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Syracuse, New York

Clinton Square in Downtown Syracuse
Clinton Square in Downtown Syracuse

Syracuse is a city located in Onondaga County, New York, USA. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the city had a total population of 147,306, and its metropolitan area had a population of 732,117. It is the county seat of Onondaga County and the economical and educational hub of Central New York. Its name comes from Syracuse, a city on the eastern coast of Sicily, Italy.

City of Syracuse, New York
Image:syracuse_seal.gif Image:Syracuse_Seal.jpg
City flag City seal
City nickname: "The Salt City"

Location in the state of New York
County Onondaga County
 - Total
 - Water

66.4 km≤ (25.6 mi²)
1.4 km² (0.6 mi²) 2.15%

 - Total (2000)
 - Metro (2003)

 - Density


2,266.8/km≤ (5,871.0/mi≤)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5


43°2' N
76°8' W



Syracuse during its golden years. This photo is of South Salina Street around 1915.
Syracuse during its golden years. This photo is of South Salina Street around 1915.

The Syracuse area was first seen by Europeans when French missionaries came to the area in the 1600s. A group of Jesuits, soldiers, and couriers du bois (including Pierre Esprit Radisson) set up a mission on the southwest shore of Lake Onondaga at the invitation of the Onondaga Nation, one fifth of the Iroquois condederacy.

The mission was short lived as the Mohawk Nation hinted to the Onondaga that they should sever their ties to the French, or the Ononondaga's guests would suffer some horrible fate. The men in the mission caught wind of this and somehow left under cover of a cold night in March. Their entire stay was less than two years.

After the Revolutionary War, more settlers came to the area, mostly to trade with the Onondaga Nation. Salt was discovered in several swamps in Syracuse, which brought more settlers to the area, and eventually gave the city the nickname "Salt City".

The original settlement went through several name changes until 1824, first being called Webster's Landing (1786), then Bogardus Corners (1796), Milan (1809), South Salina (1812), Cossitsí Corners (1814), and Corinth (1817). The U.S. Postal Service rejected the name Corinth upon its application for a post office, stating there was already a post office by this name in New York. Due to similarities such as a salt industry and a neighboring village named Salina, the name Syracuse was chosen, after Syracuse, Italy.

In 1820, the village of Syracuse was officially incorporated. Five years later, the Erie Canal, which ran through the village, was created. In 1839, Syracuse merged with the nearby of Salina to become the city of Syracuse.

Along with the growing salt industry, Syracuse became a hot spot for the growing abolitionist movement. On October 1, 1851, a freed slave known only as "Jerry" was arrested under the Fugitive Slave Law. The anti-slavery Liberty Party was holding its state convention in the city, and when word of the arrest spread, several hundred abolitionists broke into the city jail and freed Jerry. The event came to be known as the Jerry Rescue. During the Civil War, Syracuse was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.

The salt industry declined after the [Civil War, but a new manufacturing industry arose in its place. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, numerous businesses and stores were established, including the Franklin Automobile Company, which produced the first air-cooled engine in the world.

Many of Syracuse's landmark buildings were demolished in the 1950s and 1960s, and several new museums and government buildings were built. Syracuse's population peaked at 221,000 in 1970. In the 1980s, many immigrants from Africa and Central America moved to Syracuse, under the auspices of several religious charities. However, these new Syracusans could not compete with the flow of residents out of Syracuse to either its suburbs or out of state due to job loss.

The manufacturing industry in Syracuse began to falter in the 1970s. Many small businesses went out of business during this time, which contributed to an already increasing unemployment rate. Nevertheless, Syracuse metropolitan area population has remained stable, even growing by three percent since 1970.


Aerial View from the USGS
Aerial View from the USGS

Syracuse is located at 43°2'49" North, 76°8'40" West (43.046899, -76.144423)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 66.4 km² (25.6 mi²). 65.0 km² (25.1 mi²) of it is land and 1.4 km² (0.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.15% water, with the major water body being Onondaga Lake.

The city is seen as the northeast gateway to the Finger Lakes Region. The city is generally flat, with only several small hills, with the exception of the University Hill and Eastwood neighborhoods. This flatland is attributed to the Great Lakes basin.

Major parks in the area include Burnet Park on Tipperary Hill, Onondaga Park and Kirk Park (connected) in Strathmore, and Thornden Park between the University Hill and Westcott neighborhoods. Burnet Park is home to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo . Also worth mentioning is Schiller Park in the Near Northeast neighborhood, and Sunnycrest Park in Eastwood .


