Sunday, January 07, 2007

Why Wait Around for the Connective Corridor?

First, while we've been critical of in the past, let me give credit where credit is due. The website has added a new feature on the right side of the main page, called "Proposed City Development", grouping related articles and forum links together. The newspaper has done a fairly decent job, particularly in recent months, in covering the development scene, so it's nice to see the website putting these stories in a more prominent place.

To that end, one of the articles listed under said banner is Friday's P-S on a guy named Rick Destitio, who owns the old Brown-Lipe Gear building on the corner of S. Geddes and W. Fayette Sts ["A" on the map below]. Destitio is transforming the building into an artists' colony, but his vision is bigger than that. He sees his building and the the thriving Devlan Art Gallery ["B"], across the way from SU's Warehouse building near Armory Square, as the bookends of a new "Warehouse District".

Destitio, not content to wait for the powers-that-be to ratify his idea, has already posted a couple handmade signs on telephone poles naming this strip "The Warehouse District". Good for him - that's the entrepreneurial spirit that is going to make Syracuse's rebirth happen. Let our civic leaders debate appropriations, tax agreements, and development strategies. Guys and gals like Destitio are making things happen.

I gotta admit, I'm kind of a philistine when it comes to art, at least of the modern variety that I suspect prevails at Devlan and the neighboring Redhouse. I'll take the Sistine Chapel - or Norman Rockwell - any day. But when it comes to redevelopment, to making urban areas livable again, artists often act as the avant-garde, paving the way for further commercial and residential development (GreenwichVillage is the exemplar par excellence for this). Today, young professionals want to live near places like Thayer St. in Providence, South St. in Philly, and Adams-Morgan and the U Street Corridor in DC, because these areas are hip, funky, fun, etc.

This may not not appeal to everyone as the path to development. For example, the "Towne Center crowd" might want to focus more heavily on Syracuse becoming, say, the Silicon Valley of environmental engineering, and damn the tree-hugging hippies with their psychedelic paintings and beat poetry. Don't get me wrong - I fall more closely in this camp myself. But the reality is, we need to pursue both traditional and more creative options to re-energizing the city.

Artists bring life to a city. A Warehouse District, created organically and authentically, could connect the exploding development in Armory Square to the Near West Side, complement the Connective Corridor, and herald the day when the entire city is knitted together by colorful and vibrant neighborhoods - north, south, east, and west.

Keep it up, Mr. Destitio. Good work.


Blogger baloghblog said...

what happened? No more blogging?

5:44 PM  
Blogger Th3- The Third Thursday said...


First of all, props to you for keeping this blog! I've been searching for bloggers in Syracuse. I found you and several others, who I'm also writing to. I run Th3's blog. Th3 is Syracuse's visual arts night when galleries are open from 5-8 PM. I encourage you to come out and go gallery hopping tomorrow night from 5-8. I'd love it if you would write about your experiences on your blog. In exchange, I'll blog you! Help me support the arts in Syracuse by blogging!

Thanks and happy writing!


2:30 PM  

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