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The Repair Café Comes to CNY

The Repair Café Comes to CNY

Before you throw out that old lamp or jacket, consider giving it a second chance. While you’re at it, make connections and learn new skills. At the Syracuse Repair Café, you can learn to fix any kind of item, or have someone fix it for free.


The Syracuse Repair Café was created by Mark Lichtenwalner, an adjunct professor of forensic science at Syracuse University. He and his wife moved to Central New York from the Philadelphia area five years ago.

“Repair Café has at its core the ideal of passing on repair skills that are rapidly vanishing,” says Lichtenwalner. “Using these skills keeps items out of landfills, protecting the environment and restores the premise that things have value whether it’s monetary, sentimental or practical.”


When he’s not teaching or organizing Repair Café events, Lichtenwalner and his wife enjoy life in Central New York. They enjoy everything the are has to offer: a variety cultures, food, sports, and the many summer festivals. “Within a three-hour drive you can find just about anything,” he says.

Repair Café is a global movement that began in Amsterdam in 2009. Its creator, Martine Postma, a journalist, editor, and non-profit director imagined a way to bring people together through a shared interest in sustainability and learning. This led to the establishment of the Repair Café Foundation, and the growth of branches around the world, including 20 in the US. Postma was thrilled to hear that the movement reached Syracuse.


One of the best things about the Repair Café is the volunteers don’t just fix things, they also teach the owners how to do future repairs. Everybody wins.


“I find it amazing: all Repair Café pictures – from events all over the world – always look exactly the same,” says Postma. “They convey exactly the same  atmosphere. The table full of tools, the broken objects, the men and women focused on the repair, the smiling people, the ‘thank you’ messages of satisfied visitors – it is the universal Repair Café mentality.”

Postma looks forward to following the progress of Syracuse Repair Café. “It’s wonderful to see you’ve got the hang of it, too,” she says. “I wish you all lots of success and lots of fun repairing, and I hope to visit you some day.”


The next event takes place Saturday, April 18 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Paine Branch Library, 113 Nichols Avenue, Syracuse. Additional events are planned for various branches of the Onondaga County Library system every other month in the future.

For more information contact Lichetenwalner at

About The Author


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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