Syracuse Is Looking Good

I think this might be my third “hey check out these pictures of downtown Syracuse” post. But honestly, every time I’m there, I see something new. I capture something I didn’t expect. I see a city that often goes overlooked and wonder why, with the architecture so spectacular and diverse, with a downtown so rooted in manageable design, and small business scene that is fueling so much local interest, is Syracuse often left out of the “up-and-coming” cities conversation?

OK, I don’t have an answer for you. But I do have some more photographic evidence to show just how beautiful and full of potential The Salt City is when you actually get off of I-81/I-690.

For starters, I checked out their new e-bike share program, Gotcha’s Sync bikes. While I’ve ridden an e-bike many times, I’ve never ridden a shared e-bike. It takes some getting used to… you need to pedal about a full revolution before the motor kicks in… which is no small task on a bike that probably weighs 50 pounds. Once the motor does engage, it’s a breeze! These machines are better for long runs, but are also a lot of fun for bopping around town without breaking a sweat!

I was in the Westcott neighborhood for a photo shoot… I had passed by once or twice but really never walked around. There before me was an inviting neighborhood “downtown” much like The South Wedge in Rochester. A theater, small shops, eateries and coffee houses… it’s just one of those comfortable, friendly urban environments that remind us that cities aren’t just about skyscrapers and concrete. They are about people, art and our beautiful human-scale creations.

Recess Coffee

While I had visited Armory Square on many occasions, I really limited my excursions to a couple block radius. This day, I biked the delightfully small streets on this lazy Sunday morning, paying close attention to the magnificent architecture, plentiful parks and public spaces and the general urban nuance.

An excellent network of bike lanes and narrow, bike friendly streets leads you through The Connective Corridor, a 2-mile stretch of the city that connects Syracuse University to Armory Square.

Signs of growth, especially residential facilities, are abundant in downtown and beyond.

The architecture almost forces you to stop and gaze at the beauty.

While empty on this early Sunday morning, this walkable commons welcomes the urban onlooker and a nightlife seeker.

Want some outdoor exercise? Yeah, you can get that in downtown Syracuse as well.

Finally, I stopped at the Wildflowers Armory. This amazing little space houses work from countless local artists and makers, featuring anything from pro-Syracuse gear to fine art. Owner Michael John Heagerty had this to say about this unique urban space…

“Besides regular hubs, which gather professionals from different areas, a creative city should have more creative spaces. People should be motivated to spend time in cool spaces as much as possible because they can be more informed about what happens in their town. Wildflowers Armory is one of those spaces and allows the community to support local artists who are making their own mark on Syracuse, while promoting local artrepeneurs at the same time. “

“By purchasing a handmade artisan product created locally you are showing civic pride, supporting local economy and giving the creative class the opportunity to create more!”

I took Michael’s advice and purchased a print from one of my favorite New York artists, Retro Sorrento. This one, along with other RS pieces, is currently hanging in my office. Can’t get enough.

Again, I seem to have this love of posting mini-photo tours of Syracuse. But I guess a city is good when it surprises you every time you find yourself in its arms. I’ll be back very soon… it’s a pretty great place. Watch out for that urban dark horse Upstate, New York… it just might be Syracuse.