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The Bath House at Durand Eastman Beach

July 30th, 2014
Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development | 7 Comments »

This was the bath house at Durand Eastman Beach. It opened in 1916 and by 1949 was closed due to high water. [PHOTO: Rochester Municipal Archives]
Durand Eastman Park has long been a popular recreational destination for Rochesterians. Last year while digging into the legend of the Lady in White I came across some old photos of the park’s construction, as well as some interesting old structures. The stone foundation of the old refectory is still there (often mistaken for a fort or castle ruins). But there was another interesting feature of the park which has long vanished. The bath house…

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Renovation Underway for South Wedge Landmark

July 27th, 2014
Posted in Rochester History, Rochester News, Urban Development | 2 Comments »

Calvary St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at the corner of Averill and Ashland St, Rochester NY. [PHOTO: Provided]
The corner of Averill Avenue and Ashland Street external link is buzzing as a major renovation takes place at Calvary St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Parish external link. The winter of 2014, which brought ice dams and water damage to the historic structure, also brought an insurance settlement and a generous benefactor to restore the building to its original luster…

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‘Some Boy Causing Fuss’ First Warning Of Trouble in Rochester Riot Area

July 24th, 2014
Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images | 3 Comments »

Scene from the Rochester riots, July 24-26, 1964. [PHOTO: Rochester Municipal Archives]
On July 24, 1964 external link a series of events external link took place which led to three of the darkest days in Rochester’s history. They had come to Rochester seeking a better life, yet African Americans in Rochester at that time still had to fight for jobs, fight for education, fight for housing… even for the simple right to stand on the sidewalk in their own neighborhood and not be questioned by police. By the 1960s the mistreatment of black people in this country—over the course of centuries—finally reached a boiling point. And Rochester was in the eye of the storm…

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Abandoned Girl Scout Camp Beech-Wood

July 21st, 2014
Posted in Rochester Destinations, Rochester History, Rochester Images, Urban Exploration | 10 Comments »

Beechwood Park in Sodus, NY is a former Girl Scouts of America summer camp. The property has been left as it was abandoned in 1996. [PHOTO: Chris Clemens and Luke Myer]
My buddies Chris Clemens and Luke Myer (from the Burned Over District external link blog) recently shared these photos with me. Chris and Luke were on their way to Sodus on an unrelated exploration trip when they recalled stories of a nearby abandoned Girl Scout camp and decided to stop and check it out [map external link].

Luke says his mother camped here when she was a little girl. In fact, many Girl Scouts earned a badge or two here over its 60+ year history. This was camp Beech-Wood and the following is an excerpt from NYfalls.com external link about its history…

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Double Jeopardy for Historic Rochester Church

July 14th, 2014
Posted in Rochester History, Rochester News, Urban Development | 30 Comments »

The Zoning Board will decide AGAIN whether or not to allow the former Westminster Presbyterian Church at 660 West Main Street to be demolished. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
“Double Jeopardy” wasn’t invented by Alex Trebek. It’s actually a procedural defense in our system of justice that forbids a defendant from being tried more than once for the same (or similar) charges. Unfortunately this rule doesn’t seem to apply with historic preservation in Rochester. Because the very same owner of this historic church at 660 West Main Street external link will, for a second time, ask the Zoning Board for permission to demolish the structure to make way for a discount store.

Dawn Noto is president of the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association. She was concerned about the demolition plans in March of 2013 when the Zoning Board blocked them the first time. This time Dawn says the conditions are no different and the City should be working with the owner on a plan to rehab the church building instead of entertaining his plan for a second time…

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Rochester Contemporary’s 6×6 Art Show: 2014 Picks from Curator Bleu Cease

July 7th, 2014
Posted in Art + Culture, Rochester Destinations, Rochester News | No Comments »

Don't miss this year's 6x6 Art Show at Rochester Contemporary Art Center!
The 7th “6×6″ art exhibition is going on right now at Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) external link. This exhibit began as a one-time fundraiser in 2008 but has returned every year since then due to its incredible success. 6×6 is RoCo’s only major fundraiser. All artworks are offered for sale—anonymously—to the public for $20, with all proceeds going to support the Art Center. The artist’s names are revealed to the buyer upon purchase.

In 2014 the show has grown to include over 6,700 artworks external link from all 50 states and 65 countries.

Here are a few of the top picks from this year’s show sent to us by Bleu Cease, Executive Director and curator of the gallery…

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High Falls Repaints Old “Ghost Signs”

July 1st, 2014
Posted in Art + Culture, Rochester History, Rochester Images, Rochester News | 19 Comments »

The High Falls Business Association has been repainting some of the old 'ghost' advertising signs on buildings along Mill Street. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
You know those faded advertisements on the sides of old brick buildings? You may have heard them referred to as ghost signs because they’re usually just barely there, hanging on like spirits of a bygone era. Yeah, I love those things. Probably because they combine my two favorite hobbies: graphic design and local history.

