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Syracuse, New York (U.S.)

Onondaga County

Last modified: 2023-07-08 by rick wyatt
Keywords: new york | syracuse | onondaga county |
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[Flag of Syracuse, New York] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 15 June 2023

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Description of the 2023 flag

The Syracuse Flag Initiative finalist is he First Light Flag.

It was designed by Eric Hart, an eight-generation Syracusan who was born and raised in the Valley! Here is a detailed description of its symbolism:

Six-Pointed Star
The star symbolizes the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee, which the Onondaga Nation plays a central role. It symbolizes the six historical names that Syracuse has been previously known by, as well as the sun and its guiding light, its central location on the flag marking the city's central location in New York State.

Mirrored Triangles and Sunrise
The triangles symbolize the hills of Onondaga, with the left triangle representing the hill westward towards Hiawatha Lake, and the right representing the hill eastward towards Thornden Park. The space between the triangles represents Onondaga Valley, which in connection with the star symbolizes the sunrise over the Valley.

The Chervon and Timeline
The chevron, or the central white triangle, symbolizes the Roman numeral "V" representing the five Common Council districts. It also represents the "V-sign," or peace symbols. In addition, the placement of the triangles represents the city's past, present, and future, with the left pointing towards the past, the central the present, and the right the future.

Each color reflects an aspect and theme of Syracuse, with the azure (light) blue symbolizing Onondaga Lake, the Eric Canal, and perseverance, and intelligence, and the navy (dark) blue symbolizing the hills of Onondaga, and trust, loyalty, and industriousness. Finally, the orange is symbolic of the sun, and regeneration, restoration, courage, passion, and creativity, while the white is symbolic of salt, snow, peace, and purity. Place together at the center, the two colors represent our past of using the sun to pull white salt from our salt springs, as well as the undercurrent of the sun warming us during the cold, white winters.


Ikechukwu Okereke, 14 June 2023

Flag replacement procedure

I am a member of the Syracuse Flag Committee, a citizen-led commission working on a public redesign process for the city flag of Syracuse, NY.

Together with people from all across the city and many different walks of life, we have spent the summer developing a design prospectus, submission form, timeline, and public engagement events which are is inclusive for the diverse groups of people who make up Syracuse.

The committee is still preparing finalized dates and materials for distribution, nevertheless if you would want to learn more about the initiative, you can check out our website, or you can send inquiries to the committee itself at, or the entity organizing this initiative, Adapt CNY at

Ikechukwu Okereke, 16 October 2022

Deadline for submissions of a flag: 17 February 2023
Ikechukwu Okereke, 17 February 2023

After weeks of feedback and discussion, the Syracuse Flag Committee has finally chosen a finalist, based on your responses! We will be unveiling the design at today's Common Council meeting at 12:00pm! You can find the stream here under Study Session June 14th 2023! Thank you so much for your time, support, and interest over this process! Also, happy Flag Day!
Ikechukwu Okereke, 14 June 2023

Yesterday, with a unanimous vote, the Syracuse Flag Initiative finalist, First Light, has been adopted by the Common Council, making it the new city flag.
Ikechukwu Okereke, 21 June 2023

Description of the 1994 flag

[Flag of Syracuse, New York] image by Rob Raeside, 28 August 2016

Wikipedia shows a b&w drawing of what it purports is the city flag of Syracuse NY at This has a large logo with the Mayor's name underneath. The logo is rectangular on its lower portion, and semi-circular on the upper portion. It has been reproduced on many other websites. But I am suspicious about this claim. In addition to the unlikelihood of the city putting its mayor's name on the flag, and having to change it with every change in administration, I am doubtful of this flag for another reason. A photo at shows the Mayor of Syracuse in front of a white flag with a blue & gold circular emblem which looks as if it is the city seal. I think that this is much more likely to be the official flag of the city.
Ned Smith, 17 September 2005

The city does have a flag as partly shown here in the Mayor's biography on the city website: The flag is white with a city seal in black and gold. While not listed in the U.S. City flag survey, Syracuse does have a flag. Hopefully someone can locate more information. My recent emails to the mayors office on the issue have been unanswered.
Ben Cahoon, 7 June 2008

It looks like the current flag is light blue-white-light blue in 3 horizontal stripes with the official city seal centered on the white stripe.  The white stripe looks to be twice as wide as the light-blue ones. The seal looks like the 1885/1974 seal with the white areas done in gold. Syracuse city seal details:
Ben Cahoon, 27 May 2010

I received several photos of the Syracuse city flag in high resolution. They all (except one) show the seal without smoke, and that's the one that I received in b/w version in PDF. The one photo of the flag outdoors shows the flag with a coloured seal (I mean in full color, not yellow-black).
Valentin Poposki, 9 June 2010

The current flag has green grass, yellow sun rays, no smoke, and dates from 1994.
Ben Cahoon, 28 August 2016

Detail of seal

[Flag of Syracuse, New York] image by Chris Bedwell, 31 July 2016

1974-1986 flag

[Flag of Syracuse, New York] image by Rob Raeside, 28 August 2016

This seal is also prominently featured in an image at
Paul Bassinson, 22 May 2016

Detail of seal in 1885 flag

[Colored Seal of Syracuse, New York] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 June 2010

[1885-1974 City Seal of Syracuse, New York]  image provided by Ben Cahoon, 27 May 2010

I attached the 1885 city seal, however, the smoke was removed in 1974, but I don't have an image of the newer version. The original seal was in use 1885-1974; used 1974-1986 with smoke removed, 1994 the version readopted.
Ben Cahoon, 27 May 2010

Logo flag

[Logo flag of Syracuse, New York] image by Clayton Horner, 15 August 2016

I bought this flag of Syracuse, New York from a seller in Redding, CA several years ago. It is quite different from the ones described above. The white tag attached to the staff says "Manufactured under License from the City of Syracuse".
Clayton Horner, 15 August 2016

The seal on the flag Clayton found is described on the Wikipedia pages about the city's former seals as having been adopted in 1986 by Mayor Thomas Young replacing the 'updated' seal of 1974 (which no longer had smoke being emitted from the smokestacks from 1885 seal). The 1986 city seal lasted as official city seal until 1994 when the next mayor re-adopted the 1974 seal while keeping the 1986 seal for tourism and economic development purposes. My guess is this one is from 1986-1994.
Ben Cahoon, 17 August 2016

[Municipal seal] image located by Paul Bassinson, 13 October 2019

Paul Bassinson, 13 October 2019

Police Department

[Flag of Police Department, New York] image located by Paul Bassinson, 27 February 2021

An image of the flag of the Syracuse Police Department from shows it is a blue flag with the badge centered on a white disk.
Paul Bassinson, 27 February 2021