Discover CNY Day

By Amy Grover, Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists

The LGS 2020 Discover CNY Design Team started prepping for our day on March 18, 2020.

You read that right! We needed six months to plan how we were going to get all 52 classmates (and Pam & Robin, of course!) onto a plane, while maintaining social distancing.

Hypothetically, that is!

From March to September, our theme needed some adjusting, not unlike our day-to-day lives. From “Being A Tourist in Your Own City”, where we planned to show our classmates that Syracuse is MORE than apples (agriculture), “the Salty City” (history), salt potatoes (food) and the Landmark Theatre (entertainment), we pivoted to “Discover your (CN)Y… What’s Your Y?”. This allowed our team to not only keep our speakers, but blend in our new goal of discovering your why for living in Central New York.

Because we needed to “get on a plane”, our in-person classmates were enthusiastically greeted at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport. (Did the enthusiasm draw attention from security? Only the Class of 2020 will ever know…). Upon arrival, each classmate received their personalized, first class boarding ticket and were directed down the terminal to their gate (the conference room).

Once everyone was on board, flight attendants Carol Breier, Lekia Hill and Lauren Ianuzi prepared our passengers for takeoff through CNY. While this leg of the flight wasn’t providing drinks, everyone was still excited to get in the air. Our Captain, Bill Perrine, provided the weather update (sunny, because Robin was on board!) and the introduction to our class day sponsor, C&S Companies. John Trimble, President and CEO of C&S, spoke of the manufacturing here in CNY (aluminum sheets made by Novelis for the Ford F150) and most importantly, that CNY is home of the largest malt house this side of the Rockies (thank you 1886 Malt House in Fulton!). Next up in our pre-flight presentation was Jason Terreri, Executive Director of the Syracuse Hancock International Airport. Jason explained the importance of the airports agenda to “create a sense of place”. In other words, people should know why they’re here in CNY: wine country in the Finger Lakes, outdoor concerts at the Amphitheater, any cuisine you can imagine, and more. The airport is the travelers’ first and last impression.

Having a taste of all there is to experience in CNY, we’re ready for takeoff!

Agriculture is an enormous part of CNY, literally and figuratively! Did you know family-owned Byrne Dairy provides milk to 40 states in North America? (And that we have America’s favorite orchard in our own back yard at Beak and Skiff!?). Jim Grosier, General Counsel for Byrne Dairy (and LGS Class of ’92) educated our class on the history and economic impact of Byrne Dairy. For every one job at a Byrne Dairy plant, there are six other jobs needed (trucking, farming, etc.). Additionally, Byrne Dairy sources their milk within a 35-mile radius – supporting our local farms and reducing their environmental footprint. In addition to milk, Byrne Dairy produces ice cream (thank you for the famous cookiewiches!), yogurt and sour cream out of Byrne Hollow Farm in Cortlandville. Out of their Ultra Dairy plant in East Syracuse is a pilot plant for research and development and coming soon – an addition to produce aseptic products such as milk that can stay in your pantry for one year, allowing the opportunity for international business! Be sure to stop by one of Byrne Dairy’s 66 convenience stores (a separate business from the manufacturing!), with the flagship store located in Central Square.

Thanks to our trusty Captain Bill, there’s no turbulence on this flight! And what better way to enjoy our trip in the air than by introducing Colonel Anthony (Tony) Basile, COO of NUAIR (Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research). Simply put, NUAIR is a New York based nonprofit organization that provides expertise in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations (think drones!). NUAIR manages operations of the New York UAS Test Site (one of seven in the country!) out of Griffiss International Airport in Rome, NY. These test sites support the FAA in integrating UAS into the national airspace system safely. Thanks to the work of NUAIR right here in CNY, unmanned aircraft have tested spraying operations for mosquitoes, helped 27 Emergency Responder agencies get programs up and running, and before we know it, we’ll have vertiport automation. Yep – you can say you read it here first! Vertiport automation is like Uber for the sky. You’ll be able to ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan without a driver. Thank goodness you have that mask on to keep your jaw from hitting the floor!

