her photos:www.instagram.com/northsideup.

Instagram Take Over Collage End

Photo Friday: Meet Theresa Barry

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • March 31, 2017

Over the next seven days Theresa, known as “elraz.” will be taking over Northside UP’s Instagram account, sharing with you some of her many experiences on the Northside. Follow us on Instagram to stay tuned!

Instagram Take Over Collage

Theresa Barry (elraz) has a long-time interest in the Northside neighborhood.  It began years ago as she walked around photographing the buildings and street life that she witnessed on North Salina Street. Theresa is a an artist, event organizer, visual merchandiser, community volunteer, photographer and mentor/big sister to 2 Congolese girls. Theresa has volunteered with Hopeprint since 2012 and has more recently volunteered at the newly set up food pantry at the Masjid Isa mosque.  She lives in downtown Syracuse.

“What initially interested me in the northside was the incredible architecture and the history. My husband’s family lived on the northside beginning in the late 1800s and we have  photos of them in places that are still there today―which I love. I started taking regular walks down North Salina Street to photograph the amazing architectural detail on the brick buildings. I became intrigued by the diversity of the neighborhood and vibrant street life I was witnessing and began going into all the little food markets and shops that I would come across. I loved chatting up the owners and getting to know their stories and ideas for their businesses. I started volunteering with Hopeprint in winter of 2012 and through that organization got to know many of the families in the neighborhood.  I then started being  invited into people’s homes, which I considered an honor and a great way to learn about other cultures. And to eat delicious food from around the globe! I’ve never visited the home of a refugee family without being fed.   I love everything about the northside―I think it is the most unique and interesting neighborhood in Syracuse”

Visioning Voices Re-imagines Public Space on the Northside

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • March 9, 2017

Visioning Voices


WHAT: Visioning Voices Community Speaker Series, a free reoccurring event from SUNY ESF’s Center for Community Design Research. The series takes place in different places throughout Syracuse with the goal of growing healthy neighborhoods.


WHEN: Tuesday, March 21 beginning at 2:30 PM

Guided walking tour of N. Salina Street:  2:30 – 3:30 pm

Presentation by Nate Hommel and intervention site visit: 4:00 -5:45 pm

Community dinner: 5:45-6:15 pm

Workshop: 6:15-7:30 pm


WHERE: Assumption Church, 812 North Salina Street


“Take useless spaces and give them back to people,” encourages Nate Hommel, University City District Director of Planning and Design and the speaker for this month’s Visioning Voices series and workshop on the Northside. Nate will take participants on a walking tour of the North Salina Street corridor and a nearby community space, and will present some of the work he’s done in Philadelphia transforming underused public spaces. Check out the video below for a brief overview of Nate’s efforts!


This event is free and open to the public. Although it focuses on the Northside as the “host neighborhood” concepts will be applicable across communities. Participants can attend one or all of the event’s components by registering at the Visioning Voices Eventbrite page.

To learn more about the event, join the Facebook invite and follow SUNY ESF on Facebook.

Photo Friday: Thanks Charity!

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • March 3, 2017

Charity’s Instagram takeover this week featured photos from her time volunteering at Hopeprint. Check out all of her photos: www.instagram.com/northsideup.



InterFaith Works’ Northside Bus Tour Connects Their Work to the Neighborhood

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • March 1, 2017

Editor’s Note: In the past few months, we’ve shared many articles and events from InterFaith Works – an organization dedicated to building bridges of understanding to affirm the dignity of all people in Central New York. Late fall of last year, our staff was invited to join their employees on a neighborhood tour. This experience gave us a chance to explore the Northside neighborhood with new eyes and we hope this recap offers you an opportunity to do the same.


 Bus Tour collage 1


Several months ago we were invited on a neighborhood bus tour put on by and for the staff of InterFaith Works. The “Know Your Neighborhood Bus Tour” was designed to help employees connect their work to the neighborhood they serve and we were asked to come along and help fill in extra information and capture photographs. Among the places on the tour were:

- Landmarks like the statue in Schiller Park featuring the park’s namesake, Schiller, and Goethe. Both men were of German descent—Schiller was a playwright and Goethe a poet.

