Destiny, USA

Syracuse isn't Saratoga

Josephine Halvorson, Drops. 2012, oil on linen. 20 x 15”. Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Today, Syracuse staggers toward a dim future, feeding off its sick and dying to sustain itself. Marsellus Casket Company’s historic west-side factory, torched and partially gutted by vandals, is being turned into the regional headquarters of an ambulance service. Three of the top six employers in the city are hospitals, and another is an old folks’ home. One of the largest for-profit companies that pays its full tax burden is the defense contractor Lockheed Martin, and they’re dependent on a dwindling military budget. To many, it would appear that Syracuse is, in fact, already dead. In 2010, when bricks from an old tin factory fell onto the northbound lanes of Interstate 81, a highway so integral to Syracuse’s identity as the crossroads of New York State that it’s featured on the city seal, the state transportation department shut down the highway for three whole weeks while they rifled the city’s pockets for cleanup money.

More from Issue 21

Issue 21 Throwback

One’s leisure time feels like work that one doesn’t have time for.

Issue 21 Throwback

Unionization had been rare in the industry because it cultivated “an aura of gentility which leads to self-deception.”

Issue 21 Throwback

Some of the most educated and skilled people in our society are among the most exploited workers.

Issue 21 Throwback

“The New Yorker is strong, but at the same time it is fragile. For everybody’s sake, I hope we will do nothing to hurt it.”

Issue 21 Throwback

It was a climate of fear for a bunch of delicate orchids.

Issue 21 Throwback

The work seemed to slide into Friday, while the money stopped on Thursday.

Issue 21 Throwback

Was the magazine exploiting everyone? It sure felt like it.

Issue 21 Throwback
The Look
Issue 21 Throwback
The Raw and the Rawer
Issue 21 Throwback
The Next Next Level
Issue 21 Throwback

Let’s face it: there’s nothing cool about someone else’s sentimentality.

Issue 21 Throwback

“There are also men in the world,” Lydia Davis reminds us. As if we could forget.

Issue 21 Throwback

Sci-Fi offers the best example of that distinctively 21st-century blend of affect: eagerness and wistfulness. YOLO + FOMO.

Issue 21 Throwback

I frequently say “Check your privilege” as a polite proxy for “Shut your fucking racist mouth.”