August 8, 2002
Section: Neighbors Syracuse
Edition: Final
Page: 3

They all Flock to 500 Block

Party on Robineau Road Attracts Neighbors and "Alumni"

Luis Perez Staff writer

The block brings them back from near and far.

Some are young, others have a long history on the 500 block of Robineau Road. Neighbors call former neighbors "alumni" and many of them, including a congressman, return every year.

Rep. James Walsh, R-Onondaga, came back Saturday to greet some of his old neighbors at the 30th annual block party, which is considered the oldest in the city, organizers said.

When new residents move into one of the 30 houses on the block, they're made to feel at home right away, neighbors said. That includes participating in the tradition that started out as a July 4th celebration.

Neighbors mark major anniversaries and birthdays by the summertime event.

"I moved in on a block party," said Carla Schmitt of 533 Robineau Road.

That was 12 years ago, she said.

"I had Matthew on the day of the block party," said Corinne Duck, who lives at No. 517.

That was in 1994, she said.

"This block is like no other in the city of Syracuse," said Greg Duck, Corinne's husband.

Even in the Strathmore neighborhood, there is no other street like it, he said.

"Why would anybody move to Fayetteville?" Schmitt said.

Robineau Road offers the best of both worlds - tree-lined streets with back yards and city living, the neighbors said almost in unison.

Neil and Sherry Falcone helped organized the event. The dead-end street is more intimate since there is only one way for everyone to come and go, they said.

"So people really get to know each other," Neil Falcone said.

Neighbor after neighbor has a story about someone on the block helping them during an illness, after a storm or when something broke down.

The first week the Falcones moved in 24 years ago another neighbor helped them with a house repair, Neil Falcone said.

"I didn't know anyone at all," he said.

There's a great mix of young and old on the block. Generations of children have grown up and many come back, the Falcones said. There's also the diversity one expects in a city, they said.

"When people come in they're accepted for who they are," Sherry Falcone said.

Virdeana Krcelich is from Oregon and her husband, Brett, from Pennsylvania.

When the couple, who along with the Falcones co-chaired the event, were looking to buy a house about three years ago, real estate agents kept steering them toward the suburbs, Virdeana Krcelich said.

"Many people wouldn't look first in the city," she said.

Then she found out about No. 523 on Robineau. There's not as much diversity in the suburbs, she said.

The different cultures, values and ideas, whether race, creed or color, are important, she said.

"I want to raise my children exposed to that," Krcelich said.

"I think if you're not exposed to that you're missing out on so much."

Peggy Byrne moved to Westvale seven years ago when her family outgrew her house on Robineau.

"This was a very, very special place to live," she said.

She comes back every year to the block party, Byrne said. She visits at other times as well.

"It's really a fabulous place to raise a family and feel very secure, very safe and very loved," she said.

Copyright, 1993, The Herald Company

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