Pennies have gotten a bad rap. Maybe it's due to "Pennywise," the evil clown in Stephen King's It. Maybe it's because the cost of manufacturing a copper penny these days exceeds the value of our smallest form of currency. So, the penny doesn't carry the weight it once did.

However, pennies are still worth SOMETHING, especially if you use them wisely here in Central New York. There are two schools of thought when it comes to pennies. Let's separate the facts from the fiction on National Lucky Penny Day (May 23rd).

First, if you're feeling lucky, here's a list of popular penny superstitions:

  • Tossing a penny overboard while traveling at sea guarantees a safe trip.
  • Keep a coin in a baby’s crib, and the baby will grow up to be healthy, wealthy and wise. (This one seems like a SERIOUS choking hazard!)
  • Tossing a penny over your left shoulder into water or a wishing well will make your wish come true.
  • Place a penny in your shoe to bring good fortune. (Sounds REALLY uncomfortable.)
  • When you find a penny, only keep it if it’s heads-up; otherwise, it’s not lucky. If it’s tails-up, turn it over for the next person to find. Note: Some people don’t believe this. They say all found pennies are lucky.

There IS a more practical side to pennies. You could save them in a jar, or roll them up and deposit them in the bank. You could hide them around the house and have a rainy day scavenger hunt for the kids. And here are some cool D-I-Y penny projects.

So Sweet! Candy Cafe on Varick Street in Utica still offers penny candies. And, even though owner Margaret Rienzo says the candies are "not exactly a penny anymore," they're still affordable and yummy.

If a penny-themed bar is your jam, try The Penny, in Syracuse's Armory Square.

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