Wednesday Walk to launch fitness-and-facts Syracuse strolls in June


May 25, 2016

SUNY Oswego Metro Center will collaborate for the second year with other Syracuse organizations to offer the Wednesday Walk, a series of guided, informational outings that this year includes evening walks along with the lunchtime strolls.

The 2016 series will kick off at noon Wednesday, June 1, near the Clinton Square home of SUNY Oswego Metro Center and its Active Aging and Engagement Center in the Atrium building in downtown Syracuse. The first week’s theme is “Look Up,” highlighting architectural details people frequently miss because they are located on the tops of buildings. The first evening Wednesday Walk, meeting at 6 p.m. June 15 in Clinton Square, will feature significant locations in Syracuse’s rich abolitionist history.

Thirteen walks in all are planned; six of them will start at noon in Clinton Square and last for 40 to 45 minutes. Seven walks will begin at 6 p.m. and last 90 minutes; all but one of the evening walks will start at Clinton Square, though some will finish at destinations within several blocks of the square, most with a reception at a local restaurant or social event space.

Dr. Kimberly Armani, director of SUNY Oswego Metro Center, said the program emphasizes the city’s walkability and the fascinating things downtown workers and visitors can see and learn by leaving their cars parked and taking in the city’s history, art, architecture, business and other sights on foot.

“One of the reasons for SUNY Oswego’s downtown presence is all the opportunities provided by the urban setting,” Armani said of the college’s branch campus in Syracuse. “In this sense, the city is part of our campus—we have a vested interest in promoting the health and vitality of the area.”

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, “The Wednesday Walk program is a great way for people to experience Downtown Syracuse. People can get their exercise while also learning interesting things about the city and its surroundings. They also have afternoon and evening walks, so everyone has the opportunity to participate.”

Partners, prizes

Besides SUNY Oswego Metro Center, partners in the Wednesday Walk include Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County, the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, the Downtown YMCA, Metro Fitness and the Syracuse Crunch Hockey Club. The Syracuse Rescue Mission also supports the walks with staff and information.

People interested in the walks can sign up for a weekly email newsletter that will detail the routes and provide additional information about the city, as well as healthy living tips. Wednesday Walk has a table at the Downtown Farmers’ Market each week on Tuesdays, starting June 7 and continuing through early October.

Prizes will include the Stinky Sneaker, providing a fitting and a pair of sneakers from Fleet Feet Sports for the person who attends the most walks; Soles of the Downtown, a free catered lunch sponsored by the Downtown Committee for the company that has the most employees attending; and The Hat Trick for those who attend at least three walks: entry in a drawing for a 10-pack of Syracuse Crunch tickets and a customized jersey.

Besides the June 1 kickoff event, organizers have laid out the following schedule:

June 15: “Freedom Trail Walk,” organized by Franklin Fry, executive director of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Greater Syracuse Division, will feature sites that highlight Syracuse’s important role in abolitionist history: the Jerry Rescue Monument; the East Water Street office of abolitionist George Vashon, the state’s first African American lawyer; and the walk’s endpoint, The Mission, formerly Wesleyan Methodist Church on Columbus Circle, a celebrated way station on the Underground Railroad.

OTHERS IN JUNE: June 22: “Clinton Square Walk,” a shorter, slower noon walk—the special “seniors and friends” walk, in coordination with two local senior centers located near downtown and led by professor Dennis Earle from the Syracuse University School of Design—focused on the history of the Erie Canal, the original heart of Syracuse; June 29: “Tree ID Walk,” a noon tour featuring trees of downtown and information about how to plant and maintain them.

JULY: July 13: “Patriot Walk,” a 6 p.m. tour highlighting memorials downtown and the contributions they represent; July 27: “Courthouse Tour,” a noon walk to and tour of the historic Onondaga County Courthouse.

AUGUST: Aug. 10: “Movie Houses Tour,” a 6 p.m. walk along South Salina Street to the restored Landmark Theatre, the vicinity of several former movie “palaces” (this walk will feature a special movie-related event); Aug. 24: “Green Infrastructure,” a noon tour of downtown sustainable infrastructure, sponsored by Onondaga County.

SEPTEMBER: Sept. 7: “Creek Walk/Run,” a 6 p.m. at-your-own-pace session with wellness coaches along the Onondaga Creekwalk; Sept. 21: “Water Features Tour,” a noon walk focused on the city’s outdoor fountains and other water features.

OCTOBER: Oct. 5: “Urban Birds ID Walk,” a 6 p.m. opportunity to learn about the city’s bird habitats and how to identify common downtown birds and other wildlife, starting at Franklin Square; Oct. 19: “Fitness in the City,” a noon exercise session using new outdoor exercise equipment located along the Onondaga Creekwalk; TBA: “Crunch Walk,” the series finale of the 2016 Wednesday Walks, will feature a stroll with members of the Syracuse Crunch to their War Memorial home, including an insider’s view of locker rooms and the arena.

For more information, contact SUNY Oswego Metro Center at 315-399-4100 or, or visit