As of the census of 2000, there are 147,306 people, 59,482 households, and 30,335 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,266.8/km² (5,871.0/mi²). There are 68,192 housing units at an average density of 1,049.4/km² (2,717.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 64.26% White, 25.35% African American, 1.13% Native American, 3.37% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.23% from other races, and 3.61% from two or more races. 5.27% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 59,482 households out of which 27.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 27.5% are married couples living together, 19.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 49.0% are non-families. 38.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.29 and the average family size is 3.11.

In the city the population is spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 16.8% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 17.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females there are 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $25,000, and the median income for a family is $33,026. Males have a median income of $30,312 versus $23,997 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,168. 27.3% of the population and 21.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 35.1% are under the age of 18 and 12.4% are 65 or older.


MONY is not one of the region's top ten employers, but the towers bearing its name are a prominent piece of the Syracuse skyline
MONY is not one of the region's top ten employers, but the towers bearing its name are a prominent piece of the Syracuse skyline

Syracuse's economy has faced challenges over the past decades as industrial jobs have left the area. This trend continued into the 1990s and picked up speed again after September 11, 2001. Syracuse's top employers are now primarily in education and in the service industry.

Top employers

The top employers in the Syracuse region and the size of their workforce, as of January 1, 2004:

(source: Syracuse Post Standard)


Despite negative news over the past year such as Carrier ceasing manufacturing in Syracuse, there has also been some good news. The Canadian Magna International Inc. bought the New Process Gear Division of New Venture Gear , saving it from being shut down by Daimler-Chrysler. Several smaller companies in the area continue to add a small number of jobs. In June 2004 the Bank of New York announced it would bring up to 800 jobs to Downtown Syracuse. In August it was reported that the job growth rate of the area was 1.4%. In October Lockheed Martin announced it would add up to 300 electrical, mechanical, and software engineering positions by 2007.

If the Pyramid Companies have their way, Syracuse will be transformed into a extremely large tourist destination, anchored by their proposed five-billion-dollar DestiNY USA resort. Except for a ceremonial groundbreaking in 2002 the project has seen no construction since it was proposed over four years ago. Recently it was announced that construction is scheduled to begin in 2005.


Syracuse's Strathmore neighborhood
Syracuse's Strathmore neighborhood

The City of Syracuse officially recognizes 26 neighborhoods within its boundaries. Some of these have small neighborhoods inside of them. (Bold Indicates there is a non-stub article on Wikipedia)

  • Near Westside
  • Skunk City
  • Strathmore
  • Brighton
  • Southwest
  • Elmwood
  • University Neighborhood
  • South Campus
  • Meadowbrook
  • Salt Springs
  • Outer Comstock
  • Eastwood
  • Northside
  • Washington Square
  • Near Northeast
  • Sedgwick
  • Lincoln Park
  • Lakefront


Public transportation

OnTrack provides commuter train service
OnTrack provides commuter train service

Syracuse is served by the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority, or CENTRO. CENTRO runs several bus lines around Syracuse and into the suburbs.

OnTrack is the Syracuse commuter train line. Syracuse is the smallest city in the United States to have local train service. The line runs from Colvin Street on the city's South Side via Syracuse University and Armory Square to the Carousel Center. Financing was finally approved in April 2004 to build a bridge that will allow OnTrack to reach the William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center, Regional Market, and P&C Stadium. This service sees roughly 30 people a day and is used mostly by Syracuse University students

Bus & rail

The city lies on Amtrak's Empire Service, Lake Shore Limited, and Maple Leaf lines. Greyhound and Trailways provide long-distance bus service. All three use the William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center in the north of the city.

Air service

Syracuse is served by the Syracuse Hancock International Airport in nearby Salina, near Mattydale. The airport is served by 17 airlines (9 major), which provide non-stop flights to destinations as far away as Las Vegas, and Orlando, as well as several daily flights to important airline hubs and business centers such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. Six cargo carriers also serve the airport.


Interstate 81 (Canada to Knoxville) runs north-south through Syracuse, and provides access to Canada, Pennsylvania and points south.

Interstate 90 (Seattle to Boston), also known as the New York State Thruway runs east-west, just north of the city. It provides access to Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, and the north-south (Interstate 87) part of the Thruway which leads to New York City.

Interstate 690 runs east-west through the city, and provides access to Interstate 90, as well as to Syracuse's western and eastern suburbs.

