Saturday, January 7, 2012

EHL Roadtrip 2010 - Day 1 (Part 4) - Syracuse War Memorial Arena

It's almost exactly a year since I last blogged my 2010 EHL Roadtrip. To catch up...
and on to Syracuse...

By the time I got to Syracuse I had decided to postpone the Syracuse State Fairground Coliseum part of the trip until morning. Better to conserve and recharge the camera battery.

Of the 8 restaurants that Google Maps had listed about a block beyond the arena, I had already decided on "Komachi". I made sure to get to the arena plenty early to take pictures and have a nice Japanese dinner.

Top Photo: Front Entrance to the War Memorial. Just above the marquis you can see "Onandaga County War Memorial" in aluminum.

I used the Arena's directions, and exited off of West Street off of I-690. From there, the signs are pretty good to get you to the arena. Especially, if like me, you've somewhat memorized the streets. I parked at a lot that was catty-corner from the main entrance of the War Memorial for $7.

The noticeable external feature on the limestone and aluminum building is the use of words in a "severe blocky font", as the National Register of Historic Places calls it, around the outside of the building.

The main entrance proclaims "SPORTS MUSIC ARTS SCIENCE" in stone above the marquis which has "ONONDAGA COUNTY WAR MEMORIAL" in aluminum. Along the bottom of the arena, are the names of World War I and WWII battles, served by county residents. Unlike a lot of venues that are memorial in name, this building is truly a War Memorial.

I strolled down Harrison Street past the arena, and couldn't find Komachi (turns out it had moved 4 blocks away.) In fact only 3 of the 8 restaurants listed on Google Maps were actually there. One of them was closed. Another was clearly out of business. The Ale and Angus Pub was the only one open, and it was packed. I decided I'd just wait, take photos, and chance it on arena food.

I had picked this weekend to make the trip, partially because it was pre-snow season, but also because of the opponents. Tonight was the Hershey Bears, once of the old EAHL, and top farm-team of the Washington Capitals. I was a Caps season ticket holder during the Langway years in the 1980s. The following night, Franklin Pierce University (which is about an hour from my home in New Hampshire) was playing Utica College in the Clinton Comets' second home, Utica Memorial Auditorium.

The light was fading, and it was getting cold. It was still a half hour before the gates opened, but I went inside and bought my ticket. I was just going to get a cheap seat in the corner, figuring I'd be strolling a lot. I was here for the arena and the history more than the game. However, the woman behind the window pointed to a really nice seat about 10 rows back on the blue line, which is one of the places I like to sit, so I ponied up for the $25 ticket.

Hardly anyone was there yet, so I began looking around.

One of the first things I saw was this sign prohibiting cameras.

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