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Strong Museum of Play Welcomes New Inductees to National Toy Hall of Fame

November 24th, 2020
Posted in Rochester Destinations | No Comments »

Whether you’re a parent, a child, or simply young at heart, you might have toys on the brain during this time of year. Back in 1964, 94,000 pedal-powered toy Mustangs were purchased for children during the Christmas season. And while more than 50 years may have gone by, we’re still paying tribute to the toys that shaped our childhoods thanks to Rochester’s own Strong Museum of Play and its National Toy Hall of Fame.

Earlier this month, the renowned museum announced three new inductees into its National Toy Hall of Fame. Recognized for their popularity, creativity, and cultural impact, the 2020 honorees included sidewalk chalk, Jenga, and Baby Nancy — the first babydoll to have an afro hairstyle and other Black features.

Baby Nancy was a highlight for many, as she was the first doll created by California-based company Shindana Toys, which was launched by a not-for-profit organization called Operation Bootstrap, Inc. The organization as created as a means of self-help for the Black community following the Watts riots in Los Angeles. The doll soon became the best-selling Black doll in the city and quickly thereafter became a hit nationwide. Baby Nancy’s popularity showcased the demand for ethnically accurate Black dolls — and while Shindana Toys succumbed to financial issues in the 1980s, Strong Museum curator Michelle Parnett-Dwyer noted that Baby Nancy “still stands as a landmark doll that made commercial and cultural breakthroughs.”

Museum chief curator Christopher Bensch also acknowledged that recent events, both across the country and at home in Rochester, Baby Nancy’s new inductee status holds an even more significant meaning. “In the wake of protests, demonstrations and a larger understanding of racial inequities, it was time to recognize the breakthrough that was Baby Nancy,” he said.

Even if you didn’t own a Baby Nancy doll, however, you probably played with sidewalk chalk. While 90% of people believe the arts should be taught in grades K-12 and 2,721,786 students enroll in charter schools nationally every year, sidewalk chalk makes it easy for children (and adults, for that matter) to use their imagination and be creative with a unique artistic medium even outside of school.

Bensch explained, “There are few limits to what kids can do with chalk. Every sidewalk square, patio, and driveway holds the potential for a work of art, a winning game of strategy and cleverness, or a demonstration of physical agility, poise, and balance.”

And then there’s Jenga, a wildly popular yet simple wooden block game that derives its name for the Swahili word for “to build.” Created by UK resident Leslie Scott, Jenga can easily be played by anyone with no limit to the number of players. And while laws note that child support should be payable by a parent until a child turns 21, there’s no age limit on who can have fun with Jenga.

The 2020 National Hall of Fame inductees were chosen by a panel from 12 finalists that included games and toys like bingo, Lite-Brite, My Little Pony, Sorry!, Risk, Tamagotchi, Yahtzee, and others. The three newest inductees will be on permanent display at the National Toy Hall of Fame along with previous winners that have been displayed since 1998, when the Strong Museum launched the initiative. Nominations for new inductees are received year-round from anyone who wishes to recognize a particularly special toy or game.

After remaining closed for months during the start of the pandemic, The Strong Museum of Play has reopened to welcome guests back. Masks must be worn at all times and admission is limited to ensure safety. Whether you want to see the new inductees in person or appreciate all of the other exciting exhibits on display, it’s clear the Strong will continue to play an important role as a Rochester treasure — even in the midst of our current crisis.


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935 East Avenue

November 6th, 2020
Posted in Architecture, Rochester History, Rochester Homes for Sale, Rochester Images, Rochester News, Urban Exploration | 1 Comment »

By Paul Mills

I have always had an affinity for the mansions on east avenue, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to tour, video tape and photograph the house at 935 East Ave. While it has been used as offices since the 1950’s, they maintained much of the original character of the house. Many of the mansions on East Avenue have been converted into apartments, condos or offices. While the outsides have mostly maintained their original appearances, the insides have been divided, and even in one building I have been in, they have covered or painted woodwork and used office ceiling tiles. Some have even had “additions” attached. There are still a few that remain single-family residences though.

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Taking a Look at Rochester Real Estate Post COVID-19

October 13th, 2020
Posted in Other | 1 Comment »

All across the U.S., COVID-19 is having unparalleled and unexpected effects on housing sales. In spite of expectations, sales are booming. Traffic on mobile applications like Zillow and websites like Realtor.com is up by up to 50% in nearly all markets, according to Forbes, and a growing number of Americans are buying their first homes or purchasing more spacious and more expensive ones.

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ROC Business: Great Tips to Improve Your Company

October 9th, 2020
Posted in Art + Culture | No Comments »

There are so many great businesses in the Rochester area. Many of these companies have been struggling since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are still things that can be done to end the year on a high note and increase productivity, worker happiness, and revenue for the future!

Here are some awesome tips for Roc business owners looking to improve their organization:

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What Can You Actually Do For Fun in Rochester This Fall?

