Driving through Armory Square felt like intruding into a ghost town. Every store, restaurant, cafe and museum were closed. But it was understandable. Who would want to be outside under the grey sky with snow beginning to fall? And plus, most importantly- it was Christmas day.
Armory Square is a neighborhood of downtown Syracuse in central New York. Its history, starting in the 19th century, could have contributed to the ghost town feeling. Most of the buildings were built in the late 1800s, the end of the Erie Canal era, which was once not too far away from this downtown Syracuse neighborhood.
The Erie Canal expanded from Albany to Buffalo and if you were to drive the two distances, would take you about five hours. Somewhere in the middle is Syracuse. Because of the proximity of the Erie Canal and railroads, Armory Square was a prime area. Though history recalls with the decline of the canal and railroad, the buildings were vacated. I can imagine it was just like the ghost town feel I was getting on Christmas day.
But, our Armory Square story gets a happy ending when Syracuse worked on renovating and naming this neighborhood a historic district. Today it’s once again, with the exception of Christmas day, a prime area filled with activity. Shopping, dining, entertainment and night life makes the modern Armory Square a place to visit.
Back to Christmas day, I took the opportunity to take some pictures. One is of the Jefferson Clinton Hotel, built in 1927 (pictured above). And at four pm, one of the buildings started to show some life.
That building was the sushi bar where we had Christmas dinner, though it wasn’t too busy.
A few days later at Armory Square, the MOST museum was open. It’s located in the former Syracuse Armory.
An Urban Outfitters store was a nice surprise. And they have free WiFi, which you can even pick up from across the street.
If you’re in need of coffee or have some work to complete, head over to Starbucks. It’s not the nicest Starbucks I’ve been to (I actually prefer going to Starbucks cafes outside of the US) but it still provides the standard- the familiar smell of coffee, free WiFi and green and white logo cups.
Since it was a few days after Christmas, their usual white cups were replaced with the red holiday ones.
The outside of the Starbucks.
When you’re in the Syracuse, New York area, visit Armory Square for the museum, dining, shopping, people watching, or just to see the 19th century architecture.
For more information about visiting Syracuse, New York or Armory Square, check out these links: