Growing up a couple of blocks from Thornden Park was an adventure in urban living accentuated by fond memories of walking up Harrison Street.
Towering Dutch Elm trees created a shaded canopy past the Chancellors’ mansion and Reverand Murphy’s house and over the brick path into the Thornden.
Once you entered the park you ran into “the Elephant tree” knick named because it looked like an Elephant with wrinkled bark trunks that would cradle as you sat watching the world go by, no matter how hot it became it was always cool in the Elephant Tree.
Splashing babbling sounds as water cascades over a ridge into a pond stocked with tadpoles, frogs and minnows.
The lower portion of the Rose Garden its crushed cinder paths extended well beyond the truncated boundaries of today’s salvaged portion. Half the cherished garden no longer exists.
During summer months the old City of Syracuse Department of Parks & Recreation set up Arts & Crafts at city park Field Houses where you’d make those Popsicle stick boxes and paper crafts with construction paper. Who knew the wonders of glitter and Elmer’s glue!
Over the last three decades our parks have changed from places where people would safely congregate, exercise and celebrate nature to urban forested areas urban people dare not go.
If we don’t get a handle on youth violence in this community it won’t matter how many dollars are poured into housing.
Recently people in Eastwood were rightfully appalled when a golfer was beaten by kids at Sunnycrest Park Golf Course. The residents made a point that they’re sickened by what happened. Apparently the victim may not return to the park. Do you blame him?
Some parts of our community just aren’t safe. I don’t care what FBI statistics you show in terms of Syracuse being a safe city, if it walks like a duck and quacks it’s not AFLAC!
Is it possible that based on what these children see going on around them that they’ve figured out an education doesn’t get them very far in Syracuse especially if you are of color? I’m just asking.
This anger manifests itself in youth violence where there is no thought given to the consequences of their actions. This is a plague of hopelessness that threatens every development project on the books.
A city can’t maintain $200,000 – 300,000 condominiums when hundreds of disaffected youth never see the good life as it’s depicted about Syracuse by the propagandists.
Drive around poorer sections of our city and take a look at the conditions children live in. Many of our dogs live in structures sturdier and better insulated than some of our prized occupied housing stock. If we had another Labor Day Storm the other half of this raggedy “shizz” would blow away.
If I were a teen in Syracuse today I’d be angry too. I don’t know who I’d be pissed at but I’d wear the scowl that has imprinted the faces of so many poor kids in our city. Several days ago I received a Text Message that reads, “Kids planning 2 fight at Juneteenth again. Be sure to alert the committee so they are prepared.”
As Prince sang in Purple Rain, “This is what it sounds like when a Dove cries”
Last summer I witnessed a group of “somebody’s children” fire pellet guns and throw rocks at a woman who had been stricken with terminal cancer, some of her last days were filled with horror in her own back yard.
People cannot be expected to live and prosper in a city where you can’t go to a park, take an evening stroll or sit on your porch without misgivings.
Elected officials at all levels need to establish acceptable, attainable quality of life levels, sort of like the Bush Administration’s Terror Alert System. Property Taxes would be determined based on the Neighborhood Terror Index for your neighborhood the higher the NTI level the lower the property tax on the home or business perhaps then city officials would listen.