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Annual Manual 2005

Surprised by Rochester



When I was getting ready to move to Rochester five years ago, my friends and family were confused. They wore worried faces when they asked me, "What's in Rochester?" and "That's not too far from the city, is it?" and "Do you like the cold weather?" My mother patted my arm and told me I could always come back home.

Those people would still love to hear me complain about my new home (Oh, the snow! Oh, the lack of Broadway shows!) and tell them how it pales in comparison to the places they call home. But I have a confession that surprises everyone, most of all me: I love it here.

Here's how it happened:

I found a house --- a small, gorgeous, 100-year-old, ridiculously affordable house in the middle of the city. I discovered that in less than 20 minutes I could drive to a cornfield, a roadside farmer's stand, or enough parkland to get lost in.

I elbowed and jostled my way through the Public Market on a Saturday morning and bought vegetables, cheese, and fish fresh enough to spank. I went cross-country skiing in Mendon Ponds Park on a foot of new snow.

I saw countless movies for less than $5 a pop. I went to the Dryden Theatre for the opening of the High Falls Film Festival and saw the magic velvet curtain rise.

I found empanadas on Clifford Avenue, jerk chicken on Thurston Road, and Asian groceries on Mount Hope Avenue. I acquired the local passion for comforting meats and all their assorted fixings: wings, hots, ribs, pulled pork, and the pure joy that is macaroni salad. I bought a frozen custard and ate it on the boardwalk in Charlotte.

I took classes at Writers & Books and got better writing instruction than I did in college. I realized I could afford to see theater and live music here --- and that, more often than not, I would recognize someone on stage. And then one summer day I was walking my dog with everyone else in Ellison Park and I realized: I didn't want to be anywhere else.

In these pages of Annual Manual 2005, we at City (Greater Rochester's alternative newsweekly) have tried to give you enough to get your feet wet; there isn't enough space in the world to give you the full dunk. Rochester is a place that only really blooms in all of its hidden nooks, neighborhood haunts, and local knowledge --- it's an area that you'll fall in love with a lot more quickly if you have a guide. Think of this book as that guide.

We'll lead you to the locales: restaurants, nightspots, theaters, neighborhoods, schools, towns, and parks. The living you'll do in those places, that is up to you.

Explore more of Annual manual 2005 by clicking here!

In This Guide...

    A newbie’s checklist

    Beginner’s guide
    So you've arrived, and now you need the basics: phone, utilities, a way to get around town, and, maybe, a way to get out of town. Here is some info to help you get settled in.

    It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

    There is so much talk about how to revitalize Rochester's downtown and make the city a more attractive place to live. But many people have discovered the benefits of city life.

    Who's representing

    Mayor Bill Johnson 30 Church Street, Rochester 14614

    Pounding the pavement

    I've been thinking about changing my name to Where's Your Car? (though I would have preferred You're Stunning or Are Those Real?).

    Finding a beat you can dance to

    Live music
    I know it takes a little more than turning on the tube, but heading out for live music is so good for you. Plus the audience (you) is an integral part of each performance.

    We’ve got music

    We're proud of our musical talent; here are four reasons why. The event

    Get yourself something to eat

    Welcome to the Rochester food scene. I write full reviews of different restaurants every other week in City, but here is a bit of a primer, by genre, to acquaint you with the area's amazing variety of dining options.

    Why we love market day

    The Rochester Public Market can be noisy, crowded, and fishy, but that is part of the vibrancy and spirit that make it a unique experience. Where else in Rochester is it almost too crowded to move for hours at a time?

    Tending to your health

    Major hospitals Highland Hospital

    Get learning

    Each public school district in Monroe County has contact information (listed below) where you can get more detailed information about individual schools. To get an overall picture, for some general research, or to just get involved, here are some resources:

    A little culture never hurt anyone

    For a city our size, we've got plenty of culture. There's enough for every taste and energy level, but not too much to overwhelm.

    What's the alternative?

    Although Rochester has a number of respectable art museums and galleries, rarely will these venues show anything outside the mainstream. For an art space to do something daring, quite often it has to rely on the vision and resources of an individual or a small group of people.

    A little place outside the city

    Monroe County has 19 towns and nine incorporated villages. Aided by short commutes, particularly between Rochester and its inner-ring of suburbs, many of these are bedroom communities.

    The gold of the silver screens

    I'm only about 5-foot-3-inches, but I totally towered over Isabella Rossellini. Now, you may be wondering what sorts of circles a humble hometown girl like myself would run in that would enable me to reach that conclusion.

    High class

    Colgate Rochester Divinity School Can boast of a dedication for diversity, teaching students in over 20 Christian denominations.

    We'd rather be out in the open

    The areas in and around Rochester are rich with green space --- diverse, convenient, and beautiful places to walk the dog, take out a canoe, find a zoo, or smell the lilacs. From the beautiful Seneca and Highland Parks, both designed by 19th-century landscape genius Frederick Law Olmsted, to Durand-Eastman Park, where you can feel the immensity of that Great Lake --- here is just a partial list of some of our favorite parks in the Monroe County (256-4950, www.monroecounty.gov) and City of Rochester (400 Dewey Avenue, 428-6767 or 428-6755, www.cityofrochester.gov) systems.

    Block partying

    Go ahead, give us a reason to celebrate. I dare you.

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