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Syracuse, NY


gradgirl

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Is anyone familiar with the Syracuse area? How big of a city is it? Is Syracuse University downtown, or more isolated from the city? And, are people friendly there? I've never been to New York at all before, and I guess I'm just trying to get a general sense of what the area is like to help me make my decisions.

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I'm from the midwest, but have spent a good deal of time in Syracuse. Town-gown relations (that is the relationship between the city and the school) are mediocre, as is normal, I guess. The school is about three miles east of the city center in a neighborhood that used to be very rich and upscale. This makes it feel isolated, but it really isn't.

I'm staying another mile and a half north-east of the school, and although there aren't any students here, both the school and downtown are accessible by bike. The school is near a large park that was bequeethed to the city by one of these rich former citizens, Thornden Park, and is near the artsy Wescott Street area. Otherwise, around the school the area is either students or relatively poor people (there are even a couple abandonned projects). Thorndon Park is nice, there is sledding and jogging there, as well as pretty gardens. Wescott, also, is cool, as is seperate from the bar scene, I think, so you can go there and get away from the undergrads for a dinner.

The University is, I think, very liberal. There are lots of speakers and events that cater to the hippy set. There is some diversity, but more in the neighborhoods on the east side and on the southwest side of town than on the campus. The mosque, if you are muslim, is conservative. The black churches are great. The Catholic churches are nice too. I don't know about temple, but there are fewer Jews here than in the bigger east coast cities. The town seems liberal, but there are quite a few suburbanites, mall goers, and even some SUV drivers.

Downtown Syracuse is great, and easily accessible by bike. There are a few streets that are better for going by bike, and downtown is worth going to. Also, so long as you aren't to far east, the town is relatively flat. The city has a population of something over 200k, but its metro is like 800k. It feels about the same size as Omaha, but has better busses than that city. Its busses aren't great, though. Crime, here, is a bit higher than in the midwest, esspecially violent crime and weapons related stuff. Near campus and Thorndon Park at night are a bit creepy, but you can feel it and avoid those poorly lit parts. Outside of those areas, there are usually enough people around that you should feel safe enough passing through all night. There are a couple of corners where you shouldn't go after, say, 1:00 am, due to random gun violence.

The people are nice enough, just like everywhere. They honk more than in the midwest. They are also more straightforward, which is actually nice, because, for instance, you and your landlord will have an easy time voicing your complaints, etc. I've found the students to be a bit ruder than in the midwest, so I imagine TA-ing will be a bit more annoying, but that really shouldn't matter much. If you carry yourself like an adult, people in stores and resteraunts are great. And if you are on the east side, and tip decently (18%+) at a regular resteraunt or cofeeshop, you will stand out from the stingy undergraduates, and they will treat you very well. And people who notice that I'm not local are mostly charmed to meet me.

The great part about the area (and most of central NY, including schools in binghampton, ithica, utica, etc), is outside of the city, the state is beautiful. Its old mountains, rolling hills, waterfalls, historic and artistic sights and towns (Seneca Falls, Cooperstown, etc), farms, orchards, skiing, berry picking, hiking, camping, etc. I love the weather, but it is at the intersection of like three different weather patterns or something. If you study meteorology, it might be interesting. There is a lot of rain. There can be a lot of snow, but it isn't bufallo, nor is it northern Minnesota/Wisconsin. There isn't any snow right now. But in the winter, there are some of outdoor places to ice-skate or play hokey.

If you want a big city feel, Syracuse won't bring it. But if you like an established, mid-size town with lots to do, Syracuse is fine. Its 4.5 hours from DC and Boston, a bit less from NYC an Toronto.

If you have any more questions, let me know.

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Its 4.5 hours from DC and Boston, a bit less from NYC an Toronto.

you must have a lead foot! it is more like 5-6 hours to nyc and definitely a good 6 hours from dc (possibly even 7 depending on construction on 81 through pennsylvania).

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your right about DC, I made the drive this weekend in about 5.5 hours, but thought it was 4.5 because I was looking at the wrong watch, and just now realized it. But I do think you can get to the city in less than 5 hours. However I am usually driving late at night when there is no traffic.

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I got into Syracuse and was wondering more about the city....good thing I came across this thread! I was wondering about the average cost of living is in the area, especially the cost of apartments. Not sure I'll go to Syracuse since I haven't heard any funding decisions yet.

Thanks!

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  • 1 year later...

Got into Syracuse as well, and am considering it. I looked online and looks like it is a very affordable place to live. I assume heating costs are pretty high come winter, but most places like that will let you spread out heating costs through out the year.

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  • 10 months later...
  • 1 month later...

