Sunday, August 10, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #171 Home Sweet Home, 123 Polk Street, Syracuse, New York, June 2014

Once before, in an earlier post, I mentioned a song we recorded in our Washington, DC studio in the mid '70's entitled, "Stranger in My Home Town." Well, even though I had only resided in Syracuse, New York for two years, from 1967-1969, it still felt, in a way, like a hometown to me. But, as I visited it in June of this year, I was that "stranger" from the song title.

The building in this photo is a studio apartment complex located at 123 Polk Street in the town of Dewitt, New York. Dewitt is a suburb bordering the Syracuse city limit. This very building, on the first floor, was one of the places I called "home, sweet home" for the last month or so I lived in Syracuse. It would be 45 years this month, August, since the last time I saw this building. This shocking relic is what remains.

Yes, it's a burned out, gutted and boarded up ruin. Actually, the entire street has deteriorated from the upscale, middle class community it was 45 years ago to an area looking more like a slum. Unfortunately, other than Syracuse University and a few other notable exceptions, this seems to be, in general, the direction much of Syracuse has gone over those 45 years. 

It's not unlike many, if not most, of the older industrial cities throughout the east, south and mid-west. The world has changed, the economy has evolved with the world changes and old established industries and businesses close up, turn to dust and blow away, leaving behind a lot of crumbling ruins and infrastructure.

So, this and so much else about my return to Syracuse left me feeling bittersweet, again, about a place that had been important and pivotal in the course of my life. My high school class motto was Tennyson's quote, "The old order changeth, yielding place to the new." I didn't have a clue back then just how accurate and impacting his words would ultimately be in my life. 


  1. It brings to mind the old phrase that " you can never go back". Even if you do, what you see will not often be pleasant, nor the revelations good ones.

    1. So it seems, John. Went home to Clifton, NJ and was disappointed. Went back to Syracuse and was disappointed. The area I lived in on the Washington, DC border in a Maryland suburb was bad enough when I lived there, but it's in the DC news regularly now - a place not to return to. Annapolis, MD - home for 10 years, no longer a place I'd want to live. I guess I could still return to Winchester, VA, home for 26 years (last "official" home), but the longer I'm away from it the less inviting it is as a place I'd want to return to live. I guess for people like us we must seek out new horizons for the future and not even consider returning to the past. People who have stayed in those places don't realize the amount of change, they adapt as the changes occur. To those of us who have left and have memories of those places "back when" - the change is just way more than we expect and are prepared to accept.