- Businesses small and large, such as Tops, the only commercial grocery store in the neighborhood that has various services for helping families and assisting New Americans as they shop in the United States for the first time.

- Organizations like the Syracuse Northeast Community Center that focuses on the changing needs of the neighborhood, including parenting classes, housing assistance, and more. Sarah Walton, Deputy Director of Operations and Programming at SNCC, explains, “We’re really focused on the details of the family.”


Bus Tour collage 2


The stops had us look to the past and future of the neighborhood for inspiration and hope and as we traveled from one place to the next, the tour confirmed just how much the success of the Northside depends on the businesses and organizations that continue to support its residents. Some of the stops on the tour featured speakers, including representatives from Masjid Isa Ibn Maryam, the Cathedral Candle Company, and White Branch Library, that helped us better connect their work to InterFaith Works’ mission and the neighborhood as a whole.


Masjid Isa Ibn Maryam – Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary

“Everyone is welcome. It enables people to not only come in and worship, but also sit in here and just think. It gets you away from all the tension and all the negativity that’s outside right now.” – Hassina Adams, leader of Masjid Isa Ibn Maryam

Masjid Isa Ibn Maryam (which translates to Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary ) was previously the Holy Trinity Parish, but sat vacant for four years until the Northside Learning Center bought the building and started reaching out to the community to explore potential uses for the space. “The answer kept coming back, ‘this was built for worship, why don’t you find someone who can worship here,’” explains Mark Kaas, then board member and now Executive Director of the Northside Learning Center. A new mosque in the neighborhood would also solve an issue that many of the Learning Center’s clients voiced: the difficulty of worshiping regularly without a mosque nearby. With the help of local leaders, the space was repurposed and the mosque was established with the motto, “check your culture at the door,” as a way to be inclusive of all genders and religions.

Hassina Adams, a member of the mosque, shared with us one of the biggest events held at Masjid Isa Ibn Maryam, World Harmony Day, organized in partnership with InterFaith Works. “I got the chance to participate in an initiative that allowed people not only to interact with each other,” Hassina explained, “but remove the misconceptions that they had of Refugees, of Islam, and also brought in an atmosphere where people could talk freely and get to know each other and interact in ways that you don’t usually see outside.”


Cathedral Candle Company

“That’s one of the reasons we’ve always stayed right here on the Northside, on Kirkpatrick Street, because we’ve had so many great employees that live in the neighborhood and we don’t want to lose that talent if we were to ever move.” – John Steigerwald, owner of Cathedral Candle Company

The Cathedral Candle Company was founded almost 120 years ago by Jacob Steigerwald, a German immigrant and candle maker. The current owner, John Steigerwald, Jacob’s great-grandson, has continued to celebrate the diversity of the Northside and employ residents from the surrounding neighborhood. These workers make candles that are shipped all around the world and have been used by Popes, U.S. Presidents, and even appeared in a Janet Jackson music video.


White Branch Library

“This whole building is set up for the neighborhood.” – James, Staff at White Branch Library

The White Branch Library is the Northside’s resource for accessing information, educational and professional development, and entertainment. Beth Broadway, President of Interfaith Works, shared a story about one of her first interactions with the library. The branch manager, Renate Dunsmore, called Beth after witnessing a group of neighborhood kids being bullied. Beth explains, “So, we started a young person’s dialogue in the library for people in the neighborhood and their parents. And it was very successful. The library has been super friendly to our work.”


Group photo


The bus tour ended at the Samaritan Center where the staff enjoyed dinner together. Everyone was given a tote bag full of mementos and gifts from the various stops – soap from Syracuse Soapworks, lip balm from Tops, candles from the Cathedral Candle Company, snacks from Thanos Import Market and Di Lauro’s Bakery, as well as other items. But, they also went home that evening with greater insight into the hard work that takes place in the neighborhood around them each and every day.

To learn more about InterFaith Works and their mission to “affirm the dignity of each person and every faith community and work to create relationships and understanding among us,” visit their website and follow them on Facebook.