Here’s what our neighbors like about Liverpool

— Ever wonder what the rest of Central New York thinks of Liverpool?

The Syracuse New Times’ “Best of Syracuse” edition gives us a pretty good idea. Published on Oct. 2, the list of favorite places and performers includes a baker’s dozen “best” with roots in Liverpool.

Our neighbors’ most-admired local spots include Liverpool Public Library, The Retreat patio, Ichiban, Flamingo Bowl, Wegmans Good Dog Park, Original Italian Pizza, Fantasy Fashions and Onondaga Lake Park in three different categories, including Best Outdoor Make-Out Spot!

Under Arts & Entertainment, the Best Bluegrass Band is Diamond Someday featuring Liverpool songwriter Shirley Stevens and Dobro master Dick DeNeve. Best Jazz Band honors went to The Central New York Jazz Orchestra, whose drummer, Larry Luttinger, lives in Liverpool and doubles as executive director of CNY Jazz Central.

Ever since I was a kid a half-century ago, I’ve heard local folks insist that a black panther inhabits Northern Onondaga County.

Then one evening at dusk I saw the thing. If it wasn’t a panther, it was an unusually large black cat, roaming around just south of Hinerwadel’s. I’d been attending one of former Assemblyman Mike Bragman’s clambakes there that day when I and my fellow journalist, Walt Shepperd, wandered away from the crowd to enjoy a few sips of whiskey from a bottle I’d bought.

I know what you’re thinking, but believe me, we had yet to fully feel the effect of those spirits. Our black panther was no pink elephant.

Walt and I sat at a picnic table gaping at the ferocious feline a hundred yards out into the field, and we were relieved when it ran in the opposite direction. We didn’t want to see its claws and teeth close-up.

Anyhow, I wonder if author and folklorist Melanie Zimmer has studied the reports of panther-sightings in the Cicero area. Her book, “Forgotten Tales of New York” recalls an incident in 1800 near Marathon when Abram Brink found himself being stalked through the woods by a panther. He scared it off by clanging a recently repaired plowshare he was carrying home from Lisle.

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