Posts Tagged ‘penn can mall’

CNY Nostalgia rant

April 12, 2016

I started in 2005, and in 2007. This was before Facebook and Twitter. I believe MySpace was still in its infancy. At the time, there was pretty much no other place online to view old photos and videos from the area. Actually, that was one of the reasons I started the sites in the first place. I couldn’t find anything posted online from the Syracuse area from the past 40 years or so.

When Facebook started to get more popular, I started to notice several pages popping up that were using my photos. This was kind of annoying, but also understandable. People were enjoying the photos and wanted to share them with their friends. I didn’t mind that, but just wanted some credit. After all, it did take a lot of work to find and gather all of these pictures (and videos), scan them and then post them online – not to mention the cost of running a site containing hundreds of pictures. By the way, I do all of this for free. I have ads on my page and sell merchandise to help balance the web hosting costs. These things don’t bring in a lot of money, I usually end up losing money at the end of the year. Anyway, I quickly edited all of my photos and put the “Syracuse Nostalgia” logo on them. I originally didn’t do this because I figured it would be cool to see the original, unmodified photo. I also edited all of my videos to include “Syracuse Nostalgia presents” before each clip. I then created a Syracuse Nostalgia Facebook (and later Twitter) page so I could post content myself, instead of having other pages post my pictures and videos.

It’s been a lot of fun hosting the Facebook and Twitter pages. I try to post something timely every day – whether it be an anniversary of a news item, or a video from that day 20 or 30 years ago. The pages have become quite popular. It’s great to see people’s reactions and have them share the posts and sometimes post things themselves.

However, I have recently noticed something disturbing related to my Facebook and Twitter pages. In the past year or so, a section of was created that was called “CNY Nostalgia”. I thought the name seemed a bit familiar, but also thought it would be cool to see what they were going to post. Well, I soon found out that they would often just copy what I had posted. Oh, it would not be word for word or anything but what was happening was very obvious to me. I’ll give a few examples.

  • On March 25 I made a post about the 40th anniversary of Penn Can Mall. On April 1st Johnathon Croyle posted an article in CNY Nostalgia about the 40th anniversary of Penn Can Mall. In the article, he clearly copied a lot of the information that was included in an old newspaper article about the opening of the mall. He even switched tenses in the middle of the article, first talking about opening day events in the past tense then talking about them in the present tense. This makes me believe that he just copied this old article word for word. This old article has also been posted on my site for several years. Now, I know he could have gone back into the Post Standard archives and found the article but I have a feeling he just used what he found on my site. Oh, and seemingly just to annoy me, he called my favorite mall “Penn Call Mall” in the article. I guess an editor was not available that day.
  • On February 12, Jacob Pucci posted an article in CNY Nostalgia about the history of Sweetheart Market. This article greatly resembled an article I wrote about the same topic years ago on my site. A lot of the information in this article was directly quoted from a video interview I did with Sweetheart Market owner George Gelsomin that has been on my YouTube page for several years. The CNY Nostalgia article also features a Sweetheart Market commercial that, you guessed it, came from my site.
  • On April 9 I made a post about the 38th anniversary of a University Ave fire that took the lives of four fire fighters. On April 11 Johnathon Croyle posted an article in CNY Nostalgia about the same fire. Now, this post was more personal to me because my uncle, Robert Schuler, was one of the fire fighters that passed away that day. If CNY Nostalgia had posted this article on the actual anniversary of the fire, or if they hadn’t done this sort of thing several times in the past then it would not have been so annoying to me.

Now, I obviously don’t mind if people share my photos, videos or articles. I encourage it and think it’s great. But, what has done with CNY Nostalgia several times is very inconsiderate. Like I mentioned, I don’t get paid at all for what I do with the site. But, the writers at certainly get paid for their work. For them to so blatantly copy my work is frustrating to say the least. If wanted their own version of Syracuse Nostalgia they should have contacted me. I would have gladly taken the position.


The future of nostalgia

November 14, 2014

I had never really considered myself a historian until I participated in the recent Social Media Breakfast Syracuse event, Social Media And The Power Of Nostalgia. People at that event kept referring to me as a historian, which I thought sounded odd at the time. To me, a historian is someone who sits in an old building, surrounded by dusty old file cabinets containing pictures over 100 years old. If anyone wants to look at these pictures, they have to pay by the hour to do so. I, on the other hand, have all of my pictures and videos on a hard drive and back-up DVDs. Most of the things I have are 20 to 30 years old and everything is shared for free online.