I'm in the Syracuse area let me know if you have any questions about it. It is cold and snowy in winter, and it's not as exciting as say NYC or DC but it does have a decent nightlife and they're working on the performing arts/regular arts scene with plays that come through town, the symphony etc. One big plus is the cost of living is really cheap in comparison to a lot of other places people might be looking at for grad school. Right around the university can be a bit expensive as they know unergrads' parents will be paying (and there are a lot of loaded undergrads), but if you avoid that area it's very reasonable. Just make sure you see the apartment before you rent it (common sense I know) because there are definitely some real dives and you have to be careful. I'll do my best to answer any other questions you have!

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I'm in the Syracuse area let me know if you have any questions about it. It is cold and snowy in winter, and it's not as exciting as say NYC or DC but it does have a decent nightlife and they're working on the performing arts/regular arts scene with plays that come through town, the symphony etc. One big plus is the cost of living is really cheap in comparison to a lot of other places people might be looking at for grad school. Right around the university can be a bit expensive as they know unergrads' parents will be paying (and there are a lot of loaded undergrads), but if you avoid that area it's very reasonable. Just make sure you see the apartment before you rent it (common sense I know) because there are definitely some real dives and you have to be careful. I'll do my best to answer any other questions you have!

Syracuse is my first choice for grad school.... But I'm terrified of the winter. How awful is it really? I'm from L.A. but I actually love a moderate amount of cold.... I went to undergrad at Washington State, where I dealt with a few sub-zero temperatures (but usually the coldest parts of winter would hover around the teens and 20s) and unpredictable winters with a a pretty decent amount of snow. But I know Syracuse's snowfall is like 3 times the amount of Washington's. And I'm sooo terrified of that.

When it snows, is it, like...nonstop during the winter? What I mean is, at WSU, there would be a fair amount of snow on the ground for like a week or two, and then melt away for a few days, then snow again, then melt away for a few days. I canNOT drive in snow, so I never even risked it, but I still managed to drive around once every couple weeks at least, because there would be days when the ice/snow would melt enough away where I was OK to go out in my car.

But how is it at Syracuse? Is there always snow on the ground? Does it get very icy? How good is the city about clearing off the roads, especially around campus? How long winter last, typically (from what month to what month)?

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Syracuse is my first choice for grad school.... But I'm terrified of the winter. How awful is it really? I'm from L.A. but I actually love a moderate amount of cold.... I went to undergrad at Washington State, where I dealt with a few sub-zero temperatures (but usually the coldest parts of winter would hover around the teens and 20s) and unpredictable winters with a a pretty decent amount of snow. But I know Syracuse's snowfall is like 3 times the amount of Washington's. And I'm sooo terrified of that.

When it snows, is it, like...nonstop during the winter? What I mean is, at WSU, there would be a fair amount of snow on the ground for like a week or two, and then melt away for a few days, then snow again, then melt away for a few days. I canNOT drive in snow, so I never even risked it, but I still managed to drive around once every couple weeks at least, because there would be days when the ice/snow would melt enough away where I was OK to go out in my car.

But how is it at Syracuse? Is there always snow on the ground? Does it get very icy? How good is the city about clearing off the roads, especially around campus? How long winter last, typically (from what month to what month)?

I'm in the same boat. I love SU's program but I am not sure if I can handle the cold. I come from a tropical country and have never seen snow (seriously!)

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I grew up in Syracuse and I can confirm that it is as cold as people say. Winter typically goes from about October/November to March/April. Temperatures in the negatives are not uncommon; I remember having classes canceled in high school not because of the snow, but because it was too cold (water in pipes freezing, etc). Snowfall is outrageous, as well. All of the upstate New York cities have a contest to see who receives the most snow (the golden snowball, if you're curious), and Syracuse has won the past 7 years.

Honestly, if you can't drive on the snow, you will need to learn fast. The city is good with clearing the road and putting salt down, but you're going to inevitably get caught in a blizzard, which can be nerve-wracking even for those of us native to the reason.

Hope this doesn't seem too harsh, but it's difficult to really exaggerate how rough Cuse can be in the winter. I'd be willing to answer any other questions, but honestly, the universities are really among the town's few redeeming qualities.

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One of my big questions at the moment is how necessary would a car be for a grad student?

This depends on a few things, but if you don't mind walking a little (and/or living around undergrads) you should be fine without a car. The east neighborhood area of the hill is within easy walking distance of campus.

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I won't have a car either. I will be getting a brand new bike though! I already have my removable basket...

If you ask me, biking doesn't make much sense in Syracuse.

Remember that there will be a great deal of snow for months on end. Even in Summer and Spring the sidewalks and roads are often in rough shape from the months of snow, ice, and heavy plowing. Far from ideal if you are a cyclist.

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I think I'm gonna bring my car.... I'm looking forward to the cross-country drive (I live in L.A.)! That is, though, if I find a place to live with covered parking/a garage. I plan on NOT driving during the hellish winter and would prefer the snow to not come in contact with any part of my vehicle, hahaha.

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  • 11 months later...
  • 10 months later...

