Catching up with Syracuse

A rather good guest editorial from a Syracuse expat in Sunday’s Post-Standard hints that people are starting to come around to my way of thinking on Richard Florida. I’m quite sure it’s not because anyone has read my stuff, but possibly because a prolonged economic slump for everyone tends to relieve one’s thirst for snake oil. The rest of the country is finally catching up economically with Syracuse. The author mentions that many young people are returning home, although if they are, I wonder how many are really in a condition to roll up their sleeves.

It seems to me that many children are unable to leave due to the economy, but I’m not sure how many are returning. Maybe young Mr. Caliva’s message will be best received by people like young Mr. Tryt.

4 Replies to “Catching up with Syracuse”

  1. I think this young Syracuse ex-pat in DC is noticing something very real. I read about it recently in Thomas Frank’s “The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule.” Here is a quote about DC in the aughties:
    “The city is a perfect realization of the upper-bracket dream of a white-collar universe, where economies run on the information juggling of the “creative class” and where manufacturing is something done by filthy brutes in far-off lands. In the hard-hit heartland this fantasy seems so risible aas to not require attention. In Washington and its suburbs, however– where there aree hundreds of corporate offices but little manufacturing– it is thought to be such an apt description of reality, such a pearly pearl of wisdom, that the city’s big thinkers return to it again and again….. [quoting Joel Garreau] the region’s ‘private enterprise, high-information, high-education, post-Industrial Revolution economy’ he raved in 1991, ‘made it a model of what American urban areas would be in the 21st century.'”
    And what, pray tell, is the reason the DC area has boomed so in the past 20 years, becoming the nation’s most wealthy region? Selling government to the highest bidder– the lobbyists boom. ET, call home. The marks of the heartland are tapped out, and their houses are actually not worth repossessing….

  2. But what exactly does Mr. Caliva mean by “pioneer”? His sister has returned to start a theater company. That’s great, I love theater, but I can’t believe that this is earning her a salary, health insurance, 401K, etc. Is she working a part-time job and foregoing these things for the sake of her art–which means she is potentially one bad medical situation from illness, bankruptcy, or any of the other devastating risks of the early pioneer days? Or does she have a job as an engineer, health care worker or other Syracuse-friendly profession, and the theater company is being done on the side? Is it really pioneering to lose a little of the cool city factor in exchange for cheap living?

    If Syracuse considers Option 2 as “pioneering,” this just reinforces the idea that Syracuse has a negative self-image of itself. If Option 1 is how we’re supposed to Come Home to Syracuse, then apparently they haven’t been paying attention (not surprising), as recent college graduates–let alone late twenty, thirtysomethings–don’t really want to risk their physical/emotional/financial lives for an entrepreneurial dream. (As discussed in the NY Times over the weekend: http://bit.ly/5Oez4)

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