So, that’s why I never considered myself a historian. But, then, is there a word for what I do? My site is called Syracuse Nostalgia. Nostalgian would make a good Sniglet but I can’t really pretend that’s a word. So, I guess I am a historian for my generation. Previous generations could not save their collections digitally, so they had to save them in the aforementioned file cabinets. While I understand the importance of 100+ year old pictures and documents, I’ve been trying to collect more recent items that people will remember. This is a fun hobby, but has also proven to be quite difficult and sometimes expensive. Also the process of transferring some of these items, specifically the videos, to a digital format has proven to be quite expensive. I currently own a U-Matic video player and a couple of Betamax and VHS VCRs. I’ve also had to send out some video reels to companies and have them transferred to DVD for large sums of money. So, I’ve been finding the old pictures, documents and video tapes, transferring them to a digital format and posting them online. Sort of bridging the gap between the old historians and today.

Now this brings me to the next generation of historians (or nostalgians, if you’d like). The future of this hobby, or whatever you’d like to call it, will be drastically changed in 20 or so years. Now, I can find people who have saved old pictures and want to share them. I can go to an estate sale and find a bunch of old Betamax tapes containing some great old news footage from 25 years ago.

TANGENT ALERT! Some people (even some local news personalities) have wondered why I collect and share old local news broadcasts. To me, an old local news broadcast is just about the best thing to watch to see exactly what was going on in your community at the time. Not only with the news stories, but with the technology used in the broadcast, the fashion and trends, and even the commercials. Believe me, in 30 years we will even be nostalgic for all those Alexander & Catalano and Fuccillo commercials. Ok, maybe not the Fuccillo ones. END OF TANGENT!

With everything being digital now, it will not be possible to just find someone’s old video tapes in 20 years. Everything is recorded on DVRs now, which are typically owned by the cable company. So, everything you tape now will not be found by your grandchildren in 30 years. It will just be erased by you or the cable company. The only ones that will have this historic video footage will be the cable companies and networks, who will only let you see what they want you to see or, more likely, what you pay to see. Historic pictures will also be more difficult to find. Unless someone purposefully takes pictures of historic buildings, events, etc and saves these pictures, transferring them to whatever current format exists, they will be nearly impossible to find. Again, the only ones that will have them will be the news companies, who will most likely charge people to see their archives. I, personally, think a town’s history should be free for everyone to see.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and I’m all for things moving forward. I’m just saying that in 20 years it won’t be easy to find the things from today. So, if you want to remember what you have now, be sure to take pictures and/or video and save them in a safe place.

Please be sure to visit my sites and follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Syracuse Nostalgia
Penn Can Mall

Special Anniversary Sale – Penn Can Mall 2002 Dead Mall Tour DVD

May 5, 2012

Special Anniversary Sale! It’s been 10 years since I took that last tour through Penn Can Mall. To celebrate, I am offering the DVD for only $12 (original price $20) during the month of May, 2012!

Penn Can Mall 2002 Dead Mall Tour DVD


November 30, 2008

I originally started the Penn Can Mall site, and later the Syracuse Nostalgia site, for something fun to do. I figured that only a couple of friends that I grew up with would enjoy it. The response that I’ve gotten to the site is amazing. I’ve gotten many e-mails, as well as comments in the Guestbook and Forum, telling me that they appreciate the site and that I’ve helped bring back many memories for them. I say this not to brag or anything, but just to say that it feels really nice to get those kind of comments and to know that I’ve helped to make someone happy, even if just for a little while.

What’s been really heart-warming is that I’ve received a couple of messages from people telling me that they’ve seen lost loved ones in some of the photos and videos I’ve posted. These messages make me feel like I’m actually doing something good for the community and that the site is definitely worth all of the time I put into it. Here are some examples of some of the nice messages I’ve received:

Re: “Little Loon” – 3 Country Video Clip
Yesterday(Thanksgiving Day), my sister sent me a link to your Youtube clip of “Little Loon” – my father, Maurice Dennis. Our Dad passed away on December 22, 1987 and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him, especially during this time of year. …. This year, 2008, he would have been 100 years  old – born December 2, 1908. …we were were all delighted to see and hear Dad aka Grandpa.   My youngest son said it had been a long time since he’d heard Grandpa’s voice…. He was a doting and fun-loving grandfather who left us with wonderful memories and life lessons.  Our family will celebrate his 100th birthday on December 2nd with his favorite food and especially a pineapple upside down cake which we always made for him.  Thank you for a Thanksgiving gift that we all appreciated and will share with the next generation who will come to know their great grandfather through our stories, pictures and video clips.


Re: Rod Carr 1972 News Clip
Just a quick note to say I can’t believe how many phone calls and emails I’ve received regarding my old WNYS-TV video clip. It was heart-warminng, really.
Warmest regards,
rod carr

Re: “The Spirit Of Homer” – 3 Country Video Clip
My name is … and I’m writing to you from Western Japan. I just wanted to offer you my deep appreciation for posting the video about Homer, New York. I’m from the neighboring town of Cortland. That small general store was known as Clarke Brothers and the shop’s owner is my dad, Phil Clarke. It was truly amazing to see our little family store again after so many years (we closed it in ’97). It was even more amazing to see my dad when he was only 58. (He’s still going strong at the age of 86).
You did me and my family a great service and we all thank you very much. Take care. I hope all is well with you and yours.