Accepted via phone last week. (Just discovered this site yesterday.) Flying out to visit--on the Orange's dime, of course--in a couple weeks. Any other Syracuse admits out there? It's one of the best programs in the country for rhet/comp, but not ideal for my interests . . . We shall see what the next week of email brings . . . . But if there are any other CCR admits or applicants out there, I'd be very curious to know about your research interests.

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  • 1 month later...

This is a really old thread, but I'll ask anyway.

I'll be moving to Syracuse this June to start the MPA program. My boyfriend is planning to move up there with me, but neither of us know much/anything about the job prospects in the area. Does anyone know anything about this or have any advice? He's got a BA in education studies, but is willing to do pretty much anything for the year I need to be there. Any recommendations for where/how to start looking outside of what's posted on craigslist and syracuse.com?

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This is a really old thread, but I'll ask anyway.

I'll be moving to Syracuse this June to start the MPA program. My boyfriend is planning to move up there with me, but neither of us know much/anything about the job prospects in the area. Does anyone know anything about this or have any advice? He's got a BA in education studies, but is willing to do pretty much anything for the year I need to be there. Any recommendations for where/how to start looking outside of what's posted on craigslist and syracuse.com?

Have you tried orangehousing.com or padmapper.com yet? I'm in the process of looking for a place as well. I'm going to visit the campus in early April so hopefully I can get a first-hand look at some nice apartments.

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Hi!

I was accepted to Syracuse's MA program in IR and Economics and am currently comparing it with the other offers I have (London School of Economics, HEI Geneva).

As I would spend about two years in Syracuse I thought it would be a good idea to do a little research about it, luckily I found this thread and I think I have got a rough idea now how the city is.

However, I am still not sure whether I would fit in there that well... I am from Europe (Vienna) and am really rather the big-city-type and don't feel well in a suburban environment. Could anyone of you tell me a bit more about the cultural scene in Syracuse? Cafes? Clubs? Public discussions? Theatres/plays?

The thing that scares me off a little is that most of your life seems to be University-related - all your contacts, your leisure time activities etc. That would be pretty unusual for me... I don't want to get trapped in a self-referential school bubble - if you know what I mean? ;)

Edited by ifko
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For those who don't want to be in the immediate university area with the undergrads, i'd recommend looking in the Westcott area. It's an easy bike ride or a 15-20 minute walk to the university, and has its own "theater" (mostly for concerts), restaurant strip, laundry, liquor, etc. Sort of an urban village within Syracuse. There's a community center up the road that has a ton of dance classes, and also hosts a farmers' market during good weather. Talk with the landlord about utilities, though--this is an older area and heat in the winter can get pricy. They'll have an idea of the typical bill. Money goes a lot further in this area than Euclid/Comstock which is adjacent to the university.

Syracuse isn't a huge city, but it does have a reasonable nightlife. There are clubs, bars, etc; most close at 2am (I believe Buffalo is the only part of upstate NY where the bars are open later). The theater isn't bad for its size (not Broadway-quality but excellent for Syracuse), and there are a lot of cultural events throughout the year. And don't knock the university events before you check them out--Syracuse is pretty unique in having strong programs in very disparate areas, so campus concerts are as incredible as model shows by the architecture students.

As per the bike comments--it doesn't work November-February, but it makes your rent payments a lot lower in those other months (because you can live further from campus). The bus system is pretty good, and free for students...the Westcott area I mentioned is covered by the East Campus bus. I did 4 years at SU without a car, and while it's nice for grocery runs, it's definitely not necessary. Feel free to PM!

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For those who don't want to be in the immediate university area with the undergrads, i'd recommend looking in the Westcott area. It's an easy bike ride or a 15-20 minute walk to the university, and has its own "theater" (mostly for concerts), restaurant strip, laundry, liquor, etc. Sort of an urban village within Syracuse. There's a community center up the road that has a ton of dance classes, and also hosts a farmers' market during good weather. Talk with the landlord about utilities, though--this is an older area and heat in the winter can get pricy. They'll have an idea of the typical bill. Money goes a lot further in this area than Euclid/Comstock which is adjacent to the university.

Syracuse isn't a huge city, but it does have a reasonable nightlife. There are clubs, bars, etc; most close at 2am (I believe Buffalo is the only part of upstate NY where the bars are open later). The theater isn't bad for its size (not Broadway-quality but excellent for Syracuse), and there are a lot of cultural events throughout the year. And don't knock the university events before you check them out--Syracuse is pretty unique in having strong programs in very disparate areas, so campus concerts are as incredible as model shows by the architecture students.

As per the bike comments--it doesn't work November-February, but it makes your rent payments a lot lower in those other months (because you can live further from campus). The bus system is pretty good, and free for students...the Westcott area I mentioned is covered by the East Campus bus. I did 4 years at SU without a car, and while it's nice for grocery runs, it's definitely not necessary. Feel free to PM!

I'm also a Syracuse alum and will second this wholeheartedly! If you're closer to campus it's loud and the apartments are dumps. Downtown is also worth looking into if you want adult nightlife and again there is bus service to campus.

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