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!