September 10th, 2020
Posted in Art + Culture, Events, Rochester News | No Comments »

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has severely impacted the way we live. From how we run errands to the way we work and learn, the threat of COVID-19 remains constant. And while the average American life expectancy is 78 years, our current national crisis indicates that if we don’t get things under control, we could experience thousands — if not millions — of lives being cut short.

But aside from the coronavirus’s impact on our survival rates, it’s also had major effects on the way we socialize and have fun. With the continued need to wear masks, practice social distancing, and reduce the inherent risks associated with public places, it’s no wonder that many of us are wondering whether we’ll ever really be permitted to have fun in a worry-free way again. Although Florida attracts more than 100 million visitors each year, the majority of New Yorkers need to stay put (and away from national hot spots) in order to reduce their risks.

With that in mind, you might be stuck in the area for the foreseeable future. And as the seasons change, what exactly can you do for fun? You might be pleasantly surprised with the fall activities that are still going on — with restrictions in place — in the greater Rochester area.

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Why Is the Rochester Real Estate Market Hot Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic?

September 1st, 2020
Posted in Rochester Homes for Sale, Rochester News | No Comments »

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the finances of families everywhere, causing record-setting unemployment rates and the shuttering of many local businesses. Strangely enough, the real estate market in Rochester hasn’t been taking hits like many of the other sectors of the economy. In fact, Rochester real estate is downright hot right now.

Not only did realtor.com rank the Rochester area zip code 14617, which includes West Irondequoit, number three on their list of the 10 hottest zip codes in the United States, but houses across the area are flying off the market almost as soon as they hit it. Buyers have been in a frenzy to snatch up a home in Rochester, with houses getting multiple offers within hours of going on the market. According to Tysharda Thomas, Realtor at New 2 U Homes, homes have been selling for $10,000 to $50,000 above list price.

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Remote Work Productivity Tips in the Time of COVID-19

August 24th, 2020
Posted in Opinion, Other | No Comments »

New Yorkers are no stranger to the stress that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on our shoulders. It’s officially been five months since Governor Cuomo enacted the “New York State On Pause” executive order and social distancing guidelines are still in place. As such, many workers are still performing the ins and outs of the daily grind from the comfort — and stress — of their own home.

As we enter the sixth month of quarantine measures, some businesses have allowed employees to reenter the office. Regardless, countless small offices have refused to let their employees bump elbows for the time being. Even though many people have begun to accept the trials and tribulations of remote work, that doesn’t mean that staying focused has become any easier.

Why has it been so hard to stay focused as we continue to work remotely?

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Monroe Family YMCA Closes After Nearly a Century in Operation

August 14th, 2020
Posted in Rochester History, Rochester News | No Comments »

In order to stay healthy, adults should try to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. However, that hasn’t been easy to do over the last six months. Due to concerns pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic, gyms and health clubs throughout the New York State are staying closed. But while many of those facilities will eventually reopen, there are two community mainstays that have been forced to shut their doors for good.

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Kodak Is Making International Waves Once Again

August 12th, 2020
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »

The legendary pioneer photography company Kodak in Rochester is developing a fresh new role in another industry. The company is tapping into the $4.2 trillion global wellness industry to produce pharmaceutical ingredients. However, there are developments that could delay the company’s future plans to reinvent itself. Here’s more on how Kodak is making international waves once again.

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New Report Exposes the Legacy of Racial Covenants in Rochester and Monroe County

August 4th, 2020
Posted in Rochester History, Rochester News, Urban Development | No Comments »
Confronting Racial Covenants - How they segregated Monroe County and what to do about them

Yale Law School, New Haven, CT – Racial segregation plagues communities across the United States, including those in Rochester, New York and in surrounding Monroe County. On July 29, 2020, Rochester’s City Roots Community Land Trust, in partnership with the Yale Environmental Protection Clinic, released a guide — Confronting Racial Covenants: How They Segregated Monroe County and What to Do About Them  for those looking to understand and address such segregation. 

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4 Great Ways to Have Some Family Fun In Rochester

July 22nd, 2020
Posted in Rochester Destinations | No Comments »

The weather is finally getting nicer so it’s time to put the video game controller down, gather up the family, and do something fun! Here are some great ways to kill time and have a blast around the great city we call Rochester…

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Rochester Is Ranked No. 5 in the Nation for Deer-Vehicle Collisions – What Can You Do to Stay Safe?

July 2nd, 2020
Posted in Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | No Comments »
Rochester is ranked 5th in the nation for deer-vehicle collisions.

By Sammi Cohen

According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA), there are approximately 1.5 million deer-related car accidents annually, leading to 175 to 200 fatalities each year. Of course, this number pales in comparison to the number of human pedestrians killed in traffic accidents each year (4,700), but in certain areas of the country, deer collisions are a real threat.

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ROC COVID-19: What’s Going On This Month?