We’re almost halfway to our destination, so it’s time to learn more about the heart of CNY: Downtown Syracuse! Carol Eaton, Senior VP of Visit Syracuse, and Merike Treier, Executive Director for the Downtown Committee of Syracuse (and LGS Class of ‘07) took our class on a memorable journey of everything there is to know and experience right here in Syracuse. A few words visitors have used to describe Syracuse: breathtaking, diverse, entertaining, idyllic, and colorful. If you need reasons to visit (or get out in) Syracuse when Old Man Winter strikes, try skating in Clinton Square, tubing at one of the many ski resorts, taking a horse-drawn carriage ride at Highland Forest, visiting The MOST, or hosting a film fest of shows/movies filmed right here in Syracuse such as American Dresser, A Quiet Place and Banana Split. For more ideas, go to (the Fall guide just released!).

You didn’t think I was going to end that segment without mentioning that Carol Eaton said LGS Class of 2020 is the BEST CLASS EVER, did you!? Now it’s here in black and white, imprinted in the LGS archives for all of CNY to read for centuries to come.

Thank you to Brooklyn Pickle for providing the delicious lunch, but our in-flight movie is about to begin! The arts are a huge part of CNY, not only as an economic driver (bringing in overnight guests to our area!), but to promote learning, inspire communities, and bring people together. The Redhouse Arts Center, located right in Downtown Syracuse, does this by offering shows with local talent (and a select few big names from NYC) and educational programming (RedEd). Artistic Director, Hunter Foster, said the pandemic inspired creativity as shows transition to virtual offerings and new initiatives for school-based learning are beginning, such as with the Redhouse Learning Lab. Samara Hannah, Executive Director for Redhouse, provided stats demonstrating that access to the arts increases math scores, reading retention, and graduation success. In an effort to provide access to call, Samara said, “you can’t be what you can’t see”.

Oh no! It appears our plane has entered a time traveling black hole, taking the crew and its passengers on a journey back to the late 1700’s, when Simon LeMoyne first created salt in Syracuse. This is a relevant detour, as we soon learn how the Erie Canal became what it is today. (Let me pause here by saying that my iteration of this part of the day will NEVER hold up to the presentation offered by Derrick Pratt, Museum Educator for the Erie Canal Museum. Do yourself a favor and get a tour by the man himself!).  This 363 mile long waterway (from the Hudson River to Lake Erie) was proposed in 1807 by Joshua Forman and completed in 1825. Fun fact: the Canal started out 40 feet wide and 4 feet deep, which was quickly realized that this was not large enough. It was then extended to 70 feet wide and 7 feet deep, which still wasn’t sufficient. Today it is 120 feet wide and 12 feet deep. The Erie Canal provides a variety of outdoor activities including boating, kayaking, and fishing, as well as beautiful views while hiking the many Empire State Trails.

Thankfully Captain Bill has re-directed our flight to land in CNY, just in time for dinner! Arguably one of the more well-known aspects of our area, CNY has plenty to offer for any type of palette. Adam Sudmann, Market Manager for the Salt City Market (coming January 2021!), created a space to bring many of these flavors to one accessible location downtown (just wait until you see the PARKING!). The building itself has the food hall on the first floor, showcasing cuisines such as southern and Thai as well as desserts. The second floor will hold office space and the third and fourth floors 26 apartments for mixed income housing. They’ll be open seven days a week and will easily become one of the hottest places in town to grab a bite to eat!

At this time, our flight has come to an end. All passengers were able to get a glimpse into CNY agriculture, technology, entertainment, history and food. Each boarding ticket offered a space for passengers to write down their next destination, hopefully someplace new in CNY that they’re excited to discover and build upon their “Y” for being here. We hope you’ve enjoyed this journey today with us as well and we look forward to seeing you out in CN(Y)!

Check out the design team’s “Y” they choose to live in CN”Y”