Walter has been a fixture at local sporting events and concerts for decades. Known to most Rochesterians as “The Accordion Man,” Walter plays his squeezebox (and sings) outside most hockey, basketball and lacrosse games… at music events all around the city… and of course, a Redwings game would not be the same without Walter’s rendition of Take Me Out To The Ballgame playing in the background as fans line up at the turnstiles.
In a recent phone conversation with him, Walter told me he’s been playing around Rochester for three decades. He’s missed only one game in the past 15 years. And he’s gone through 83 accordions. His latest one is currently out of commission with broken keys and a worn strap…
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.