A taste of vitality for downtown Syracuse: Matt's Memo

NBC 3 broadcasts from Taste of Syracuse in Clinton Square. (CNYCentral, Quindell Williams)

As the sunset over the iconic art deco National Grid building on the west side of downtown Syracuse streets people packed the streets and cars filled the parking lot. The Taste of Syracuse attracted thousands of visitors to downtown on a perfect summer's night. The density felt over five square city blocks captured a vitality that should be the standard for future rebirth of the center city.

Granted, the Taste of Syracuse has become the giant of summertime downtown festivals. A couple dozen bands fill multiple stages including the headliner Saturday night Cheap Trick. 70 vendors line street after street. You can drink a beer or sip some wine. If you need a break from the crowds or the early summer heat you duck into a restaurant or bar in Armory or Hanover Square. Maybe you walk over to Dinosaur Bar-b-Que.

During the ninety minutes of our live broadcast from Clinton Square on NBC3 from 5:00 to 6:30 pm the size of the crowd kept growing. By the time we signed off lines for the one dollar samples were twenty or thirty deep at the more popular choices.

Just after 8:00 pm I joined DJ Gary Dunes in introducing the hard rocking band Gridley Paige on the main stage across from that National Grid building. We looked out a crowd of a couple thousand people. Some waited outside a ring of food trucks. Others lined up for a cold beer. Many waited for the band to hit it. In classic rock concert fashion I welcomed the crowd and asked them if they were enjoying Taste of Syracuse. The raised a glass and cheered.

Let's extend that toast to the organizers of the event and the city of Syracuse. Yes, it was a fun place to be tonight. But, we should all see more in the energy exemplified.

We want every Friday night to be blessed with nowhere to park. We want every Friday night to have choices for quality entertainment and dining. We want every Friday night to be one where downtown Syracuse comes to life with people.

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