There’s always room for good writing

Victoria Coit, outside 128 Burnet Avenue.

Victoria Coit, outside 128 Burnet Avenue.

Victoria Coit sent me a Facebook message of introduction, saying that she was a friend of Tina Hills and would like to speak to me about a project.

Tina and her husband Ken were the owners of a restaurant in downtown Syracuse, I remembered, Sophistications, hosted jazz, very nice people.

Victoria said she’s meet me to talk at the Hills’ new location, not yet ready to open. Two cool possibilities at once.

Indeed. When I pulled up to the Nikao Eventz and Catering room at 128 Burnet Avenue, I was enamored by the red brick building in this being-rebuilt spot of Syracuse right away.

And when I walked inside the doors, the work being done in the big room by Tina and Ken was already impressive. It’s going to be a gorgeous restaurant when it opens next month.

Tina and I hugged, and she introduced me to Victoria. And so I heard the story of a magazine that she’s launching in Syracuse on June 25, CuseCulture. This, I thought, could make one heck of a community column for After our talk, I knew I was right.

Here’s the link to my Mark It Up column for the Syracuse Public Media site.

Coit told me a bit about the feature story for the first edition, which she’s writing. It’s in interesting topic, for sure. She asked me not to tell, and I agreed. When she sent me the message, Victoria Coit explained, she merely wanted to see if I could listen to her story and give her any advice. She certainly didn’t mind that I had ideas about the newsworthiness of her story itself.

So after I asked my questions for my freelance story, I listened to hers. I told her what I thought. Mostly: She’s got great instincts.

Is there a spot in your city where restaurants and other businesses are moving to rejuvenate themselves and the neighborhood? Have you noticed new magazines starting where you live? Have you been impressed by somebody you’ve just met lately, and if so, why?


33 thoughts on “There’s always room for good writing

  1. Our tiny town is not open to anything new. Mennonite and histories do not really eat out alot here we r only 4140 people. I often feel we are the only people not from this area.


  2. While on holiday by the ocean this week, I met a gentleman, Thomas Quinn, who has published a thriller titled “The Machiavelli Letter” (available on Amazon). We had several lengthy conversations during the week, and I was impressed with his passion and understanding of current events, politics and history. After our initial conversation, I downloaded his book to my trusty Kindle and then devoured it. It’s a nifty little thriller, although not one for the politically correct. I hope to review it in the next several weeks.

    It pays to be open to meeting people wherever you go. You never know what interesting person you might meet next.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s really interesting Mark. I can clearly see a market for such a publication. i have suspected for some time that local articles about the community is an underserved market and I am not surprised by the advent of such a magazine. We have a couple such monthly pubs here in Ottawa with internet presence – “Ottawa Life” ( , “Ottawa Magazine” ( and a few others. If you check them out for format or content, remember that Ottawa is the capital of Canada so we have large immigrant and embassy populations, hence the articles often cover other parts of the world as well.

    The problem with the internet is that you have to have a device and you have to look for the info. If you have local topical info all together in one publication, it is much more effective. So many people access the internet now with small screen devices that the effectiveness of pictures, graphs and such is minimized – whereas they are much more impactful in a publication where the printer determines the size, colors, format,etc – all details that are often controlled by the device during internet searches.

    I think this is a great idea Mark for your friends to introduce such a publication to Syracuse. Maybe you will even get some freelance work. It is wonderful that they contacted you for info – it gives you a leg up on any possible work they may have to send your way. You are an excellent writer and it would be great to see your work in print again. πŸ˜€


    • I have been and will continue to be a big fan of words, photographs and all that they mean in ink on paper, Paul. I think Victoria is smart to start this publication here in Syracuse. By the way, my freelance feature stories have been appearing in the glossy Central New York the Good Life Magazine, published in ink, every-other-month, since January 2014. Thanks for your astute observations about the state of media in general, as always, my friend. Ottawa is fortunate to have those publications serving its international citizenry.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh yes! Here the movement is Mass Ave — Massachusetts Avenue, but shorter and groovier, lol! It’s really booming with restaurants and clubs, makes for awesome pub crawls. My lil community (Like Eastwood, city within the city) is constantly revamping. I’m still waiting for my walking distance bar, tho! Can you imagine if it were a jazz club?!?
    I’m really glad for the last project I read about, where they’re going to tear down a very old building which has been vacant 15+ years, and put in a small park with trees and benches etc instead. Not only will this be prettier, but it will make traffic less dangerous, since it’s hard to see around the old building (no left turns.) Then they’ll use the old, beautiful brick from 1905 on something else. Quite nice. I love living here.


    • I am glad to hear that your move-back has put you and the fam in a city-within-a-city, Joey. That’s the great thing about Eastwood, the walkability and independence while having the convenience of all else just down the road as well.

      Yes, a jazz club for you would be the get-all of getaways. And your coming park with old brick used for new projects is some seriously forward thinking. Three cheers for your in-city Indy leaders.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Indy has had more than twenty new restaurants, and or breweries opening up this year. All are in old buildings, some in an area that used to be called Dodge City, which I am very excited about. I met the Chef at BLT yesterday. Very intense and full of great ideas. I think he and BLT have a great future.


  6. The Chicago area has a thriving food culture despite our lack of diners. I really cannot keep with the openings of new restaurants in the area, nor can my waistline. It is a good problem to have, and I feel grateful to live in such a vibrant place.


  7. The Richmond area is teeming with lovely new development and revitalization projects. I’m so proud of what a nice city we’ve become after many long decades of decline. Like so many smaller American cities, I guess.


  8. i always love a good comeback story. down, but not out for the count. some areas in downtown detroit are working hard to bring back the city and i believe in it and the people behind the movement.


    • On my trip to Detroit for the Cherry Bowl and Rolling Stones concert, I saw some down and out parts, Beth. I hope they come back, back, back strong. I believe in those you believe in, my friend. πŸ™‚ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

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