Things you don’t expect to see in downtown Syracuse on Sept. 18

After meeting my dear wife Karen for lunch at Festa Italiana this afternoon, I passed through Clinton Square, smack dab in the heart of downtown Syracuse, on the way back to my car.

Oh, what I saw on this Friday, Sept. 18, in upstate New York.

The law of the Square.

The law of the Square.

Nobody’s supposed to use the dancing waters in the big fountain in this history square for anything other than eye candy. It says so right there in red on white.

Hover over and gallery photo for a description. Click on the bottom right photo in any gallery for an enlarged slide show.

Perhaps the powers that be do not want the history of the square tarnished by swimmers in stagnant water. Perhaps they are worried about the general health of the city’s citizens.

A lot of rules.

A lot of rules.

This group of folks were not obeying this day. They seemed to be having a blast in the shallow inches lying on top of the concrete and the many feet spraying high overhead.

When I climbed into my car and turned the key, the digital dash thermometer read 90ยบ F.


Have you ever bathed in a water fountain, and if so, what were the circumstances? Would you allow people in your family to do this, and why or why not? Which is your favorite photo, and why?


70 thoughts on “Things you don’t expect to see in downtown Syracuse on Sept. 18

  1. Oh wow, that’s pretty funny! When I first started reading the article I was kind of thinking why a sign like that would even be necessary but apparently it is. No, the only kind of public fountain I would let me kids or myself go in would be one expressly made for that purpose though, I gotta say, it does look tempting!


  2. If it said not to, I wouldn’t, but M has done this before at a local mall with a similar setup (no prohibition though). My only complaint then was it was last second and I didn’t have a towel in the car!


  3. A fountain pool that large is just begging for people to dip their toes in on a 90 degree day. Perhaps the city planners should have considered that. Personally, I have never waded in a fountain, nor let me kids do so – but there were very few fountains around whenever I took my kids anywhere so it really wasn’t an issue.


  4. I have never bathed in a fountain, and I would not allow my children to. However, I like how outdoor hot, family places like the zoo and the sculpture gardens now have splash & play type places for people to cool off. I’m all about staying cool, but no public fountains, no.


  5. A flat, shallow fountain is usually meant for people to paddle around in. I don’t think that was the wisest design for Syracuse to approve just for that reason.

    We have one in Chicago called the Crown Fountain. Imagine two 50-ft high glass blocks at two ends of a huge shallow reflecting pool with water running down them. The blocks just show these digital images of people’s faces randomly one at a time. Every so often, the faces purse their lips and water comes out of their mouths. The kids go nuts and run under the spouting water.


  6. Hmmmm. Where were the parents? Although I don’t love having to follow rules (unlike Mr. B who loves rules), I still would not allow my kids to do that. The only dipping or stepping I have done is at our local spray park when the kids were little. You never saw me laying on the cement because not unlike pools, urine is a very common liquid found at spray parks! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚


  7. I like the picture that shows the row of water jets side on – with the person bent over in the middle. I honestly haven’t waded in a fountain but I would if it got hot enough. Putting water installations in public parks where the temperatures get very high, is asking people to dip their toes. It would be like putting a buffet in a neighborhood full of hungry people and telling them it is an art installation so don’t eat it. Ha! Fat chance. Whoever designed the water feature should have kept that in mind. I’m sure that with some additional filtration and maintenance, the same installation could be safe for public wading.


    • Good analogy, Paul. Here’s the big snag with the Clinton Square Fountain: It’s not permanent. They shut it down to use the concrete space for events half the time, covering up the jet apparatus with rubber mats and rugs. Thus the open space can’t be marred with any chemicals and such. Also, from November through March, up go the boards, and in goes the outdoor skating rink, right on that spot.

      So, that leaves less finagling with the fountain. My opinion.


  8. When I was about the age of five I swam in the fountain pool at the local public swimming pool, the fountain pool that was not supposed to be swum in. It looked rather empty (so much water, so little people). I remember being ushered out of there quite quickly when my mother realised where I had escaped to. (I was loving it).


  9. I would play in a fountain, if not prohibited. I would not allow my kids if it was prohibited. But to tell you the truth….sometimes I do understand the pull of the water to play in even if it says not to. And it’s 90 out. And there is something pleasantly and innocently fun about watching others stomp around in water….. But, rules, we gotta have them MBM!


  10. looks very tempting! I’ve never bathed in a water fountain in the UK as I don’t like being cold! Could give it a go in California perhaps?!


  11. That one person standing over the jets looks like they might potentially end up with an unexpected enema. I myself have “accidentally” fallen into many bodies of water as a child but never purposefully gone into a fountain. That just seems like something one would do if they didn’t have any other place to go for a bath. Syracuse seems like a beautiful city with some amazing architecture.


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