Re: Sweetheart Market Video Clip
You made my day. I saw my mom, Liz Hanmer, in one of the videos smiling away as she always did. Melted my heart. I lost her August ’07 and this was a nice surprise. I’ll try to gather up Sweetheart Market items I have – take pictures of them and send them along for you to share. Again, thank you for making my day!!

Penn Can Mall jingle used elsewhere + site updates

September 20, 2008

I just wanted to let everyone know that I do have some updates coming soon. I’ve been getting several items from Jason Beard (who has a large collection of Syracuse memorabilia) and will most likely be getting more in the near future. I’ve already posted some of the things I’ve gotten from him (most recently some stuff from WSTM’s Saturday Showboat). However, some of the items I’ve gotten from him will not fit in their own category, so I’m waiting until I have enough things to make a “various items” page.

I’ve also just recently purchased a large collection of Beta tapes, and have just started to go through them. It will probably be quite awhile before I start posting any clips from these tapes. I’ve only checked out a few so far, and they seem to include a mix of HBO movies and broadcasts from local channels. I have already found a Switz’s commercial and a Marketplace Mall commercial, so I’m hoping there will be more cool local footage on some of these tapes.

Here’s a fun fact about Penn Can Mall that I hadn’t heard before:
Rich Borosky recently sent me an e-mail to let me know that the Penn Can Mall jingle (two versions of this are posted near the top of the main Penn Can Mall page) was also used in 1975 for a department store in Buffalo called AM&A. Since Penn Can opened in 1976, I have to assume that the jingle was used for AM&A first. Rich was also nice enough to send me a copy of the AM&A jingle. Click on the link below (or right-click and save) to check it out.

AM&A Department Store jingle

Just a reminder – I am still looking for contributions for the site. If you have any Syracuse area memorabilia – including photos, documents, audio or video, please send me an e-mail at

Penn Can Mall
Syracuse Nostalgia

Penn Can Mall 2002 “Dead Mall Tour” DVD

August 2, 2008

Here’s a video trailer I’ve recently made for the Penn Can Mall 2002 “Dead Mall Tour” DVD:

Click here to go directly to the “Dead Mall Tour” DVD section of the site for more information about the film.


Penn Can Mall
Syracuse Nostalgia

Penn Can Mall 1980s video posted

July 24, 2008

I’ve posted a video clip of Penn Can Mall from the mid-1980s in the video sections of both the Penn Can Mall and Syracuse Nostalgia sites. Thanks to Mike Warden for sending me the video and letting me post it! Mike used to work in various malls across the country drawing caricatures of people. He worked in Penn Can Mall several times and filmed some footage with his Beta Camcorder in the mid-1980s. What I enjoyed the most about this clip was hearing The Clock ring again. You can clearly hear the infamous tune followed by four clangs, indicating that it was 4pm. Here are the direct links to the video pages:

Penn Can Mall Video Clips
Syracuse Area Home Video


Syracuse audio & video clips

June 24, 2008

Hello again.

I’ve made a couple of updates to the site. First, I added clips from a show called “3 Country”, which aired on WSTM in 1980 and 1981. Click here to see that page. If you think some of the clips on that page are a little odd, you should see the ones I didn’t post!

I’ve also added a new “Syracuse Radio Commercials” section, featuring ads from the 1950s to the 1970s. Click here to see that page. Also, on the Penn Can Mall site I’ve added a different theme song next to the one that was near the top of the main page. All of these audio clips, as well as the “3 Country” clips are from the collection of Jason Beard. I will hopefully be getting many more things to post from his great collection soon.

I also added page 2 to the Upstate NY Commercials section. Click here for that page. These commercials come from some old VHS tapes I received from Jimmy Lewis. If you have any old video tapes (prior to 1995) that were used to tape local channels please let me know. I will be glad to go through them and try to find any old local commercials, shows, or news footage. Send an e-mail to for more information.

I’m going to be posting something very rare and very cool soon. It’s so cool, I’m not even sure what it is, exactly. I don’t want to give too much away yet, but I’ll post a little hint (ok, a big hint)…

Chappell’s photo, Penn Can Mall video

May 12, 2008

I’ve added a couple of new things to the Penn Can Mall and Syracuse Nostalgia sites.

The WTVH Archive videos (that I mentioned in the previous post) have been posted on Syracuse Nostalgia. Click here to see the page. I know that page is looking a bit crowded now, so I might change all of the videos to links (instead of having them embedded) if I add any more clips to the page in the future.

