Reasons to be cheerful

When you stack Syracuse up against other cities, you actually end up with a lot of reasons to be cheerful about living here. Yeah, we get into our scraps about what’s the best way to improve it. But at least people really care! Listening to people who have lived elsewhere is often enlightening:

A newly-minted urban planner, passing through Syracuse on her way from Ohio to Germany, expounded on the many delights she was seeing in Syracuse: “People in Syracuse don’t realize what they have! Unlike out in Ohio, you have parks, lots of them, built on the top of every drumlin in the city. There are beautiful buildings still, and public art popping up everywhere.”

A woman at the arts and crafts festival yesterday (in and of itself a great reason to be cheerful) sold us a purse made of leather from Gloversville, NY, embossed with a machine that’s survived the economic downturn in that city. It’s gorgeous. She took the time to explain to us the difference between “top grain” leather and the leather that is actually inferior marked “genuine leather.” And she commented that, while they go to over 100 arts and crafts festivals per year, Syracuse has the cleanest downtown of all. Until you spend some time in other downtowns, it’s easy to take that for granted.

A couple from Burlinton, Vermont, a beautiful, walkable city in its own right, moved in next door. I pointed out the old vertical clothesline hiding way in the back – the kind that holds two pulleys, one for the upper flat and one for the lower one. Wouldn’t you know, within days our neighbor had strung up a line from her pulley to a new one on the house and some very tiny baby clothes were hung out in neat array. Unlike in Greenwich, CT, where they have banned the use of clotheslines at a public housing development (dryers there cost these elderly folks 90 cents/load!), Syracuse continues its proud tradition of outdoor drying. Look in the back yards of Eastwood and you’ll find a very old clothesline in a good percentage of them. Nothing like the savings and the disinfecting power of sunlight and air that you get with line drying – not to mention the possibilities of actually talking with your neighbor!


What reasons does living here give you to be cheerful?

8 thoughts on “Reasons to be cheerful”

  1. Wegman’s is the best! The bread, the cheese, the baked goods—especially the canolli with chocolate chips and the lemon poppy seed muffin.

  2. I like that I know whose clothesline you are talking about!

    I am cheerful that we are able to enjoy the amenities of a “Main Street” (and I would love to see those amenities improve) with the feeling of being somewhat tucked away on our street, especially thanks to the trees.

    Syracuse really has so much hiding in plain view if one is willing to look for it.

  3. Here’s a comment from about Nashville: “I hope you do get sidewalks on Hillsboro. But, if you see the poorer parts of town, such as my street in Woodbine, there is a greater need. People here walk on the street out of necessity – dodging cars – not because they want to exercise. All of Nashville needs sidewalks.” Well, isn’t that something. All of Syracuse HAS sidewalks. Do we have problems with them? Of course. But at least we don’t have to figure out where to build ’em!

  4. I’m happy that there are so many places for a naturally minded person like me to get products, food, home stuff. You don’t see things like co ops and natural stores like natur tyme in every city. We should be happy that there are enough of us out there to keep these businesses thriving!

  5. I hang a clothesline myself whenever the weather is right for it.
    Maybe Greenwich thinks clotheslines are too Brooklyn for their pretty town. If I lived there, I’d write to the council asking them to repeal the law.
    I’m glad I’m just a block from a bus line because I can’t drive or always get a ride. Some places you just cannot live without a car. In most of Eastwood, you almost can. We’re not exactly New York City, but people manage.
    If I lived out in the suburbs or countryside without a car, I would be really isolated. Eastwood may not be Skaneateles, but it has most amenities within reach.

  6. We completely cleaned out our basement last year – amazing how much stuff we didn’t need! Now we have clotheslines strung there, too. It’s nice and dry in the winter, so we have used our dryer only about ten times in the past 12 months, if that much. Some of us have attics where the hardware, and maybe even the lines, are still there from the days when folks dried their clothes up there. We can learn a lot about being thrifty from the way our older homes were designed. Just be sure that, if you’ve totally tightened up your home for energy efficiency, you’re not adding too much moisture into the interior environment when you dry indoors. Monitor it, and you should be able to line dry all year.

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