Syracuse

A tribute to Harmony Korine’s Gummo

My tribute to Harmony Korine’s Gummo (1997), filmed in Syracuse, New York. Gummo is an art film written and directed by Harmony Korine, starring Jacob Reynolds, Nick Sutton, Jacob Sewell, and Chloë Sevigny. It’s set in Xenia, Ohio, a small, poor Midwestern town devastated by a tornado.

My version of ”Bunny Boy” was played by Daisy Rose. The original bunny ears hat was custom made by Chloë Sevigny, so I had to use ears from Bob’s Burgers. “I Love my Little Rooster” sung by Almeda Riddle, recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr. on May 10, 1962, courtesy of The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection, Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas.

JJ’s Miss Syracuse Diner

JJ’s Miss Syracuse Diner is located at 258 E. Water Street in Syracuse, New York. Miss Syracuse Diner, a remodeled Bixler, has been a staple of downtown Syracuse for over 80 years but almost burnt down in 2000. Until 2010, it was known as Galloway’s Miss Syracuse Diner. The Bixler Manufacturing Company built these diners in the 1930s.

The Phantom Bride of 13 Curves Road

A few miles southwest of Syracuse, New York, just down the W. Seneca Turnpike from Onondaga Community College, Cedervale Road winds its way downhill along a narrow creek. At this point, the woods close in on the road from both sides and lights are few. On Halloween night, travelers negotiate the tight turns on this road in anticipation of catching a glimpse of the “Phantom Bride of 13 Curves Road.” According to some accounts, this legend may stretch back to the days of horse and buggy.

Locals say that at some point in the past, a newlywed couple was driving a buggy down this road in the dark after the ceremony (or perhaps the reception). Unable to maintain control of the horses around the tight curves, the husband and his new bride were thrown from the open seats and broke their necks against the rugged terrain around the creek bed. As the 20th Century wore on, the horse and buggy became an automobile in the minds of storytellers. The story, however, remained essentially unchanged, with some variations. Some say only the groom was killed, and the bride’s ghost appears searching for her former beloved.

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All-American Diner Tour: Mother’s Cupboard in Syracuse, New York

Located on State Route 290 (James Street) near a cemetery and railroad tracks in northeastern Syracuse, New York, Mother’s Cupboard is a greasy spoon serving up giant frittatas and pancakes in the morning and fried fish in the early afternoon.

Think sizzling bacon, fried fish, fried frittatas, french toast and pancakes covered in bacon grease, a chef sweating over a hot grill in front of you while you eat, and you have Mother’s Cupboard in a nutshell. The diner/red shack is famous for appearing on an episode of Travel Channel’s Man vs Food in 2010. If you can finish a full-plate frittata (6-lbs. of eggs, sausage, pepperoni and hash browns), you win a t-shirt and get your photo on the wall.

This diner has a simple and affordable menu, with some interesting surprises. Have you ever wanted to eat outside the box and try peppers and eggs, pepperoni and eggs, or even broccoli and eggs? Now you can, for less than $5. Or just chow down on a full pound of home fries with or without onions for $2.25. That’s a heart attack waiting to happen. They offer 12-inch pancakes as well.

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All-American Diner Tour: Carl’s Kountry Kitchen in Syracuse, New York

Located in Syracuse near the border of the Italian-American hamlet of Lyncourt, New York, Carl’s Kountry Kitchen is a classic greasy spoon right out of the 1960s. Like the surrounding neighborhood, not much has changed here in decades.

On my visit, I ordered the Belgian waffle with blueberries and sausage. The Diet Coke came in a can, which is a pet peeve of mine. They are also a cash only establishment, but provide an ATM. I got the impression Carl’s catered to older regulars, but the waitress was nice and attentive. There is some booth seating, but it has a unique counter setup. There are two, U-shaped counters. The waiter or waitress can walk right up to patrons without ever having to leave the serving area. Condiments, napkins, and silverware are all within easy arms reach behind the counter.

Breakfast is served all day at Carl’s. They offer standard fare of omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, a Belgian waffle, and numbered specials–most of which include two eggs and some kind of side with coffee. They do serve silver dollar pancakes, which is something I haven’t noticed at other diners in the region. Polish Kielbasa, a thick, smoked sausage, is also available.

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