On the Penn Can Mall site I’ve added a photo of Chappells from 1988 that was sent to me from Elizabeth Roberts. Right now I’ve only added this photo to the “Interactive Map” section. The picture is posted below, but you can click here to go to the page which features a larger version of the photo.

I’ve also uploaded a video to YouTube that aired on WSTM Action News Archive on April 1, 2008. The video is posted below but you can click here to go to the Penn Can Mall video clips page (which includes this video plus several home videos from the mall).

You’ll notice that Laura Hand mentions that this was a “viewer request”. I was the “viewer” in question. You’ll also notice that they used some photos from my NBC Peacock Shop commercial post. All in all, I thought the clip was pretty cool. It was nice to see that old footage. I would’ve prefered to have seen just the old clip by itself though, without Ms. Hand’s commentary. I actually wrote to her after this clip aired, asking if I could post the original clip on my site. She never responded. It’s interesting to me how some people will go out of their way to help preserve local history, and others seemingly don’t want to bother. I do appreciate WSTM and Ms. Hand finding this footage and putting this piece together, but I guess I just don’t understand why she ignored my request. If she even had written back and said no, and explained why, I would’ve felt better about it. To ignore me just seemed a bit rude. Oh well. Anyway, while watching the clip I was also waiting to hear the words, “Penn Can Mall dot com”, but she never said them. That also seemed a bit odd to me since I not only gave her the idea for the segment, but I gave her specific dates to help find the footage, and they used some pictures from my site. She did say that the link to the “fan site” was posted on However, I noticed it took about two days for them to post my link (along with the story) on their page. So, if anyone saw the segment and tried to immediately go to their page to find the “fan site” they would not have found it. Again… oh well. I’m not really that upset about all of this but I figured this was a good a place as any to vent about it a little bit.

Thanks for reading!


Hi there

May 2, 2008

Hello. I run the Syracuse Nostalgia site as well as the Penn Can Mall site. I will post in this blog whenever I update either page. I will also post random thoughts or memories about certain things that have been posted on the sites. I already have a forum linked on the page, but it seems like this will be a better way to reach more people. I will still keep the forum active, but I will probably post here more often.

I guess I should post a little bit about myself, since that’s something I haven’t really done on either site. My name is Ham (ok, it’s Brian… but “Ham” has been my nickname since the late 1980s). I grew up in North Syracuse, NY, and graduated from Cicero-North Syracuse High School in January 1991. I was supposed to graduate in Fall of 1990, but I did not pass Gym Class and had to take it again for half a year. Let’s just say that I hated most things about Gym and did not participate and often did not not show up for class. You can also say that I’m prone to tangents. I guess that’s another thing this blog will be good for.

Anyway, if you’ve seen my Emmy-Award-Winning interview from WTVH-5 you already know why I started these sites. I have a lot of home video footage of the Syracuse area that I taped in the late 80s. At the time I was just goofing around with my new “toy” and trying to film funny footage of my friends. Years later, I realized I had some great footage of some local landmarks that either no longer existed or had drastically changed.

Fast forward to the start of “the internets” (as W says). I did a search for some of my favorite teenage hang-out spots – Penn Can Mall, Sweetheart Market, William Grocery, etc. – and could find nothing. So, I decided to start my own site, using my old video tapes as a starting point.

I actually started the Penn Can Mall site first. I had a ton of video footage of the mall, including a “Construction Tour” that I took in 2002, so that seemed like an obvious place to start. I thought perhaps myself and a few friends would enjoy the site but once I made a post about it in a forum, it was apparent that many people loved the old mall and were nostalgic about the area. The fact that it did receive so much interest inspired me to continue and design the Syracuse Nostalgia site.

I’ve gotten many great contributions from people and am always looking for more. If you have any photos, documents or other memorabilia from the area please either leave a comment below or send me an e-mail at . I’m also interested in getting old Beta or VHS video tapes containing programs taped on local Syracuse channels. Please let me know if you have any that you either want to get rid of or would be willing to let me borrow.

I also feel that I should note that I do not get paid to run these sites at all. This is just a hobby that I do in my spare time. I do have ads on the page and merchandise for sale to try and balance out the costs of running the site. However, as of writing this, they have not even covered half of the cost of the site. Anyway, my point in mentioning this is to please be understanding if you make a request and I am unable to help you. I don’t mind people making suggestions (in fact, I ask for suggestions whenever someone signs the Guestbook), but if I don’t have something all I can usually do is make a post asking for it and hope that someone will send in some photos or information. Sometimes this works, but often times I will get no response at all.

Anyway, I guess that’s enough of any introductory post. I have some new additions to the site coming up and will be posting about them soon!