You don't have to cross the pond to get a taste of Ireland's green pastures.
Syracuse's own Tipperary Hill hosts a surplus of Irish pride mixed with a multicultural flare that is uniquely American. From Cashel House, an Irish imports store, to a pizzeria owned and operated by a man whose grandparents haled from Austria and Poland, Tipp Hill's private businesses add to its old-world charm.
Mary Jo Coleman, owner of Cashel House, believes that the community's rich cultural influences are what holds it together. She recalls growing up with neighbors from all types of ancestral lines--of Poland, Ireland and the Ukraine.
"The blending of all those communities is what made it special," she said. Owner of Oompa's of Tipperary Hill, Gary Adamski, said that his neighborhood pizzeria is thriving because the neighbors watch out for each other.
"This is the last city neighborhood that is still viable, that is still good," Adamski said.
While the community is indeed culturally diverse, the Irish have been most vocal in displaying ancestral pride.
As legend has it, the the upside-down traffic light perched above the Tompkins Street-Milton Avenue intersection is the product of undying Irish pride. According to the locals, Irish hooligans threw stones at the red-on-top traffic light because they couldn't bear seeing the Irish green below the British red. The rebellious residents continued shattering the lights until the city permanently inverted the traffic light so that the green light would be on top.
Janice McKenna, president of the Tipperary Hill Neighborhood Association, said that the neighborhood's Irish pride has really morphed into a community spirit that everyone--not just the Irish--can sense.
"It's a community feeling," McKenna said. "It's really a little village."
But if a quaint, quiet village isn't exactly your bag, there's plenty more to see on Tipp Hill. The area hosts a surplus of bars, festivals and and events to keep life on the hill interesting.
Brilbeck's, a little family-owned storefront tucked neatly into the neighborhood, may seem like your typical corner grocery shop, but it's actually a beer snob's bliss. Brilbeck's carries brews from around the world and even keeps a rotating selection of beer on tap.
There's no shortage of festivals in this little community. The Tipperary Hill Music Fest is an annual event that draws massive crowds and features local musicians of all different genres. The Shamrock Run, held each year in March, features a route that passes all of the community hotspots. And don't miss Coleman's annual parade and tanker full of green beer.
This "little village" is bursting with character. It's full of interesting places, a colorful history (see the Green-on-Top traffic light video) and friendly neighbors.
If you can't get to Europe any time soon, at least get over to Tipp Hill for a few pints and some good company.
It might look like your standard corner convenience mart, but this little establishment packs a lot of punch. Well, booze. Take a stroll down the tight aisles and be amazed by the extensive variety of brews.
I know, I know. It sounds preachy to suggest to a bunch of college kids that you should be touring churches in your limited free time, but you should.
Tipp Hill's churches are diverse and beautiful. From massive sage-colored onion domes looming atop the hill to modest chapels, the local places of worship are architecturally impressive, and they serve as cultural epicenters for respective ethnic groups.
You ever wonder what the difference is between a bar and a pub? Take in dinner at Coleman's and stay for drinks. (We suggest the Chicken Pub Pie served with Irish fries.) And if you're lucky, catch up with vivacious publican Peter Coleman.
Take a peek at the exotic beasts and critters featured at the zoo. High points are the aviary and the animals of Madagascar. If you've never been within inches of a two-toed sloth or a lioness, get ready to have your mind blown. Check out the zoo's site for admission prices and hours. Students can get discounted tickets.
Don't miss your chance to see the only such traffic light in the United States.