This week Eric Mamajek, an astronomer at the University of Rochester discovered an object—either a planet or a failed star—with a ring system 200 times the length of Saturn’s. Mamjek’s discovery is blowing the minds of astronomy geeks worldwide.
From outer space, to local development to just plain news of the weird, here are your RocLinks for this past week…
Last week Rochester’s Zoning Board heard public testimony, both in favor of, and in opposition to a developer’s plan to demolish a historic church at 660 W. Main St. in Rochester and replace it with a Dollar General store. Of all the comments made during that 2-3 hour hearing, the one drawing the most buzz was made by a member of the Zoning Board itself, Patrick Tobin . As an article in the D&C recounted, this board member expressed frustration that, “while preservationists and others urge them to protect these buildings, little is done to keep the structures from falling into severe disrepair.”
Mr. Tobin’s comment is similar to one I hear in the comments section of this blog quite frequently where preservation vs. demolition cases are discussed. Let me paraphrase… “If you loved the building so much then why didn’t you ‘preservationists’ do something about it until now? Why’d you wait until the property owner wants to tear it down?” There are so many things wrong with this line of thought there isn’t a comment box big enough for me to fit an answer in to.
Coincidentally (or should I say, as luck would have it), Wayne Goodman, Executive Director of the Landmark Society, stepped up to the podium immediately after Mr. Tobin’s comment was fired at the preservation community. And, as I expected, Goodman took great exception to the remarks.
So I reached out to Goodman and asked him to help us understand why preservationists don’t do a better job of keeping these “historic” buildings from falling into disrepair. Goodman sent me the following statement…
For the past few days we’ve been doing some holiday window shopping at the old Sibley’s and McCurdy’s department stores. “But, WAIT! What about B. Forman’s?…” you say? Well, I searched around a bit, and though I wasn’t able to find many photos of window displays from B. Forman Co., fear not… I’ve got something you might like. Newspaper ads from December 18 – December 25, 1929! Don’t say I never gave you anything…
This Wednesday night, SyFy Channel will air a new episode of Ghost Hunters featuring Rochester’s Rundel Library (and possibly the subway tunnel). Sally Snow, Assistant Director at Monroe County Library, says the show approached them initially about the abandoned Rochester subway. “As scary as the subway is, the library is where the real haunting action is,” Snow said. “All I can say is that they found stuff, for sure. I can’t say what until the show airs.”
The Ghost Hunters team spent two full nights investigating the tunnels and the Rundel building. Sally says she’s never experienced paranormal activity in the library first hand, but she has seen security camera footage of a door opening and closing by itself. “This is a door that usually requires a really good tug to get it open. It’s very strange.”
Now personally, I’m not saying I believe in this stuff, but here’s the story of one mysterious death which occurred on this very spot in 1902…
It’s no secret that I am wholeheartedly in favor of removing Rochester’s Inner Loop roadway which encircles downtown and chokes it off from the surrounding neighborhoods like an ever tightening noose. What we didn’t know until today was that City Council and Mayor Tom Richards feel the same…
Today’s Easter Sunday edition of the Democrat and Chronicle featured fairly extensive coverage of the Broad Street Improvement Project and future plans for the subway tunnel. Three articles and a short video dominated the print and online versions of the Local section and gave RochesterSubway.com and ReconnectRochester.org some much appreciated press. The story below is from the D&C and includes comments from myself (Mike Governale of RochesterSubway.com) and Tom Grasso, who’s canal rewatering plan will likely wash away any chance of ever using the old subway tunnel as a rail corridor again… (more…)
A letter to the editor in this week’s City Newspaper caught my eye tonight. It echoes many thoughts that have been rattling around my own head since the feds announced $151 million in high-speed rail money for New York—but stated much more eloquently than I could ever wish to. The gist of the commentary is clear from the title, “High-Speed Rail is a Necessity”. But the real golden nugget… and the point I’d like to scream from the top of Xerox tower… was this: News of high-speed rail funds should have been hailed as a positive breakthrough for our region. Instead it drew an avalanche of skepticism and negativity—two ugly characteristics that have become hallmarks of this town and will ultimately hurt us all.
Here is the letter from Roger Brown, president of the Rochester Regional Community Design Center…
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.