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17 Responses to “Confessions of an Urban Explorer: “Damn Conscience””

  1. Rybread says:

    That picture from ’66 is a beauty. I’ve checked out the area a couple times this month. I can’t help but get a sense of loss knowing what is to come…I wish I knew about this area when it was truly green.

    Imagine if they kept Building 5 and had somehow incorporated it into City Gate- sort of like Village Gate- with small shops/restaurants/offices throughout. Per Rocwiki: “The Village Gate is an old factory complex owned by Stern Properties which was converted a pseudo-urban-mall-like area in 1981.” Heck, it even has a smoke stack.

  2. WhatAloss says:

    I drive past these buildings multiple times a week and have always wondered about their past (I even contacted rochestersubway.com about them) and though/think they are some of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in Rochester. As I keep seeing more and more of them get taken down it makes my heart break. I know the extra cost of restoring them is very high but wish that someone would have stepped in long ago before they even got to the point they did instead of just building something new. Hard to believe they couldn’t even take the time to remove the incredible wood doors and trim before ripping everything down. I think knowing this was once a building full of children looking for help makes it a bit harder to swallow.

  3. Douglas Fisher says:

    Our sympathies for your plight. Demolition is an all-too-quick “solution” for whatever people cannot be bothered with.

    In the Midtown Plaza demolition case, for example, fine oak wood panelling and oak showcases had been installed in Midtown by a tenant, who had removed them from his previous location in the Powers Building at the Four Corners. That store — Whillock Brothers — had been a high-class men’s clothing store since 1878, with George Eastman as a prominent patron.

    All this oak woodwork and showcases were deemed “fixtures,” so the tenant was barred from removing them from Midtown at the conclusion of his lease there. Nor were they permitted to have been sold at the Midtown Plaza shutdown auction, as they were affixed to the walls, and theoretically could contain lead. Sure. Right.

    If someone had just “illegally” taken them, they would have been saved for posterity. Instead, all that beautiful and historic 1878 woodwork ended up in a Dumpster.

    In the 1980s, prominent local sculptor Albert Paley was commissioned to design and fabricate classy bus stop wait stations for Rochester’s Main Street. They were terrific works of useful art. As I recall, they cost about $100,000 each, in 1980s dollars.

    During the demolition of Midtown Plaza, the Paley bus stop wait station at Main & Clinton could have been relocated to some other bus stop location where it would have been much needed, saving a work of art in the process.

    Instead, this landmarking bus stop work of art was crushed, destroyed and hauled away to a landfill somewhere.

    As the Rochester bus routes soon shift bus stops away from Main Street to the Mortimer Street Bus Barn, what will then happen to the then-unneeded Paley wait stations at the bus stops that will be deactivated on Main Street?

    We already see signage that the Liberty Pole bus stop is “closed.”

    I do not know whether these Paley structures are owned by the City of Rochester or by the Regional Transit Service (RTS) or by the Rochester Regional Transportation authority (RGRTA).

    Steps should be taken NOW to protect these soon-to-be-unused structures from destruction, and to have them relocated to other bus stops where they would be very much needed and welcomed.

  4. @Douglas, I’m fairly certain the City of Rochester owns and operates all those Main Street shelters, not RTS.

  5. Paula says:

    That’s very sad Douglas. I didn’t know that…:(

  6. Douglas Fisher says:

    These Albert Paley bus stop shelters are well worth saving and relocating to bus stops where they will be used and appreciated.

    This issue needs to be raised and addressed with the shelter owner BEFORE contracts are let to remove/demolish them in conjunction with opening of the Mortimer Street Bus Barn.

  7. GP says:

    My Grandmother Passed away at the Iola Complex.She was 42 years old and died from TB My Mother was 11 years old.It is to bad that the City or County do not look in to ways to Keep some of the Complex or Recycle some of the Artifacts. Just like Midtown. always in a rush to remove Buildings.Some of the Older building’s give the area Character!Times are Sad.

  8. City Observer says:

    In the mid 1980’s, in conjunction with the City of Rochester’s Main Street reconstruction project, Albert Paley was commissioned to create the railings along the Main St Bridge over the river. These were paid for by a donation from Bausch and Lomb and there is a plaque identifying this information on the north side of the bridge. The mark of “Paley Studios” can also be seen on the railings.
    The custom bus shelters were part of the City’s reconstruction project and were designed (I believe) by the City’s design consultant – who also designed the custom street light fixtures that coordinate with them and line Main St for the length of the project from Chestnut to Plymouth. The shelters are attractive, classy even. But before we elevate them to the stature of being irreplaceable Paley Artwork let’s try to be certain that is correct. They bear no evidence of coming from Paley Studios.

    Also, since the form and quality of the RGRTA Transit Center has more than begun to take shape on Mortimer Stret, do you think it might be time to drop the use of condescending, pejorative term “Bus Barn”?

  9. John Lam says:

    Douglas, as a lawyer, you could help draft legislation to allow claims on deconstruction salvage. Rather than landfill construction materials developers can’t profitably sell, or just don’t care to sell, the public ought have an interest in salvage as if it were left curbside.

    Another route: the state ought make regular claims to the rights on deconstruction salvage in return for public money spent to help the project.

  10. Douglas Fisher says:

    I just discussed this issue this evening with Albert Paley in person. City Observer is correct. Bausch & Lomb commissioned him for the Main Street Bridge railings, but the City of Rochester handled the bus shelters.

    My basic point, however, was that these wait stations are useful, attractive and cost good dollars. Why waste these salient features by destroying the shelters when they could be relocated to other bus stops where they are lacking, needed, and would be much appreciated by bus patrons?

  11. Doug says:

    Ugh, my coworker and our boss were gushing over the new Costco yesterday. I wanted to say something about how it was a shame that they’re tearing down these beautiful buildings, but I couldn’t find a way to word it that didn’t sound like I was whining about a bunch of abandoned buildings. :/

    I am not looking forward to the new view of my work commute.

  12. @Doug, Unfortunately, there’s no winning that argument. You’re probably better off keeping your job 😉

    Or maybe slip them a link to this site.

  13. bones says:

    I was a volunteer for the Monroe County Office of Civil Defense in the early and mid 70’s. Their name was updated to the Office of Emergency Preparedness. This office was in Iola in what was referred to as the Administration Building when I joined. The CD office was moved to another building in the Iola complex and the former site was turned into a parking lot. There was a tunnel that connected Iola with the Monroe County Hospital across the street on E. Henrietta Road.

  14. Nathanael says:

    If there’s a demolition expected, unless a “deconstruction” crew has specifically been hired, *always* grab anything valuable for preservation. Always.

  15. chase tyler says:

    ___
    / /
    / /
    _____/ /___
    / / / /
    /__ /__/__/
    !………….!
    ! !
    This is what I have to say about Citygate.

  16. chase tyler says:

    Well, that didn’t work quite the way I expected…

  17. I left my decoder ring at the office. But I think I understand what you’re saying.


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