During the early 20th century consumer photography—and Kodak in particular—was itself an emerging market, much like wearable technology today. People were super excited about these new photographic gadgets. But Eastman Kodak Company didn’t sit back and wait for customers to come to them – they advertised, and they were creative about it.
In fact, film and cameras weren’t the only things coming out of Kodak Park. In 1917, Kodak employees produced and performed an operetta (or a short musical) entitled Kodaki San. One of the featured songs was this piano tune and ode to Rochester…
This week’s photo takes us back to March 21, 1976. That’s glam rock legend David Bowie (center) being arrested on drug charges by undercover cops at the Americana Rochester Hotel on State Street after a concert at the War Memorial. This rare “behind the scenes photo” was passed among the RPD for decades and this week a copy of it found it’s way onto eBay for an asking price of $25,000 $20,000. Get your bids in now – the auction ends tomorrow morning. [Read more about the Bowie arrest here ]
From local development to just plain news of the weird, here are your RocLinks for this past week…
The other day my three-year-old was shooting video of his stuffed animals with his big sister’s iPad, and a wave of nostalgia crashed over me. I suddenly realized my kids will probably never get to experience joy of film photography. They’ll never understand the thrill of loading a fresh roll into the back of a camera. They’ll never feel those mechanical clicks and vibrations of the film advancing to the next frame. And they’ll never know the excitement of getting a stack of pictures back from the developer.
How would I even explain this antique technology to them? I know, I’ll Google it. Hey what do you know, here’s an old manual for the Kodak Brownie Camera (No. 2)…
Here’s a neat little collection of Rochester memorabilia. Matchbooks! Remember when you could buy cigarettes out of a vending machine like soda pop, and just about every business had it’s own matchbooks? Ah, those were the days * COUGH * COUGH * WEEZE * EHK! EHK! HEM… HEEEM!
These were sent to me by a reader. He says he’s not a smoker, but he’s collected them since he was a kid. And now he’d like to sell them. So if you’re interested in local oddities like this, drop me an email and we’ll hook you up with one… or the entire set.
Some of the matchbooks date from the late 1950s and early 1960s. But we think most of them are 1970s & 80s. Check them out for yourself. If you’ve lived in Rochester for any length of time you’ll probably recognize most of these businesses…
I happened to be walking by Eastman Business Park this week when I noticed workers messing with the big Kodak sign. My heart of skipped a beat as my first thought was, they must be taking the sign down. I know it’s just a sign. But it’s also part of our collective story. I’d be disappointed to see it go. So I stopped and asked one of the guys if this was the case…
“I believe when we’re born into this world we’re entrusted with certain things. Our grandparents trust that we’ll work hard to keep and maintain the world that they’ve broken themselves to build. And our children need us to preserve it, and leave it a little bit better than how we inherited it. Preservation is often difficult. But in many ways it’s all we have to keep us grounded; as a society and as people. Future generations need to know what came before them. What was it that made this city great? Who designed and built this place? Who worked here and why? If we destroy the evidence, we cut our children off from the answers forever; and impede our own ability to progress.”
These are words I live by. They’re also the reason I keep this web site. While my family and I are enjoying this sunny Labor Day weekend on the shores of Lake Ontario, I’ll take pause to think about why we have it so damn good in this time and place. For me, the answer can be found in the portraits that follow. These are some of the men, woman, and even children who labored to make the way of life we enjoy today…
If you didn’t already know I have severe OCD, this post is surely going to tip my hand. But here goes.
I LOVE Kodak. I own 3 Kodak cameras (one on me at all times) and countless “Kodak moments” hanging on my walls. In fact the very first thing my children saw after the nurses wiped the goop out of their eyes was—you guessed it—a Kodak camera. But there’s one itty bitty thing that bugs me about Kodak… their 19 story office tower. It looks like it was blown up and patched back together with superglue (which by the way was invented by a Kodak chemist).
I pass by Kodak tower everyday on my to and from work; and everyday I cringe a little bit. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s a gorgeous building with great bones. I just think it needs the 1970’s dusted off. And by George, with a little Photoshop magic I’m going give it my best shot. First a bit of history…
Let me just preface this. Those of you who follow RochesterSubway.com know I am not trying to bring back the Subway—although if Mayor Duffy announced its re-opening tomorrow I’d promptly nominate him to be crowned King of Rochester. My mission is plainly stated at the bottom of every page on this site. I support any initiative that will improve the quality of life for all Rochesterians. A bike lane here or there. Perhaps a few good grocery stores downtown, etc. etc. My goal is to get Rochester thinking about the possibilities and to spark public dialogue.
Most of the feedback I get from my readers is very positive and I’ve had a lot of great ideas thrown my way. But for every 20 people I hear from, there’s usually one person who’s… well… a real visionary. This month’s award goes to Christine B. from Rochester. In fact, I may have to name the award after her. Christine makes the assumption that I am out to garnish her paycheck and use it to bring back the Rochester Subway. And oh boy is she P.O.’d!
A word of caution before you read her monologue… if you’re a Kodak employee, a “liberal”, unemployed, gay, or if you are homeless, some of Christine’s ideas may offend you. But if you read between the lines, I’m sure you’ll see where she’s going with this line of thought. Oh, and PLEASE share your opinions in the comments. I know Christine will appreciate your feedback…
For a little more than 4 years I’ve worked in the High Falls district of Rochester. Last Thursday afternoon I took my lunch (which I usually eat over my computer keyboard) and I walked down Mill Street to Granite Mills Park. Of course you’ve never heard of it. It’s nothing more than a 50 foot square patch of concrete, a few trees, and 3 or 4 benches—not quite a full fledged “park” in the traditional sense. But on this sunny afternoon Granite Mills Park had transformed into a real urban plaza abuzz with music, laughter, people clapping, and even dancing.
A series of midday concerts presented by Hochstein Music School and WXXI called Hochstein at High Falls had kicked off with music provided by the Po Boy’s Brass Band. I don’t know if it was the glorious weather, the site of the surprisingly huge lunch-time crowd, or the sound of those trombones, but think I caught a glimpse of what the future might be like for that neighborhood by the falls…
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.