Interstate 481 forms an eastern loop around the city and continues to the northwest as NY-481 to Fulton and Oswego, on the shore of Lake Ontario.



The city is headed by an elected mayor who is limited to two, four-year terms. The incumbent is former Syracuse Common Council President Matt Driscoll, who first assumed the position in 2001 after the former mayor, Roy Bernardi resigned after being appointed by President George W. Bush to a position in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. After serving the remaining term, Driscoll was re-elected that year.


The legislative branch of Syracuse is the Syracuse Common Council. It consists of a president and nine members.


The Onondaga County Supreme and County Court is the trial court of general jurisdiction for Syracuse. It is also the administrative court for the Fifth District of the New York State Unified Court System . Judges for these courts are elected at-large.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York also has its chambers in Syracuse.



Syracuse has one daily morning newspaper, the Syracuse Post-Standard. There is also a weekly free newspaper that focuses on events in Syracuse, the Syracuse New Times .

Up until 2001, Syracuse also had an evening paper, the Syracuse Herald-Journal.


Syracuse has eight broadcast TV stations:

Syracuse's cable television provider is Time Warner Cable, which, as a part of its regular and digital offerings, provides a 24-hour local news channel (News 10 Now), local sports channel, public access channel, and an additional PBS channel.


Buddhism: Buddhism has its presence in Syracuse with the Zen Center of Syracuse on the Seneca Turnpike .

Christianity: Syracuse has two cathedrals, the Episcopalian St. Paul's Cathedral and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Both are home to their respective diocese, the Diocese of Central New York (Episcopalian) and the Diocese of Syracuse (Roman Catholic). In addition there are dozens of churches in Syracuse for virtually every kind of Christian, including Jehovah's Witness, Christian Science, and Metaphysical Christian . Complete List

Eckankar: The ECK Center of Central New York provides service for Syracuse-area Eckankar believers.

Hinduism: Hindu houses of worship include the Hindu Mandir of Central New York in Syracuse, and the Sikh Foundation of Syracuse, in Liverpool.

Islam: Islam is also has a presence in Syracuse, with the Islamic Society of Central New York Mosque on Comstock Avenue and Muhammad's Study Group on West Kennedy Street .

Judaism: There are several Jewish houses of prayer in Syracuse, including the Temple Society of Concord , Temple Beth El , and Temple Adath Yeshurun .

Unitarian Universalist: There are three Unitarian Universalism churches in Syracuse.

A complete list of Syracuse's Houses of Worship


Main article: Sports in Syracuse


Syracuse was once home to the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. Known as the Syracuse Nationals (1946-1963), they played seventeen seasons in Syracuse. The NBA's 24-second clock was invented in, and first came into use in Syracuse.


Museums and libraries

  • Everson Museum of Art
  • Milton J. Rebenstein Museum of Science and Technology
  • Erie Canal Museum
  • Onondaga County Public Library System

Colleges and universities

Syracuse's major university is Syracuse University, located on University Hill. It had an enrollment of 18,604 students (12,645 undergraduates, 5,176 graduates, and 783 law students) in 2003.

Surrounding Syracuse University are two State University (SUNY) schools, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Also in Syracuse are LeMoyne College on the city's eastern border, and Onondaga Community College, which has its main campus in the city's South Valley neighborhood, along with two smaller campuses downtown and in Liverpool. A branch of SUNY's Empire State College is located in downtown Syracuse, along with a campus of the nationwide Bryant & Stratton College.

Other colleges and universities in the area include Cornell University and Ithaca College in Ithaca, Oswego State University in Oswego, SUNY Cortland in Cortland, SUNY Morrisville in Morrisville, Colgate University in Hamiliton, and Wells College in Aurora.

List of famous Syracusans

From City:

From Metropolitan Area:

Syracuse in film and television

  • Slap Shot (Feature film, 1977)
  • Blowin' Smoke (Feature film, 1999)
  • Snow Day (Feature film, 2000) (Although filmed in Calgary)

Sites of interest

Marshall Street, adjacent to the Syracuse University campus, provides outdoor shopping and is lined with many restaurants and bars.
Marshall Street, adjacent to the Syracuse University campus, provides outdoor shopping and is lined with many restaurants and bars.


  • New York State Fair (Aug. 26 to Sept. 6, 2004)
  • Coors Light Balloon Fest
  • Oktoberfest
  • [CNY JazzFest]
  • Empire State Brewing and Music Festival

External links

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Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45