© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Syracuse has a new city flag. Here's what it means

Eric Hart's "First Light Flag" is the new official City of Syracuse flag
Artist: Eric Hart
Eric Hart's "First Light Flag" is the new official City of Syracuse flag

The city of Syracuse officially has a new flag and it was designed by a man whose family has lived in this area for eight generations.

The flag was raised over City Hall for the first time as the city's official flag on July 5.

Eric Hart said he designed 270 different versions of the flag before he decided the “First Light" flag was the one he wanted to submit.

"Something that could really make sense for the city of Syracuse and be a rallying sort of emblem for the people to guide them forward through anything the city's going through," he said.

Hart spoke on the heels of the Syracuse Common Council’s unanimous approval of his design. It was a four-year process, launched by Adapt CNY, to replace the former city flag, which was chosen as the result of a public contest in 1915.

Adapt CNY created aSyracuse Flag Committee, which received nearly 300 design submissions from all over the world. That was narrowed down to four semi-finalists, and the public voted to pick a winner.

Artist: Eric Hart

The center of the new flag features a six-pointed star representing the six nations of the Haudenosaunee and the six historical names of Syracuse. Hart said he carefully chose the star’s orange color.

"It's this sun, this bright guiding light, this North Star rising over the valley, guiding it, pouring its light over the hills and the valleys of Onondaga,” Hart said. “It's to drive us forward together in a positive, unified, inclusive way."

The flag also features two triangles in different shades of blue. The azure blue symbolizes Onondaga Lake and perseverance and the navy represents the hills of Onondaga and industriousness.

Behind the star, a white background represents salt, snow, peace, and purity. Hart said he’s looking forward to seeing the flag displayed across the city.

"It is going to be so humbling for me and such a proud moment for me to see it, but it's not my flag anymore,” he said. “I may be the designer of the flag, and I may have spent and put in all of my life into that flag, but it's everyone's flag."

The new flag is licensed under “creative commons zero,” putting it in the public domain, so it can be used for multiple purposes.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.