She’s a thing of beauty, don’t you think? Hundreds of thousands of square feet packed with mind-strengthening knowledge, all wrapped in 16 stories of brick and limestone, and capped off with 6,668 pounds of bronze bells. It’s the largest musical instrument in the city of Rochester, and also one of the top 50 research libraries in North America.
Proudly watching over the Eastman Quad , Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester seems to call out, “Come to me. Come to me and get your education on.” Personally, I’ve always wondered what the views are like from the top of that bell tower. What do you say we all climb up inside there and race to the top? Let’s go…
Two important cases will go before the Zoning Board this Thursday: the ongoing saga of one historic church on Main Street, and design concerns regarding the future College Town. Salvation for the church, as well as the promise of a pedestrian-friendly College Town, may hang in the balance.
First, if you’ve been following the story of the little white church at 660 W. Main Street, owner Marvin Maye will make one more appeal to challenge the building’s status as a Designated Building of Historic Value. If he succeeds, he could have a clear path forward to demolish the 140-something-year-old church.* And in its place would go a Dollar General store…
“The units at Erie Harbor are very poorly designed and overpriced… The ground floor units don’t even have a view of the river – it is blocked by a berm… Shoddy construction… The stairs creak… Tacky… Ugliest building in Rochester…” These are all comments you may have heard about the Erie Harbor Apartments which were officially opened last fall .
When comments like these were left under a recent post on RochesterSubway.com, Jim Mayer didn’t take it sitting down. He contacted me and invited me to visit his home. He and his wife Irene sold their home in Brighton and now live at Erie Harbor. I admit, after nearly a three hour visit, I left feeling a bit jealous at just how much this couple is loving life in their new digs…
“It’s one of the eeriest, strangest places I’ve ever been.” That’s what Chris Seward said of this little known spot on the University of Rochester campus when he took these photos. The Merle Spurrier Gymnasium opened in 1955 as part of a women’s center and the Susan B. Anthony women’s dormitory. Spurrier housed this 25-yard-long, six lane swimming pool. According to a 2004 Campus Times article , the pool has been closed ever since the women’s gym facilities were moved to the Robert B. Goergen Athletic Center in 1982…
Ryan Green is a student at University of Rochester. Last month, after joining up with the University’s Urban Explorers (UrbEx ) club, he toured Rochester’s Times Square Building, formerly the Genesee Valley Trust Company . You probably know it by the enormous set of wings on top of it. Aside from maybe the Mercury statue, those “wings of progress” are easily the most recognizable element of Rochester’s skyline. And while they have a story all their own, there’s plenty more history to be found on the fourteen floors beneath.
Although the building is not open for public tours, Richard Calabrese Jr., who manages the property, says he likes touring the urban explorer group because of their genuine curiosity. Although, if a fundraising tour is requested, Calabrese says he’d consider that. “I have all kinds of history that I’ve learned over the years.” Ryan Green had such a good time touring the building, he wanted to share these photos, and his experience, with us…
In case you haven’t heard, plans for a transit center at University of Rochester’s College Town have been scrapped. The project is set to receive $20 Million in public loans but the D&C reported that plans for an enclosed transit center—which would have had 10 to 12 bus bays—no longer fits the developers’ needs.
America seems to have taken a renewed interest in mobility. Maybe due to President Obama’s recent commitment to high speed rail—or perhaps the positive results seen in towns like Portland and Denver have caught our collective attention. Whatever the reason, from the top down, people are rethinking our automobile-oriented culture—and getting excited about the possibilities.
There’s also good reason to focus on transportation as a way of jump-starting economic development. Industry requires access to people. And people need to have easy access to centers of employment. Continually improving access makes further development possible. Interrupting access will have the opposite effect. Likewise, doing nothing or simply maintaining existing infrastructure for an extended period of time will also hinder development.
For 30+ years Rochester has relied on the infrastructure choices it made in the 1950′s, 60′s, and 70′s. At that time we made development choices that encouraged our population to emigrate from the downtown core. We scrapped our extensive streetcar system, choked off downtown with the construction of the inner-loop, and paved super highways to take us from the city to the NY State Thruway and beyond. Since then that’s exactly where our money, our workforce, and our future have gone—down I-490 and out of state.
“The organ [at Christ Church, Rochester NY] is a unique instrument, not only because of its lovely sound, but also because it is a nearly exact copy of a late Baroque organ built by Adam Gottlob Casparini of East Prussia in 1776. The original stands in the Holy Ghost Church in Vilnius, Lithuania. There is no other contemporary organ quite like the one at Christ Church.” These were the remarks of Guy Gugliotta, writer for the New York Times in a recent editorial entitled New Pipe Organ Sounds Echo of Age of Bach.
My brother-in-law who lives in Delaware spotted the article in the NY Times and immediately sent an email to tell me he found another reason to come and visit us in Rochester—to which I wittily replied, “Like you need another reason?” But he was truly impressed—as was I. Having walked past the Christ Church on East Avenue a zillion times before, I’m embarrassed to say I had no idea there was such a local treasure inside. So last week, my family and I decided to break tradition and attend a 10 o’clock Christmas Eve service just so we could witness the Craighead-Saunders Pipe Organ first hand. My brother-in-law was so jealous…
If I said Rochester may one day have a rapid transportation system linking RIT to downtown Rochester and beyond, you might automatically think ‘light rail’. Think again. RochesterSubway.com recently discussed the future of Rochester’s transportation infrastructure with Richard Perrin, Executive Director of the Genesee Transportation Council and an AICP certified city planner.
NOTE: If you’ve got a question that we didn’t ask in our interview, please leave a comment at the end of this post and we’ll pass it along to Mr. Perrin who will do his best to answer it as time permits.
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. We believe Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.