Street Story

CuseTown: The ‘Hoods of Syracuse, NY

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Rare Look Inside the Syracuse Ghetto

With Syracuse being a college town one would not think that Syracuse has the same characteristics of other American cities, whether it is gentrification of the Syracuse ghetto or street activity with so-called Syracuse gangs.

Residing in New York’s upstate region along the New York Thruway, the city of Syracuse has many similarities to the other upstate cities of Rochester and Buffalo, from the racial makeup to the history of the urban communities.

Map of the Syracuse Hoods

*The colors do not represent colors of Syracuse gangs, they are just an indication of different sections of the city of Syracuse.

Short Story of the Streets of Syracuse Ghetto

Outside of the well-established University of Syracuse and its success in the university’s sport programs, little is known about this city of less than 150,000 with the Syracuse urban community accounting for almost 40% of the total population.

The small city in upstate New York that has been famously known for the University of Syracuse and its prestige basketball program has another side, a side that can be referred as “CuseTown”.

Syracuse Hoods: West Side

While the Syracuse Latino population equals a total of 5% of the entire city, the majority reside on the city’s West Side in a small diverse community of African-Americans and Latinos.

The West Side is home to one of the city’s largest and oldest housing complexes of the Syracuse ghetto, the James Geddes housing project, built during the 1950s.

Before the 1970s, this side of Syracuse was mostly home to white families, but with an influx of Latinos and African Americans many left for other Syracuse communities.

Currently, the West Side is one of the most sought-after destinations in the city for investors, whether they are citizens seeking private homeownership or to build a facilities and businesses.

Syracuse Hoods: South Side

The Syracuse black population has been in the city since the late 1800s with the city’s 15th Ward, centered around Townsend Street, being the once primary destination for African Americans in Syracuse and formerly home to numerous black owned businesses and establishments.

Unfortunately, starting in the 1950s and 1960s urban renewal began to change the fate of Syracuse’s black community. The claim of the Syracuse ghetto becoming inhabitable led to the city to begin to rebuild certain communities by replacing many of the homes with housing projects, which was combined with the construction of Interstate 81 directly in the heart of the community, causing further destruction.

As the era of the 1970s and 1980s entered, a generation into the streets of the Syracuse ghetto occurred as local youths formed cliques and Syracuse gangs within the inner city.

Into the 1990s and 2000s, the streets of Syracuse have been heavily publicized with likes of areas from the 1500 ‘hood around South Avenue to the notorious Bricktown neighborhood of the Pioneer Homes as the South Side has seen its share of violence, ‘hood wars, and federal and state indictments that have sent dozens, if not hundreds, to jail.

Syracuse Hoods: East Side

The urban population eventually would make its way into the East Side of Syracuse, but only north of East Genesee Street.  With large housing complexes and blocks like Lexington, the East Side, or 5th Side, gained its own reputation in the small community.

Currently, with its close location to the University of Syracuse and Syracuse’s downtown area, this section of the East Side is in a process of change.  Changes include certain housing complexes being demolished within the Syracuse ghetto and new facilities being constructed along Fayette Street, all part of the process of rebuilding Syracuse’s inner-city community of the East Side.

Syracuse Hoods: North Side

Little is known about the streets or urban communities of the North Side, other than that most of the urban community is based around Butternut Street.  Historically, the North Side has been a predominantly white community, but over the years the black population has slowly moved into certain parts of the North Side.

With gentrification taken place in parts of the West Side and East Side, many residents will have to find new neighborhoods to call home as the former communities are being transformed.  The future and fate of the Syracuse ghetto reside in neighborhoods like the North Side as Interstate 81 will still be the dividing line between the two societies as people are moving further south, further east or relocating to the North Side.

Syracuse Ghetto Story Related Topics:

Ruff Buff: History of Buffalo’s East Side Gangs

Harlem World: Legends of the Harlem Streets

Top Upstate New York Rappers

*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.