Rochesterians often have a rocky relationship with their city. It's passionate and nurturing, but it can also be upsetting or frustrating. In other words, it's love in all of its beautiful, complicated glory.
And it's a kind of love that three local women — Laura Fox, Tanya Mooza Zwahlen, and Ana Liss — say deserves to be documented. They've started a blog, Rochester Love Notes (rochesterlovenotes.blogspot.com), to help do that. The project draws on a similar effort in Philadelphia: Philly Love Notes.
Rochester, their website says, "is a girl who doesn't realize she's hot." And it encourages Rochesterians, current and former, to contribute "love notes and reflections that highlight her strange allure."
Mooza Zwhalen says the blog is a way to show how and why people cherish Rochester. And Liss says she hopes the site can help dispel the myth that mid-sized cities like Rochester lack opportunities for young, educated people.
The handful of submissions posted to the blog so far focus on a wide range of topics: Rochester's history, natural beauty, cultural opportunities, neighborhoods, and potential.
But love is also about flaws, and partners know each other's shortcomings intimately. One writer talks about his or her attraction to Rochester despite some of the city's grittier elements. Another references the community's economic and social disparities. A few notes reference Rochester winters.
"I think love is supposed to be challenging," Fox says. "It is conflicted."
Anyone wishing to contribute a note — and the blog's organizers encourage photos, too — can submit to firstname.lastname@example.org.