Blocks: Syracuse is a project that chronicles the sights, sounds, and stories of Syracuse's diverse neighborhoods
Abandoned buildings and sidewalk shrines dedicated to those taken by gun violence dot this area. But the 300 block — home to the Syracuse YWCA apartments, Meals on Wheels headquarters, and Syracuse RISE — serves as a bright spot amid the bleakness.
Syracuse’s City Hall, a fortress of Onondaga limestone, occupies an entire block of downtown real estate. With its connection to the Erie Canal, its bronze bell, and a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, it bears witness to the city’s history while housing the public servants working to build its future.
Its proximity to the Erie Canal helped make this area the city’s first commercial district. It served as a key location for banks and businesses and as a transportation hub for railroads and trolleys. In fact, hundreds gathered here for a eulogy to honor President Abraham Lincoln on April 19, 1865, and a week later the funeral train passed through Syracuse, stopping for a brief time as tens of thousands gathered to pay their last respects. Today its bars, restaurants, and apartments attract young urbanites.
Often touted as the LGBTQ neighborhood of Syracuse and named after the intersection of Hawley Avenue and Green Street, this neighborhood takes pride in its diversity. And with newly rehabilitated homes and small businesses popping up, this active — and activist — neighborhood is one to watch.
The Near West Side features vibrant street art and dynamic personalities — from artist and teacher Bob Niedzwiecki, who spends 100 hours a week painting at the Delavan Center, to community activist Mary Alice Smothers, who organizes field trips to Washington D.C. and New York City for neighborhood kids, and Luz Maria Trilla, who engages the Latino residents in dinners and cultural events at La Casita. Though residents say crime and violence plague the area at night, they also tout the area’s potential.
Welcome to the heart of Syracuse’s Little Italy community, which bustles with bakeries, cafés, restaurants, beauty salons, shops, and one center devoted to helping the city’s influx of refugees acclimate themselves to life in America.
This street once served as a crucial part of the commercial core of the city. These days the vacancy rate remains high, and many buildings need extensive rehabilitation. But the community bustles with small, black-owned businesses, initiatives to improve access to fresh food and fuel young minds, and a civic-minded minister who uses his church as a means to elevate his parishioners along with those who reside beyond the steps of the People’s African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
With a green-on-top traffic light, St. Patrick’s Church, and a pub on almost every block, there’s no mistaking Tipperary Hill, also known as Tipp Hill, as the city’s Irish neighborhood. This area makes up half of Syracuse's Far Westside neighborhood and delivers more than the occasional pint of green beer. It also serves as home to a robust Ukrainian population, dedicated entrepreneurs, families with generations of ties to the neighborhood, and newcomers trying to set down their own roots.
Affectionately dubbed Westcott Nation, Westcott street and the surrounding blocks serve the Syracuse community as a center for art, commerce, and liberal thinking. Popular businesses like Boom Babies, the Westcott Theater, and Alto Cinco attract prom queens, concert-goers, and burrito aficionados from all across Central New York. And while the Westcott business district lives at the heart of the block, the vibrant, diverse residents truly drive the neighborhood’s pulse.