June 24th, 2020
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »

Clearly, the coronavirus has changed the world. There isn’t a person in the United States that has not been drastically affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Thousands of people have lost their lives, millions of people have lost their jobs, and virtually every single person is riddled with severe anxiety over the last few months.

Hopefully things are starting to return to at least somewhat normal, especially as phases one through four begin opening. But it’s imperative that every Rochester citizen remains vigilant and focusing on preventing the spread of this deadly virus.

Here are some important aspects to pay attention to as we reach the later months of the COVID-19 pandemic…

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Staying Healthy During and After the Pandemic: 3 Great Tips

June 5th, 2020
Posted in Other, Rochester News | No Comments »

By Melissa Brewer

There isn’t an individual in the U.S. that hasn’t been affected by the coronavirus in some way or another. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives, tens of millions of people have lost their jobs. And literally every single person in the country has been dealing with unprecedented levels of anxiety and fear.

Things are scary. That might be the understatement of 2020 — but they can and will get better. It’s just on us to do everything we can to better ourselves, our communities, and our world.

In Rochester and abroad, it starts with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

During quarantine, it’s easy to slip into a funk and waste away your day eating junk food, watching 8 hours of Netflix, and including in some other unhealthy habits. Donuts and Netflix every once in a while is not a bad thing — in fact, it’s downright necessary. But you can’t do that too often because your health will be in serious jeopardy. You have to do everything you can to stay healthy so you can fight off any viruses and so you’re in a good mental state to get back to work and start building your future.

Here are some great tips for staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the days, weeks, and months following…

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Rochester Among NYS Regions Set to Reopen May 15

May 13th, 2020
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »

By Samson Weinberg

During Governor Cuomo’s daily briefing at Rochester Regional Health in Irondequoit on Monday May 11, he announced that the Finger Lakes region — which includes Monroe County — is among those that have met the necessary criteria to reopen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Cuomo’s “New York on Pause” order, which mandated that all non-essential businesses close their physical locations and all individuals only leave their homes for trips to the grocery store and other essential needs, goes through May 15. Any region that has met certain criteria can start to reopen after that date, while regions that have not met the criteria will see an extension of the stay-at-home orders through June 1.

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Rochester Industries Fighting Back Against COVID-19

May 5th, 2020
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »

By Sammi Cohen

There is no getting around it: COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on local businesses. A great deal of uncertainty surrounds the virus, leaving many questions unanswered. What does the future look like for essential and non-essential businesses? When will things return to “normal?” Is it possible to fully return to the normal we once knew?

Several businesses are taking action into their own hands, not sitting idly by or waiting around for answers. Here are just a few things businesses are doing in a stirring show of perseverance, strength, and solidarity during these uncertain times.

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Pandemic Prompts Wegmans to Prioritize Increased Demands and Worker Wellness

April 29th, 2020
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »

By Sammi Cohen

Just a few short months ago, Wegmans made headlines for its willingness to lead the charge ahead of the statewide plastic bag ban. While annual polyethylene production clocks in at around 80 million tons worldwide, the popular grocery store chain was willing to be the first to tell its customers they’d need to make the switch to reusable or paper bags instead.

But now, Rochester’s hometown supermarket is being subjected to even more pressure to our rapidly changing world. As COVID-19 continues to impact thousands of Flower City residents, Wegmans is evolving almost as quickly as new cases are confirmed.

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How Are Local Businesses Faring Amidst COVID-19 Countermeasures?

April 22nd, 2020
Posted in Rochester News | 1 Comment »

By Samson Weinberg

There is no doubt about it… the world will forever be different after the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has impacted virtually everyone’s life in every part of the world. Families are shattered with grief, entire cities are shut down, and uncertainty and worry are sweeping the globe.

Across the U.S., hundreds of businesses have already filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation bankruptcy) and owners are doing everything they can to keep their businesses afloat — but they’re running out of options. Unfortunately, small businesses are suffering just as much due to the nationwide quarantine, and Rochester is no exception.

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4 Things to Watch Out For During the COVID-19 Quarantine

April 21st, 2020
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »

By Melissa Brewer

As of Monday, April 20, there are 1,035 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Monroe County alone. Sadly, these wild times have all of Rochester anxious, with the majority of people either out of work or working from home. Also, social distancing with PPE gear and self-quarantine are being encouraged all over Rochester, New York, and the entire country.

Though it’s important to spend time having fun with your family so you’re not all just constantly worrying, you still need to be careful about a few things. Here are a few things that you should watch out for during this year’s national quarantine:

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Rochester Restaurants Open For Business…Err, Takeout

March 18th, 2020
Posted in Rochester News | No Comments »

By Samson Weinberg

With the rate of COVID-19 infections on the rise in Rochester, everyone is on high alert. Folks have been encouraged to practice social isolation in order to stem the risk of infection. Now that the first death from COVID-19 in Monroe County has been confirmed, it makes sense that people are feeling uneasy.

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