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Syracuse, New York: Green on Top Traffic Light and Statue

Supposedly the only working traffic light in the U.S. with an upside-down color sequence. Its Irish neighborhood kept smashing the green-on-bottom light with rocks. A bronze statue on the corner celebrates the smashing.

101 Milton Ave., Syracuse, NY
West side of the city, in a residential neighborhood, at the intersection of Tompkins St. and Milton Ave. The "Stonethrowers" statue is on the northeast corner.
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Green On Top Traffic Light Statue

The way the local Irish persuaded the city officials to place the green on top was by regularly breaking the red lens with well-aimed stones. Known as the Stonethrowers, they are now memorialized with a bronze statue in a small corner park adjacent to the unique signal's intersection. A tavern on the block is named Stonethrowers as well.

[Kevin Shumway, 02/07/2021]

The life-size bronze statue features a family of locals; the dad gestures toward the stoplight; the son has a slingshot in his pocket.

Upside Down Traffic Light.

Upside Down Stoplight

In the Irish section of Syracuse, you'll find perhaps the only upside down stoplight in America, with green on top and red on the bottom. Legend has it that when this stoplight was installed in 1925, the local Irish residents did not want red, a color reminiscent of the British flag, to be situated higher than green, a color closely associated with the Irish. It is said that the residents successfully persuaded the installation of an upside down stoplight.

[Pete Wade, 02/19/2018]

Green on Top Traffic Light.

Green on Top Traffic Light

The upside down traffic light was doing its job while I was filming a recent episode of Exploring The Obscure.

[Tim Martini/Exploring The Obscure, 12/09/2015]

Green on Top traffic light.

Green on Top Traffic Light

Green on Top Traffic Light is referred to as "the upside-down light" by the locals. It is tradition to paint the road under the light green as soon as it becomes St. Patrick's day (12:01 AM march 17th). The fun continues as everyone swarms to Coleman's (at the end of the block) for good old fashioned Irish green beer (Only the little Irish are allowed to use the Leprechaun phone booth and Leprechaun door at the famous Coleman's.).

This is the biggest day of the year on "Tip Hill," Syracuse's "Irish" neighborhood. People spend weeks to prepare for this event.

[Diana Rapp, 07/03/2008]

December 2015: Photo added.

Green on Top Traffic Light

Irish pride abounds in the Tipperary Hill neighborhood of Syracuse, NY, where the only working traffic light with green on the top can be found in the US.

[Anne Irwin, 11/29/2006]

Betcha color blind drivers appreciate that touch of signal whimsy....

Nearby Offbeat Places

24-Second Shot Clock24-Second Shot Clock, Syracuse, NY - 2 mi.
House Atop a FactoryHouse Atop a Factory, Syracuse, NY - 2 mi.
9/11 Memorial Park9/11 Memorial Park, Syracuse, NY - 2 mi.
In the region:
Custom Automotive Museum, Seneca Falls, NY - 33 mi.

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