An Outsiders Guide to Central New York

I’m in my second year here at SUNY Cortland, and the number one thing that I have noticed about the school is how many of the students are from either Long Island or New York City. The number is staggering, it feels like more than 80% of people I meet are from either NYC or Long Island.

This isn’t a bad thing, it just surprised me. All these kids from around the biggest city in the world come to this small little town near Central New York to go to school. So I figured I’d take some time and inform everyone from out-of-town about this region we like to call Central New York.


Notice the title. The keyword is CENTRAL. I didn’t write upstate because this isn’t upstate. To be exact, Cortland county is southern central New York. If you don’t believe me, just look at the official New York State website. And if you don’t believe that website, then I don’t really know what to tell you.

I understand that why people from down by New York City and Long Island call this upstate, but it’s just because they drive north to get here. I’m from Syracuse, and I drive 35 minutes south to get here, there is no way I’m calling Cortland upstate New York. So, to all of you from downstate and out-of-town, welcome to Central New York.

Cazenovia is most certainly not farmland

Central New York is much more than a bunch of farms.

I’ve heard a few people from outside of central New York and New York State say that what they call “upstate New York” is just a bunch of farmland with Syracuse in the middle. I’ll be the first to say that, even though there is a lot of farmland (which I don’t really understand why that’s a bad thing), this is a lie. There is much more to CNY than just farmland. There are towns like Cazenovia, that are small towns located on the edge of one of the many lakes in the area. Syracuse is most certainly not farmland. And towns like Liverpool, Camillus, and Eastwood aren’t either, just to name a few.


Orange is much more than a color and a delicious citrus fruit in the Syracuse area, it’s the color of our blood and a way of life for us. Whether it be the Syracuse Orange football, basketball (men’s AND women’s), and even lacrosse, we will support our Orange until the day we die. For those old enough to remember, the year 2003 will always have a special place in our hearts, and Carmelo Anthony will, too, for winning the 2003 National Championship over Kansas. And it also seems like Jim Boeheim has been coaching our beloved Syracuse men basketball team for as long as many of us have been alive. But … that’s okay.

To go along with our love for our school, there are many schools that we are not very fond of, such as; Georgetown, UCONN, Villanova, Duke, UNC, Kansas, oh, and did I say Georgetown yet?  We don’t like Georgetown. And we make sure we let these enemy teams know we do not like them each and every time they come to the legendary Carrier Dome to play Syracuse, as the Dome is filled with the biggest, loudest, and most passionate home crowds in the country.

Wegmans is the greatest grocery store ever.

And it’s not even close. People not from around here just don’t understand how great Wegmans really is. I don’t care what other grocery stores there are anywhere else in the entire world because Wegmans is better than all of them. I mean, where else can you go out for a nice dinner, have a glass of wine, enjoy some live music, and then go grocery shopping? Yeah, nowhere. Even the thought of being without Wegmans is enough to make any CNY native sad. It even scares Alec Baldwin…

Image result for wegmans gif

When Adam Richmond shows up, you know it’s a big deal.

There is no need to go down south to get great BBQ. 

If you are having a hankering for some of the best BBQ you’ll ever have, there is no need to plan a vacation down south, just a trip to downtown Syracuse to Dinosaur Barbecue. Dino has some of the worlds best barbecue. And it’s not just us Central New Yorker’s tooting our own horn here, Dinosaur was once voted the best BBQ in America! Dinosaur Barbecue was also once featured on Travel Channel’s Man vs Food and received its praises from Adam Richmond. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

The fact of the matter is, Central New York is more than most people think it is. It’s more than farmland, it’s more than a college town, it’s more than just a tiny city surrounded by nothing. It’s home. It’s home for a bunch of CNY, orange-loving, Wegman-shopping, BBQ-eating people who love where they are from and are proud to be from here. So for all of you that aren’t from around here, welcome to Central New York, we welcome you with open arms.

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