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?