Select Page

Central New York: What does ‘Livable’ Mean?

Central New York: What does ‘Livable’ Mean?

Oprah recently visited Syracuse. Like most of all Oprah’s visits, it wasn’t on a whim. She came to dedicate the re-designed Newhouse II at Syracuse University. The ceremony went off without a hitch. Ribbon was cut, speeches were made and Oprah went back to the airport.

We thought.

Oprah actually had other plans. After she left the Hill, she drove to Mary Nelson’s community center on the south side of Syracuse. Nelson had previously arranged the visit with Oprah’s team. She gave Oprah a short tour and told her about plans for basketball courts. Oprah guessed that Nelson’s plans would take about $100,000. She wrote a check on the spot.

Why did she do this? Because of her bottomless generosity? While Oprah is generous, she’s also a savvy investor. In this case she invested in “the real heroes, not just of our community, but of the country.”

Oprah saw something in that community and she knew that with a small amount of her money, Nelson is building wonderful things, and she’s one of hundreds of community workers like this in Central New York. At Livable CNY, we want to show the people and places that make Central New York livable. We want to show what Oprah saw.

Iraq, Afghan war veterans, Vietnam vets, Navy, and Army vets, call CNY home. They come back to central New York and have the support of one of the best VA hospitals in the country and a University that has vowed to become “the best university for returning veterans.”

Syracuse University has a history of supporting veterans, and it continues that tradition with the Institute for Veterans Affairs and Military Families and its Veterans Success on Campus program.

Farmer’s markets can be found just a short drive from anywhere in any town. From farm to table, markets offer fresh and organic produce, free-range chickens, flowers, and local crafts. And, many of the farms are self-sufficient and sustainable.

food, farmer's market, organic, sustainable, food,  Central New York

Wake Robins Farm offers local diary products: cheese, milk, and even yogurt.

CNY has places where students can not just live, but live affordably. International students, students on a budget, or any kind of student can find a place to live with the amenities that they want: cable, internet, parking lots, sidewalks, or convenient location.

For CNY, even coffee can create a community. From crop to cup, central new york boasts amazing coffee houses with beans from all over the world: India, Tanzania, Guatemala, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Brazil and others, many of which are fair trade.

But if these kinds of things don’t mean anything, that’s okay because livable is more than any one person or event. It means community, participation in something helpful and useful, and being a part of a place instead of a just a resident. Like so many manufacturing based cities, Central New York was down. But it wasn’t down for the count. Unlike so many other places, it survived, it grew, and it stayed livable.

About The Author

Jake Cappuccino

Originally from Western New York, I spent the last few years as a student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. I am currently a master's student at the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications.


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.

Our Advertisers

Recent Tweets