The building I work in (in the High Falls neighborhood) has one of these signs on it. So naturally I took notice when someone began painting over it…

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Campaign to Restore Rochester Subway Car 60 Kicks Off Sunday

June 28th, 2014
Posted in Events, Rochester Destinations, Rochester History, Rochester News, Rochester Subway | 1 Comment »

The last remaining Rochester subway car #60. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
You may recall last year when Otto Vondrak told us the story of how the sole survivor of the Rochester subway fleet, Car 60, found its way home to Rochester. Since 1998 the car has been at the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum awaiting restoration. To be perfectly honest, most of the volunteers who were involved in its return to Rochester passed on, putting restoration efforts on the back burner. But now, finally, this Sunday the museum will kick off a fundraising (and awareness building) campaign to restore Rochester Subway Car 60 for the public to enjoy once again…

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Juan & Maria Host a Garage Sale; Benefit for Daughter’s Cancer Fight

June 26th, 2014
Posted in Events, Rochester News | 1 Comment »

Juan & Maria's Empanada Stop at Rochester's Public Market.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Juan & Maria Contreras. Their family has been serving up the tastiest (and friendliest) Spanish-American food at the Public Market for almost as long as I myself have been a Rochesterian. Their homemade empanadas external link have earned their place alongside the Garbage Plate and the Zwiegle’s white hot. Over 1,000 empanadas have been known to fly out of this little food stand on any given day at the market, but no matter how busy they are, Juan always has time to greet each customer with a warm, “How are YOU my friend?”

Now our friends need our help. Their daughter, Carolina (33) has been locked in a battle against a rare and deadly form of cancer known as Clear Cell Sarcoma. This Sunday at the Rochester Public Market the Contreras family will host a garage sale to help raise money for Carolina’s fight for life…

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Edgewater Developer Walks Us Through Rochester’s Port Project

June 23rd, 2014
Posted in Interviews, Rochester Destinations, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development | 92 Comments »

Greg Weykamp, owner of Edgewater Resources walks us through the Port of Rochester development plan.
You’ve read about it. You’ve heard plenty of commentary about it. And if you’re like me, you still have plenty of questions about the Port of Rochester development. This past weekend Greg Weykamp, owner of Edgewater Resources, LLC spent an hour with me on site to answer my questions on everything from the design of the marina & proposed development, accessibility, marketability, and parking/traffic concerns.

In this six-part video series, Weykamp addresses many of the concerns expressed by Charlotte neighbors over the past few months. No doubt there will still be more questions as the project enters the design phase. But his willingness to spend time with me (and my two kids who are dancing around in the background) showed me that this may not be the monster some people have made him out to be external link. But you can watch for yourself, and please let me know what you think…

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Guess What This Thursday is… ROC Transit Day!

June 17th, 2014
Posted in Events, Opinion, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | No Comments »

ROC Transit Day is this Thursday. Make plans now to leave your car parked.
Reconnect Rochester is a non-profit organization I founded a few years ago to advocate for transportation alternatives in Rochester. We work for pedestrian-friendly streets, and we push for improved public transportation. These things are important to me because I’ve seen firsthand what happens to places that focus too much attention on providing spaces for automobiles, and not enough on spaces for people.

If you don’t quite get what I’m talking about, you can listen to me blabber on external link. But if you’re already with me, please make plans to leave your car at home this Thursday; a day we’re calling “ROC Transit Day”…

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$500 Treasure Hunt

June 9th, 2014
Posted in Events, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | No Comments »

ROC Transit Day

A $500 CASH prize is up for grabs in The Great ROC Transit Day Treasure Hunt!

On June 19, FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS (U.S.) will be hiding somewhere in Rochester. The first person (or team of people) to find it will take all. There’s just one catch… no cars allowed. To claim this jackpot you’ll need to use the bus system, walk or bike. Get your first clue now at www.ROCtransitday.com external link.

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Legality of Lyft and Other Ridesharing Operations in Rochester Seem Fuzzy – For Now

June 9th, 2014
Posted in Interviews, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | 22 Comments »

Lyft is a San Francisco–based company whose mobile-phone app facilitates peer-to-peer ridesharing; enabling passengers who need a ride to request one from drivers in their area. [PHOTO: Lyft]
Last week I shared an interview with a local Lyft driver. A debate in the comments—and on Facebook—about the legality of rideshare services (such as Lyft) immediately ensued. After hearing from both sides of the issue, I’m just as confused as I was before.

On one hand, Lyft has responded to these challenges by saying its service is absolutely not illegal, and that their insurance has drivers and passengers covered. On the other hand, a local insurance agent, Michael Montag has reached out to RochesterSubway.com. He believes Lyft drivers are operating illegally – even if Lyft itself may not be illegal. I’ll post both responses here, and if you’re thinking of driving for Lyft or similar services, do your homework first…

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Need a Lyft?

June 2nd, 2014
Posted in Interviews, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | 10 Comments »

Lyft is a San Francisco–based company whose mobile-phone app facilitates peer-to-peer ridesharing; enabling passengers who need a ride to request one from drivers in their area. [PHOTO: Flickr, Bootleggerson]
Have you seen one of these big pink mustaches tooling around town lately? This past April a ridesharing service called Lyft external link entered the Rochester market. Lyft connects people—via mobile app—who need a ride with drivers in their area. The pink facial hair is sort of the calling card of the Lyft brand.

Recently I got to talking with a local Lyft driver, Fred from Penfield, and he says from his point of view, the service has been a smashing success. “There are about 40 of us in Rochester,” says Fred. “We are similar to Uber and Sidecar, but we are much friendlier and have a much bigger focus on safety.”

Besides the pink moustaches, it’s also common for drivers and passengers to fist pump at the start of each ride. The following is a summary of our conversation about Lyft…

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